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 McKnight’s dear friend. Both are well worth having.
In McKnight’s 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 can’t 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 Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.