The Coordinator of Christian Network for Africa Missions, Evangelist Edwin Ebeniro has underscored the importance of audio Bible in the evangelisation of the world while also pointing out that his organisation is willing to collaborate with churches on how they can produce and deploy the tool.
Ebeniro made this known in a recent interview with Church Times on the ministry’s evangelism drive and the essence of the audio Bible.
Bible meant to be read aloud
He said the Bible was originally meant to be read to the hearing of the people. “There are many instances where the word of God is read to the hearing of the people. In Nehemiah 8 we are told Ezra the priest read the law of Moses to men, women, and children that were old enough to understand from morning till evening. The Bible was written to be read publicly.”
Ebeniro explained further that “public reading of the Bible especially in one’s mother tongue enhances discipleship because God speaks with people in their mother tongue. You can’t miss an idiom, a proverb, there is no manipulation of the word when it is read aloud in your mother tongue.”
While disclosing that the ministry encourages people to read in groups he said, “We train audio Bible facilitators. There are some outcomes expected from listening to the Bible. We ask them to retell the stories they have heard in their understanding or mention key events in a chapter that has been read. It is key to understanding the Bible. If you don’t retain what you have listened to, you may not be able to understand.”
The audio Bible devices according to him can be produced by those who are willing to learn how to produce it. “So far we have been able to produce many audio Bibles in the modern tongues of many African settlements and we distribute them free of charge among the unreached in Africa and Asia. Before we give people the audio device, we train them on how to use it among the people.”
He noted that Africans are more at home with oral tradition. “Even the educated don’t have time to read the Bible. But the device enables people to listen to the word of God. We train evangelists and church workers on how to use it and also empower them to use it among those who are unable to read especially market women, farmers, elderly, blind, and many others in the society who have issues with reading.”
He credited the idea of the audio Bible to Faith Comes By Hearing an organisation that places much premium on the oral medium to communicate God’s word. “I first saw FCBH use the device in Uganda and how they promoted the reading of the word of God through various challenges. We came back to Nigeria and repeated the challenge which was called the 90-day Lagos scripture challenge. After that, we held another one in 2022, 2023
“It was from there my eyes opened to the potential of audio Bible devices, that it could be used to reach souls for Christ. I discovered that the level of interest in the word of God is very low. I have heard people say they read the Bible so they could sleep. This is because many are lazy at reading.”
He said however that the audio Bible device is such that the church worker deploying it for evangelism is trained on how to use it and enlist responses from a group. In this case, those who are members of that group of scripture listen and discuss. There is a need to deepen such kind of scripture engagements among Africans and Asians.”
Vision for audio Bible
The vision of the ministry is to create about 10,000 Bible listening groups across Africa in 2023 and 2024. “So far we have been able to provide over 300 audio bible devices in fulfude, French, and many other languages are spoken in Africa. Our target is to reach 100 language groups. We are willing to train people on how to produce an audio Bible in their mother tongue. There are sites where one can download an audio bible download into an empee card and load it into MP players.”
Presently the ministry has 700 devices ready for distribution to communities where they are needed. “But the point we are making is that we are ready to join hands with churches, organisations, and individuals that are ready to help spread the word.”
On the impact of the device, he said, “We have received many testimonies of how the audio Bible has impacted lives. The Fulani community in the Benin Republic have so much fallen in love with the audio Bible. They desire it and we have a responsibility to reach as many of them as possible with the device. In Congo, it’s like the life of some blind folks just began when they got the device. The people are always excited when they hear the word of God in their languages. That is the strong point of the audio device.”