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The Letter of James (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Hardcover – February 21, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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
St. Stephen’s University

“A readable and carefully organized commentary packed full of concrete insights. McKnight brilliantly blends the best thoughts of earlier scholarship with innovative thinking, and he remains sensitive throughout to both ancient context and his modern audience.”
— Craig S. Keener
Palmer Theological Seminary

“Readers will find in Scot McKnight’s learned and well-written commentary rich insights acquired through many years of investigating the life, leadership, and theology of James the brother of Jesus. Again and again McKnight breaks new ground, correcting old misconceptions and throwing new light on important issues.”
— Craig A. Evans
Acadia Divinity College

About the Author

Scot McKnight is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of thirty books, including The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others, which won the Christianity Today book of the year for Christian Living.
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Product Details

  • Series: The New International Commentary on the New Testament
  • Hardcover: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (February 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080282627X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802826275
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Southern Illinois, came of age in Freeport, Illinois, attended college in Grand Rapids, MI, seminary at Trinity in Deerfield, IL.

Now a professor at North Park University.

Two children.

Kris, my wife, is a psychologist and the greatest woman on earth.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By William Steck on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best commentaries on James, and likely the most lengthy. It gives a lot of background information and detail. McKnight holds the view that James wrote James and at an early date, so it's a pretty orthodox commentary. However, he really stays consistent to the idea that James is written to the Messianic community. Therefore, he departs from time to time from what one sees in a lot of other commentaries. As a result, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised occasionally in this work. Wouldn't it be disappointing if all commentaries said exactly the same thing?

He spends a lot of time on James chapter 2 and the supposed contradiction between Paul and James on justification by faith. His material in this section is a little different than the typical view and is well worth reading. I was really impressed with the background information that he brings up here and there throughout the commentary, probably more than I've seen in other works on James.

Moo (Pillar series) is probably more readable, but shorter. I'd like to give this commentary 4-1/2 stars, but they don't allow that here in the reviews. Mcknight's work on James almost merits a perfect 5, but there were some sections where after discussing all the options, he doesn't seem to mention which option he prefers and why.

If you are looking for a pretty exhaustive commentary on James, this might be your best bet. For those who don't want such a massive work, Moo is the better purchase.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Sweeney on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
James has proved a vexing New Testament book for many people. Martin Luther himself called it an "epistle of straw". Despite the Reformer's overreaction the church has recognized James' rich exploration of doctrine and righteous living. Any worthwhile commentary will follow James' example.

Scot McKnight is Karl A. Olssen professor of Religious Studies at North Park University in Chicago, IL. He is also a recent contributor to the well-known and respected New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) with his new commentary on the Book of James. I have been helped through many other volumes in the NICNT and I believe McKnight's contribution to the series will fit well among many other excellent commentaries.

The most significant quality of McKnight's commentary is his consistent willingness to let James set the agenda in his epistle. He correctly identifies the source of many problems with James: Paul. He states it bluntly: "the more uncomfortable Christians are with James in a Luther-like way, the less they really understand Paul!" (3). He does not argue that James and Paul are at odds with one another. Instead, he believes - and sets out to prove - that James and Paul teach the same message, but they utilize a different vocabulary. This is a helpful word in the study of James' epistle.

In addition, it is obvious that McKnight has taken this subject seriously as nearly each page is a treasure trove of bibliographic resources. He has read widely and engaged thoughtfully with scholars and theologians of nearly every confession. But, I did not feel that this commentary was overly technical or difficult to understand. McKnight intended for his commentary to be of use to to pastors and students. I found it to be quite helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RORJr on February 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well Dr. McKnight you've done it. Congratulations! You have written a comm. that is both brilliantly sensitive to the original audience; but also to the church at large. Your desire to remain contextual; is beyond reproach.
I find this comm. even-handed, responsible and sensitive to its handling of the current and much of the past consensus on this letter. Yet, one. over and over is exposed to new insights--and insights which are allowed--by just letting the text speak for itself. One cannot help but feel that this commentator is Not afraid to allow the text to dictate the discussion. I so appreciate this. You ,sir, have my vote. Great job.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David A. on September 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
McKnight's commentary on James is tremendously worthwhile and is much more useful for me, as a pastor, than its predecessor in the NICNT series. This commentary contains great detail on the historical situation of James and the churches whom he addresses, plenty of application and challenge for the contemporary church, and a thorough (yet not too technical) understanding of the role of Greek vocabulary, grammar, and syntax in interpreting the book. If you are considering whether or not to update your NICNT library with this volume, my advice is to go for it.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Spending 400+ pages on the "junk mail of the New Testament" may seem like a ludicrous endeavor, but with the revival of attention James is getting it is more than appropriate. Scot McKnight employs his lively pen (keyboard?) to produce this lively and lenghty commentary on the regretfully forgettable letter of James, and it surely is a commentary worth purchasing.

I appreciate the commentary for its exegetical, historical, bibliographical and theological rigor. Each page is packed with dense footnotes on the Greek text (transliteration is used in the main body), whether it is text critical notes (generally more extensive than most treatments in the NICNT series), discussions on verbal aspect (he is sympathetic to Porter's system), or or key terms throughout the letter. Especially helpful and unique is that McKnight reproduces lengthy quotations of Philo, Old Testament and other early Jewish and G-R writings to connect James to his time period.

As with all of his books, McKnight writes clearly and with a light touch. So even when he's talking about the torturous syntax of 3:6 or analyzing the macro-structure of James, it is much more palatable than most other academic commentaries. From the start he makes it clear that he wrote this for pastors and teachers, and his love for James is infectious. While I haven't compared it to other commentaries on James (Moo, Johnson, Allison--to name three), it strikes the enviable balance of technical and accessible.
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