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5 Stars Out Of 5
June 16, 2017
Scot McKnight gives us this replacement volume in the venerable New International Commentary (NICNT) series. That series was aimed at pastors originally, but has since expanded its scope for scholarly types. Pastors can glean deeply from it, but it covers all the issues. Still like the earlier volumes is the fact that it has no untranslated Greek. A funny aside is how a major volume in another series by Eerdmans (James by Moo in the Pillar series) is written by McKnights dear friend. Both are well worth having.
In McKnights Introduction to James he shows a keen appreciation for the complexities of the letter even while confessing that some of those complexities were foisted on James by scholars. His charge of some scholars being obsessed with certain strange developments of study is undoubtably true. His discussion of James in the Story is at once interesting and clear. He does a fine job in explaining how James gets tangled with Paul, even though it may be more of our starting point than a true divergence. Still, I cant agree with all his Paul-James controversy points.
His discussion of who James was carefully laid out the possibilities and reached conservative conclusions after wading deeply. His dating of James was early. His portrayal of themes in James was helpful and the section on structure was excellent as it shared so many opinions of other influential scholars before he arrived at his own.
The commentary section focuses to advantage on the text. I enjoyed it. Again, it might sound scholarly, but it will add to your understanding of this letter that perplexes many. You should check it out!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
I have to be up-front here - James is my favorite NT book, the NICNT is my favorite commentary series and Scot McKnight is one of my favorite contemporary theologians. So I was very excited when I found out this was going to be a reality and I purchased it to use for preaching through James recently. I was not let down and very pleased with this book.
The NICNT is one of the best multi-purpose and semi-technical commentaries on the market today. They are solidly evangelical and solidly exegetical, without getting too bogged down with unnecessary detailing. They might be a tad much for those without theological training, but I would highly encourage laypeople to pick up one (especially this one!) and see if they feel comfortable with it. All the Greek/Hebrew is transliterated or footnoted and overall they help you understand the text on a deeper level and usually end with theological or application points, but they don't hold your hand or tell you exactly what to believe. They're a great all-around series for seminary students as well as for those preaching and teaching.
I certainly appreciate Scot McKnight's take on all things related to the faith and would encourage you to read his other works, which can all be found on this website!