James and I–III John

Written by Simon J. Kistemaker Reviewed By Alan G. Padgett

Professor Kistemaker of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi continues to fill out the popular ‘New Testament Commentary’ begun by the late Dr William Hendriksen with a new volume on the letters of James and John. Each book and pericope is introduced, and followed by word-by-word commentary, notes on the Greek text, and often practical or doctrinal considerations. The series is for the general reader, and not the pastor-scholar or any trained student of the Bible. Given the intended audience, and the price of typesetting Greek letters, I am surprised to find a section on notes in Greek. The general reader cannot use them, and readers with a modicum of Greek will find them overly elementary.

These short but powerful epistles are packed with theological, ethical and spiritual insight, and one looks forward to reading a solid evangelical exposition with anticipation. This reader, at least, was disappointed at the thinness of the exposition in this volume. Granted that the book is meant for the general reader, one comes away after reading over 400 pages of exegesis on a few pages of Greek text feeling that something more could have been done. Still, what the volume lacks in theological profundity and ethical richness, it makes up for with clarity and thoroughness. Each book is introduced, and each word is discussed, in a way that any reader can understand. But readers of Themelios will be better served by Calvin himself for exposition, or a scholarly modern commentary for exegesis.

Alan G. Padgett

Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA