Zondervan have recently released several new volumes from the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (ZECNT) series. Along with the volume on James by Craig Blomberg published in 2008 are volumes available this winter on Galatians (Schreiner), Ephesians (Arnold), and Matthew (Osborne). Zondervan Academic and the Koinonia Blog asked for people to review these volumes, and I recently finished thumbing through the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament for the book of James by Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell.
First off I love the size of the book, a little bigger than many of the standard commentaries, but not a huge heavy-weight that you wouldn’t want to carry around in your bag. It makes very good use of a clear font and the footnotes are easy to follow, precise but don’t take up too much of the page. Jumping to the other end of the book it has a fantastic ending: following the commentary there is a chapter on the theology of James which highlights 11 key themes in the book each with a couple of paragraphs reflecting back on the actual text and commentary. This is then followed by a series of indexes: scripture, subject and author – all very useful.
The book itself has a very clear introduction, and this is then followed up with helpful and accurate commentary. The commentary is laid out with a literary context, a main idea for each passage, a detailed translation, a structure, an exegetical outline and then a verse-by-verse explanation. Each section then concludes with a theology in application section which is very helpful for preachers and teachers because even if you disagree with the application it brings a helpful starting point. I like that the commentary contains greek but does not make that an overbearing feature for those of us who struggle with the original language.
I have enjoyed dipping in and out of this commentary, and if the others in this series are of a similar standard then this would certainly became a favourite series for me.