What is the importance of reading the Bible?
- Strengthens people’s faith.
- Helps in spreading the gospel.
- Helps in composition of songs and hymns.
- Acts as a reference when we write its translations and other books.
- Promotes good relationship between God and man.
- In society, people in schools, crusades, churches, lodgings, homes, and hospitals read the Bible.
- In the government, the Bible is used for swearing in the Courts, Parliament and Cabinet when members of parliament are nominated to become ministers of the government.
- The major divisions of the Bible are the old and the new testaments. Read 1.3.4. Above for more information
What are the effects of Bible translation on African languages?
The Effects of Bible translation into African languages
- The translations increased and deepened people’s faith in God.
- They also led to the establishment of schools.
- The Gospel spread to local communities and many of them became Christians.
- The missionaries and colonialists learnt African Languages.
- This led to the promotion of African languages.
- This helped the African converts to judge when the missionaries were unfair or when they practiced inequality of races.
- Why is the Bible referred to as (a) a Library and (b) the Word of God?
The Bible is referred to as a Library because its:
- Books are arranged in a series and in order.
- A reference book
- Is a book of literary works?
- Books were written under different situations and circumstances
- Books are many
- Inspiration is a process through which God took the initiative to prompt and enlighten the writers of the Bible its Godly influence
TOPIC TWO: CREATION AND THE FALL OF MAN
- Find answers on the differences between the two creation stories in lesson four
- Traditional African view of creation is in lesson four. Africans’ view was that:
- God is the architect of the world
- God existed from the very beginning of time
- God created everything from nothing
- God provides for the needs of human beings, animals, and all creation
- God continues to create through human beings
- Human beings continue with the work of creation in lesson four
- The origin of sin and evil read again lesson five
- Consequences of sin in lesson five When Adam and Eve sinned
- Man’s friendship with God changed to fear of GOD
- What had been innocent and good became shameful
- Relationship between GOD and man was damaged and became spoilt
- Man began to toil for food, safety and other basic needs
- Pain became part of human experience
- Death sentence was passed
- Consequences of evil are in lesson six Africans understand evil as barrenness, war, drought, epidemics, madness, sickness, death, burning in a house and others
- God’s plan of salvation is lesson seven. The lesson tells us that GOD saved human kind by providing:
- Clothing for Adam and Eve
- Means to find food
- A decree to defeat serpent through the seed of the woman
- A solution in which he chooses Abraham and separated him from others
- A delivery of Israelites from Egypt
- Prophets with messages for Israelites
- The Messiah to die on the Cross to save humankind
- Compare the biblical concept of sin and the African concept of evil.
- Both agree that God is good and did not create evil.
- In both, sin is a result of disobedience, greed and selfishness of humankind.
- In both cases, sin lead to human suffering.
- Both hold the view that sin/evil befalls humankind in the form of a curse.
- Sin brings separation between God and man.
- In both, there is reconciliation and forgiveness between God and man. Thus sin does not end a relationship.
- In the bible, the serpent is seen as the cause of sin whereas in many Traditional African communities, the spirits of the dead causes evil.
- In the bible, there is external punishment (hell) for sinners while the African communities believe that punishment is here on earth.
- Biblically, human beings are born sinners because they are descendants of Adam (1st parents’ sin). In Traditional African Community, a child is born free of evil.
- Biblically had taken the initiative to end sin but in Traditional African Community, man does through sacrifice to the ancestral spirits.
- Subdue the earth in genesis 1 verse 28
TOPIC THREE: FAITH AND GOD’S PROMISES TO ABRAHAM.
Explain why Abraham is referred to as the Father of Faith
Faith is complete trust in somebody or something. This is because he demonstrated faith in his life’s actions.
- Accepting to move from his homeland to an unknown land
- By accepting circumcision at an old age and change of name
- Being ready to sacrifice his only son – Isaac
- He made altars for the worship of God at Bethel etc.
- He believed in a God he did not know/see.
- By accepting to enter into a covenant relationship with God where he gave his best animals as a sacrifice
Give five (5) actions from the life of Abraham that shows his faith in God
- Abraham obeyed God’s call and left his homeland Haran to go to an unknown land.
- He believed in the promises God gave him.
