Africa Study Bible Review

The Africa Study Bible was designed to show God’s Word through African eyes. Well I’m not African, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this Bible. It’s an NLT produced by Tyndale, Oasis International Limited, and 10 other partners and includes work from 350 contributors to produce 2600 features to show Scripture from an African perspective. I’m reviewing ISBN: 9781496424716, printed in India.

Tyndale provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

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This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Barnes & Noble

Thrift Books

and many local Bible bookstores

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CONSTRUCTION AND MATERIALS

This is a hard cover edition. Instead of a dust jacket (I’m not fond of dust jackets) it includes a paper slip cover with sales information on the slip cover instead of on the hard cover itself. African colors are some of my favorites and I love the African colors in this cover. One glance describes this Bible perfectly. It’s section sewn. The overall size is 9.3 x 9.25 x 2″.

The paper is in the 28-30gsm range. It’s readable but not as opaque as I would like. It has around 2100 pages, so it makes sense to use paper this thin. It’s white in color and doesn’t have glare under direct light (any blue you see in these photos is our lighting). Certain features use a gray background. Even though the paper is thin it has a rough texture that I found made it easy to turn pages with one hand.

TYPOGRAPHY

The NLT text is presented in its standard double column paragraph format. Section headings are in bold. The header places the book name, chapter, and verse in the outer margin and the page number in the center. References are in the center column. Footnotes are placed under the text and span the entire page. Notes are located at the bottom of the page and short articles are placed within the text.

The sales material says it’s a 10 point font, but it reads more like an 8 point to my eye. It’s black letter and about a medium darkness and is consistent throughout. It has around 40 characters per line with around 7-9 words per line.

BOOK INTRODUCTIONS

Book introductions include information about the author, date, purpose, overview of the book, it’s main teachings, and a detailed outline that provides references. They take a couple of pages. They’re well-written and include lots of good information about the setting. They’re printed over a gray background and stand apart from the biblical text.

STUDY MATERIAL

Notes were written from 350 contributors from 50 countries and went through rigorous quality reviews to ensure they speak with one voice. The notes include symbols. There’s a chart in the front that explains what the symbols mean, but they basically identify the type of note. The notes do include a lot of theology but also allow for differences in opinion- which is something I can appreciate. As always I recommend you do your own study, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, and using the notes for reference.

Articles – there are lots of articles placed throughout the Bible. They usually take a few pages. There’s an index that shows the articles and learn notes in the front that gives the title, reference, and page number. Articles are identified in the index. The articles cover major theological doctrines as well as topics such as time management and preaching. They are well-written and give Scripture references for further study and end with points to remember (which creates a nice summary). They’re printed over a gray background so they stand apart from the biblical text.

Learn Notes – are more in-depth notes on the text and are written more like an article on a specific topic. They’re placed at the bottom of the page. I found them interesting. For example, the learn note on Creation talks about different creation stories throughout Africa and then compares points from the stories with Scripture. This article further discusses that science and the Bible are not actually in conflict and provides quotes from leading scientists and discusses how African thought fits into to topic.

African Touch Points – these have a devotional quality. They focus on African thoughts about a passage or point out African culture or people. They’re placed as small articles within the text but use a different font so they don’t blend with the text.

Application – Rather than verse-by-verse commentary (which can never be complete in a study Bible), it has a short article that covers a passage, usually discussing a theological point.

Proverbs and Stories – these are African proverbs or stories that reflect on the lessons taught in Scripture. They’re placed within the notes area. They work as examples. Sometimes they disagree with the text, but they show that people can be wrong and God’s Word is right.

Maps – are placed throughout the text and include Scripture references and descriptions. As expected they correspond to the surrounding text. These are great for helping you to visualize how the locations relate to each other.

Charts – there are several charts throughout the Bible placed within the notes. They include things such as the days of Creation, decedents of Noah, themes within a book (such as Proverbs), encounters with Jesus, chronology, world empires, etc. These are excellent for study and even using for teaching.

REFERENCES

References are placed in the center column and are listed under the chapter and verse, which is in bold. The chapter and verse numbers are centered and gives the center column a clean look. You can’t tell at a glance which column the reference is for, but at the same time it makes the verses easier to scan.

