“But God’s Word is not chained.” (II Timothy 2:9)
Since learning about it last fall via an article published on Christianity Today, Jody and I have eagerly followed the development of and eventual launches of the Africa Study Bible. We were delighted to attend the North American launch celebration at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, Illinois) in early April, where we spent two days learning from and worshiping with some of the African scholars who contributed to the study Bible.
Selfie with John Jusu, Supervisory Editor of the Africa Study Bible, professor at African International University in Karen, Nairobi, Kenya, and friend of Bridgeworld College
Rafiki (my friend) Emmanuel Mukeshimana, a Rwandan currently doing PhD studies in Uganda, showing me his contribution to the study Bible. Jody and I enjoyed using our kidogo (little bit) of Swahili in conversation with Emmanuel.
Two story lines converged in the development of the Africa Study Bible. First, convinced that the New Living Translation (NLT) is the most accessible English translation of Scripture for those for whom English is a second, if not third or fourth, language, as it is for many Africans, Dr. Danny McCain, a professor at the University of Jos (Nigeria) contacted Tyndale House about producing a revision of the NLT specifically for Africa. Second, Oasis International, an important publisher and distributor of Christian books in Africa, wanted to produce a uniquely African study Bible. Tyndale House kindly permitted Oasis to use the NLT for their project and connected Oasis with those who produced the Life Application Study Bible, currently the best-selling study Bible in the world.
It was a perfect match: Oasis International could provide the network of over 300 African pastors and scholars who contributed to the study Bible, while Tyndale House could provide the technical expertise needed to produce a study Bible. Those who helped produced the Life Application Study Bible were thrilled. While the Life Application Study Bible has been translated into 30+ languages and is distributed around the world, that was never its authors’ and editors’ intention. Rather than translate their western-oriented notes, the authors and editors hoped that Christians in other cultural settings would produce their own culturally-relevant and appropriate articles and notes for the NLT, resulting in much more immediately applicable and pertinent to their settings, yet still faithfully orthodox, study Bibles. This is exactly the case for the Africa Study Bible – the world’s first study Bible with notes and articles written by Africans to apply God’s Word to African issues such as polygamy, witchcraft, and ancestor worship.
I was delighted to learn that the Africa Study Bible is being distributed in Nairobi. It would be an extremely practical, helpful, and meaningful thing if I could make a copy available to each student attending the block course I am teaching at Bridgeworld College in September.
Here’s where you come in:
The cost of the ASB is about $25 USD, and I estimate needing 40 copies. If you would like to personally help encourage and equip pastors and teachers in Kenya, please consider donating a Bible – or even several! You can send the funds directly to me, (use the “Drop Us a Note link above to request paypal info, or mail a check to me at home – 215 E. 12th St., Pella IA 50219) along with a short note to the student who will receive the Bible. I will ensure that both end up in the hands of someone who can and will use the Bible to further the gospel in Kenya and beyond. This tangible expression of love and hope from Christians around the world will be incredibly meaningful to believers in Africa. Thank you for helping to place God’s Word in the hands of God’s people. It is a gift with eternal value, beyond our comprehension, and full of the power of the Holy Spirit.
“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)