About Me

About Me

My cousin and I (on the right) on Easter Sunday 2021

Hi friends! My name is Andrew Koetsier and this is a site intended to share writings and conversations on topics ranging from academic Biblical studies (my primary educational background), missions, faith and culture, faith and work, and following Jesus in this broken world.

“I have made myself a servant to all…To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

-The Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 9:19; 22-23)

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Biblical Studies

Book Contributions

In the last several years, I have had the opportunity to be involved in contributing toward some published books. I am thankful to each of the authors for the blessing of being involved in their writing projects in various ways. Here is an overview so far:

THE JESUS OF THE GOSPELS (Andreas Köstenberger)

The Jesus of the Gospels
(Kregel Academic)

From the book description:

A reader-friendly guide to the life and teachings of the Jesus of the Gospels

The Jesus of the Gospels brings together the best elements of a survey of the Gospels and a commentary on the Gospels to help readers know Jesus and understand the good news. Drawing on decades of experience teaching and writing on the Gospels, Andreas Köstenberger presents a holistic portrait of Jesus by leading readers through an in-depth study of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Each chapter explores one gospel account, beginning with a short introduction that highlights the gospel’s individual distinctives, followed by an outline of the book. Köstenberger breaks each gospel into short sections, explaining the meaning and how it sheds light on Jesus and His mission. Numerous sidebars, maps, and diagrams highlight supplemental information, and regular “Recap” sections summarize key points. For those interested in further study, footnotes point to useful resources. In addition to helping readers follow the storyline and theology of each gospel, Köstenberger also emphasizes practical application, showing readers how to apply what they’re learning to their lives.

Ideal for those who are new to the study of the Gospels, and for instructors looking for an accessible introduction based on solid scholarship, The Jesus of the Gospels offers readers and students to the riches of the Gospels and a deeper knowledge of Jesus and the good news.

My contribution: at the time of writing, I was serving as Dr. Köstenberger’s research assistant. He included me in his working through the scope and layout of the book and I wrote the first draft for the chapter on the Gospel of Matthew.

You can find the book at: and through other major distributors like Amazon.


Planting Missional Churches (B&H Academic)

From the book description:

Planting a church is one of the most exciting adventures you’ll ever embark on. It’s also one of the hardest. It requires initiative, leadership, strategy, systems, and a lot of prayer. In this second edition of Planting Missional Churches, not only will you find a completely redesigned book with new content in every single chapter, but you will also find several new chapters on topics such as church multiplication, residencies, multi-ethnic ministry, multisite, denominations and networks, and spiritual leadership. So if you’re planting a church, be prepared. Use this book as a guide to build the needed ministry areas so that you can multiply over and over again.

My contribution: This is the second edition of this helpful resource for church planters. I worked with the authors (Daniel Im & Ed Stetzer) to rewrite and update six chapters.

You can find the book at: and through other major distributors like Amazon.


Matthew EGGNT
(B&H Academic)

From the book description:

The Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (EGGNT) closes the gap between the Greek text and the available lexical and grammatical tools, providing all the necessary information for greater understanding of the text. The series makes interpreting any given New Testament book easier, especially for those who are hard pressed for time but want to preach or teach with accuracy and authority.

Each volume begins with a brief introduction to the particular New Testament book, a basic outline, and a list of recommended commentaries. The body is devoted to paragraph-by-paragraph exegesis of the Greek text and includes homiletical helps and suggestions for further study. A comprehensive exegetical outline of the New Testament book completes each EGGNT volume.

My contribution: Dr. Quarles included many of his PhD students (including me) in the proofreading and editing his commentary on the Greek text as part of a doctoral seminar. My contribution to this was very limited, but I wanted to be sure to recommend Dr. Quarles’ work to any Greek students looking to dig deeper into the Gospel of Matthew.

You can find the book at: and through other major distributors like Amazon.

