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Book Comments: Hippo Commentary Series

Hippo.jpgMany today admit the need to have multiple voices at the table when important subjects are discussed, and one such “table” is Bible study: and the “voices” are commentaries. 

We fool ourselves thinking we’ve got genuine diversity when we examine Romans through the eyes of Tom Wright and Ernst Kaesemann and Doug Moo. Yes, they differ but there’s nothing like stirring the pot by bringing genuine diversity to the table.
Which is what we are now promised with the new African Bible Commentary Series from Hippo Books. The publisher is a cooperative of folks from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Zondervan. The first commentary I’ve seen is by Samuel Ngewa: 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus (Hippo / Africa Bible Commentary Series)

The series is designed for preachers and for preaching. The commentary emerges from experience; it is wise; it is conservative theologically and shaped for traditional theology in Africa; and it will prove itself to be valuable for cross-cultural contexts. If the substance of these commentaries reflects common evangelicalism, the specific applications take us into the heart of Africa’s church experiences. I will use this commentary whenever I work in the Pastorals.
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Tony Stiff

posted November 16, 2009 at 8:11 am

Scot this looks like a great advancement in African theology. I can still remember an African student in my Old Testament History and Theology course raising his hand during our study of Ruth and saying, “This is what gleaning the field is really like. This is how we gleaned the fields in my village.” It opened up the agrarian world and experience of Ruth, and also helped all of us see through African eyes.
Can’t wait for this series.

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posted November 16, 2009 at 9:36 am

This looks like a very interesting resourse. I look forward to diving into this, and I think that it’s good to see more global voices in the Christian conversation. Maybe it will help us get past the misconception that Christianity, born in the east, is a “western religion.” My own tribe (Church of Christ) is now larger in Africa than in North America, and churches in Ghana are now sending mission efforts to the US.

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posted November 16, 2009 at 9:40 am

Like James, my own tribe (Anglican) is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa and several provinces have sent missionary bishops to the United States and Canada. I’m encouraged to see this and will surely order it soon.

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John A. D'Elia

posted November 16, 2009 at 9:48 am

Thanks for this–I’m looking forward to seeing the commentaries as well. Those of us who pastor English-speaking congregations in Europe often have a strong contingent of Africans, and I’m looking forward to seeing well-known passages through different eyes. On a more daily basis, though, I would recommend the devotional emails from African Enterprise. Each morning I read a reflection by Gottfried Osei-Mensah, and I’m finding it both challenging and fruitful.

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Christopher Wright

posted November 19, 2009 at 10:40 am

Grateful to Scot for this encouraging review of Sam Ngewa’s book. Folks might like to know that Ngewa was one of the senior editors for the Africa Bible Commentary – a work entirely produced by 70 African scholars, in Africa and for Africa, but also published and distributed in the west by Zondervan. And “Hippo Books” is a consortium of evangelical African publishers, brought together for this project by the Langham Partnership International, which sponsors these efforts, but puts the control entirely in an African board of directors. In the USA, Langham goes by the name of its original founder – John Stott, and can be checked out at We are keen not only to help Christian writers and publishers in Africa and other parts of the majority world, but to enable their work to get read in the west – as part of the global theological conversation that Scot rightly sees as so important these days.

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