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Doriani: James – Reformed Expository Commentary September 12, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Book Reviews, Daniel Doriani, James, Reformed Expository Commentary.
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I will have to admit this is the first commentary I’ve ever read.  I know a 30 something, life long Christian not having read a commentary is shocking…. OK maybe its just more of a sad statement of the state of current Christianity in the US, but that being said it will not be the last.  This particular volume was very insightful and easy to read. I’ve been interested in James after hearing our pastor peach through the book and thinking about what it means to live a Christian life.

One of the big issues with James, for us Reformed types anyways, is that the book seems to teach salvation by works and not faith, the opposite of Paul.  Doriani however fleshes out the gospel in James pointing to “mercy triumphs over judgment” (2:12), “the Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (5:11) and “God …gives grace to the humble” (4:6).  These passages show that James expects the believer to rely on God and not their works. James obviously speaks about works but Doriani explains that we should see faith leading to salvation and then to good works.

He also points out the many similarities between the book and Old Testament wisdom literature.  It is also shown how James also uses the poetic chiasm (1-2-3-3-2-1) pattern at points to build his case.  In all he does a great job of tying all of James’ points together into a coherent whole.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.  I half expected it to read like a text book but that was not the case.  This book was extremely helpful in forming my understanding of James.  It is both a challenging and hopeful book showing us how we should live but never letting us forget that “God …gives grace to the humble”. (4:6)

In closing I have to include this quote:

“James says there is an antithesis, a choice between two ways of life: a way of selfish ambition and a way of purity and peace (3:13-18). We can be a friend of God or a friend of the world (4:4). We can be proud or humbled, and repentant. Jesus says, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11;18:14)”

It is available from Reformation Heritage Books

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1. Ryken: 1 Timothy « Reformed Antithesis - November 5, 2008

[…] trackback This is the second of the Reformed Expository Commentary series that I have read (see my review of James). As with the first I found this volume to be engaging and insightful. It definitely has deepened […]


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