Faith and Work

Faith at Work Summit 2018

In 2018, I had the opportunity to serve as the Communications Director for the Faith at Work Summit 2018 in Chicago, IL. In the leadup to the Summit, I had the opportunity to interview and highlight the work of many of the contributors to the conference. You can find the articles I wrote on the Green Room Blog at

  • Chuck Proudfit (At Work on Purpose) and Citywide Marketplace Ministry
  • Lisa Slayton (then Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation) on the Growth in Collaboration and Need for Diversity in the Faith and Work Movement
  • Randy Pope (City Attorney- Hattiesburg, MS) and Serving God in Law & Government Service
  • Brian Fikkert (Chalmers Center) and Reimagining Work
  • DeLano Sheffield (Made to Flourish Kansas City Network Co-Leader) on Shepherding as a Worker
  • Tracy Mathews (The Call to Work) on Neurobiology, Discipleship, and Our Work
  • Helen Kim (then Korean American Community Foundation in New York City) on Integrating Theology of Work into a Child’s Worldview
  • Will Messenger (Theology of Work Project)
  • Al Erisman (Seattle Pacific University, The Boeing Company)

Videos of the main sessions of the Faith at Work Summit 2018 can be found at:

Faith and Work

Equipping Your Children to Integrate Faith and Work: A Review of ‘God’s Story of Work for Kids’

This article was originally published at the intersect Project on February 13, 2017 (link below)

“Daddy, you go work today?” “You have meeting today, Daddy?”

My son is just two and a half, but we have little conversations about everything, including my work. Each of our three kids are under five years old. At this point their vision of “work” is a primarily a place where Daddy goes for much of the day — not with them. Saturdays and Sundays stand out for them, because they are days that Daddy stays home…YAY!

As our kids grow older, we are having conversations about Scripture, about what God has done for us in Jesus and what it means to follow Jesus in all areas of life, including the area of work. So far, my conversations about faith and work with my kids have been limited, but already I sense the need to educate and equip them with a God-centered view of work.

How can I help my kids understand that work is actually a God-given gift and an area of life centrally important to Him? How do I help them think through the impact of the Lordship of Christ over the vocations they may one day choose and how they go about those vocations? How can I teach them that even their work around the house doing daily chores or at school can be an act of worship to God?

In God’s Story of Work for Kids, Dr. Helen C. Kim has developed a currently free curriculum that addresses many of these questions and provides fuel for a learning conversation between children’s ministry leaders, kids and their parents. Through the course of twelve lessons, Kim aims to help kids learn God’s perspective on work in a biblically and theologically grounded way. For the rest of this review, I aim to give a brief overview of the content and format of the curriculum followed by two reflections.Give kids the proper framework for understanding that their work is valuable to God.Click to tweet

God’s Story of Work for Kids: An Overview

God's Story of Work for Kids

The first three lessons serve to develop a basic, overarching theology of work from the beginning chapters of Genesis. Lesson one, “God is a Worker!,” emphasizes that we first encounter God (in Scripture) at work, bringing the world into existence. Work is a key part of God’s original design and as such is marked by great dignity. The next lesson unpacks the idea that God has created us in His image and invites us to worship him by partnering in his work. God has created us to work with and for him. Lesson three introduces the reality of the fall and its impact upon God’s creation and work while underlining the truth that ever since the fall, God has been at work, bringing restoration to a broken creation. He calls us as his children to cultivate his good creation and be agents of his restoration.

Lessons four through six unpack the idea that God has created each person with unique gifts to be used at work in the world for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors. Lessons seven and eight focus on how to go about any work in a God-honoring and God-dependent way. Lesson seven explores what it means to work with the three ingredients of faith, hope and love. Lesson eight brings home the point that all of our work is done as stewards to God.

The final lessons of the curriculum aim to help kids recognize that their work on every day of the week, from Monday to Sunday, matters to God. Through our work, we fulfill Jesus’ call to be “salt” and “light” in the world, and it is through our growing relationship with God that our light shines brighter in and through our work in the world. Finally, it is the work we do for God that will bring lasting reward.

Each lesson in the curriculum includes a large group lesson, small group activities, power point slides to help kids visualize the lesson and a parent’s take-home sheet. A minor critique is that the curriculum lacks a contents page that would serve to give the teacher a snap shot of the curriculum as a whole and allow the reader to quickly find lessons of particular interest.

