The first edition of the Africa Bible Commentary was published in 2006, providing the spark that ignited all the other one-volume commentaries that Langham Literature has supported (South Asia and Slavic have been published, Latin American, Arabic, Central and Eastern Europe are in the pipeline).
The commentary has been hugely influential, and more than 200,000 copies have been sold in more than six languages, with two more translations in the works.
Nevertheless, there has also been constructive criticism over the years.
More detail needed
For example, although it was not designed to be used as a textbook, it has increasingly been used as such in colleges across Africa. This has led to requests for more detailed introductions to each book.
Also, many people have asked for articles addressing contemporary topics such as social media, which were still in their infancy in the years the original commentary was being developed. Some of the articles are not contextually applicable to African culture, and there have been changes in political situations.
Time for change
Clearly, the time has come for a second edition, overseen by a younger group of African scholars. That team is now reviewing all the existing commentaries and articles to assess whether they should be retained as is, revised, or completely rewritten.
All the authors will also be offered an opportunity to update their earlier commentary based on their greater understanding of the requirements of contextualisation, and new insights they may have into the text. The whole project is expected to take at least three years.
Professor Elizabeth (Liz) Mburu, Langham Literature’s Regional Coordinator for Africa (pictured right) will be the coordinator for these revisions. She will also fulfil the role as the New Testament editor for the project.
The seeds of editor training take time to mature, but eventually they do bear fruit. Paul Karaimu, a Kenyan whose training Langham Literature sponsored in 2007, is now preparing the files for the second edition of the Africa Bible Commentary.
Meanwhile Dahlia Fraser, the Jamaican editor trained in 2016, has been appointed as copy editor for this project. So Langham Literature’s investment in training has produced two sound Majority World editors who can work on this commentary.
Please pray for all the people involved in this important Langham Literature project.
These are the members of the editorial board, who will be working on revising the Africa Bible Commentary (left to right): Langham Literature Senior Editor Isobel Stevenson, Langham-trained editor Dahlia Fraser, Dr Kitoko Nsiku, Dr Aiah Foday-Khabenje, Langham Scholar Dr Yacouba Sanon, Langham Literature’s Regional Coordinator for Africa Prof Elizabeth Mburu, Dr Solomon Andria.