By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service, who was born in Africa
WHEATON, IL (ANS – February 8, 2017) – Tyndale House Publishers, in partnership with Oasis International, have announced plans to release the Africa Study Bible (ASB) in March, 2017 in North America. 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 states, “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., 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.
“Tecarta will release the Africa Study Bible App for the complete Bible,” he said. “It’ll be in both iOS and Android. If anyone would like a preview right now, the sample Gospel of John is already available for free! Search for ‘Africa Study Bible’ in either the App Store or the Play Store.”
To read the complete interview, please go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2016/04/the-africa-study-bible-an-interview-with-matthew-elliott/.
The African Study Bible (hardcover) is due to be published by Tyndale House on March 21, 2017. For more information, please go to https://www.tyndale.com/p/africa-study-bible-nlt/9781496424716.
Photo captions: 1) Front cover of the Bible. 2) Matthew Elliott. 3) Dan Wooding hosting his “Front Page Radio” show at KWVE.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning 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 53 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) and he hosts a weekly radio show and two TV shows all based in Southern California. He is also the author of some 45 books.
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