J.B. Mayor’s Commentary on the Epistle of James

The first page of James in Minuscule 319, a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament.

The first page of James in Minuscule 319, a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament. Source: Wikipedia

James Bickersteth Mayor’s commentary is generally recognised as one of the finest works on the epistle of James of all time. My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this public domain title for digitisation.

Joseph Bickersteth Mayor [1828-1916], The Epistle of James. The Greek Text with Introduction and Comments, 2nd edition. London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd. / New York: The Macmillan Company, 1897. Hbk. pp.cclx +256. [Click to visit the download page]

Table of Contents

  • Preface to the First Edition
  • Preface to the Second Edition
  • Addenda Et Corrigenda
  1. The Author
  2. External For the Authenticity of the Epistle
  3. Relation of the Epistle to Earlier Writings
  4. Relation of the Epistle to the Other Books of the New Testament
  5. The Contents of the Epistle
  6. Persons to Whom the Epistle is Addressed and Place From Which it is Written
  7. On the Date of the Epistle / Harnack and Spitta on the Date of the Epistle
  8. On the Grammar of St James
  9. On the Style of St. James
  10. Did St. James Write in Greek or in Aramaic?
  11. Bibliography
  12. Apparatus Criticus
  • Text of St James
  • Notes
  • Paraphrase and Comments
  • Index

Preface To The First Edition

In writing my Preface I bring to a close a work which has for some years been my chief occupation, and which has indeed been seldom out of my thoughts since the time when, as an undergraduate, I first made acquaintance with Coleridge’s Aids to Reflection, and was led in consequence to study with some care the Epistle of St. James, to which reference is made in the earlier Aphorisms of that book.

In the Introduction I have stated my reasons for believing this Epistle to be the earliest of the books of the New Testament, written probably in the fifth decade of the Christian era by one who had been brought up with Jesus from his childhood and whose teaching is in many points identical with the actual words of our Lord as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. If I am not mistaken, it presents to its a picture of pre-Pauline Christianity, which is not only interesting historically, but is likely to be of special value in an age of religious doubt and anxiety like the present…

Page vii.

John Calvin on the Catholic Epistles

John Calvin, author of Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles
John Calvin [1509-1564]
John Calvin’s commentaries on the 1 John, 1 & 2 Peter, James and Jude are now available for free download in PDF:

John Calvin (John Owen translator), Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1855. Hbk. pp.488.

Commentaries on the First Epistle of Peter

The Argument

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The design of Peter in this Epistle is to exhort the faithful to a denial of the world and a contempt of it, so that being freed from carnal affections and all earthly hindrances, they might with their whole soul aspire after the celestial kingdom of Christ, that being elevated by hope, supported by patience, and fortified by courage and perseverance, they might overcome all kinds of temptations, and pursue this course and practice throughout life.

Hence at the very beginning he proclaims in express words the grace of God made known to us in Christ; and at the same time he adds, that it is received by faith and possessed by hope, so that the godly might raise up their minds and hearts above the world. Hence he exhorts them to holiness, lest they should render void the price by which they were redeemed, and lest they should suffer the incorruptible seed of the Word, by which they had: been regenerated into eternal life, to be destroyed or to die. And as he had said, that they had been born again by God’s Word, he makes mention of their spiritual infancy. Moreover, that their faith might not vacillate or stagger, because they saw that Christ was despised and rejected almost by the whole world, he reminds them that this was only the fulfilment of what had been written of him, that he would be the stone of stumbling. But he further teaches them that he would be a firm foundation to those who believe in him. Hence he again refers to the great honour to which God had raised them, that they might be animated by the contemplation of their former state, and by the perception of their present benefits, to devote themselves to a godly life.

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William R. Baker on the Christology and Soteriology of the Epistle of James

Thanks Dr Baker for his kind permission the following articles are now available on-line in PDF:

William R. Baker, “Christology in the Epistle of James,” The Evangelical Quarterly 74.1 (Jan-Mar. 2002): 47-57.

William R. Baker, “Who’s your daddy? Gendered birth images in the soteriology of the Epistle of James (1:14-15, 18, 21),” The Evangelical Quarterly 79.3 (July-Sept 2007): 195-207.