Best James Commentaries | Reviews for Bible Study, Preaching, and Teaching

What if you took your knowledge of the book of James to the next level? Getting wisdom from James will help strengthen your faith and enable you to help others understand its life-changing message. A helpful commentary on James will save you from confusion with explanations that are easy to understand. For a full list with helpful reviews see below, but here is a quick glance of the Top 3 Commentaries on James:

Top 3 Commentaries on the Book of James
Moo JamesJames (PNTC) by Douglas Moo (link goes to Amazon using exact ISBN): Readable, rich theological analysis, mid-level, knowledge of Greek isn’t required.
Blomberg JamesJames (ZECNT) by Blomberg and Kamell (link goes to Amazon using exact ISBN): Easy to find what you’re looking for, includes section on theology and application.
Davids JamesJames (NIGTC) by Peter H. Davids (link goes to Amazon using exact ISBN): Authors comments on the Greek text, very in depth, offers some theological insight.
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The Bible instructs Christians to seek wisdom (Prov. 1:7, James 1:5) and who better to learn from than pastors, theologians, and professors who have been studying and teaching James for decades?

After browsing the best James commentaries below, see the best one-volume bible commentaries, based on aggregate reviews.

10 Best James Commentaries

The best James commentaries are listed below. There are exegetical commentaries, scholarly and technical commentaries, as well as commentaries that are easy to understand. They are not suggested as a replacement for prayer, the Holy Spirit, and the reader’s own diligent study of Scripture. The “Top 10” list is based on aggregate reviews.

The “Top 10” list below is a starting point for learning about James commentaries. It is not intended to be the “final word” because of its limitations. Nevertheless, a list based on aggregate reviews is likely to point you in the right direction to find the right resource for your purposes.

#1

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

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James commentary by Douglas Moo
Best combination of exegesis and theology

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, which is considered one of the best Romans commentaries.

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.

Please also see Best Commentary Series: The Top 50. Based on aggregate reviews.

#2

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

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James commentary by Craig Blomberg
Lots of helps: outlines, exegesis, theology, application, more

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.”

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, which is considered one of the best Matthew commentaries.

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.

The book of the Bible people want a commentary on more than any other is Revelation. See the Best Revelation Commentaries. Based on aggregate reviews.

#3

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

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James commentary by Peter Davids
Best conservative, advanced, Greek commentary on James

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.”

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, which is considered one of the best 1 Peter commentaries.

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.

#4

James
Tyndale New Testament Commentary
by Douglas J. Moo

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James commentary by Douglas Moo
Not as in-depth as Moo’s in the PNTC series, but still helpful

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.

#5

James
Word Biblical Commentary
by Ralph P. Martin

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James commentary by Ralph Martin
A little dated now, but solid mid-level option for pastors

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, which is considered one of the best Philippians commentaries.

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.

#6

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

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James commentary by Dan McCartney
Closer to Davids’ than Moo’s or others; acclaimed series

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.

#7

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

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James commentary by Luke Timothy Johnson
Advanced, moderately critical

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, which is considered one of the best Hebrews commentaries.

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.”

#8

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

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James commentary Scot McKnight
Mid-level, popular series

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, which is considered one of the best Galatians commentaries.

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.

#9

James
Crossway Classic Commentaries
by Thomas Manton

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James commentary Thomas Manton
Classic Reformed work

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.”

#10

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

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James commentary Sophie Laws
Dated, moderately critical

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.”

More Book of James Commentaries for Christian Ministry

Please read: Why are the James commentaries below not in the “Top 10”? It’s not necessarily because they have received poor reviews or because people haven’t found them helpful. The reasons vary:

  • Some are relatively new and haven’t been widely reviewed, read, or used yet.
  • Others haven’t been widely distributed, so it is difficult to get enough information to aggregate.
  • Still others may be outdated in relation to biblical scholarship or out of print and difficult to acquire.

The “Top 10” list is reviewed annually. Readers are encouraged to consider the volumes in this section before making a purchase. These 10 are not in any particular order.


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

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James commentary J.A. Motyer

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, which is considered one of the best Isaiah commentaries.

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
International Critical Commentary
by Dale Allison

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Jams commentary Dale Allison

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, which is considered one of the best Matthew commentaries.

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.”


James
Reformed Expositional Commentary
by Daniel M. Doriani

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James commentary Daniel Doriani

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.


James
NIV Application Commentary
by David P. Nystrom

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James commentary David Nystrom

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Nystrom takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He teaches at the Sacramento campus of Western Seminary.

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.


James
The IVP New Testament Commentary
by George M. Stulac

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James commentary George Stulac

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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James commentary Kurt Richardson

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.


James
Understanding the Bible Commentary Series
by Peter H. Davids

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James commentary Peter H Davids

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.


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

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James commentary Expositor's Guthrie

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, which is considered one of the best Hebrews commentaries.

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.


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

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James commentary Ben Witherington

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, which is considered one of the best Mark commentaries.

The publisher notes that in the SRC series Scripture “is interpreted within the context of the world in which it was written and read.”


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

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James commentary Chris Viachos

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.”


Compare 75 different commentary series on the Bible Commentary Series Comparison Chart

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