Recommended Commentary: James (EEC)


If you are in the market for a solid commentary on the letter of James, may I suggest Will Varner’s contribution to the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Series. But do not take my word on it, see what others have said:

Varner’s commentary is so complete one can get by with this commentary alone! It sketches the significance of the man James, sketches the exegetical options, sorts out primary evidence, examines each text in light of larger themes in biblical theology, draws even-handed and compelling conclusions, and so puts on the plate all we need to read, interpret, and live the message of James.
—Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

In this installment of a first-ever detailed exegetical commentary written first for on-line publication, William Varner sets a high standard with his comments on James under numerous headings. After a thorough introduction highlighting the importance of James, the half-brother of Jesus, as the leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, the commentary expounds short sections of text with introductions, translations, textual-critical notes, biblical theology, devotional insights and potential sermon points often nicely alliterated, all sandwiched around detailed clause-by-clause explanation of the text. Particularly helpful are the grammatical categorizations, fully conversant with verbal aspect theory and discourse analysis, and the voluminous knowledge of and interaction with other scholars. Time and again Varner helps the reader sift through complex exegetical conundra clearly, always coming to plausible and usually to persuasive conclusions. A must for any serious scholar, preacher or teacher of this often neglected epistle!
—Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

Will Varner’s James is marked by all the characteristics that make for an excellent commentary on Scripture: careful attention to the text, wide-ranging research, comparison with other ancient texts, and concern for theological and practical application.
—Douglas Moo, Wessner Chair of biblical studies, Wheaton College, Chair, Committee on Bible Translation

While the homily we know as James has not been neglected in recent NT scholarship, there is always room for another detailed interaction with this document written to Jewish Christians, not least because it may well be the earliest NT document we have. William Varner presents us with an up-to-date, detailed, helpful analysis of James which interacts with a wide range of scholarship, ancient and current, and gives us a new reason to affirm once again that Luther, and James’ other cultured detractors, were wrong to neglect, parody, or pit James over against Paul.
—Dr. Ben Witherington, III, Amos professor of NT for doctoral studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, doctoral faculty St. Mary’s College, St. Andrews University, Scotland

Here is a little more information on this work:

The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series, written from an evangelical perspective, incorporates the latest in biblical scholarship. It combines historical, literary, and theological explanations with ideas for applying the Bible to everyday life.

Expanding on his previous work on James, William Varner offers fresh exegetical and practical insight into one of the earliest writings of the New Testament. With a thorough introduction, Varner lays a firm foundation for his commentary on the text of James. Each section of the commentary includes an introduction to the pericope, the Greek text with textual notes, Varner’s own translation of the Greek, the commentary proper, a note on the Biblical theology of the passages, and a section offering practical points of application and devotional notes. The end of each pericope also offers the reader a bibliography for further study.


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