One of the latest additions to the Asia Bible Commentary is this volume on the book of James. The series aims to give Asian voices a platform to explore God’s word, apply it to aspects of life in the Asian context and develop resources which will equip the church. Luke L. Cheung and Andrew B. Spurgeon have done this very well and deserve our thanks.
The commentary has a simple structure. Following an introduction which sets the scene there are 5 chapters which lead the reader through the letter. With a clear and concise style Cheung and Spurgeon open up the message of James in a way that not only applies to the Asian context but to the globalised world that we all inhabit.
It is no surprise that this is the case. James tackles issues of wealth and poverty, partiality and Christian maturity to name a few. This series may aim to apply God’s word to the Asian context, but there is much that believers in the Western church can learn from the observations made in this commentary.
Of particular note is the steady stream of discussion which weaves its way through the book concerning the Christian response to the poor. In a society which is increasingly polarised it is essential that the church of Jesus follows in the steps of her Lord concerning those on the periphery. Commenting on James 5:4, Cheung and Spurgeon say this; “The rich assumed that poor labourers were defenseless, and that no one would hear their cries or challenge the actions of the rich. But the apparently defenseless poor have a defender (p.96).”
There are many good illustrations and points of practical application throughout this commentary for anyone who is looking to lead a small group study or sermon series on the letter of James. It will be of particular benefit to those who are involved in inter-cultural churches, urban ministry or churches where there is a high volume of international students from the Asian context.
This book is available to purchase from Langham Publishing.
Martin Paterson, Cumbernauld Free Church & OMF International