NAIROBI, Kenya More than 300 people attended the July 5 launch party of the Africa Bible Commentary, a five-year project involving more than 70 African theologians.
Participating in the commentary project was SIM or Serving in Mission, an interdenominational mission agency that sends workers from nine distinct sending offices to more than 40 field countries around the world.
"My prayer is that God will use this tremendous work to prosper His Kingdom on this continent and around the world," Malcolm McGregor, international director for SIM said in a news release.
"SIM feels privileged to have played a part in helping to bring into being this groundbreaking publication."
McGregor said the Bible project was a natural fit for its efforts to strengthen the African church.
"As an organization, SIM has a long history in Africa," he said. "We have been committed through the years to the cause of discipleship and theological education."
The first-ever, one-volume commentary was also sponsored by the Association of Evangelicals in Africawith significant financial support from Christians worldwide.
It gives a section-by-section interpretation that provides a contextual, readable, and useful guide to the entire Bible. In addition, there are 72 articles on pertinent issues facing Africa's churches, such as HIV/AIDS, angels/demons/powers, funeral and burial rites, widows and orphans, and persecution.
While the emphasis is on Africa, McGregor said he believes the commentary's scope is much wider.
"This publication is not only for Africa, it is also for others to read what this new voice of Christianity has to say at this unique time in world historya time when belief is at the center of even political dialogues," the director said.
With an initial print run of 46,000, most copies of the commentary will be distributed in Africa, while Zondervan plans to distribute the book in other English-speaking countries.
Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo, the former general Secretary of AEA, served as general editor of the commentary. He said that the commentary's writers, advisors, and editorsall African men and womenrepresent the broad sweep of the evangelical church across the continent of Africa.
"Producing the Africa Bible Commentary now is doing the right thing at the right time for the Christian Church in Africa," Adeyemo said in a news release.
The event included a keynote address by Daniel Arap Moi, the former president of the Republic of Kenya, who spoke on the growing role of Africa in the church worldwide and emphasized the continent's commitment to community.
The July launch coincided with the beginning of SIM's Pastor Book Set Conferences in Kenya, Zambia and Ethiopia, where thousands of copies of the commentary will be distributed to African pastors and church leaders.
The $1.2 million literature project needs just $35,000 to completely fund the English-language version. Next plans for the commentary include translation projects. A French edition is slated for release in 2007, with Amharic, Portuguese, and other languages to follow.