James (Second Ed.) [PNTC] by Douglas Moo

Having used the first edition extensively years ago, I’m glad the PNTC series gave Moo the opportunity to revise and update his commentary on James. Moo himself in the preface tells us that this a substantial revision that extends the volume by 30%. That additional material does not, however, mean that he has changed his conclusions overall, but just that he took a stab at strengthening them. There’s not much I can say about this author as he is well known to most Bible students and so most readers enter this volume with some idea of what to expect. What stands out the most, perhaps, is that the majority of his work has been in the Pauline epistles and he sneaks off here to James of all biblical writers!

Though I had read the introduction of the earlier work in the past, I carefully read the introduction of this revised work. It’s exactly what I love in an introduction. The word that comes to mind is masterful. Far more important than reaching the same conclusion that I favor is the author’s ability to lay out all the major viewpoints, respectfully dive in and explain pros and cons, and then present his or her own conclusion. Again, I need an author to teach me things I don’t know and I’ll then make my on conclusions. The commentary that provides that succeeds. This one does.

As a case in point, after being thoroughly impressed with Moo’s presentation of what has been the major viewpoints of the overall theme of James, I couldn’t fully agree with his ultimate view of James and how he meshes with Paul. Still, in a masterful way he laid it out where I had the tools to make a conclusion myself. I always rate highly a commentary that does that for me. Additionally, he did it in less pages than many writers can accomplish. There’s something to be said for clarity.

Everything else is here too: bibliographic information, theology, exegesis and all from a guy who knows how to do it. In you don’t agree with his conclusions in the introduction, then his coverage of James 2 might raise an eyebrow at times. But isn’t that true of every commentary on James good or bad?

The Pillar commentary series has earned its lofty praise. Someone needs to light a fire under the authors of the remaining volumes needed to finish coverage of the New Testament, but every theological library simply must have the ones in print. Moo has only made this contribution on James better and so it will have decades of positive influence remaining.

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.

The Trinity and the Bible by Scott Swain

If you have delved into the fascinating study of the Trinity, you likely have already encountered the name Scott Swain. There are probably 4 or 5 writers who have made the greatest impact in this subject that begs for more care among Christians and Swain is unquestionably one of them. This latest title of his is not his greatest contribution on the Trinity, but it is one of those books that shows more digging and a passion to help people practically put an understanding of the Trinity to use when they open the Bible anywhere to do exegesis.

Without doubt, that is a valuable concept to entertain. In fact, even after studying the Bible for many years, when you finally do a detailed study of the Trinity, you become almost surprised at how many passages contain a Trinitarian focus. Only our Triune God knows why the Bible is designed to have the Trinity sprinkled everywhere and yet have few passages that serve as great proof texts on the subject.

When you come to this book itself, you will appreciate the big picture for sure; and yet as with any written attempt at exegesis, you might disagree at points. Occasionally, I disagreed with Swain but I was a happy traveling companion for the journey he took we readers on. Maybe you ask here: isn’t this just a collection of essays? It is. Whether the author was lucky or brilliant I can’t say, but the fragments did make a whole.

Don’t skip chapter 1 even though it is really just the preface. Chapter 2 is the best chapter and addresses profound concepts involving the Trinity. Chapter 3 on Warfield’s view of the Trinity is not merely a recap of history, but a case study on exegesis and the Trinity. The final three chapters take the Trinity into the spadework of exegesis in Mark 12:35-37, Galatians 4:4-7, and Revelation 4-5 respectively.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly as I have done much study on the Trinity recently. To be sure, this book is not a first choice when you begin a study of the Trinity, but it is a quality resource as you get farther into it. I’m glad to have to have it!

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.