I love preaching through books of the Bible verse by verse on Sunday mornings. Taking the time to preach expositionally takes quite a bit of time and one often uses resources to aid in their exposition of the Biblical text. I always consult blogs and websites as I decide what books to buy. I also consult friends who have spent time preaching through the same book(s) in the past. Having spent several months preaching through James in this past year, I’d like to share some of the resources I found the most beneficial in preaching through the book of James.
Daniel Doriani’s Reformed Expository Commentary: James – This is one volume I never skipped the pages of when preaching through James. Preaching as a pastor I found this volume to come from very pastoral perspective. It was true to the text and provided great insight that wasn’t just for good preaching but for gospel-centered living. If I were restricted to only buying one volume on James, this would be the one I’d buy. (P&R Books)
Thomas Manton’s James – This was by far the most detailed exposition of James that I used. I distinctly remember hearing a popular evangelical skip over James 1:18 in his preaching of the text on the radio while at the same time preparing to preach the text. Reading Manton’s 11 pages on the one verse made me chuckle a bit to see how James 1:18 didn’t fit into the Arminian preaching of this popular evangelical pastor, but it certainly didn’t stop Manton from giving great detail to the text. That being said, 11 pages on one verse of the text can get quite heavy at times. This is an incredibly beneficial volume, but you can easily get bogged down in it’s reading. I would still commend it’s reading if you have the time. (Banner of Truth)
John MacArthur’s MacArthur New Testament Commentary: James – If you are preaching a book of the New Testament other than Mark’s gospel (because those volumes aren’t published yet) you should invest in MacArthur’s commentaries. This volume on James is no exception. Much like Doriani you see the heart of a pastor and a careful expositor of the text. MacArthur’s use of the language in word study is not word study for the sake of fluff, but is called to attention for the exegesis of the text. (Grace to You)
R. Kent Hughes Preaching the Word: James – I’m sure it isn’t proper to have a list of commentaries and the entirety of the list be homiletical commentaries. But, good theology, is pastoral theology. R. Kent Hughes like the other listed writes with decades of pastoral experience and the heart of one who desires to stay close to the text. I’ve come to grow to love the Preaching the Word series. The point of preaching is to provide careful exposition of the text and the application of the text. This volume is quite helpful in doing both. (Crossway)
David Platt’s Christ-centered Exposition: James – If you are looking for a volume with brevity, this is the volume for you. This short little volume on James is packed with theology. As with the other volumes in the series it does a great job of outlining the book in a way that is very helpful for preaching. The price on this volume is also very hard to beat. The only downfall to this little volume is just that, it is a little volume.There were times in which I wish Platt had given more time and space to the text. That being said, it is still a worthwhile volume and would be especially helpful for someone teaching Sunday School on James. (B&H)
I hope these recommendations/reviews might prove helpful for anyone working through James. The letter called practical is one that is cutting to the heart in it’s practicality. James makes much of the Christian life and these volumes resound with James’ pastoral heart. I’d also like to note, it took me much longer than I expected to work through the short little letter of James. (These books will help you layout your planning in preaching).