Pastors and scholars have often found the letter of James particularly vexing both to interpret and to apply. Scot McKnight’s commentary expounds James both in its own context and in the context of ancient Judaism, the Greco-Roman world, and the emerging Christian faith. Though interacting with the best available scholarly work on James, McKnight first connects deeply with the text of the letter itself, striving to interpret James’ teaching rigorously in light of what he says elsewhere in his letter rather than smothering the epistle in extrinsic debates and theories. Shaped from beginning to end for pastors, preachers, and teachers, this accessible commentary—full of insight, good sense, and wit—will shed fresh light for those who want to explain James and its significance to their congregations and classes.
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Scot McKnight has written a very readable, evangelical commentary on James. While covering the traditional bases and literature, he also includes a number of new readings of the data that make his work fresh and intriguing. This book will be viewed as a standard evangelical work that needs to be consulted in any future work on this letter.
—Peter H. Davids, professor of biblical theology, St. Stephen’s University
This commentary is scholarly, interesting, and timely—three things not often said about the same book! McKnight’s reading of James sees the first-century Jewish-Christian community battling over issues of personal equity and social justice and struggling to find godly and workable solutions. With today’s church struggling to find biblical solutions to the same kinds of problems, McKnight’s explanation of James is a welcomed voice in the conversation.
—Douglas S. Huffman, professor of biblical and theological studies, Talbot School of Theology
McKnight has produced a readable and carefully organized commentary packed full of concrete insights. He brilliantly blends the best thoughts of earlier scholarship with innovative thinking, and remains sensitive throughout to both ancient context and his modern audience.
—Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
Scot McKnight is Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. His many other books include The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others; A Community Called Atonement; NIV Application Commentary volumes on Galatians and 1 Peter; and (co-edited with James D. G. Dunn) The Historical Jesus in Recent Research.
“To ‘consider’ trials as an occasion of joy involves an act of faith, for instead of looking at the trial, the messianic Jewish community is instead encouraged to look through the trial to its potential outcome.” (Page 71)
“The trial then is twofold: the socio-economic privation of the messianic community and their need to resist the desire to resort to violence (4:1–2) to establish justice (1:20) and peace (3:18).” (Page 76)
“Thus, for James ‘endurance’ is not a goal, as with the Stoics, but a means to a goal.” (Page 79)
“for James the ‘trial’ is not just what the messianic community is being forced to endure, but also how they respond” (Page 76)
Scot McKnight is a theologian who has focused most of his writings on the New Testament and the historical Jesus. He is currently a professor of New Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, IL. He earned a B.A. degree from Grand Rapids Baptist College (now Cornerstone University), an M.A. degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham.
McKnight is a member of the Society Biblical Literature and the Society for New Testament Studies. He has written and edited many award-winning books. He has over 25 books to his name, including Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, the volumes on Galatians and 1 Peter in the NIV Application Commentary, and A New Vision for Israel: The Teaching of Jesus in National Context.