Order of Contents 24
The Best Commentaries on James
Dickson, David – ‘…James Analytically Expounded’ in An Expositon of All St. Paul’s Epistles… (London: Eglesfield, 1659), pp. 278-87
Dickson was a prominent Scottish covenanter. Note that the Banner of Truth reprint contains Dickson’s commentary on less books than the original.
*** – ‘Dickson is a writer after our own heart. For preachers he is a great ally. There is nothing brilliant or profound; but everything is clear and well arranged, and the unction runs down like the oil from Aaron’s head. In this volume the observations are brief.’
Manton, Thomas – A Practical Commentary, or, an Exposition with Notes on the Epistle of James; delivered in Sunday Weekly Lectures (d. 1677; London: Gladding) 460 pp. no ToC
*** “In Manton’s best style. An exhaustive work, as far as the information of the period admitted. Few such books are written now.” – Spurgeon
Johnstone, Robert – Lectures, Exegetical & Practical, on James (1871)
Johnstone was a minister of the United Presbyterian Church in Scotland.
*** “A very useful, scholarly, and readable book.” – Spurgeon
“A classic in the field!” – Cyril J. Barber
Stier, Rudolph – Commentary on St. James (1859)
Stier was a German protestant churchman. Some of his works have a mystical tendency. Stier also wrote commentaries on the Psalms, Isaiah, Proverbs, Ephesians, Hebrews and Jude, but they are either not in English and/or are not available on the internet.
*** “No one can be expected to receive all that Stier has to say, but he must be dull indeed who cannot learn much from him. Read with care, he is a great instructor.” – Spurgeon
Wardlaw, Ralph – Lectures on James (1869) 376 pp.
Wardlaw was a Scottish presbyterian in the United Secession Church.
*** “The lectures are noteworthy specimens of expository preaching. They were Wardlaw’s last work, and are fully up to the mark.”
Mayor, Joseph – The Epistle of St. James, the Greek Text With Introduction Notes & Comments (1892) This was reprinted by Klock & Klock.
Mayor was a Cambridge scholar.
“An encyclopedic work on the Greek text regarded by many as being the most important critical commentary on this portion of God’s Word. Technical.” – Cyril J. Barber
Commentaries on James
Hemmingsen, Niels – A Learned & Fruitful Commentary upon James (1577)
* “The price which this book fetches is preposterous. It is hard antique reading.” – Spurgeon
Turnbull, Richard – An Exposition upon the canonical Epistle of St. James, Divided into 28 Lectures or Sermons (1592)
Turnbull (d. 1593) was reformed.
** “Old and occupied with Popish controversies. Good, solid, and tedious.” – Spurgeon
Mayer, John – ‘The Catholic Epistle of the Apsotle James’ in Ecclesiastica interpretatio: or The Expositions upon the Difficult & Doubtful Passages of the Seven Epistles called Catholic... (London: Haviland, 1627), pp. 1-65
On his whole Bible commentary: ** ‘A rare and valuable author… The six volumes, folio, are a most judicious and able digest of former commentators, enriched with the author’s own notes, forming altogether one of the fullest and best of learned English commentaries; not meant for popular use, but invaluable to the student. He is a link between the modern school, at the head of which I put Poole and Henry, and the older school who mostly wrote in Latin, and were tinctured with the conceits of those schoolmen who gathered like flies around the corpse of Aristotle. He appears to have written before Diodati and Trapp, but lacked opportunity to publish. I fear he will be forgotten, as there is but little prospect of the republication of so diffuse, and perhaps heavy, an author. He is a very Alp of learning, but cold and lacking in spirituality, hence his lack of popularity.’ – Spurgeon
Introductory & Practical
“The contents of this volume grew out of lectures delivered at Northfield, Chautauqua, and Winona Lake. Practical and unsophisticated.” – Cyril J. Barber
Strauss, Lehman – James, your Brother: Studies in the Epistle of James (NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1956) 250 pp. ToC
“Lucid exposition of the practical and corporate relationships of the message of James.” – Cyril J. Barber
Motyer, J.A. – The Message of James: The Tests of Faith Buy (1970) in The Bible Speaks Today
“A short, readable commentary by an evangelical Anglican.” – Cyril J. Barber
Adam, John – An Exposition of the Epistle of James in a Series of Discourses (1867) 435 pp.
