‘Challenging us to live out the gospel in Latin America’

Did you know that Latin America is the most unequal continent on the planet? The gap between rich and poor is enormous. Latin Americans face daily challenges of injustice, poverty and lack of education.

The Church hasn’t escaped these challenges – many pastors have little or no access to good biblical resources, resulting in congregations being badly taught and poorly equipped to follow Christ. 

That’s why Langham helped to create the Latin American Bible Commentary (LABC). It’s a single-volume commentary on the whole bible, written by over 100 Latin American Scholars, to shine the light of Scripture on the cultural realities of the continent. The project took twelve years and was finally published in 2019. 

‘We weren’t really preaching what the Bible says’

Pastor Gerard Jugalde leads a church in Guacimo, Costa Rica, which is a poor, rural community. 

Pastor Gerard holding the Latin America Bible Commentary.
Pastor Gerard Jugalde [centre] says the Latin American Bible Commentary is a “treasure”.

“Most pastors have not studied in a seminary so they don’t preach exactly what the Bible says. Instead they preach from their experience”, Gerard says. 

“When we started, we lacked training and resources, so we weren’t really preaching what the Bible says either. I had never really studied the Bible in a systematic way and I didn’t really have books to help me. 

“A book like this commentary, for me is a treasure. After we started using it, our people kept coming to us saying ‘I had never heard the Bible that way or had it explained so clearly that I could understand it’.

“Thanks to Langham we have tools like these. Today, we as pastors are trying to impact our community.”

Enriches entire lives

Pastor Mauricio Solís Valle, senior leader of Vida Abundant Church in Costa Rica, is grateful for the LABC because the materials that pastors do manage to access are “so far from our reality”.

He reads the LABC every time he preaches, because it’s coming from his reality. Pastor Mauricio says the commentary enriches their entire lives. 

One commentary can multiply and impact many. 

Luís Calvo is a friend and mentor of Pastor Gerald. In his role as a Bible teacher at Vida Abundante Church, Luís travels to rural areas to train pastors who have “sixth grade school level” education.

Langham Graduate Ruth Padilla deBorst
Langham Graduate Ruth Padilla deBorst says the commentary looks at the Bible through “Latin American eyes”.

“They are getting their sermons from listening to the radio”, he said. 

“I will walk through the commentary with them and they will say ‘I am so happy that someone came and told me that there is something more to investigate. This book helps people tremendously.”

Seeing through ‘Latin American eyes’

The general editor of the LABC was René Padilla, who died last year aged 88. His daughter, Ruth Padilla deBorst, is a Langham Graduate and a noted theological and missiologist. She deeply values the support of Langham, as the LABC looks at the Bible through “Latin American eyes”, then invites readers to live out the gospel in all its fullness. 

“Langham’s had a part in that by sponsoring the writing, publication, distribution of this book so that it’s in the hands of local pastors and leaders. They can’t afford a huge library but this book has it all in one.

“I believe this commentary is a gift from God’s spirit, for God’s people in Latin America, to challenge us to live out the gospel in all areas of life”, Ruth explained.

Impact multiplied

Since 2006, Langham has helped develop 16 Bible commentary projects, including the recently published Portuguese translation of the Latin American Bible Commentary, multiplying the impact of this important resource. 

Thanks to the support of generous donors like you, Langham is currently developing an additional 19 Bible commentary projects. 

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