Family Bible Commentary, Volume 4

The Family Bible Commentary by Rev. Dr. Adam Koontz - Ad Crucem

The first volume of Dr. Koontz' Family Bible Commentary dropped a few weeks back and I'd like to provide my review of the book. The book is print on demand but the production quality is exceptional. Sam Novak did an excellent job with the layout and making it feel like a classic text given the constraints of the print on demand media.

The commentary is based on the NKJV translation of the Bible. The book is published under a very liberal license (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivates 4.0 Interational) which allows for free sharing and utilization of the text in a non-commercial manner. While this doesn't maximize potential profitability this does allow pastors to freely incorporate material into their Bible studies and people to share the insights from Koontz without fears of a copyright claim. An excellent example of doing things for the good of the Gospel instead of personl gain.

This volume covers the Gospels and Acts. Each book of the Bible has its own chapter. Prior to the commentary there is a brief introduction explaining the importance of the Gospel and emphasizing the New Testament builds on the old Testament. 

"Without the Old Testament, the New Testament makes no sense."

Then follows a defense of the NKJV and the "weight of history's witness" against "the decisions of modern textual scholars." The ordering of the Gospels is considered, along with their distinct messages about Christ. Koontz then advises us to binge on the Gospels: "Take a good, long drink and see how good and wholesome the Lord's Word proves to be."

Each chapter starts with sections regarding the author, bis composition and purpose, an outline of themes in the book and a connection between the Old and New Testaments. After that is a running commentary chapter by chapter. spanning one to two pages per chapter. 

I have not read the book tip to tail, but I have binged the book of John, alternating between the commentary and the Bible chapter by chapter. Some of the things I found most interesting, so far:

First, the footnotes make regular appeals to the Lutheran Confessions. This is something I have not seen in popular lay commentaries and is a very welcome development. The Confessions are not an academic work left to pastors and professional theologians, they are what we believe, teach and confess and are more accessible than people realize, especially in compilations like the Readers Edition published by Concordia Publishing House.

Spot-checking a few texts: 

In his commentary on Matthew 28, Koontz points out that the Great Commission is used exclusively in the context of baptism in the Lutheran Confessions, and not as a source of 'missions' as it is most often used today. Matthew 17:5 is used by our forefathers to defend the necessity to proclaim the Gospel to all nations. (pg 65, 88)

"What is now most often derived from Mt 28:19-20 - the need and mandate to preach the gospel to the entire world - is derived confessionally more often from Mt 17:5 and from Mk 16:15. It is the power bishops are given, not to invent new laws for the church but to preach the gospel (AC XXVII-7) to the entire world (FC SD V-4) and everyone in it (FC SD XI-28)"

Koontz defends the so-called "long ending" of Mark 17 (pg 87) which I think is required of Lutherans as the Lutheran Confessions assume them to be.

Finally, in John 6 (pg 128), Koontz divides between two kinds of feasting in footnote 7: the spiritual feasting of Christ's flesh in John 6:57 which occurs both in preaching and in partaking in the Lords' Supper through faith, and the oral or sacramental feasting predicated on the Words of Institution.

If you haven't pre-ordered all five volumes, you are in luck - the soft-cover copies are cheaper than the hard cover pre-orders. Highly recommended!