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James (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Hardcover – November 30, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Designed for the pastor and Bible teacher, the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament examines the biblical text in its original environment. Notable evangelical scholars carefully attend to grammatical detail, literary context, rhetorical flow, theological nuance, and historical setting in their interpretation. Critical scholarship informs each step, but does not dominate the commentary, allowing readers to concentrate on the biblical author's message as it unfolds. While primarily designed for those with a basic knowledge of biblical Greek, all who strive to understand and teach the New Testament will find this series beneficial. The general editor for this enterprising series is Clinton E. Arnold The following focused sections help readers understand the text: Literary Context: Explains how each passage functions within the book Main Idea: Summarizes the central message of the passage Translation in Graphic Layout: Presents a translation through a diagram that helps readers visualize the flow of thought within the text Exegetical Outline: Gives the overall structure of the passage Explanation of the Text: Provides interpretive insights into the background and meaning of the text Theology in Application: Discusses how the message of the text fits within the book itself and in a broader biblical-theological context, suggesting applications for the church today

About the Author

Clinton E. Arnold (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is Dean and Professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology in LaMirada, California.



Craig L. Blomberg is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. He holds a PhD from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is the author, co-author or co-editor of fifteen books and more than 130 articles in journals or multi-author works. A recurring topic of interest in his writings is the historical reliability of the Scriptures. Craig and his wife Fran have two daughters and reside in Centennial, Colorado.



Mariam Kamell (PhD, University of St Andrews) is a post-doctoral fellow at Regent College, Vancouver. She has published several articles on James focused on its economics or in comparison with Hebrews or 1 Peter; her dissertation focused on soteriology in James in comparison with earlier Jewish wisdom literature and the Gospel of Matthew.
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Product Details

  • Series: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Book 16)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310244021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310244028
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marcus Maher on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The layout of this series is unique and very helpful. One concern that I had seeing the commentary proper split into so many sections, was that there would be substantial overlap of material. My fear proved to be unfounded. The authors and editors did a stellar job at fully utilizing the format. I also must say that they hit their intended audience dead on. The amount of technical information was just right. They don't bog you down with gobs of detail on minutiae, but there's enough to inform you on important matters, whether they be grammatical, lexical, or of cultural/historical background.

As for the contents of the commentary, again I was quite pleased, though, of course, certain elements of the commentary were better than others. The introduction was brief but helpful. It covered the usual topics, such as authorship, dating, and the circumstances prompting the letter taking traditional stances and giving reasonable defense for their positions. Blomberg and Kamell also spent several pages explaining the overall structure of James. I found this to be the most beneficial section of the introduction as I've always struggled to see an overall cohesiveness to the letter. They argue in the introduction (and defend in the commentary proper) that the entire letter focuses on three themes: trials, wisdom, and riches and poverty. These are introduced initially in 1:2-11, reiterated in the same order in 1:12-27, and then developed at length in reverse order from 2:1-5:18.

Of the three main topics of the letter, I most appreciated Blomberg's and Kamell's discussion of wealth and poverty. Much of what James says on this topic sounds so harsh that it's easy to say that he didn't really mean it that strongly. Blomberg and Kamell don't go down that path.
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Format: Hardcover
For those pastors like myself who have enough Greek to make themselves dangerous, this new series is great.
I could not believe that the text was analyzed using sentence diagramming. What a concept! There are also concise summaries at significant junctures in the text.
Those of you familiar with Blomberg's skill as a scholar and expositor will not be suprised to find this is a great commentary.
You will not be buried in details, yet there is real meat here, interaction with current scholarly discussions, and support for why the author makes exegetical decisions.
I look forward to other volumes in this series.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a commentary, I would rank this second to Luke Timothy Johnson's Anchor Bible commentary. It's quite different, focusing less on introductory issues and classical literature, and more on practical theology. The introduction is much briefer yet includes a helpful summary of the structure of James discerned by the authors, and some discussion of typical issues such as authorship.

Two main features were particularly helpful to me in teaching James throughout this year: (1) the presentation of structure with carefully worded interpretive descriptions that help the student grasp the overall flow of James; (2) the 'Theology in Application' sections that give suggestions for how to embody the text.

Finally, though I am competent in Greek, one last feature may be helpful for others, namely, that though the exegetical discussions include the Greek text, it is presented in a way that knowledge of Greek is not necessary making this commentary useful for wide readership.

I very much recommend this as a unique and helpful commentary on the shelf of pastors and Bible teachers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This commentary is a collaboration between Blomberg and Kamell. Kamell does the verse by verse commentary while Blomberg does the "Theology In Application" sections. Kamell is thorough and thoughtful in her exegesis but what makes this commentary especially helpful is the Theology In Application section. It seems rare that a commentary which is looking deeply at the text also challenges you to internalize and apply that same text. This commentary forces you to wrestle both with what the text means but also the difference it makes in the reader's life. This step of application makes this commentary especially helpful for pastors and others who seek to connect God's Word with their own lives and the lives of others. The book is accessible to all people regardless of Greek knowledge (the Greek text is given prior to the comments on each section but further Greek interaction is explained). Further helpful aspects of this commentary are: the inclusion of the main idea, exegetical outlines and grammatical structure of each paragraph. These all help to set this apart from other commentaries on James and thus makes this book a good companion volume alongside other commentaries like Moo and McCartney.
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Format: Hardcover
James is no "epistle of straw," as Martin Luther once (in)famously said of the book. But many-with Luther-find it difficult to reconcile Paul and James on faith and works.

Paul: "A person is justified by faith apart from works of the law."

James: "A person is considered righteous [i.e., justified] by what they do and not by faith alone."

Here I review James by Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, from Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (ZECNT) series. (Below I use some of my same wording from my review of Luke (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) in this series to introduce the ZECNT series more generally.)

Like the rest of the ZECNT series, James is "designed for the pastor and Bible teacher." The authors assume a basic knowledge of Greek, but Greek is not required to understand the commentary. For each passage the commentary gives the broader literary context, the main idea (great for preachers!), an original translation of the Greek and its graphical layout, the structure, an outline, explanation, and "theology in application" section.

The introduction covers an outline and structure of James, the circumstances surrounding its writing, authorship and date, and significance of the book. It is shorter and less detailed than the introductions in Douglas Moo's James commentary and that of Peter Davids. Immediately I looked for how the authors would resolve the Paul/James (alleged) discrepancy, but they note in the introduction that they discuss James's theology after "the commentary proper.
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