Seeing God’s World Through African Eyes

With more than 100 English translations of the Bible, many Westerners do not need to look far to find a Bible in their own language that connects to their cultural experience. However, this is far from the case worldwide, and it’s something that Oasis International is hoping to change with their recent publication of the Africa Study Bible. Bringing together more than 350 contributors—all of them native Africans, including Gordon’s very own Dr. Dan Darko (biblical studies and Christian ministries)—the Africa Study Bible is designed to offer a translation and commentary of God’s Word that specifically relates to African cultures and values.

Four years ago, Oasis International invited Darko to join the project. He was tasked with writing the introductions for Ephesians and Colossians and providing, among others, a substantial essay about witchcraft titled “Deliverance from Spiritual Powers.”

Darko’s essay is intended to reassure his fellow Africans—who make up the second largest population of Christians in the world—that they do not “have to be afraid of all these demonic strongholds because Christ has defeated them and Christ has won that victory on our behalf,” he says.

To make the Africa Study Bible available to those who would not otherwise have access to it, Darko contacted various publishing outlets and churches to raise money that would enable him to send copies to churches and pastors in Africa. He received a sizable donation from Calvary Christian Church in nearby Lynnfield, MA, and worked with Paul Mouw, his colleague at Oasis International, to secure a grant for distributing Bibles to African pastors.

Darko was then able to purchase almost 500 copies of the Africa Study Bible, which he gave to attendees at a pastors’ conference in Ghana this past summer. Paul Mouw—father-in-law of Gordon’s Women’s Basketball coach Carter Shaw—is currently working with Darko to distribute another 200 copies of the Africa Study Bible in Ghana next month at a leadership conference at Calvary Baptist Church in Accra, where President Michael Lindsay will be one of the guest speakers.

In the months since his visit, Darko has heard from Ghanaian pastors about how this Bible is changing their experience with Scripture. “This is the first time they have ever seen the biblical text through the lenses of their culture and that purposefully speaks to Africans and their history,” he says.

The Africa Study Bible is now available for purchase and can also be downloaded as a free mobile app.

By Billy Jepma ’18, English language and literaturecommunication arts