By Gift Samuel & Daniels Nwokike
The Bible has come to be the most popular and bestselling book world wide with many versions and categories focussing on different aspects, customs and demographics such as the Youth Bibles, Study Bibles and Leadership Bibles amongst other inexhaustible categories but none of which captured the African context.
It is on this premise that some 350 Scholars, leaders, Pastors, and teachers from 50 countries across Africa came together to reveal the truth and beauty of God’s word through the African eyes in the Africa Study Bible (ASB) which was launched in Abuja on Thursday, to bring cultures in Africa to center stage from Africa’s wonderful and rich influence on the early church, to its story telling perspectives on the rhythms and patterns of each book of the Bible to relevant insight on living out Christian values in Africa.
The Africa Study Bible(ASB) which is modelled after the clear and accurate New Living Translation (NLT) has 58 long but scintillating articles, 66 book introductions, 298 Touch Points which shows where the culture of the Bible and that of Africa meets, 82 Learn Notes which explains the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, 569 African Proverbs and stories which parallels scripture, 1,262 Application notes and a Narrative Timeline which highlights God’s amazing work in Africa.
A former President of Nigeria, Gen. Dr. Yakubu Gowon who was the Keynote Speaker at the Africa Study Bible Launch and Dedication in Abuja, said that the ASB came into being due to the great need for Bibles that fits the African concept.
Gowon who was represented by a onetime Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana noted that the ASB will help for correct and effective application of God’s word, adding that Africa will not be the same again with the coming of the Bible.
While praying for God’s spirit to move Christians to study the Bible, he stressed that a revolution of the mind that will draw Africa and the rest of the world closer to God is about to happen. “The impact of the Africa Study Bible is to make the word of God relevant to our situations, the contributions by the people who have studied the word will give a deeper and more understanding of the Bible” he remarked.
Also, the Chairman, Nigerian Launch Committee, Pastor Prof. John Brown explained that the ASB is written to grow the faith of Christians in Africa, teach them to evangelise their communities and apply a Biblical worldview to their society.
He noted that the ASB is the first Protestant study Bible with notes written by Africans for Africans, adding that it is, “God’s word through African Eyes”.
Furthermore, a Member of the Nigerian Launch Committee, Rev.Prof. Danny McCain added that the Bible was not changed nor translated but the NLT was used as the foundation and a lot of Pastors and contributors of African decent put the Bible together using African stories and illustrations which deals with African issues, making the Bible become relevant to the people using it.
He stressed that the ASB is very clear and easy to understand and urged Nigerians to read, absorb and live out the clear,simple and straightforward principles found in it so as to treat each other with dignity and respect and as well live in harmony and peace.
The ASB couldn’t have come at a better time than this as more Christians reside in the African Continent than any other continent and it is expected that by the year 2050, nearly 40 per cent of the World’s Christian population will live in sub-Saharan Africa.