Here are some example references to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 – Psalms 89:11, 102:25; Isaiah 42:5, 48:13; John 1:1-2
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:29-30; Luke 10:27; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Deuteronomy 10:17; Nehemiah 9:32; Isaiah 7:14, 26:3,12; Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:25
  • Matthew 17:20 – Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6; 1 Corinthians 13:2
  • Mark 11:23 – N/A
  • Mark 12:29 – Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Joshua 22:5; Luke 10:27;
  • John 1:1 – Genesis 1:1; Philemon 2:6; 1 John 1:1, 5:20
  • John 2:19 – Matthew 26:61, 27:40; Mark 14:58; Acts 6:14
  • Acts 2:38 – Mark 16:16; Acts 3:19, 8:12, 22:16
  • 1 John 1:1 – John 1:1,4,14; 1 John 4:14

ARTWORK

I am a major fan of artwork and I love African art and colors. The artwork in this edition is more similar to Bible journaling. In the front are the presentation and family pages printed on thick glossy paper. Along with them are several pages that include a journaled verse with African colors and fonts. The backgrounds are painted with bold colors.

RESOURCES FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING

There are quite a few pages in the back with study material. It includes the standards, such as concordance and maps, but also includes some articles and timelines. Here’s a closer look.

ARTICLES AND TIMELINES

The first section contains a couple of articles and several pages of detailed timelines about the history of Christianity in Africa. It includes patriarchs, kings, the New Testament, Christianity in North Africa, Ethiopia, and Nubia, Christian kings of Africa, evangelicals, missionaries, new movements, politics, and lots more.

INDEX OF CHARTS, MAPS, TIMELINES, AND GRAPHICS

This is a complete list of the 160 charts, maps, timelines, and graphics throughout the Bible. It includes the title, reference, and page number to help you find it quickly. It also labels each one as to the type of resource it is.

CONCORDANCE

The concordance is 123 pages in three columns. It includes a topical index and provides biographical information about people. It even includes words from the KJV which I found very helpful. I’m so used to the KJV that I sometimes can’t use a concordance from a different translation. Having the KJV entries is a big help. Here are a few references with the number of entries to help you compare:

  • Christ – 96
  • Christian – 3
  • Faith – 98
  • Faithful(adj) – 39
  • Faithful(n) – 1
  • Faithfully – 5
  • Faithfulness – 15
  • Faithless – 7
  • God – 85
  • Gods – 16
  • God-Breathed – 1
  • Goddess – 1
  • Godless – 6
  • Godliness – 4
  • Godly(adj) – 11
  • Godly(n) – 15
  • Praise(v) – 38
  • Praise(n) – 18
  • Pray – 38
  • Prayer – 17

READING PLAN

A 6 day per week reading plan takes you through the Bible in biblical order. It provides the readings labeled under each week and gives a box where you can check them as you read. They’re labeled by week rather than date, so you can start any time. This is the plan we’re using this year.

MAPS

It includes 8 full-color maps on thick glossy paper. They include routes, borders, cities, topography, water, average amount of rainfall, distance, mountains, dates, events with Scripture references, etc. There isn’t an index but they are labeled well, which helps in finding locations.

Maps include:

  1. World of the Patriarchs
  2. Exodus From Egypt
  3. Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
  4. Greek Empire
  5. Ministry of Jesus
  6. Paul’s Missionary Journeys
  7. Roman Empire and the Spread of Christianity
  8. Israel and the Middle East Today

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE AFRICA STUDY BIBLE

The Africa Study Bible is a well-designed Bible. The paper is thin but that can’t be helped in a Study Bible with this amount of information. The gray pages do make the text a little more difficult to read, but with good lighting it isn’t that bad. I found the information interesting and well-written. I like the African artwork and I’d like to see even more. Anyone interested in seeing the Bible through African eyes will enjoy this Study Bible.

You can learn more about the Africa Study Bible at the Oasis Africa Study Bible website.

_________________________________________________________

This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Barnes & Noble

Thrift Books

 

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

Photography by hannah C brown

Tyndale provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.

2 Comments

  1. Matthew

    Thanks so much for this thoughtful and thorough review, Randy. A great blessing, we will be linking to social media, etc shortly. Oasis International, Publisher.

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks Matthew! I’m glad you liked it!

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