- Build altars for the worship of God, one at Schechter and the other at Bethel
- Covenant – accepted to make a covenant with God where he sacrificed the best of his animals
- Circumcision – accepting the command to circumcise himself and all male children in his household
- Sacrifice of son – willing to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering to God
List some of the promises God gave to Abraham.
- Abraham and his wife Sarah would have a son.
- Abraham would be famous.
- He would become the father of a great nation.
- God would curse those who cursed him and bless those who blessed him.
- God assured Abraham of a personal protection.
- Many descendants – like stars on the sky.
- The descendants would be slaves in a foreign land but God would deliver them.
- He would live to a ripe old age and die in peace.
- God would establish an everlasting covenant with him and his descendants.
- Some of his descendants would be kings.
- God would give him and his descendants land.
Compare and contrast Jewish and Traditional African practice of circumcision
- In both communities, circumcision is taken as a physical sign of membership to the community.
- It involves the cutting of the foreskin.
- Members who refuse to be circumcised are treated as outcasts in the community.
- The shedding of blood is symbolic as it binds the people with God and ancestors.
- It has a religious significance.
- Special people in both do circumcision.
- The occasions are accompanied by a ceremony which being kinsmen together.
- The rite is compulsory for males.
- The practice is handed down from one generation to the next.
- Names are given during the occasion.
- In both cases, it is done in special or religious places e.g. temple/under mugumo tree/ shrine etc.
- It is a command from God/ancestors.
- For African, initiation leads to adult responsibilities such as marriage, becoming a warrior, decision- making and property ownership. In Jewish community, the boys are too young to take up responsibility.
- In the Jewish community, only males are circumcised while in the Traditional African Community, both boys and girls are.
- For Jews, one remains a child while in the Traditional African Community, they move from childhood to adulthood.
- Jewish community circumcise at the age of eight days while in the Traditional African Community, it is at puberty.
- Among the Jews, it is a sign that they have become God’s people, but in Traditional African Community, one is bound to the ancestors.
- The Jewish circumcision is a command from God as a sign of their covenant with him while Traditional African Communities do it in obedience to the customs and traditions of their duty.
- The rite, taken place on the 8th day of both in Jewish community while in the Traditional African Communities, it occurs after every four – six years
- Done to individuals in Jewish community while it is done to a group of age mates in the Traditional African Communities.
- No seclusion period among Jews as is the case in most African communities.
- In African communities, the ceremony enables them to choose future leaders, which is not the case with the Jews.
- Helps one endure suffering (pain) in future in the African communities unlike in the Jewish communities.
- Only one form of initiation (cutting of foreskin) is done. Various forms are practiced in the Traditional African communities. These include:
- Cutting of foreskin
- Lib/ear piercing
- Removal of lower teeth
- Scarification (putting marks on face/body)
What is the importance of faith to Christians?
- Faith is the foundation of Christian life today. It makes Christians part of the great nation of God.
- Through faith in Jesus, Christians became the chosen people of God.
- Faith enables Christians make correct choices in life e.g. When choosing a career, marriage partners etc.
- Faiths help them to face temptations and challenges in their lives and are able to overcome them.
- It gives them perseverance in prayer as they wait for God’s answer.
- It gives them the courage to commit their lives to God totally.
- It is through faith that Christians obey God.
- They are able to achieve impossible things through faith.
- They are able to believe what they have not seen through faith.
- They are able to serve the world, help the needy because of their faith in Christ.
State the elements of a covenant
- Partners two or more partners are involved.
- A physical reminder – a certificate/sign
- Promises: – given by both partners.
- Ceremony – whose blood seals it or an oath taken
- Witnesses – must be present
- It requires faithfulness, obedience and loyalty to the regulations
- It spells out serious consequences for those who break it.
On 7. Give examples of covenant in the bible and the modern society
- God’s covenant with Noah: where he promised never to destroy the earth with flood – rainbow is the sign of the covenant (Gen 9).
- God’s covenant with Abraham: God promised to fulfill the promises he made to Abraham. The sign was circumcision (Gen 15 & 17).
- The covenant between God and the Israelites on Mt Sinai – sign was the Law – 10 commandments (Exodus 24).
- The covenant between God and King David – promise to David’s kingdom would last forever (2 Sam: 7).
- Jeremiah’s covenant: The new covenant with God’s people (Jr 31: 31 – 34).
