The ZECNT Blog Tour: The Epistle of James

Click to see a larger image of James by Craig L. Blomberg, Mariam J. Kamell
 Zondervan kindly sent me a review copy of their new Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: James, so I’m taking part in their blog tour today (12/15/10) by giving some feedback on this commentary. I have been using this commentary quite a bit as I preach and teach through the epistle of James, and so far I’ve really appreciated it.  Here are some more details.

PROS:

1) The format is outstanding.  The footnotes are clear, the outlines are handsome, the section breaks are helpful, and all around this commentary is a pleasure to read, right down to the clean Greek font.

2) I love the thematic outlines and the more detailed exegetical outlines.  The thematic outlines gives the reader a big picture of the book, while the exegetical outline highlights detailed parts of each verse/sentence, indents and all.  This commentary, of course, also includes notes on Greek grammar, vocab, and syntax.

3) The depth of scholarship is superb.  I’m glad to see that Blomberg and Kamell have done much research in literature about James. 

4) The book also contains great indexes – Scripture, author, and topical.  I enjoyed the article at the end that gives an overview of the theology of this epistle.

CONS:

1) Sometimes the application sections were a little cheesy and (in my opinion) didn’t seem to arise from the text itself.  Several times the references to gays, lesbians, and American politics struck me as out-of-place. 

2) Sometimes it seems as if the authors went out of their way to discuss the “gender wars.”  I was reading some part of the commentary, and out of nowhere a tiny discussion of gender would pop up in a footnote.  It wasn’t offensive, but it seemed as if there was something going on behind the scenes, as it were, (though I could be reading into it too much).

All in all, I appreciate this commentary and do recommend it.  Of course, no commentary is perfect; they are all written from a certain perspective and for a certain purpose.  I don’t agree with every sentence of this book, but overall, this one is solid and biblical. It is a good one for students of the Word who want a clear, straightforward, textual discussion of the book of James.  I’m glad it is on my shelves, and (again) I thank Zondervan for letting me be part of their tour.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

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