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

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Product Details

  • Series: New International Commentary on the New Testament
  • Hardcover: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (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 (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“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.

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

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 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.

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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13 of 13 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Derek Newbery on September 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
McKnight writes over 400 pages of pure commentary in this book and in doing so is able to provide the reader with a deep understanding of the text of James. His strengths are his comparative literature work in which he points the reader to other Jewish, Christian, Greek and Roman texts which enlighten the message of James. A second strength is his look at the outlines which various commentators have given to the Book of James in his introduction. He looks at 10 different commentators and in doing so shows the wide variety of opinions on the structure of the Book of James. McKnight himself, sees issues of wealth and poverty as a unifying theme throughout the book. This theme both informs and influences McKnight's understanding since he sees this at work behind the scenes of all passages. He also sees the message pointed to teachers (3:1-4:13) as much lengthier than most commentators.

One aspect of this commentary which was the least helpful was its size. At 400 pages of commentary it takes much more time and energy to work through then nearly any other book on James. If you want to find an exhaustive commentary this may be it but if you are crunched on time this would not be the best option. Also, McKnight can sometimes spend more time away from the text of James then in it. For example, on James 5:5 he quotes a paragraph from CS Lewis, 2 Enoch and describes a passage by Petronius. He spends about 1/3 of his commentary on this book on James' meaning and the remaining 2/3 on these other works. This type of research is obviously crucial for understanding James' meaning but for some readers would probably be more preferred as a footnote than within the text. If this type of in-depth commentary excites you then this would be a great option but if this seems a little overwhelming or daunting of a task then Moo would be a better, shorter choice.
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2 of 3 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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