- Oath of allegiance/loyalty
- The National Anthem binds all
- The loyalty pledge
- Employment contract
Discuss the circumstances that led God to enter into a covenant relationship with Abraham
- To seal the promises given unto Abraham e.g. a great nation, son, many descendants.
- It was an assurance of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham.
- It was to unite God and the Israelites.
- It was to be a source of blessings to all.
- A starting point for the salvation of mankind, whereby he would renew the relationship between himself and man after the separation by the 1st parents
TOPIC FOUR: SINAI COVENANT.
What are the qualities of Moses as a leader?
- Education: he received education while in the pharaoh’s palace where he grew up.
- Jewish religion knowledge: his own mother who was his maid taught him the history of Israel.
- He learned leadership skills from the King as he grew up.
- Shepherd: herding the father-in-law’s herds made him gain experience of shepherding people.
- Life in the wilderness where he lived after killing an Egyptian gave him experience in desert life through where he would lead the Israelites.
- Father/parent: his marriage to Zipporah helped him learn family leadership. Later he applied this to his work.
- Prophet: Enabled him to foresee the future and inform the community.
- Miracle-maker: helped him solve problem facing his people in the wilderness e.g. lack of food, water.
- Lawgiver: gave laws that were used to govern the community of Israel i.e. the Ten Commandments.
- Hard work: worked for his father-in-law serving the family e.g. fetching water. Later he was able to serve the Jews.
Describe the call of Moses: Exodus 3: 1 – 22
- God called Moses as he herded his father-in-law’s flock at Mt Sinai.
- Moses saw a burning bush, which was not consumed. He drew nearer to get a better look.
- God called Moses by name from the middle of the burning bush and told him to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground.
- God told Moses that he had seen the suffering of his people in Egypt and heard their cry.
- He told Moses that he had chosen him to go to Pharaoh and release them from bondage.
- Moses objected to the task because he felt inadequate.
- God promised to be with Moses and to protect him.
- Moses asked for the name of God so that he would have a point of reference when asked who sent him.
- God revealed himself to Moses saying, “IAM WHO I AM”
- God gave Moses power to perform miracles that he would use as proof of his work.
- Moses protested further saying he was a stammerer.
- God commissioned Aaron, Moses’ brother as his spokesman.
- Moses then told God he was afraid to go to Egypt.
- God assured him that the man he was afraid of was already dead.
On b (ii) Why was Moses hesitant to God’s call?
- It is because he was already a criminal and wanted in Egypt after having killed and Egyptian and ran away.
- He was not a good speaker (stammerer).
- He did not know the name of God who was sending him.
What is the significance of the items used for the Passover feast (similar to what is the meaning of the Passover meal)?
- The Lamb: reminded the Israelite of the sacrificial lamb whose blood saved their 1st born from the angel of death.
- The unleavened bread signified purity.
- It too signified the hurry they had to leave Egypt, as unleavened bread is easy to bake.
- Roasting the meat was the easiest method of cooking.
- Not breaking bones and spilt blood signified forgiveness.
- Bitter herbs symbolized the bitterness of slavery in Egypt.
- Eating while standing symbolized the haste with which the Israelites were to leave Egypt.
- They were not to leave any meal to avoid profanation in the form of flies. Burning was the simplest way of disposal & sacred.
Compare the Lord’s Supper to the Passover feast
- Both are acts of salvation from suffering. Passover saved Israelites from slavery while the Lord’s Supper saved people from bondage of sin.
- Both are celebrated in memory of a past event – suffering.
- Lambs offered in both Hebrews – the Passover lamb in the Lord’s Supper Jesus is the paschal lamb.
- In both a symbolic meal was taken.
- In both cases each group is saved through a mediator – Moses and Jesus respectfully.
- God’s covenant is remembered in both cases i.e. Old testament and new covenant respectfully.
- In both the religious significance of the feasts is taught and emphasized.
- In the Passover feast, animal sacrifice is offered while in the Lord’s Supper, Jesus was the last sacrifice and instead bread and wine are offered to represent his blood and body.
- Whereas the Jewish Passover was compulsory for every few, the Lord’s Supper is not compulsory in all Christian churches.
- The bloodshed in the Jewish Passover is for the salvation of the Jews only while the blood of Jesus shed on the cross is for the salvation of the whole human race.
- Passover lamb offered in Hebrew while Jesus was the lamb offered in the Lord’s Supper.
