Many Christians read the Bible as a history of the Jewish nation of Israel and the story of Jesus and His followers. While these themes are certainly central to a large portion of the Bible, we often ignore the fact that the Bible is a multicultural text.
And no, we’re not being woke (although there’s nothing wrong with that). The Bible is and always has been a multicultural text.
Black history in the Bible
Let’s start with the big picture:
“God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature. …
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.’”
- Genesis 1:26-27 (MSG)
This passage leaves little room for controversial opinion. Despite the views of American slave masters of history or modern-day racists, no “race” is more pure than another. All human beings are made in the image of God and reflect His nature. That is an indisputable fact.
Furthermore, we want to highlight the specificities of black history in the Bible. For example, did you know that God set His sights on African nations and wanted the church to spread the message of the Gospel there as much as anywhere else?
The kingdom of Ethiopia is mentioned more than 40 times in the Bible. It’s often referred to as the land south of Egypt in the Bible, which was likely populated by black people as it is today. Additionally, there is research that supports the belief that the first man and woman were black, especially given that the location according to the Bible would put Eden somewhere near modern-day Sudan.
It’s also very likely that Israel and Jerusalem were very diverse under Roman rule. Additionally, Philip, a disciple of the early church, made a point to spread the Gospel to a eunuch from Ethiopia, who in turn took the Gospel message back to his nation and spread it to the people there.
You see, black history is all throughout the Bible and even at the very creation of mankind itself.
We need to work on shedding our illusions of European-centric Bible characters. We need to stop picturing a white Jesus and start picturing a Bible that speaks to people of all colors and backgrounds.
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