Translation Project for Africa Bible Commentary Begins

1 October 2007 |

Africa Bible Commentary
Since its launch in 2006, the Africa Bible Commentary (ABC) the first-ever one-volume commentary written by Africans, for Africans, has sold 65,000 copies (12,000 in the West and 53,000 in Africa). This project has been seven years in the making, with more than $1 million raised to make this project a reality. Tens of thousands of African Christians now have a comprehensive tool for serving the African church. And recently, the ABC has moved forward in translation.

The ABC Kiswahili project launched in August of this year, starting the process for translating the entire ABC into Kiswahili. Langham Partnership International is supporting WordAlive Publishers in Nairobi who is managing the work and plans to publish in mid-2009. Langham Literature also supported the intense, hands-on training of Paul Karaimu, a key editor with the project.

“The publication of the ABC was long overdue and that it has become a vital resource for pastors, in churches, homes and theological institutions,” said David Waweru of WordAlive, who is heading up the translation project. “We have seen a trend in which many institutions purchase the commentary for their graduating classes. Many copies have also been purchased by missionaries based in Africa hoping to understand the African point of view and perspectives in the interpretation of the biblical text and contemporary issues.”

Paul Karaimu, contributing editor/manager for the ABC Kiswahili project
Paul Karaimu is a contributing editor/manager for the ABC Kiswahili project.

David said that the encouragement and financial support by LPI has helped to define a definite timetable on the project and get the work started. Kiswahili is the most widely spoken language in Africa with an estimated 90 million speakers; it is also among the least resourced of the major languages. The ABC Kiswahili is a long-awaited drink of cold water for Kiswahili-speaking church, as it will utterly surpass all else available.

A translation team comprised of seven people at the Masters and Ph.D. levels from both Tanzania and Kenya have started the project, including Dr. Aloo Mojola, one of the most experienced Bible translation consultants in Africa. The translation will take 20 months with plans to print in between 10,000 and 15,0000 copies in June/July 2009. There are plans to launch the translation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in September 2009.

“The wide acclaim of the Africa Bible Commentary across the continent (and the world), the enthusiastic reception and acceptance by pastors, Bible students and Christians has given us greater boldness to have the ABC translated in Kiswahili,” said David.

David Waweru of Word Alive Publishers
David Waweru of Word Alive Publishers will head up the ABC Kiswahili project.

Several language translations are planned, including French, Portuguese, Amharic and Kiswahili, in order that most Africans can be served. LPI is partnering with Serving In Mission (SIM) to bring a Portuguese edition (which is requested also in Brazil) and an additional $50,000 investment is needed. The next opportunity for the ABC is the possible production of a Study Bible — distilling the whole ABC into notes, and setting them with the entire Scriptural text.

Read  some recent reviews of the ABC:
Redcliffe College (.pdf format)