Describe how the Sinai covenant was made
- The Israelites arrived at Mt Sinai through God’s saving power.
- Moses was instructed by God to tell the elders to do the following in preparation for the making of the covenant.
- All Israelites were to cleanse themselves and wash their garments.
- Mark the boundaries of the mountain and avoid going near or crossing the border.
- Avoid sexual relations between married couple
Note: All these happened after Moses had gone up the mountain and God had promised to make the Israelites the following if they obeyed him.
- His people
- A kingdom of priests
- A holy nation
- On the third day after cleansing, Moses took the Israelites to meet their God. God manifested himself in the following forms: thunder, lightening, earthquake and a thick cloud that filled the mountain and a loud trumpet blast.
- Moses came down and told people about the laws which was to guide them as a covenant people.
- The people agreed to obey all the words the Lord had spoken (Ex 24: 3 – 4)
- Thus the covenant was made.
Describe the circumstances that led to the breaking of the Sinai covenant
- Moses went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments where written. He delayed (40 days) thus forgetting God.
- The Israelites became impatient. They forgot the saving power of God that had delivered them from Egypt.
- Aaron was a weak leader who failed to lead the people to uphold the covenant. He yielded to their demands to make and worship idols.
- Availability of gold jewellery: used to make the calf image.
- Idolatry was a practice done while in Egypt so they copied/continued with it.
- They were used to God’s (idols). They could see while in Egypt unlike the Yahweh who was invisible.
How was the broken covenant renewed?
- Moses pleaded to God not to destroy the Israelites.
- God spared them.
- God commanded the Israelites to cut two stone tablets where he would rewrite the commandments.
- God gave conditions to be fulfilled by the Israelites in the renewal of the covenant.
- To obey God’s command.
- Not to make treaties with other nations.
- To tear down the altars of the gods of other nations and temples.
- Not to worship idols.
- Not to make images to represent God.
- Not to marry foreign wives.
- To keep and celebrate the three festivals namely, Passover, feast of weeks and the feast of in gathering.
- To keep the Sabbath day holy.
- Dedicate to God 1st born male children and animals.
- God promised that if they obeyed Him, He would:
- Protect and preserve them
- Bless them
- Make them prosper
- After this Moses was ordered by God to write a new set of Laws on the stone tablets.
- Thus the covenant was renewed.
Describe how the Israelites worshipped God in the wilderness
- Worship is the practice of showing respect and love for God.
- The Israelites showed their respect and love for God in the wilderness in the following ways: -
- The Ark and the Tabernacle: The Ark was a wooden box where the Ten Commandments were kept. They signified the presence of God. The tabernacle was a portable tent for meeting between God and the Israelites.
- The Sabbath: They observed the Sabbath as a sacred day for resting and worshipping God.
- Festivals: Celebrated many festivals as one way of worshipping God. E.g. Passover
- Altars – built them when there was need to worship God – meeting place between God and the people and sacrifice to God.
- Observance of the Ten Commandments. These guided them on how to live with God and man.
- Religious leaders: God chose priest from the tribe of Levi to organize worship.
What is the relevance of the Ten Commandments to Christian today?
- Christians learn that God is a jealous God. They avoid holding other things in their lives strong in the place of God.
- Christians learn that God is unique and cannot be represented by visible man-made objects or described in human terms.
- They are reminded to observe the Sabbath by worshipping God.
- They strive to have a good relationship with God.
- They are taught to respect other people and their property.
- They learn that long life is a result of honoring and respecting their parents.
- They strive to live upright and moral lives.
- They learn that lust for money and other property is sinful.
What did the Israelites learn about God in the wilderness?
- They learned that God is faithful. He keeps promises.
- A provider – provided manna, water etc.
- God is the controller of natural forces e.g. Red sea, a pillar of cloud & fire, earthquakes etc.
- A jealous God – no worship of other gods
- Just – forgave those who broke the covenant and punished those who refused to repent.
- Merciful and compassionate: Give them a 2nd chance after breaking the covenant.
- A God of victory – helped them defeat Amalekites.
- God valued a personal relationship – commandments given.
TOPIC FIVE: LEADERSHIP IN ISRAEL
Explain the reasons against Kingship in Israel (1 Sam 8:10 – 20)
- The King would force the sons of the Israelites to serve him as soldiers in the army.
