by Tokunboh Adeyemo. editor
Five years in the making, involving sixty-nine African biblical scholars, the first one-volume Bible commentary written by Africans in Africa for African churches has been published.
WordAlive Publishers, P.O. Box 4547 GPO-00100, Nairobi, Kenya, 2006, 1585 pages, $25.99. (Also distributed by Zondervan Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan)
—Reviewed by Geoffrey Hart, missions pastor, Portland, Oregon; faculty, North Portland Bible College.
Five years in the making, involving sixty-nine African biblical scholars, the first one-volume Bible commentary written by Africans in Africa for African churches has been published. This monumental project was overseen by Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo, executive director of the Centre for Biblical Transformation and former general secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (twenty-two years) and a team of editors composed of some of the most notable names in African evangelicalism such as Samuel Ngewa, Kwame Bediako and Yusufu Turaki.
The intended readers of this book are African pastors, students and lay leaders with the hope they will be instrumental in establishing and nurturing a vibrant Church in the continent. As Adeyemo writes in the introduction, the Africa Bible Commentary is not so much a “critical, academic, verse-by-verse commentary” as it is a “section-by-section exegesis and explanation.” The theological editors and advisors wrestled with trying to find the right balance between solid scholarship, size limitation and retaining a unique African voice. To this end they were successful as some authors will sound too African to some readers and not African enough to others. The commentary manages to display the variety that is the evangelical Church in Africa. The “African” voice can be heard in Ngewa’s comments on John 21:21-22:
Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question…, reminds us that our life plans are in the Lord’s hands. What matters is not whether we are martyred for Christ or keep serving Christ into old age. What matters is the Lord’s will. As the Akamba say, “tinda na ukome yumanaa na ula uthokewe” [“it is up to the host to decide whether the visitor leaves or stays overnight”]. To be like Peter is honorable, and to be like the beloved disciple is desirable, but to be in the Lord’s will is profitable. (p.1296)
Another unique aspect of the Africa Bible Commentary is its seventy articles on issues of importance to Africa Christians. These range in subject from “Christians in Politics” and “Street Children” to “Widow Inheritance” and “Wealth and Poverty.” The well informed and relevant voices behind these articles not only speak to correct unbiblical practices in the Church, but they inform and educate those desiring to learn about African culture.
African Christians have a new resource for understanding the scriptures, one that not only honors their culture’s contribution to Christianity but brings a fresh perspective on the Bible to the global Church.
Copyright © 2007 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.