Review: High Definition Commentary: James

28279999Steven E. Runge currently serves as Scholar-in-Residence at Logos Bible Software. Runge has a Master of Theological Studies degree in Biblical Languages from Trinity Western Seminary in Langley, B.C., Canada, and a Doctor of Literature degree in Biblical Languages from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He is the author or editor of a number of books related to Greek discourse analysis, including Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis, Discourse Studies & Biblical Interpretation: A Festschrift in Honor of Stephen H. Levinsohn (editor), Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament (general editor), and the High Definition Commentary series of which three volumes have been published—Philippians, Romans, and most recently, James.

High Definition Commentary: James is a unique commentary experience that will position itself well alongside other commentaries, such as James (EEC) by William Varner or The Letter of James (PNTC) by Douglas Moo. Both the size and content of this volume display that it was not intended to be a replacement commentary for those mentioned above. Rather, Runge has provided an excellent supplemental commentary that guides the reader through the trenches of a rigorous discourse analysis of the Greek text. Still, the reader with no prior exposure to such analysis will be happy to find that this volume is extremely accessible notwithstanding the complexity of the preceding sentence. Runge has truly done the reader a service by distilling the fruit of such analysis and presenting it within a clear and digestible package—a package that will bolster the readers understanding of the text without bogging them down in details.

The commentary itself is very readable and overflowing with practical insight for pastors and teachers. This is likewise true with the other volumes in the High Definition Commentary series. The commentary lacks a traditional introduction that some readers may expect. However, Runge does provide some introductory material in his opening treatment of James 1:1-11. Nevertheless, the real benefit of this volume is the way that Runge guides the reader through the text of James with a unified approach to his overall thought process. This is unique in that the reader is able to see the clear shifts in James’ argument as he moves from thought to thought, but also see the unity therein—something that is lacking in some of the other approaches taken towards this book. This, accompanied by the numerous graphics included, will be particularly helpful for those seeking to teach or study the book cover-to-cover.

High Definition Commentary: James by Steven E. Runge is a commentary that I wouldn’t want to be without. Runge is clear and articulate in his presentation of the discourse analysis of the Greek text, and thus very readable for those approaching the book of James—maybe even for the first time. Moreover, the inclusion of the graphics allows the pastor or teacher to more easily digest and display the overall message of the book to his hearers—providing a visual point of reference to better communicate the information therein. In short, if you are preparing to teach or preach through the book of James, or even simply looking for a more holistic understanding of the text, this is a commentary that will make your efforts worthwhile. Highly recommended!


I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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