- The King would create forced labor and enslavement by making the young men work in his farms and in making weapons. Daughters would work in his house.
- He would also grab their land and give it to his loyal servants.
- He would overtax them in order to maintain his administration.
- It would be seen as a rejection of Yahweh as their King.
- Israel would be like other nations who did not know Yahweh.
- Yahweh would reject them when they cried to him.
Explain the importance of David as King of Israel
- David was important because he was chosen by God and publicly anointed by elders in a religion ceremony. He too became ancestor of many communities.
- David was a great musician and wrote many songs for promising God.
- He killed Goliath the philistine soldier.
- He conquered the enemies of Israel such as Amalekites, Ammonites etc.
- He expanded Israel through his military conquests and marked the boundaries of the nation.
- He captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites and made it a capital city.
- He too made it a religious centre by placing the Ark of the Covenant there, which had been housed – Abidjab’s.
- He had good diplomatic relationship with other nations.
- He encouraged trade with other nations thus making Israel prosperous.
- He was a shrewd administrator who chose wise elders to advise him.
- He was filled with the Holy Spirit.
- He established the largest and most enduring dynasty that lasted 400 years.
- He composed the books of Psalms used to praise God.
- Whenever he wronged God, he genuinely repented and humbled himself before God.
- He was a just ruler.
- He respected the prophets of God and consulted them before making decisions.
- He was prayerful and consulted God in his undertakings.
- He united the twelve (12) tribes of Israel.
- He set a good example of faithfulness to Yahweh that he wanted all the Israelites to emulate.
How did Jesus fulfill the prophecies of Prophet Nathan as a descendant of David? (i.e. Areas where Jesus is mentioned as coming from David)
- Angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary who was engaged to Joseph, a descendant of David. The Angel referred to Jesus as the King whose wisdom would last forever (Lk 1:26-33).
- Jesus was born in Bethlehem – the birth place of David (Lk 2: 4 – 5)
- Abraham and David are mentioned as the ancestors of Jesus.
- During the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the crowds who met him sang with joy and shouted ‘Hosanna to the son of David.’
- On the days of Pentecost when Peter addressed the crowd, he referred to Jesus as a descendant of David (Acts: 2 29-35).
- Zechariah in his Benedictus, says that God has promised a savior descended from the house of David (Lk 1:69)
- The blind man at Jericho referred to Jesus as the son of David (Lk 18:38).
What was the failure of King Solomon?
- Solomon was the 2nd King of Israel, succeeding his father King David. He failed to live according to the covenant way of life in the following ways.
- He married foreign wives thus breaking the Total that clearly stated that the Israelites should not marry foreigners because they can come with their gods – idols.
- He allowed the wives to worship their gods (idols) thus leading to spread of idolatry in Israel.
- He not only worshipped the gods of his wives but also built temple for their worship.
- He, by worshipping the gods became a bad example to Israel, as King. They copied him.
- Although he built God’s temple, he erred in many ways:
- He built his palace for 13 years but took only 7 years to build God’s temple. Shows he loved himself more the God.
- He used foreign designs and materials in the construction of the temple, ignoring God’s specifications on how to build it.
- He liaised pagan craftsmen from Tyre to design, decorate and furnish the temple.
- He broke the sixth commandment by killing his half brother, Adonijah. He suspected that Adonijah would become his rival to the throne.
- He spent a lot of Israel’s money on his lavish lifestyle. He had a large army and servants.
- He overtaxed the people to meet the amount.
- He used forced labor in his development projects.
- He enslaved young men and women who went to work in the palace as servants for the wives.
- He practiced nepotism. He exempted them from forced labor.
- He sold part of Israel – sold 20 towns of Galilee to King of Tyre as payment of a debt he could not pay contrary to God’s command.
- He made treaties with other nations that were against the condition set during the renewal of the Sinai covenant.
- In the above ways, he oppressed the people of God.
Which leadership qualities can modern leaders learn from David?
- Justice: A good leader is one who does not favor some people like David (I Sam 24: 1 – 12).
- Courage: David showed this while fighting Goliath. Leaders need to be brave and courageous in their work (I Sam 17:41 – 54).
- Fear of God and Faith: David consulted God before any undertaking. Leaders should do the same.
- Gratitude: David was thankful to blessings he received. Leaders should be happy and grateful to God.