Adam was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland in Aberdeen.
** “Good, plain, discourses, for which the author acknowledges his indebtedness to various eminent writers who have discussed the Epistle. Our readers had better make similar discourses of their own–if they can.” – Spurgeon
Dale, R.W. – The Epistle of James (1895)
Jacobi, Bernard, of Prussia – Expository Lectures on the General Epistle of James (1838)
** “A good, simple, practical set of expository Lectures. Safe in doctrine, or the Religious Tract Society would not have issued it.” – Spurgeon
Neander, Augustus – The Epistle of James Practically and Historically Explained (1851) 57 pp.
Neander was the well-known, liberal (following Schleiermacher) German, Church historian.
** “Without dwelling upon the wording of the Epistle, Neander reproduces its spirit in other language, and so expounds it. The little work will be greatly appreciated by a certain order of minds.” – Spurgeon
Patterson, Alexander S. – Commentary on James (1851)
Patterson was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland.
** “Notes of discourses, with much in them. Hints may be gleaned here in abundance by students who open their eyes.” – Spurgeon
Knowling, Richard John – The Epistle of St. James, with an Introduction and Notes (1904) 240 pp. in Westminster Commentaries, ed. Walter Lock
“One of the better works in this series, but long out of print.” – Cyril J. Barber
“Far superior to the author’s expositions on Matthew and John. Introductory data is carefully outlined, and the verse-by-verse exposition is practical and helpful.” – Cyril J. Barber
“A helpful practical exposition refuting the theories of C.H. Dodd, and defending the Johannine authorship of John’s epistles. Interprets epistles in the light of their first century setting.” – Cyril J. Barber
Zodhiates, Spiros – The Behavior of Belief: an Exposition of James based upon the Original Greek Text (Eerdmans, 1970) 890 pp. ToC
“Formerly published in three volumes, these well-illustrated expository messages emphasize with simplicity, clarity, freshness, and seal the practical lessons to be learned from a study of this letter.” – Cyril J. Barber
“Provides a scholarly exposition of the meaning and message of James and its outworking in human relationships. The product of mature scholarship.” – Cyril J. Barber
Ancient Christian Commentary, James 2 at Patristic Bible Commentary
Augustine – Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament by S. Augustine in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1839), pp. 928-46
Bede – Commentary on the Seven Catholic Epistles Ref (Cistercian Publications, 1985) 284 pp.
Bede (672/3 – 735)
On Chapters on James
Est, William – The Right Rule of a Religious Life: or, The Glass of Godliness, wherein every man may behold his imperfections, how far he is out of the way of true Godliness, & learn to reduce his wandering steps into the paths of true piety. In certain lectures upon the First Chapter of the Epistle of St. James. The First Part (London, 1616)
Est (1546 or 7-1625) was an English, protestant minister.
Goodwin, Thomas – A Exposition of James 1:1-5, Patience & her Perfect Work (d. 1680)
Gifford, George – A Godly, Zealous & Profitable Sermon upon the Second Chapter of Saint James. Preached at London… (London, 1582)
** – “We have several times met with this writer’s name coupled with that of Brightman as in his day regarded as a very learned writer, but we cannot procure his work [on the Song of Solomon]. Possibly some reader of this catalogue may yet present us with it. We beg to assure him of the gratitude which we already feel, in the form of ‘a lively sense of favors to come’.” – Spurgeon
Morgan, John – A Short Analysis of a Part of the Second Chapter of St. James, from the 14th Verse to the end of the Same. With a Brief Confutation of the Rhemists’ Annotations thereupon Written (London, 1588)