Top Commentaries on James

Bible commentaries on the New Testament book of James are listed below. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews. You will also find options for commentaries on James that help pastors, teachers, and readers with application of the Bible, commentaries that approach the Scripture verse-by-verse, classic Christian commentaries, and much more. (See more about the scholars, pastors, ministries, and schools whose commentary reviews are being utilized.)

Best Reviewed Bible Commentaries on James



The Letter of James (The Pillar New Testament Commentary) by Douglas J. Moo


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Reviews and Accolades:

Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on James

D.A. Carson: a “best buy” on James, “a lovely blend of good judgment, good writing, good theology, and sometimes good application”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on James

Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on James, “If you can only have one commentary on James, this is the one to have.”

Tom Schreiner: recommended: “a careful interpretation with attention to the theology of the letter”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Designed for serious pastors and teachers of the Bible, the Pillar commentaries seek above all to make clear the text of Scripture as we have it…[the authors’] ideal is a blend of rigorous exegesis and exposition, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and the contemporary relevance of the Bible.” See more about the Pillar New Testament Commentary series.



James (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell


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Reviews and Accolades:

D.A. Carson: “Its a combination of patient exegesis, theology, and application will appeal to many pastors.”

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on James

Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on James, “The layout of the volume is very helpful. For each passage, there are seven primary sections: Literary Context, Main Idea, Translation and Graphical Layout, Structure, Exegetical Outline, Explanation of the Text, and Theology in Application. This series should prove to be very helpful for busy pastors.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The idea for this series was refined over time by an editorial board who listened to pastors and teachers express what they wanted to see in a commentary series based on the Greek text…We arrived at a design that includes seven components for the treatment of each biblical passage”: Literary Context, Main Idea, Translation and Graphical Layout, Structure, Exegetical Outline, Explanation of the Text, and Theology in Application.” See more about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.



James (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) by Douglas J. Moo


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on James

Tom Schreiner: recommended: “a careful interpretation with attention to the theology of the letter”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: This series is “designed to help readers understand what the Bible actually says and what it means…[each commentary] examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning of the Bible and to make its message plain to readers today.” See more about the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series.



James (Word Biblical Commentary) by Ralph P. Martin


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Reviews and Accolades:

D.A. Carson: “a masterpiece of condensed writing and an admirable summary of the status of scholarship on James”

Tom Schreiner: recommended: “a technical and clear exposition of the letter”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “WBC series delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. It emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology.” See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.



The Epistle of James (New International Greek Testament Commentary) by Peter H. Davids


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommended: “a technical but very helpful interpretation of James”

Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on James, “For those who are intending to do in-depth exegetical work in the original Greek text, Davids’ commentary in the NIGTC commentary will be an invaluable help. Like all of the NIGTC commentaries, this one leaves virtually no stone unturned.”

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “At a time when the study of Greek is curtailed in many schools of theology, we hope that the NIGTC will demonstrate the continuing value of studying the Greek New Testament… the volumes of the NIGTC are for students who want something less technical than a full-scale critical commentary… the supreme aim of this series is to serve those who are engaged in the ministry of the Word of God and thus glorify God’s name.” See more about the New International Greek Testament Commentary series.



James (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Dan G. McCartney


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Reviews and Accolades:

D.A. Carson: a “best buy” on James, “first rank, combining rigorous exegesis and carefully worded and probing theological reflection”

Tom Schreiner: recommended: “a very fine exposition of the Greek text”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the Publisher: “The chief concern of the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) is to provide, within the framework of informed evangelical thought, commentaries that blend scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness. We hope thereby to attract the interest of a fairly wide audience, from the scholar who is looking for a thoughtful and independent examination of the text to the motivated lay Christian who craves a solid but accessible exposition.” See more about the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.



The Letter of James (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Luke Timothy Johnson


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Reviews and Accolades:

D.A. Carson: a “best buy” on James, “superb on introductory matters”

Tom Schreiner: recommended: “an insightful commentary from a Roman Catholic scholar”

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Anchor Yale Bible Series, previously the Anchor Bible Series, is a renowned publishing program that for more than 50 years has produced books devoted to the latest scholarship on the Bible and biblical topics.” The series “vigorously pursues the goal of bringing to a wide audience the most important new ideas, the latest research findings, and the clearest possible analysis of the Bible.” See more about the Anchor Bible Commentary series.



The Letter of James (New International Commentary on the New Testament) by Scot McKnight


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on James

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written for scholars, pastors, and lay readers alike…undertaken to provide earnest students of the New Testament with an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.” See more about the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.



James (Crossway Classic Commentaries) by Thomas Manton


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on James; “Thomas Manton’s commentary on James is a classic work that should not be ignored merely because it is older. There is a wealth of insight here.”

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “For hundreds of years Christendom has been blessed with Bible commentaries written by great men of God highly respected for their godly walk and their insight into spiritual truth. The Crossway Classic Commentaries present the very best work on individual Bible books, carefully adapted for maximum understanding and usefulness for today’s believers.”



The Epistle of James (Black’s New Testament Commentaries) by Sophie Laws


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Reviews and Accolades:

Tom Schreiner: recommneded: “a lucid exegesis of the letter”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Black’s New Testament Commentary has been hailed by both scholars and pastors for its insightful interpretations and reliable commentary.” See more about Black’s New Testament Commentary series.



