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The effects of Bible translations on African languages

Bible translations:

  1. i) Increased and deepened African faith in God.
  2. ii) Led to increased literacy. After Africans acquired literacy skills, they read the Bible and improved their literacy skills.

Christian missionaries established schools in order to teach literacy that helped African to read the Bible.

  1. ii) Made it easy for missionaries to spread the gospel to the African communities.

iii) Increased the demand for the Bible. This led to writing of Books and setting up of printing presses in African countries.

  1. iv) Made it easy for the expansion of the church i.e. more people became Christians.
  2. v) Led to the emergence of independent churches and schools.
  3. vi) The missionaries and colonialists learnt the African languages.

vii) The African converts realized that the missionaries were unfair to them.

There was for example a different treatment of African by White missionaries. This was inequality of races, which was and is even now against Christian teachings.

viii) Helped Africans to re-discover their cultural identity.

For example the use of African instruments, dressings, and practice of polygamy, which David and other kings in the Old Testament did.

  1. ix) Led to the writings and spread of African languages. The missionaries learnt local languages.
  2. x) Improved communications between missionaries and the local people because they could understand each other.
  3. xi) Increased printing of reading materials

The effects of Bible translations on Africans communities

After the first Bible translations, there were immediate effects or influences on some communities.

For example, some community leaders did not agree with the Christian teachings. Some wanted to retain aspects of their African religion.

As a result, some communities who disagreed with Bible translations established their own Christian denominations in order to preach the Bible, as they understood it.

This was the emergence of independent churches.

Some African communities built independent schools where their children could learn how to read and write without being forced to practice all the Christian teachings.

Review questions

1) What is the importance of reading the Bible?

2) How is the Bible used in society today?

3) How does the Kenya Government use the Bible today?

4) Name the major divisions of the Bible in both the New Testament and the Old Testament

5) What are the effects of Bible translation on African languages?

6) Why is the Bible referred to as (a) a Library and

(b) the Word of God

7) What is the meaning of the term inspiration?

Study activities

  1. Read the Bible quotations given above.
  2. Carry out role plays e.g. the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham.
  3. Visit old people in your community and ask them about African religious traditional practices.

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