As a parent, I am thankful for the intentionality of the take-home sheets that serve to both bring the parent up to speed on the week’s lesson and give a suggested workout designed to bring the learning experience home. While the curriculum is designed to be used in the context of a church-based children’s ministry, any parent could employ the activities and exercises at home. Kim has drawn upon her twelve years working with kids to create a curriculum that makes theologically rich content accessible to them in creative and experiential ways.

God’s Story of Work for Kids: Two Reflections

First, God’s Story of Work has significant value in that it provides kids with a theological foundation for understanding the God-given value of ALL work and ALL vocations, from pastor to plumber. A core truth underlined in several lessons is that God has created us in His image, to work as He does in our world.

In children and youth ministries, we often champion pastors, preachers and missionaries as “heroes of the faith,” while talking little about the kingdom value and impact Christians working in the “secular” world have. Though not necessarily the church’s intention, this functionally serves to perpetuate the false divide between the “sacred” and the “secular” in our children’s minds. Working through this curriculum can build a foundation and context where the work of the Christian baker, businesswoman and builder can be championed as equally valuable to God and useful for the furthering of God’s work in the world.

Second, God’s Story of Work helpfully places a theology of human work within the broader story of the Scriptures. Here is a theology of work that flows out from God’s creating, sustaining, redeeming and restoring work in the world. While children will be developing an understanding of human work from God’s perspective, they will also be reminded of the work God has done and is doing in the world. At the core, Kim develops a God-centered theology of work for kids. Such a theology gives kids the proper framework for understanding that their work is valuable to God and given to them by God. Plus, they will see that work is an area of life in which they can worship Him.

In the end, God’s Story of Work for Kids is a gift to the church and Christian parents everywhere. To my knowledge, no other extensive curriculum on a theology of work for kids currently exists (though I hope more will be developed). Already, my kids are learning much about work as they observe me go to work nearly every day, talk about my work and even perceive my attitudes toward my work (gulp!). As they get older, I look forward to utilizing the creative lessons and resources included in this curriculum to begin more conversations on work with them. Through these conversations, I pray that they might gain a bigger picture of God and His amazing work in the world and grow in wonder that He would call us to actively partner with Him through our work.

The original article can be found at:

Faith and Culture

Will Religious Freedom Be Upheld?

Originally published with the ERLC on July 28, 2016 (link to original publication below)

Christians in America today face growing challenges to their first amendment rights to religious freedom. A troubling example is found in the recent refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the religious liberty claim of the Storman family from Olympia, WA. The Storman family, owners of Ralph’s Thriftway, a small, family-run grocery store and pharmacy have objected to dispensing contraceptives like Plan B that inhibit the uterine implantation of a fertilized egg.

Based on their belief that human life begins at conception, they deem the use of such contraceptives as tantamount to abortion and have declined to stock them in their pharmacy. Instead, they have made it their practice to refer customers to other drug stores (of which there are over 30 within a five-mile area) where they can readily obtain them. According to the regulations passed into law in 2007 by the Washington State Pharmacy Board, the Stormans’ principled stand is insufficient grounds for refusal. The regulations mandate that no pharmacist may “refuse to deliver a drug or device to a patient because its owner objects to delivery on religious, moral, or other personal grounds.” Their long legal battle appears to have ended with the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling that the State Pharmacy Board’s regulations should be upheld. The ultimate decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the case allows the 2007 regulations to stand and, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Alito, it is “an ominous sign” for the future of religious freedom in America.

In his critical dissent to the decision, Alito wrote, “There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for–or that they actually serve–any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with the prevailing opinion in the State.” In essence, the Stormans have been faced with the decision: sell contraceptives that violate their religious convictions about the definition and sanctity of human life or get out of the pharmacy business.

This case is indicative of a growing trend of judicial decisions on local, state, and national levels that point to the uncertainty of religious freedom in America in the future. In light of this disturbing trend, I humbly offer first, a note of perspective, and second, a call to gracious but firm Christian political engagement in defense of our religious freedom.

