The book of James, although limited in size when compared to most of the Pauline epistles, is not shy on content. And it seems to be well-known by many believers. However, most are likely unfamiliar with the details of its message. This is where A Commentary on James fills the gap for the modern-day student of James. It is resplendent in detail.
The author of this marvelous work is Aida Besançon Spencer, senior professor of New Testament at Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary. She is extensively educated and published. This volume is published by Kregel Academic as part of its Kregel Exegetical Library which is steadily growing with both New and Old Testament publications.
Spencer begins with an introduction in which she discusses the authorship, canonicity and structure of James. Do not glance over this or pass over it. It is quite comprehensive. Her arguments for authorship and structure are well worth the time and consideration and difficult to refute.
Then Dr. Spencer digs into the text – chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse, and word-by-word. At the beginning of each chapter, we find Spencer’s own translation and grammatical analysis. If you’re studying James in-depth, this is a valuable inclusion. At times it may seem like a slow read but there is great insight in what might seem to be the smallest of particulars.
The heart of this book is Dr. Spencer’s exposition of the text. It is rich in original language information and practical insight. Each chapter concludes with “Theological and Homiletical Topics,” valuable for preaching and teaching.
Most useful (and convenient) is the inclusion of footnotes – not endnotes – making reference to such immediately available. And for an even deeper dig into James, Spencer has included a ten-page bibliography divided into Ancient and Contemporary resources.
The more Greek one knows the more beneficial this book will be. However, a lack of Greek knowledge should not prevent any pastor or teacher who plans to work through James from having this volume within an arm’s reach and no further.
Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Kregel Academic for a fair and honest review.