- Loyalty: Modern leaders should remain loyal to their office. David was loyal to God and his people (2 Sam 2:7)
- Kindness: Good leaders should show mercy to their people like David did e.g. he forgave Saul twice (2 Sam 19: 9 – 39).
- Humility: Leaders should not hesitate to ask for forgiveness from God and people. David was humble and asked for forgiveness any time he went wrong.
- Willingness to delegate: Learn to delegate future as David did (2 Sam 20: 23 – 26)
- Wisdom: Be wise in choosing legal advisers as David did.
- Respect: Leaders should show respect to God and preaches those they serve as David did to the prophets and his people.
TOPIC SIX: LOYALTY TO GOD- ELIJAH.
Qualities of Elijah that led to his achievements
- Elijah was fearless and courageous. His courage helped him to face King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and condemn them for their wickedness such as corruption and idolatry
- He was faithful to God. Yahweh guided him in his dealings with Baal prophets and King Ahab.
- He lived a simple life. For example, he wore simple clothing made of camel’s skin.
- He stood for the covenant at a time when the religion of Yahweh was in danger
- He had the power of God in him and was able to control rain.
- He confirmed that Yahweh had authority over land and over the people.
Schism is sharp religious, social, political differences within a group or organization. Syncretism is the process of mixing religious beliefs and practices
Some characteristics of Elijah that a modern Christian should strive to emulate
- Zealousness for God
- Concern for the needy / poor
- Provision of social justice
What were the effects of idolatry in Israel?
- Syncretism developed where the Israelites worshipped Yahweh alongside the gods of Canaan.
- The Israelites started calling Yahweh by the names used for Canaanites gods e.g. El.
- The Israelites started naming their children after Canaanite gods like Baal.
- They changed their religion calendar and celebration to correspond with their Canaanite celebrations and feasts.
- They converted the high places used for worshipping Baal to Yahweh’s shrines without removing the graven images of idols.
- The unity that existed between the two tribes of Israel was destroyed. They no longer treated one another as brothers.
- The Kings of Israel behaved like the Canaanites leaders by oppressing the weak and grabbing other people’s property.
- The people neglected Yahweh’s holy places.
- God’s prophets were mistreated, persecuted and even killed.
- God withdrew his blessings from the Israelites because they angered Him by worshipping other gods.
- They broke God’s commandments, which forbade worship of other god a part from Yahweh.
- The Israelites practiced temple prostitution and other Canaanites rituals and sacrifices.
Describe Elijah’s fight against false religion in Israel
- Elijah rose to challenge false religion at a time when Baalism had become the official religion.
- He prophesied a three and a half years drought because the people had turned away from Yahweh.
- After the drought God appeared to Elijah and told him to go to King Ahab and tell him that the drought was as a result of idolatry in Israel.
- Elijah requested the King to order all the people to meet at Mt Carmel to hold a contest.
- Elijah asked the King to invite the 400 prophets of Asherah and Baal’s 450, saw that they could prove who the true God is.
- Elijah would sacrifice a bull and the false prophets would too sacrifice their own to call on their Gods to send fire. The one who could send is the true God.
- The prophets of Baal were the 1st to pray to their god but he never sent fire.
- The prophets cut themselves with knives to please their god but he never sent it.
- Elijah then prepared the altar with 12 pillars representing the 12 tribes of Israel.
- He dug a trench around the altar, placed wood and put the cut bull on top of the wood.
- He ordered for water to be poured around the trenches until it flooded.
- Then in the evening Elijah prayed and called upon the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to send fire.
- Fire came and consumed the whole sacrifice, including the water in the trenches.
- As a result, the Israelites bowed down and declared that Yahweh was the true God.
- Then Elijah ordered the killing of all the prophets of Baal and the prophetesses of Asherah.
- Elijah went to the top of the Mt Carmel and prayed for rain. Yahweh sent His servant to watch for the sign of rain from the sea.
- The servant looked towards the sea seven times after, which he saw a small cloud forming.
- Then heavy rain fell, signaling end of drought.
Describe Elijah’s fight against corruption – 1 Kings 21
- Corruption: Can be defined as dishonesty or misuse of power for personal gain.
- In a corrupt society, the rich and powerful people tend to take advantage of the weak/poor by exploiting them and denying them their rights.
- King Ahab of Israel desired a fruitful vineyard owned by a man named Naboth.