For the note of perspective, I must share a piece of my biography. During much of my teenage years, I lived in post-Soviet Russia. While we were in country, a 1997 law (much like the one passed into law by Vladimir Putin last month) put into place regulations that no new church or religious organization could legally function unless it had been registered for at least 15 years. Effectively, this law rendered invalid any new churches or religious organizations that had been formed since before the Soviet era (1920s) since any freedom of worship had only been returned in Russia in 1990. The law was pushed through at the impetus of the Russian Orthodox church which sought to safeguard its privileged position as the new “state religion” of Russia. Since Soviet days, Russia has shifted from a political state with no religious freedom to a state where limited religious freedom is granted to specific and highly regulated groups.

In Russia, the laws of the land severely limit the freedom of its people to worship and exercise their religious convictions. Christians in Russia are closer in social location to those living in the first-century under the governmental authority of a political state (Rome) disinclined to protect their freedom to worship. Politically, they are left with limited recourse. Most honor the governing authorities placed, ultimately by God, above them and prayerfully trust his sovereign hand over the results of their efforts to live and act in ways pleasing to Christ (Rom. 13:1-17; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).

While we live according to the same biblical principles in our submission to government authority, Christian Americans live in a different social and political location. As Richard Mouw argues, “In modern democracies, the power of national leaders is derived from the populace, which is the primary locus of God-given authority. Built into the very process is the possibility of review, debate, reexamination, election, and defeat. Given such a framework, for Christians simply to acquiesce in a present policy is to fail to respect the governing authorities.” We as American Christians actually honor our nation’s leaders when we take up the active defense of religious freedom not only for ourselves, but ultimately for “the peace and prosperity of our city” (Jer. 29:7).

Cases like the Stormans’ indicate that our legislative and judiciary system is divided on the issue of religious freedom. Will religious freedom in America will be upheld for future generations? In a very tangible way, progressivism is calling for these laws to be redefined in service of a new “state religion.” Unlike Russia, the laws of our land currently favor religious freedom, but like Russia (and ultimately all nations), the enforcement and interpretation of those laws vary. The ultimate consensus has not yet been achieved.

In light of this reality, we must engage in the defense of religious liberty in the public square or be resigned to the consequences of our passivity. We must consider carefully the current danger to our religious freedom and utilize the political means available to us to voice our dissent. At present, religious freedom for all is upheld as a constitutional right. But if we do not act, we may soon find ourselves in a state where the doors of religious freedom are closed to anyone who does not acquiesce to the beliefs of the prevailing elite.

Original publication:

Biblical Studies

True Knowledge Leads to Godly Living: In Pursuit of a NT Theology of Godliness

This paper was originally published in Inservimus in 2016 (link to full journal below)

The concept of “godliness” in the New Testament has been a subject of considerable debate. Much of this debate centers upon the nature of the conceptual background and usage of εὐσέβεια, a virtue commonly valued in the Greco-Roman world.1 The term appears prominently in several late writings of the NT (the Pastoral Epistles and 2 Peter) but is
nearly non-existent in the early writings of the NT. When the problem of εὐσέβεια and related Greco-Roman virtues is applied to the Pauline corpus, its prominence in the later Pastoral Epistles has been noted as a perceived shift of thought in the NT based ultimately on a transformed eschatological outlook.2 Together with other arguments, it is used as a considerable plank in support of a non-Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles.3

Much of this trend in critical scholarship can be traced back to the work of Martin Dibelius and Hans Conzelmann who in their critical commentary on the Pastoral Epistles proposed the term christliche Bürgerlichkeit to explain the goal of ethical instruction in the Pastoral Epistles.4 Towner notes: “By definition christliche Bürgerlichkeit, sometimes translated ‘Christian Good-Citizenship’ (Dibelius and Conzelmann; H. Koester), and sometimes ‘bourgeois Christianity’ (i.e. E. Kümmel and M. Hengel), refers to a concept of Christian existence in which the primary goal is to achieve peaceful coexistence with the various orders of the world.”5 The bulk of the foundation for this concept rests upon Dibelius and Conzelmann’s interpretation of εὐσέβεια and its complementary pairing σεμνότης as “clearly referring to that behavior which is well-pleasing to God and men” in 1 Tim 2:2.6 This interpretation of εὐσέβεια as a virtue at least equally oriented in its relationship to the world as its object as to God is then read into the usage of εὐσέβεια throughout the Pastorals. In the end, reading Dibelius and Conzelmann’s interpretation of εὐσέβεια in 1 Tim 2:2 into the other usages of εὐσέβεια insufficiently considers the varying contexts of many other occurrences in the Pastorals, something that will be displayed through the contextual analysis to come.

