It’s said to be “God’s Word through African eyes”
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
SOUTH AFRICA (ANS – July 21, 2017) — The Africa Study Bible received “isibingelelo,” a Zulu word for welcome, throughout South Africa in launch events June 4-11, 2017.
“Benefitting from the best communication and transportation infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa, South African church leaders are better connected digitally but harder to gather together for meetings,” said a spokesperson for Oasis International, who along with Tyndale House Publishers, have produced the already well-received Bible.
“So, rather than a single launch event, our team focused on visiting denominational leaders and individual churches to create excitement about the Bible. We spent two weeks in different cities meeting with pastors and sharing in church services. Major Christian and national media outlets — including the South African Broadcasting Corporation with 19 radio stations and 5 television channels — interviewed us.
“Then,” the spokesperson added, “God gave us a special gift. At the last minute. we were invited to present the Africa Study Bible at the South African Council of Churches triennial meeting, which hosts church leaders from across the country! Hermy Damons, the launch chair and a leader in The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, presented the project and gave Bibles to over 100 denominational leaders.
“God provided a launch event for national church leaders even though we did not plan one! Pray with us that these leaders of millions of South African Christians will read the Africa Study Bible and be prompted by the Holy Spirit to use it in their own training and discipleship.”
Tyndale House Publishers, in partnership with Oasis International, initially released the Africa Study Bible (ASB) in March, 2017 in North America, and now it in Africa, the continent where I was born. Oasis International is a ministry devoted to fostering robust and sustainable Christian publishing across Africa.
The Africa Study Bible brings together over 350 contributors from 50 countries with the goal of providing a unique African perspective — God’s Word through African Eyes. Since nearly every full evangelical study Bible is written from the viewpoint of the United States and the United Kingdom, Africans have lacked a resource that connects with their unique experience.
Kevin O’Brien, Study Bible Brand Manager at Tyndale said at the time of US release, “This has hindered discipleship both for Africans and the global Church, which has been deprived of sound teaching from our African brothers and sisters.”
Each feature in the new Bible was planned by African leaders to help readers grow strong in Jesus Christ by providing understanding and instruction on how to live a good and righteous life:
* Over 2400 notes explain the Bible, inspire readers to apply truth to everyday life, teach Christian values and doctrine, and more.
* “Touchpoints” and “Proverbs and Stories” give African perspective on the Bible and also show parallels with African wisdom.
* A narrative timeline highlights God’s work in Africa.
According to Dr. Danny McCain from the University of Jos, Nigeria, “The Africa Study Bible is a project that has almost unprecedented ability to positively influence the body of Christ in Africa, perhaps more than any other single continental-wide project in the history of Christianity.”
According to Tyndale House, the Africa Study Bible is an important resource beyond Africa itself. There are over 1.3 million African immigrants in the US and an additional ½ million African-born people living in the UK. The Africa Study Bible is the perfect resource for churches and ministries working with African refugees, mission groups going to Africa, African-Americans looking for insight into both their faith and their heritage, and those who simply want to explore how people around the world understand the Bible from their unique context.
Jonathan Petersen, Manager of marketing for Bible Gateway, has interviewed Matthew Elliott, president of Oasis International, Ltd., (http://oasisint.net/ ) and project director for the Africa Study Bible, to learn more about this unique Bible.
When asked by Petersen what was the need that prompted the idea to create the Africa Study Bible, Matthew Elliott replied: “I’ve been working for Africa since 1995, when I was working on my PhD in New Testament in the UK. After 10 years, we really understood the need for Bibles and Bible study materials that Africans authentically connect with.
“We have many study Bibles, but these don’t meet the full needs of Africans to understand God’s Word. The notes are 95% written by North Americans and Europeans. They don’t apply the Bible’s truth in a way that fits Africa’s needs and culture. To build deeper faith, we realized Africans needed a study Bible built for their specific needs; that applies Scripture in their own context.”
When asked to describe the content of the new Bible, Elliott said: “The best way to say this in one word is ‘discipleship.’ The ASB’s content was built around a framework designed by African leaders in 2011. They spoke with a pastor’s heart, deciding the ASB would be about becoming a disciple of Jesus in the African context. The meaning of a Greek or Hebrew word is the same around the world, but the application to everyday life can be very different. That’s why the 2,200 features have been written by more than 300 Africans.
“These include 1,500 African proverbs and culturally-relevant application notes. There are also over 50 articles on Christian living, 70 learn notes on important Christian theology, and touch points — where African culture helps a reader understand the culture of the Bible. Connecting the truth of Scripture to life in Africa is what the project is all about. The Africa Study Bible is God’s Word through African eyes!”
Matthew Elliott was then asked why the Bible was using the New Living Translation as its text? He replied: “We owe a great debt to Tyndale House and the Tyndale House Foundation, who literally birthed this project with us. We believe part of the power of the ASB will be due to people understanding the Bible in a fresh way. They’ll read in the clear and contemporary English used by the NLT. This is especially important for people who read English as a second language. The reading level of the NLT is at sixth-grade, and we’re making sure that our other editorial elements are also very readable.”
Elliott revealed that it will also be available in digital format, especially since mobile devices are prevalent throughout Africa.
For more information, please go to https://www.tyndale.com/p/africa-study-bible-nlt/9781496424716
To buy a copy of the study Bible for an African pastor, please go to: https://www.tyndale.com/stories/africa-study-bible-pastor-project
To watch a short video about the Bible, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKv64uZXk_A
Photo captions: 1) Cover of the Africa Study Bible. 2) Hermy Damons presents a copy of the Africa Study Bible to an attendee. 3) Copies of the new study Bible being handed out. 4) Matthew Elliott. 5) Dan Wooding at the microphone during his “Front Page Radio” show at KWVE Radio in Southern California.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has two US-based TV programs –- “Windows on the World” (with Garry Ansdell) and “Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding” — which are both broadcast on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv/), and also a weekly radio show called “Front Page Radio” on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com).
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