“If you have a book in our language (context), you have Christ in our culture.” So says Rahul, who works to equip the church throughout northern India, as part of a team led by Finny Philip, one of the contributors to the South Asia Bible Commentary (SABC).
Finny heads up a training institution in Udaipur which sends students to plant churches and help equip rural leaders in the region, and he also operates a publishing house for Christian books, including the SABC.
In Asia-Pacific, most leaders have little or no theological training and few if any Bible study books, but they do have a Bible. A commentary gives them a tool for understanding and preaching the Bible. Commentaries do not collect dust on the shelf, but equip leaders on the frontlines to teach the Bible carefully and contextually to believers, both new and mature.
The SABC is a creative one-volume whole-Bible commentary released in October 2015. It contains the collective insight of over 90 contributors (45 different authors providing commentary, and others offering pertinent, applicational articles in the context of the commentary) who either originate from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, or reside and minister in the region. Contributors are drawn from a wide range of denominational backgrounds, ensuring the book’s appeal to a broad South Asian audience – and globally. Issues examined through the lens of the Bible and South Asian culture include the caste system; violence against women; God among other gods; gurus and godmen; indigenous music; and worship, rituals and festivals.
For this pastor and his wife in the Rajasthan province of India – and for many leaders like them across Asia-Pacific – the SABC is an invaluable resource as they shepherd new believers with God’s Word. Pictured below is their congregation, many of whom walk miles to reach this humble building on a hill. Not pictured are the people gathered outside, listening to the message through a loud speaker.
Leaders in Pasifika find The African Bible Commentary (ABC) to be a very valuable resource. This is a one-volume commentary providing a contextual and readable guide to the entire Bible. It is written by 70 African scholars from both English and French-speaking countries. It is available in five languages, with two other translations close to completion. The peoples across Pasifika resonate with many of the cultural beliefs and practices of Africans. So church leaders in Pasifika have responded enthusiastically to the ABC, finding it useful as they seek to interpret and teach the Bible accurately and well. Included in the volume are articles on contextually important 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; witchcraft; and more.
Research (from Africa) shows for every commentary sent to a leader, a minimum of 10 – 12 other leaders use it, and 50 – 100 new believers benefit from the preaching of each of those leaders. Multiply this by more than 100,000 volumes already distributed and millions of lives are impacted!
Via the Christmas Commentary Challenge 2016 Kiwi Christians brought freedom and hope to at least 165 000 Christians and new believers across Asia-Pacific.
This partnership saw over 300 contextual commentaries gifted to pastors and leaders equipping them to lead others to know Christ more deeply and grow in God’s Word.
Thank you generous New Zealand!