‘Landmark’ commentary back on track after Middle East unrest

18 August 2016

   

  • Langham Partnership has met costs of this vital commentary, and hopes to continue funding its production.
  • The Arabic Contemporary Commentary project started in 2008 but has faced many setbacks.

Langham Partnership is playing a crucial part in the production of a ground-breaking commentary, which aims to provide an avenue for the Bible to directly speak into the contemporary issues facing the Arab-speaking world.

It is the first commentary of its kind in the Arab world as it is on the whole Bible, written by Arab theologians, for Arabic-speaking churches, in the Middle East and North Africa.

Kassis

           Dr Riad Kassis 

The project started in 2008, involving Christian theologians from five Arab nations.  The commentary, being produced by Egyptian publishing house ‘Dar El Thaqafa’, will be available for distribution to church leaders across the Arab world.

Unrest, revolutions and instability

But in recent years, there have been a number of challenges to writing and editing due to unrest, revolutions and instability in many of the Arab countries. This resulted in a revised project plan, with a final publishing deadline of the end of 2017 or early 2018, God willing.

The total project cost for Langham Partnership is anticipated to be over $440,110 (£334,700).

Langham scholar Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki Stephanos, managing editor for this commentary, has said that stability in the region would greatly help in bringing the project to completion. He has asked for prayer for all those involved.

Addressing needs of the region

Three Langham scholars are part of the editing committee, including Dr Riad Kassis, who is the Director of the Langham Scholars programme.

He explained that the commentary is “the first time that Christian scholars from the whole region are coming together to produce not just another commentary on the Scriptures, but a commentary that is addressing the needs and challenges of the region”.

He said it a “landmark in the history of the Christian church in the region”.

Crucial Christian unity

Participants in the project include Arab Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical biblical scholars (who all adhere to the Lausanne Covenant as the framework of their contributions).

Dr Kassis said this Christian unity is “crucial in a context where violent acts of divisions on religious grounds amount and destroy the social mosaic of the region”.

It is expected that the commentary will have “more visibility and circulation not only within the Christian community, but hopefully among our fellow Muslim citizens”, he explained.

Pray and consider donating

Currently, commentary on all books of the Old Testament are running to schedule and no set-backs are expected. Several New Testament books are with the publishing house as final drafts, while other books are at varying stages of completion.

There are also plans for the commentary to include 131 articles. These will cover various aspects of Christian doctrine and contemporary ethical issues, including Aids, Arab Christians and Citizenship, Secularism and Pluralism.

Please pray that this vitally important project will be successfully completed by the end of next year. Please also consider donating towards the extra funds needed for the commentary’s publication and distribution.

   

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