The Letter of James is a practical and pastoral book. James’ down-to-earth advice instructs believers on how to live wisely and with integrity. James tells Christians to endure whatever difficulties might come their way, with the knowledge that God will use their struggles to help them mature as Christians.
—Faithlife Study Bible, Lexham Press
Best Commentaries on James
Douglas J. Moo, Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC), Eerdmans, 2000, 287 pp.
This highly original commentary seeks to make the Letter of James clear and applicable to Christian living today. Interacting with the latest views on James but keeping academic references to a minimum, Douglas Moo first introduces the Letter of James in its historical context and then provides verse-by-verse comments that explain the message of James both to its first readers and to today's church.
- Level: Intermediate
- Type: Expository
Peter H. Davids, New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC), Eerdmans, 1982, 264 pp.
This widely acclaimed commentary by Peter H. Davids interacts freely with both the more recent and the older literature on James, German and French works. At the same time, Davids' own penetrating insights themselves spark fresh debate on the composition, purpose, and meaning of the text of James.
- Level: Advanced
- Type: Technical
Douglas J. Moo, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (TNTC), InterVarsity Press, 1985, 196 pp.
"The Bible is being translated, commented on, read, studied, preached and analyzed as never before. But it is questionable whether it is being obeyed to a comparable degree," says Douglas Moo in the preface to his commentary on James. "All this suggests that the message of James is one that we all need to hear—and obey. No profound theologian, James' genius lied in his profound moral earnestness; in his powerfully simple call for repentance, for action, for a consistent Christian lifestyle. His words need to thrust through our theological debates, our personal preconceptions, our spiritual malaise, and set us back on the road to a biblical, invigorating, transforming Christianity."
- Level: Basic
- Type: Devotional
Luke Timothy Johnson, Anchor Yale Bible (AYB), Yale University Press, 2000, 432 pp.
A thorough examination of the original-language texts and an explanation of the literary context of James help illuminate the original meaning of the letter. Johnson’s sensitivity to both the biblical text and the sensibilities of the modern reader, coupled with his convincing scholarly presentation, set this apart as one of the premier commentaries on James for present and future generations.
- Level: Advanced
- Type: Technical
Ralph P. Martin, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), Thomas Nelson, 1988, 354 pp.
One of the most challenging New Testament books, James presents many historical, theological, and textual problems. Ralph Martin tackles each one in order and with scholarly precision. He provides detailed textual notes, places the epistle historically, and engages the theological controversies raised by this often maligned epistle.
- Level: Advanced
- Type: Technical
Best Books on James
Peter Davids offers a comprehensive study of the General or Catholic Epistles of James, 1–2 Peter, and Jude, which are often insufficiently covered in more general New Testament introductions, theologies, and surveys. Before discussing a theology of each of the four letters, Davids first deals with their common aspects—their shared background in the Greco-Roman world and a similar Christology, view of the source of sin, and eschatology—thus justifying their being treated together. In the chapters that follow, Davids embarks upon a theological reading of each letter informed by its social-rhetorical understanding—what they meant in the context of their original cultural settings—including: a survey of recent scholarship, a discussion of relevant introductory issues, a thematic commentary, a treatment of important theological themes, and a discussion of the place of the letter in the biblical canon and its contribution to New Testament theology.Learn more
In A Theology of James, Chris Morgan lays out a coherent biblical theology of the epistle of James, connecting the particulars of the book to the big picture of the Bible. With Chris Morgan’s helpful analysis, readers will find James’ message to be both grounded in theology—and livable.Learn more
The whole Bible has a purpose, because the Spirit inspired the writing of each book. The purpose of James has vexed Christians throughout the centuries, yet its overarching purpose is to encourage, to warn, and to teach—all practical—and stresses the content of Christian living more than creed. This study of James shows that he is not an armchair theologian. He tackles issues of faith, worldview, and right living, in the context of a suspicious and skeptical age.Learn more
Reading the Epistles of James, Peter, John & Jude as Scripture: The Shaping and Shape of a Canonical Collection
Through a detailed examination of the historical shaping and final canonical shape of seven oft-neglected New Testament letters James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John, and Jude, this text introduces readers to the historical, literary, and theological integrity of this indispensable apostolic witness. While most modern scholars interpret biblical texts against the diversity of their individual historical points of composition, Robert Wall and David Nienhuis make the case that a theological approach to the Bible as Scripture is better served by attending to issues that occasioned these texts’ historical point of canonization—those key moments in the ancient Church’s life when apostolic writings were grouped together into collections designed to maximize the Spirit’s communication of the apostolic rule of faith to believers everywhere.Learn more
In recent years, the apostle James and his epistle have received renewed attention, and Edgar’s contribution to the revival examines the way in which James and his addressees are depicted within the social world of emerging Christianity. Edgar finds strong points of contact with the sayings of Jesus and with early Christian itinerant proclaimers, who are often seen as having been active in preserving and transmitting these sayings. The Epistle challenges the commitment of its reader to a new allegiance with God and, in no uncertain terms, proffers the choice one must make between loyalty to Him and identification with the earthly value system dominated by the rich.Learn more
Best Courses on James
This course covers the seven biblical letters known as the Catholic Epistles. After an overview of the Catholic Epistles in general, students will explore issues such as authorship and audience in James, as well as themes such as perfection/wholeness, faith, works and justification. First and Second Peter are covered next with a focus on submission, suffering, and responding to false teachers. The course concludes with a look at Jude and the letters of John.Learn more
Join Dr. David deSilva as he describes important cultural concepts from the first century and shows how these concepts shed light on the New Testament. Learn why the author of 1 Peter spoke to the shame Christians were experiencing, and what cultural norms they had to fight against as they sought to follow Christ. Discover how grace and gratitude were viewed differently than they are today. Learn what purity meant for Jews, how patronage and reciprocity impacted everyday decisions, how families and households operated, and more. Dr. deSilva pulls from a variety of sources to explain these concepts and uses the books of Hebrews and 1 Peter to illustrate them.Learn more
Law and Gospel: The Basis of Christian Ethics demonstrates how to view ethics through an evangelical lens, incorporating both good works and the gospel, to model the life of Jesus Christ. It analyzes a variety of OT, NT, and historical texts to explore the relationship between love and law. While examining the dangers of legalism and antinomianism, the course considers how love fulfills the law and enables those who are in Christ to live an evangelical, ethical life.Learn more
Mobile Ed: NT222 Introducing the Epistles and Revelation: Their Setting and Message (12 hour course)
This course explores the books of Romans through Revelation with particular attention to their historical setting and culture. In addition to providing an overview of each book, topics such as authorship, audience, theology, major themes, presenting problems, and pastoral strategies are discussed in depth.Learn more