If you ever get invited to a wedding on a Friday night in Morocco, the invitation will say the ceremony starts “the evening of Saturday.” North Africans consider each day to begin the evening before nightfall—just the way Genesis describes each day of the world’s first week: “And there was evening, and there was morning. . . .”
This small connection between Scripture and one of Africa’s myriad cultures appears at the beginning of the Africa Study Bible (ASB), set to launch in February 2017. The first English-language study Bible written by African scholars for an African context, it’s also attracting Western readers.
Using the New Living Translation, the ASB includes explanations of unfamiliar words, African proverbs, and ways to apply Scripture to life in Africa.
“A lot of the analogies and cultural phrases in American study Bibles don’t relate fully to many of the issues a lot of Africans are going through—like civil war, polygamy, and the worship of idols,” said Natalie Cameron, spokesperson at Oasis International, which helped to develop the ASB. Conversely, some Bible stories resonate especially well, such as those of the Israelite tribes, given that many Africans are deeply connected to their own tribes.
Just as Westerners generally spend more time in the New Testament, African Christians can over-relate to the Old Testament, said Priscilla Adoyo, a lecturer at Africa International University who worked on the ASB.
“Sacrifices, blessings and curses, family and other relational practices, drought and famine are all familiar ground to the African,” she said. “Unfortunately, some have embraced the Old Testament teachings and picked and …