First African study Bible launched

05 June 2017 - 09:45 By TMG Digital
File photo.
File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/iStockphoto

Theologians from across the continent gathered in Sandton‚ Johannesburg‚ on Sunday to celebrate the launch of the first Africa Study Bible in Sandton.

This Bible is unique from all the editions published before as it comprises the New Living Translation of the Bible‚ plus more than 2‚600 features written by 350 contributors from 50 African countries. These features place special emphasis on the interpretation of scripture “through African eyes”.

“The idea was to publish a single-volume Bible resource by Africa for Africa that would be a lot closer to the lived experience of Africans than the literature traditionally coming from‚ say‚ the United States or Britain‚” said Dr Matthew Elliott‚ president of publishing company Oasis International‚ who is in the country to celebrate the launch with his South African colleagues.

“Africans from all over the continent were involved from inception to completion. In fact‚ South Africa was already represented at the first meeting in Ghana seven years ago. The result is a Bible that makes Scripture more relevant and applicable‚ and that reclaims the African roots of Christianity. To this end we have included unique content that highlight the role Africa has played in the Bible‚ and vice versa‚” said Elliott.

The Africa Study Bible contains more than 500 African proverbs and stories that illustrate Biblical principles‚ as well as “touchpoint” notes that celebrate the similarities between Biblical and African culture.

“Since the culture of the ancient Near East is in many respects closer to African culture than it is to Western culture‚ African people have a distinct advantage when it comes to understanding the social dynamics we read about in the Bible. Even so‚ our work in Africa since the mid-1990’s showed us that there was a definite need for discipleship resources written from an African perspective‚” said Elliott.

“We are very grateful for collaborators from all over the continent‚ who guided this project from the outset‚ and who ensured that the Africa Study Bible is an authentic manual for Christian living that deals with the realities of life in Africa‚ such as witchcraft and the need for ethical government.”

One of the Southern Africa contributors‚ Dr Elesinah Chauke‚ said that‚ to her‚ the project was an affirmation that the Bible was God’s message to all people‚ and that it was important that Africans would find themselves as they read and study the Bible.

The Africa Study Bible is distributed to the South African book trade by Christian Media Publishing‚ and is available to the public through CNA‚ other leading retailers‚ and online.