Bible gets African interpretation in 1,600-page book

Biblical scholar Tokunboh Adeyemo long ago decided something was wrong with how the message of God was being spread in Africa, a continent where competition for souls is fierce.

"The Bible was not written against the cultural background of Africans," Adeyemo told The Associated Press in an interview this week. "The Bible came through from Western missionaries, and the interpretation they gave was based on their own cultural background."

That prompted the Nigerian-born Adeyemo and other scholars and theologians to create Africa Bible Commentary, a new 1,600-page book by Africans, for Africans, using African proverbs and idioms to apply the Bible's teachings to contemporary problems such as AIDS, corruption and female genital mutilation.

Experts say the book is the newest way for African pastors to energize their followers. The tome was 12 years in the making and provides explanations of verses from all 66 books of the Bible.

Some of the book's essays give guidance on Christian behavior in today's world. Sicily Mbura Muriithi, who teaches at the Presbyterian University in Kenya, refers to Genesis in her condemnation of female genital mutilation, which is practiced primarily in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and usually involves removal of a girl's clitoris, reports AP.

"God created the human body and female sexuality and declared them both good," Muriithi writes. "Therefore, to abuse the body in a way that destroys the ability to appreciate one of God's gifts is an insult to his creation."

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