Today was full and exciting. The first order of business was a devotional by Dr. Tite Tiénou of Burkina Faso, who is the Committee Chairman. He spoke very movingly from Psalm 1, pointing out that if we truly meditate on the Word of God, it will permeate our lives, affecting everything we do.
Then, we spent time getting acquainted with one another. The group hails from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Chad, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and the USA. The diversity and unity of the body of Christ is wonderful!
Jeff Wright, the CEO of Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI) gave background on his company. UMI feels that their primary audience—the African-American church—will be very interested in this Bible.
I, then, shared the background story to the development of the New Living Translation—the English Bible text around which this Bible content will be created. This included discussion of the two main types of translation: formal equivalence (i.e. translations like the King James, Revised Standard, New American Standard, and English Standard) and dynamic equivalence, like the New Living Translation.
Next, we turned our attention to the vision statement for the project. If you'd been the proverbial fly on the wall, you would have been interested in the discussion about nearly every significant word in this statement. What do we mean by “African,” “scholars,” “understanding,” “church,” “around the world”? The answers seem obvious, but the nuances and connotations are myriad and important.
We discussed the project's goals and the variety of writers and editors, who should participate in this project. In all, the hope is to find 50-250 individuals who will help to write and edit the notes and articles. A key element in the process is soliciting questions from church members across Africa to ensure that the study Bible addresses real issues that people are facing, with emphasis on obtaining young reviewers to help evaluate the content and style of the notes.
The committee spent the remaining portion of the afternoon prioritizing topics for major articles (2-4 pages a piece) in the Bible. The issues that rose to the top as priority were the following (though they will undoubtedly be amended and expanded as the writing begins):
- Involvement by Christians in politics, democracy, government
- Ethics, integrity, and morality
- Sexuality and homosexuality
- Prejudice, discrimination, tribalism, racism, xenophobia
- Work ethic and time management
- Money and possessions; managing personal finances
- Marriage and family life
- Environment and creation care
We came to the end of the day energized by the process and the prospect of what lies ahead. We each made new friends, and I am now ready (at 9:45 GMT) to hit the sack!
Mark D. Taylor
Tyndale House Publishers, President
[Update received Monday evening, June 13.]