Africa Study Bible

Africa Study Bible

 

It is my great honor to have a copy of the Africa Study Bible to review; I am even more grateful that Tyndale provided it free of charge in exchange for an honest review. To serve side by side with Tyndale and Oasis International is a gift I would never have imagined. To see what God is doing through the Africa Study Bible is mind boggling.

 

Bible Information:

Tyndale tells us: The Africa Study Bible brings together 350 contributors from over 50 countries, providing a unique African perspective. It’s an all-in-one course in biblical content, theology, history, and culture, with special attention to the African context. Each feature 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.

There are over 1.3 million African immigrants in the US and an additional half million African born people living in the UK.

Translation The Africa Study Bible is available in the New Living Translation (NLT) and I cannot imagine a wiser choice. NLT almost feels like it was designed for those who have English as a secondary language. The word choices are simple yet accurate. Some feel like the English you find in the NLT detracts from the reverence due the Bible. I could not disagree more. Time after time, I see people have an “I get it now” reaction when they hear the Bible read in the NLT and to its detractors I say, “How can you not be moved to worship when someone finally understands the Bible.”

There are approximately 2000 languages/dialects on the African Continent giving our brothers over there a very unique and full flavored faith experience. English, however, has the potential to be a uniting language for Africa as there are slightly more than 500,000,000 English Speakers making it the second most spoken language in the world. NLT, with English so simple that a small child can be conversant, is the natural choice for a Bible for all of Africa.

 

Why Africa is Important to Christianity: In a sense, Christian History is African History. Christianity stems from the portion of the world where Africa and Asia intersect. According to Church History, Mark the Evangelist (the same Mark who penned the Gospel According to Mark) became the leader of the Church in Alexandria in 43 A.D. Further, In the first few centuries of our faith, African Christian leaders such as Origen, Lactantius, Augustine, Tertullian, Marius Victorinus, Pachomius, Didymus the Blind, Ticonius, Cyprian, Athanasius and Cyril led the church with responses to Gnosticism, Arianism, Montanism, Marcionism, Pelagianism and Manichaeism, and the idea of the University. It is legitimate to say that without the African Fathers, there would not be Christianity. So it is fitting to honor the land that so vibrantly defined and defended our faith with a Bible that speaks to its unique culture and ministry needs.

 

Helps Some of the helps are fairly standard for a study Bible and some are fairly unique.

Center-column References Scripture interprets Scripture and in the Africa Study Bible you get around 40,000 references. This is, without doubt, the most important of the helps as it will be used by virtually every user of the Bible to help you follow the message of Redemptive History

Introductions The Introductions include two unique sections that I absolutely love, Overview and Story and What this Book Teaches Us. It is entirely possible that many users of the Africa Study Bible will be first time Bible users and these 2 sections within the introduction provide both a “big-picture” understanding of Scripture and the main lessons that one should be able to take away from study.

Application Notes As the name suggests, application notes are bite sized examples of how to apply the Scripture to life in general and African life in particular.

Proverbs and Stories Proverbs and stories share the wisdom of the Elders and the Ancients and illustrate how these pearls of wisdom are drawn on Scriptural Truth.

Articles and Learn Notes Here, we find the materials that help us go deeper into our doctrine and theology.

Africa Touch Points These are notes that highlight Scripture References with a special connection to Africa, especially the African Church Fathers

 

Overall Impression When I first began using the Africa Study Bible, I was overcome with emotion. I had no idea how much influence Africa has had over Christianity and I was amazed at the wisdom I had found inside. Many of the proverbs felt like sitting at the feet of the Church Fathers and learning directly from them.

Endorsement

I would encourage every pastor that I know to buy two of the Africa Study Bible, keep one for their use and give the other to a pastor in Africa. I endorse this Bible with a 9.9 rating (I wish it had wide margins.)

Special Note: A number of this site’s readers are who I refer to as “the Faithful Brethren in Africa,” men and women who have touched my heart in ways they will not know this side of Heaven. To be permitted to serve these men and women is one of the greatest treasures that God has permitted me to enjoy. Now to have a tool like this, so I may better understand our Faithful Brethren, I really have no words adequate to express my gratitude and joy. My hope, and my prayer, for the Africa Study Bible and her publishing partners is this: “May the glories of Christ spread across Africa as the sun parts the sky and above all, may Christ be glorified in the reading.”

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