- King Ahab approached Naboth to sell him the vineyard or exchange with another one.
- Naboth declined the offer because in Israel, selling ancestral land was against the covenant law. The land belonged to God.
- Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, soon learned, Naboth’s refusal and she arranged Naboth’s murder through false accusations.
- After Naboth was killed, Ahab possessed the vineyard.
- God commanded Elijah to go and declare His judgment on Ahab for committing such an evil act in Israel.
- Elijah declared the following judgment on Ahab:
- Dogs would lick Ahab’s blood at the same place where they had licked Naboth’s.
- Ahab’s dynasty would fall kike those of the Kings before him who had disobeyed God.
- All family members of Ahab would face violent deaths.
- On hearing this, Ahab humbled himself before God and repented. God postponed Ahab’s punishment to the days of his son.
What can Christian learn from the teachings of Elijah?
- From the Mt Carmel incident, they learn that Yahweh controls the forces of nature – can bring rain or stop it.
- Yahweh is the only true and living God – Mt Carmel.
- Yahweh is forgiving – pardoned those who repented on Mt Carmel.
- Yahweh is a jealous God. He will not share honor with any God – killed the 450 prophets worshipping Baal.
- A prosecutor – protected Elijah.
- A provider – provided Elijah with food.
- Yahweh answers prayers. He is faithful.
- They also learn that church leaders should condemn evil like Elijah did in the case of Ahab and Naboth.
- Christians should work to protect the poor from exploitation.
- They should be prayerful so that God can help them overcome difficulties like Elijah.
- They should strive to lead lives free from corruption.
- They should remain faithful even if it means costing their lives to Naboth.
- Leaders should realize authority comes from God and are accountable to Him.
- They should avoid idolatry, which Elijah condemned.
- Perform tasks given by God however had they may be as Elijah did – facing Ahab, killing the 450 false prophets etc.
- Finally, they should invite sinners to repeat and bring them back to God.
TOPIC SEVEN: SELECTED ASPECTS OF AFRICAN RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
Explain African beliefs about God (or qualities)
- African beliefs about their God are found in their proverbs, myths, songs, prayers, narratives and religious ceremonies.
- God was believed to be a supreme being who was beyond human understanding.
- The African communities believed that God was all-powerful – omnipotent.
- They believed that God’s power is expressed in natural occurrences such as thunder, earthquake floods and volcanic eruptions.
- God is believed to be all-knowing omniscient.
- He is limitless and knows hears and sees everything.
- He is also omnipresent – meaning he is everywhere at all times.
- Transcendent – beyond human understanding because of the transcendent nature, Africans found it impossible to represent him using physical representations. They viewed him as being far yet too near them.
- He was seen as the provider and sustainer of creation.
- They believed that God is everlasting. He has no beginning or end.
- God is merciful.
- They believed he is incorruptible.
- African communities associated God with justice.
- Physical features were often seen as a representation of awesome power of God. This is why large mountains, thick forest, unique rock formation were used as shrines.
- African viewed God to be mysterious.
Describe the African understanding of the Hierarchy of Beings
Hierarchy of Beings
- Human Beings
- Animals and Plants
- Non-living Things
- God as the creator occupies the highest rank in the hierarchy of being – creator.
- The Divinities: Came next and control natural forces in the universe, created by God.
- The Common Spirits: Comprise spirits of people who died long time ago.
- Ancestors: (living dead): Spirits of those who died recently and are still remembered by the living.
- Human Beings: Consist of the living and the unborn.
- Animals and Plants: Come next – for man’s use as food and sacrifice to God.
- Last (7th) are non-living things such as mountains, rocks, rivers, caves, dwelling places of God and Spirits.
Describe the Role of the ancestors to the living
- The ancestors acted as intermediaries between God and human beings.
- They communicated the problems and wishes of human beings to God.
- God and the spirits used the ancestors to express their wishes concerning human beings.
- The ancestors welcomed those who died to the spirit world.
- They helped to preserve the culture and standards of a community.
- The ancestors blessed the living and corrected them through punishment.
What was the responsibility of the living towards God?
- To show gratitude to God and give thanks to him as an acknowledgement that He is the giver of life.
- To honor, worship and adore God by praying to Him for their needs.
- To pray to Him during or before a war, before planting, etc.
- To obey and trust Him.
- To take care of God’s creation
- To teach children about God.
