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 (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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Moo takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. Moo has served on the NIV translation committee. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is twice as long as Moo’s James volume in the TNTC series (see below). Moo is well known for writing the Romans commentary in the NICNT series. The publisher notes that the PNTC series combines “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.

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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.”

Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Mariam J. Kamell on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: The authors take an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Blomberg is well-known for his Matthew commentary in the NAC series. The publisher notes that the ZECNT 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.” See more about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

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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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Moo takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is half the length of Moo’s James volume in the Pillar series (see above). Originally published in 1985, Moo revised this volume in 2015. The publisher notes that commentaries in the TNTC series examine “the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation.” See more about the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series.

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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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Martin takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He was a British New Testament scholar (d. 2013). This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Martin is well-known for his Philippians commentary in the TNTC series. The publisher notes that the WBC series “delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation.” See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.

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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.”

Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Peter Davids on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Davids takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Professor of Christianity at Houston Baptist University. This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. Davids is well-known for his 1 Peter commentary in the NICNT series. He also wrote the James volume in the NIB series, which is less technical than this one (see below). The publisher notes that “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.” See more about the New International Greek Testament Commentary series.

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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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: McCartney takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. This consists of Greek exegesis, but is well-reviewed for being pastor-friendly. The publisher notes that BECNT series combines “scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness.” See more about the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

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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”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Johnson takes a critical approach to Scripture. His background is Roman Catholicism. This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. Johnson is well-known for writing the Hebrews commentary in the NLT series. The publisher notes that the Anchor 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.

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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

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: McKnight is an ordained Anglican with anabaptist convictions. He is Professor of New Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. McKnight is known for writing the Galatians commentary in the NIVAC series. The publisher notes that the NICNT series provides readers “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.

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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.”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Thomas Manton (1620–1677) was an English Puritan clergyman. This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. The publisher notes that “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.” See more about Crossway Classic Commentaries.

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


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Reviews and Accolades:

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

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Laws takes a critical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the BTNC series “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.”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Motyer was an Irish bible scholar (d. 2016). This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Motyer is well-known for his well-reviewed Isaiah commentary. 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.

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James (International Critical Commentary) by Dale Allison


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” on James

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Allison takes a critical approach to Scripture. He is Presbyterian. This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. This volume is over 800 pages in length. Allison is known for his well-reviewed Matthew commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that the ICC series combines “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.” See more about the International Critical Commentary series.

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Verse-by-Verse Expository Commentaries


James (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Daniel M. Doriani


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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Doriani takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed. This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. The publisher notes that 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…” See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.

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James (NIV Application Commentary) by David P. Nystrom


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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Nystrom takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He teaches at the Sacramento campus of Western Seminar This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the NIVAC series helps “with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.

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


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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Stulac takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Presbyterian. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that IVPNTC commentaries are “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.” See more about the IVP New Testament Commentary series.


James (New American Commentary) by Kurt A. Richardson


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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Richardson takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This series was produced by Baptists. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. The publisher notes that the NIV 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.

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


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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Davids takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Davids wrote the James volume in the NIGTC series, which is more technical (see above). The publisher notes that the UBCS 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.” See more about the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series.

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


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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Guthrie takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. His PhD is from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume is 75 pages. Guthrie is well-known for writing the Hebrews commentary in the NIVAC series. The publisher notes that the REBC series provides evangelical scholarship that is “committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible.” See more about the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series.

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


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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Witherington takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Arminian. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Witherington also wrote the Mark commentary in the same series. The publisher notes that in the SRC series Scripture “is interpreted within the context of the world in which it was written and read.” See more about the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary series.

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Technical Commentaries


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


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Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Viachos teaches at Wheaton College. This commentary is best for students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Greek who can follow a technical commentary. The publisher notes that the EGGNT series “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.” See more about the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament series.

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Classic Christian Commentaries


James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) edited by Gerald Bray


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Synopsis: This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. The publisher notes that “many of the comments from the early centuries have been passed on to us through Latin catenae, or chain commentaries, in which a later commentator collected comments from a variety of sources and chained them together in a fashion much like that of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.”

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James (Geneva) by Thomas Manton


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Synopsis: This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. The publisher notes that “the republication of this exposition of James by Thomas Manton is timely and that for three good reasons. [1] The first is the special relevance of this Epistle in the contemporary Church situation, with the constant danger of antinomianism. [2] The second reason is that for a thorough exposition of ‘this very practical book Manton’s work still stands in a category of its own. [3] The third reason is the excellent example of expository preaching which this book provides.”

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