It may seem strange to you to see us review a book written for Africans, but it might help if we remember that the Bible is not a book written by Westerners, nor was it written in a Western culture. For the first time, there is a one volume commentary written by non-Westerners for Africans. Over 70 African evangelical scholars worked for more than a decade to produce this much needed work.
Now, what does it have to do with us in the US? It has a lot more than you realize for us. When you read the Gospels, do you ever wonder why things are not “logically” and chronologically laid out for us? An understanding of non-Western culture teaches us that it is not time and chronology that is important; it is the event that is important. Also keep in mind that our church ‘s early history was focused in Africa in men like Athanasius and Augustine, who said, “After all, God is closer to the people when He speaks in their language.”
The ABC [African Bible Commentary] is not a critical academic, verse-by-verse commentary. Rather, it contains section-by-section exegesis and explanation of the whole Bible as seen through the eyes of African scholars who respect the integrity of the text and use African proverbs, metaphors and stories to make it speak to African believers in the villages and cities. The application is both bold and faithful. Thus the ABC does not speak of a Black Jesus. To do so would be a travesty of the Bible story and cheap scholarship. Instead, the ABC is true to the text and honest to its context both in Bible days and in our day (p. ix).
Included in appropriate places are seventy-nine articles dealing with subjects such as angels, demons and powers; family and community; female genital mutilation; AIDS; ancestor worship; syncretism; street children; the role of women in the church; and witchcraft.
As a missionary in Africa after having dealt with Christian books for many years in the US, I soon realized that books in Africa do not cost more than in the US; but they take a great deal more of a person’s income to buy them. Books for most Africans and African pastors cost so much more than their meager salaries allow. If there is any suggestion I would make, it would be for you and your church to consider purchasing this work and sending it to either missionaries in Africa or Africans you know there. You might also help support the work of PCA organizations that work directly with African leaders, like Educating Africans for Christ, based out of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Miss., or Equipping Pastors International founded by Jack Arnold, who died in the pulpit preaching about heaven. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn and to help others to learn God’s Word.