- Appease him through sacrifice
Describe the Traditional African ways of worshipping God
- Sacrifice: They were used to ask God’s favour, thanksgiving, to avert evil and ask for forgiveness, before planting and after harvest, epidemics, birth, naming, invitation, weddings, funerals etc for different reasons.
- Offerings: Foodstuffs e.g. grain, honey, beer, milk was offered in recognition of God as owner of property and provider.
- Prayers and invocations: Commonest act of worship. A continuation activity done anytime as the need arises.
- Song and dance: People were involved both physically and spiritually. This brought the city together.
- Blessings and Salutations: Expressed in greetings and farewells e.g. “Go with God”, God be with you”.
What were the African ways of venerating and communicating with the spirits and ancestors?
- Venerating means showing respect to somebody.
- Spirits and ancestors were venerated because they were believed to be senior to human beings and closer to God.
- Sacrifices were offered to them as the ways of venerating them.
- Pouring libation was done.
- The living invited them during ceremonies such as birth, invitation, marriage and burial.
- They consulted diviners, mediums and medicine men to keep in contact.
- The living named after them – thus they became immortal and members in the physical world again.
- Their names were mentioned during prayer.
- By maintaining their graves
- Giving them proper burial ceremonies
TOPIC EIGHT: AFRICAN MORAL AND CULTURAL VALUES.
What is the significance of the kinship system?
- Kinship means being related either by blood or marriages.
- The kinship system was important in the traditional African society because of the following factors.
- The kinship system regulated people’s behavior towards each other. This promoted peaceful and harmonious relationships.
- It promoted co-operation among community members especially in times of difficulty.
- It helped to ensure that the disadvantaged members of the community were taken care of.
- The living dead and the ancestors were part of the African kinship system. This showed concern or the families or relatives they left behind.
- The kinship system led to the preservation of cultural identity.
- It provided a peaceful way of settling disputes with the elders acting as arbitrators.
- It ensured fairness and transparency in sharing out inheritance.
- The kinship system united the members of a family and clan by giving them a sense of belonging.
- It helped people to establish new relationship, especially through marriage.
- Kinship ties regulated marital customs rules and regulations. People who were related in any way could not be allowed to marry.
Outline and explain factors contributing to harmony and mutual responsibility in the Traditional African Society
- Good morals: Every member of the community was expected to do the right thing according to the norms of the community.
- Participation in communal activities: Means of the community were expected to participate in communal activities e.g. wrestling, dances and communal work.
- Sharing: People shared ideas and even property, which created harmony among the people.
- Division of labor: Tasks were distributed according to one’s age; gender to avoid conflicts in roles.
- Rules: In Traditional African Communities, elders, men youth, and women had their respective roles to play that enhanced harmony in the community.
- Virtues: Virtues like generosity, obedience, kindness and honesty were encouraged since they contributed towards harmonious living.
- Religious beliefs and practices: A common belief in God, the spirits and ancestors created a sense of togetherness.
What was the purpose of bride wealth in the Traditional African Society?
- It was a way of thanking the bride’s family for taking good care of her.
- It was a form of compensation to the bride’s parents because the woman would now belong to another family.
- It was a sign of contract that the man would marry the girl and they would live together until death.
- It represented evidence of the groom’s ability to take care of a wife and a family.
- It was a sign of generosity on the side of the man.
- It initiated a long-lasting friendship between the families of the groom and the bride.
- It cemented a marriage.
- It was a symbol of the marriage covenant between the bride and the groom.
- Bride wealth served as an outward seal of the marriage contract.
Explain the role of medicine-men in the African Communities and their relevant today
- They are also referred to as healers, herbalists or traditional doctors.
- They identified illness and their causes.
- They identified appropriate treatment and prevention measures for the illness.
- They averted the effects of a curse.
- They offered sacrifices and prayers to God and the ancestors.
- They prepared charms for protection against witchcraft and evil spirits.
- They gave medicine to increase fertility in both people and animals.
- They acted as counselors, guiding people on all issues of life.
Relevance of Modern Society
- Modern medicine has not fully displaced herbalists.
- Medical doctors and scientific researchers today work side by side with traditional healers since herbs are used to make modern medicine.
- Some people still believe that there are some illnesses that cannot be treated in hospitals hence; they turn to herbalists.
- Some people also believe that medicine people who practice magic have the power to change their fate.