The Message of James (The Bible Speaks Today) by J.A. Motyer


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Reviews and Accolades:

Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on James, “Motyer’s works should never be skipped by those seeking insight into the meaning of Scripture. His commentaries on Isaiah and Exodus are particularly valuable, and the same is true for this introductory level commentary on James.”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: The “the three distinctives of The Bible Speaks Today series are (1) “BST authors are committed to a serious study of the text in its own integrity,” (2) that “expositors should not be antiquarians, living only in the remote past” but suggest application for living, and (3) “each book is intended to be both readable in style and manageable in size.” See more about the Bible Speaks Today commentary series.



James: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary (International Critical Commentary: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary) by Dale Allison


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” on James

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: The ICC series has “sought to bring together all the relevant aids to exegesis, linguistic and textual no less than archaeological, historical, literary and theological to help the reader understand the meaning of the books of the Old and New Testaments…no attempt has been made to secure a uniform theological or critical approach to the biblical text: contributors have been invited for their scholarly distinction, not for their adherence to any one school of thought.” See more about the International Critical Bible Commentary series.



More Bible Commentaries with Application Help for Pastors



James (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Daniel M. Doriani


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: The REC series has “four fundamental commitments. First, these commentaries aim to be biblical…Second, these commentaries are unashamedly doctrinal…Third, these commentaries are redemptive-historical…Fourth, these commentaries are practical…” All authors are “pastor-scholars.” See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.



James (New International Version Application Commentary) by David P. Nystrom


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the General Editor: The primary goal of the NIV Application Commentary Series is to help you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context. The series not only focuses on application as a finished product but also helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance. These are commentaries, not popular expositions. They are works of reference, not devotional literature.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.



James: Faith and Works (Preaching the Word) by R. Kent Hughes


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “For years, Crossway’s Preaching the Word commentary series has helped pastors, preachers, and anyone who teaches God’s Word to better interpret and apply the message of the Bible. Under the careful editorial oversight of experienced pastor and best-selling author R. Kent Hughes, this series is known for its commitment to biblical authority, its pastoral tone and focus, and its overall accessibility.” See more about the Preaching the Word commentary series.



James (Christ-Centered Exposition) by David Platt


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: This series “takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition presented as sermons and divided into chapters that conclude with a “Reflect and Discuss” section, making this series ideal for small group study, personal devotion, and even sermon preparation. It’s not academic but rather presents an easy reading, practical and friendly commentary.”



James (Teach the Text Commentary Series) by Jim Samra


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: The Teach the Text series utilizes “the best of biblical scholarship” and provides “the information a pastor needs to communicate the text effectively. By keeping the discussion of each carefully selected preaching unit to six pages of focused commentary, the volumes in this series allow pastors to quickly grasp the big idea and key themes of each passage of Scripture. The text and its meaning are made clear, and sections dedicated to effectively teaching and illustrating the text help pastors prepare to preach.” See more about the Teach the Text Bible commentary series.



More Verse-by-Verse Commentaries



James (The IVP New Testament Commentary) by George M. Stulac


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume, informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues… Preachers, teachers, students and other individuals who want to dig deep into the heart of the New Testament will find an indispensable companion in the IVP New Testament Commentary Series.” See more about the IVP New Testament Commentary series.



James (The IVP New Testament Commentary) by Kurt A. Richardson


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New American Commentary is introduced to bridge the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This new series has been designed primarily to enable pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible with clarity and proclaim it with power.” See more about the New American Commentary series.



James (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series) by Peter H. David


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books with key terms and phrases highlighted and all Hebrew transliterated. Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper.” See more about the Understanding the Bible commentary series.



James (Revised Expositor’s Bible Commentary) by George H. Guthrie


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

From the publisher: “Written primarily by expositors for expositors…its stance is that of a scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible…the chief principle followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical – namely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing.”



Hebrews, James and Jude (A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary) by Ben Witherington III


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Using sociorhetorical criticism, the New Testament is interpreted within the context of the world in which it was written and read—the rhetorical method makes use of ancient or classical writings and strategies of communication, while the social science method notes issues of cultures and customs.” See more about the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary series.



1-2 Peter, James, and Jude (Interpretation) by Pheme Perkins


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “This series of commentaries offers an interpretation of the books of the Bible. It is designed to meet the need of students, teachers, ministers, and priests for a contemporary expository commentary. These volumes will not replace the historical critical commentary or homiletical aids to preaching. The purpose of this series is rather to provide a third kind of resource, a commentary which presents the integrated result of historical and theological work with the biblical text.” See more about the Interpretation commentary series.



James (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) by Chris A. Viachos


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Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (EGGNT) closes the gap between the Greek text and the available lexical and grammatical tools, providing all the necessary information for greater understanding of the text. The series makes interpreting any given New Testament book easier, especially for those who are hard pressed for time but want to preach or teach with accuracy and authority… The body is devoted to paragraph-by-paragraph exegesis of the Greek text and includes homiletical helps and suggestions for further study.”



Classic Christian Commentaries for Bible Study



James (MacArthur New Testament Commentary) by John MacArthur


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “If you’re familiar with John MacArthur’s in-depth Bible teaching, you have an idea of what you’ll find in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary takes you deep into each passage, verse by verse—sometimes word by word. It’s like having a Bible teacher sitting next to you as you study Scripture.”



James (Thru the Bible Commentary Series) by J. Vernon McGee


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “Radio messages from J. Vernon McGee delighted and enthralled listeners for years with simple, straightforward language and clear understanding of the Scripture. Now enjoy his personable, yet scholarly, style in a 60-volume set of commentaries that takes you from Genesis to Revelation with new understanding and insight.”