A review of the Africa Bible Commentary -- By: Christopher L. Peppler
Conspectus 3:1 (March 2007) p. 112
A review of the Africa Bible Commentary
Adeyemo, Tokunboh (general editor) 2006. Africa Bible Commentary. Nairobi: Word Alive Publishers.
My qualifications for reviewing this commentary are two decades in full time pastoral church leadership and a decade of academic research and teaching. Right up front, however, let me describe the limitations of this review. Firstly, I have not read all 1,585 pages of this one-volume commentary on the whole Bible. Instead, I have focused on the first three chapters of Genesis, the first 15 chapters of Exodus, Malachi, John, Acts, First Corinthians, and Revelation. I have not read all of the 78 articles but I have attempted to follow key threads through them. The second limitation is my own cultural background and education. I was born in South Africa, have lived here my whole life and my ancestors go back to the 1820 settlers. However, my cultural upbringing was decidedly Western in orientation. My education too was heavily influenced by European thought patterns and traditions. The commentary I have been asked to review has been produced almost exclusively by black Africans whose roots go back not to the 1820 English settlers but to the migratory tribes of the African continent. Compared to them I lack understanding of many of the
Conspectus 3:1 (March 2007) p. 113
cultural nuances and heart attitudes implicit in much of the work I am reviewing.
In the vision statement it says, “The general aim of the commentary is to make the word of God speak relevantly to African realities today.” The African Bible Commentary (ABC) has certainly fulfilled this aspect of the vision. The various commentaries within the ABC include references to African traditions and cultural idiosyncrasies as well as aspects of modern application within the current African reality. In addition to this, the majority of the articles cover issues ranging from “Christian Education in Africa” to “HIV and AIDS” and “Initiation Rites”. I found most of the articles I read informative and I have no doubt that they will be of benefit to Christian pastors and teachers throughout Africa.
The quality and depth of the various commentaries differ fairly substantially. For instance, I found the commentary on the first fifteen chapters of Exodus excellent. The author’s comments are very informative. He uses several African sayings and makes many helpful applications of the text within the African context. He avoids liberationist themes as well as allegorical interpretations. The commentary on John’s Gospel is also very good. The treatment of 1 Corinthians...
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