In line with the trailblazing work of Philip Towner in the monograph already cited and his more recent commentary on the Letters to Timothy and Titus,7 this paper will seek to develop a NT theology of godliness based upon both Greco-Roman and Jewish backgrounds of the term and a contextual interpretation of its usages as they occur in the NT texts.

Methodologically, this paper will first examine the Greco-Roman and Jewish backgrounds of εὐσέβεια. Though centrally focused on the term εὐσέβεια itself, attention at the outset will be given to other Greek terms in its semantic domain, followed by a brief overview of the proposed Greco-Roman and Jewish conceptual backgrounds for the term. We will then move to survey the usage of εὐσέβεια in the NT texts, focusing in three parts on its usage in Acts, the
Pastoral Epistles, and 2 Peter. The final section of the paper will then seek to do the work of synthesis in pulling together the contextual usages of εὐσέβεια across the NT canon together to develop a NT theology of “godliness.”

To read the full paper go to:

Biblical Studies

The Cost of Discipleship: Understanding One of Jesus’ Anti-Family Sayings in Context (Matthew 10:34-39)

Originally presented at ETS National Conference 2015 (Atlanta, GA)

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”1 These words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer point to the radical, cost-counting nature of ultimately following in the way of Jesus. This cost of discipleship is articulated with particular vividness by Jesus Himself in Matthew 10:34–39, near the conclusion of Jesus’ Missionary Discourse to His disciples. In this short passage, we find that following Jesus will lead to division in the family, taking up one’s cross, and even loss of life for those who like Peter, Andrew, James, and John respond to Jesus’ call to leave their nets and “follow Me.”2

Of particular interest for this paper in the context of this year’s conference theme, is the radical “anti–family” sayings of Jesus in this pericope. The general thesis I am proposing is this: Jesus’ words here present not a diminishment of loyalty to the family in the life of the follower of Jesus, but rather a reprioritization of that loyalty. Taken within their broader biblical-theological and social contexts, Jesus’ radical anti-family statements in Matthew 10:34-39 are best understood as presenting a new priority structure in the life of the disciple. In this priority structure, the previously ultimate kinship loyalty to the family is rendered secondary (and sometimes in conflict) to the ultimate loyalty of the follower to Jesus and his or her new kinship in the family of God.

To demonstrate this thesis, this paper will first, and primarily, perform an exegetical exposition of the passage at hand with special attention to its literary context in Matthew’s gospel and its broader biblical–theological context. This paper will propose that the literary context and the biblical-theological context (particularly Jesus’ use of Micah 7:6) present a reality in which families are now divided along the lines of their belief or rejection of the Messiah at His coming. This division is a prophetically fulfilled result of the climactic appearing of the Messiah, prophesied in Micah 7:6. Further, this division is a persistent, necessary conflict in the life of the disciple due to the relativization of loyalty to kinship family to the disciples’ new and greater loyalty to the family of their greater brother Jesus.

To flesh this reality out further, this paper will secondly place this passage within its social context by building upon the work of Joseph Hellerman in Jesus and the People of God (2013). As Hellerman has argued, Jesus’ anti-family sayings are best understood in light of the widespread ultimate loyalty to kinship family in the first-century Mediterranean world. Taken within these twin contexts (biblical–theological and social), Jesus presents the conflict of loyalties introduced by his coming and the ultimate commitments of all who would be His disciples.

1 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1959), 11.
2 Matthew 4:19.

To read on, download the PDF below.