Part I Biblical Scroll links to Bible 1. Part II Electronic Bible links to Part 2.
The Bible: The Book That Bridges the Millennia

African American Jubilee Bible

Open Bible

By United Methodist News Service

News media contact: Linda Green (615) 742-5470 Nashville, Tenn.

   The black tradition of finding hope through worship has led the American Bible Society to launch the African American Jubilee Edition of the Bible.

   The Jubilee Bible, available in the King James Version or the Contemporary English Version, addresses the biblical understanding of jubilee while providing comprehensive commentary of African-American history, culture and faith formation. The offering also provides an authentic record of faith and tradition, chronicles African culture and traces the presence of Africans in the Bible.

   The jubilee theme is found in Leviticus 25 and the story of jubilee is located in both the Old and New Testaments. The concept of jubilee originated with God's command to the Israelites that every 50 years they free their slaves and return mortgaged lands to the original owners.

   "At the heart of jubilee is reconciliation and peace with justice. What a wonderful message to carry us forward into the next century," said Eugene Habecker, president of the American Bible Society, New York.

   Set within the contexts of the African-American religious experience, the Bible documents the period of the slavery, achievements of black church activism and the black struggle around the world. It was designed for pastors, church members and all individuals who want a better understanding of the role and place of the Bible in the African-American experience.

   The publication of the Jubilee Bible represents a significant milestone for American Bible Society, Habecker said. "As we stand poised in the threshold of a new millennium, we now have an educational Scripture resource to proclaim the biblical understanding of jubilee."

   For African Americans, the jubliee concept is found in their slave ancestors' love for the Bible, which drew them to embrace certain beliefs and kept the spirit of jubilee alive within the community. Less than 50 years after slavery officially ended, newly freed blacks created the institutional framework for black churches, black colleges, the black press and black businesses that continue today. The activity that laid a foundation for the survival of these institutions is celebrated in the Jubilee Bible.

   In addition to the Old and New Testaments, the Jubilee Bible is filled with more than 300 pages of text and full-color illustrations to help readers connect Black history, cultural images, moral visions, and perspectives to the ancient Scriptures in such a way that they become authentic, relevant and intimate, according to the American Bible Society.

   Prominent African-American theologians and emerging biblical scholars contributed to the Jubilee edition to help readers examine and study the Bible through African-American historical and cultural understandings of the Scriptures. Contributors include the Rev. Cain Hope Felder, a United Methodist and professor at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington; Bishop Thomas Hoyt Jr. of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Louisiana and Mississippi; the Rev. Virgil A. Wood, pastor of Pond Street Baptist Church in Providence, R.I.; and the Rev. Edwina Maria Wright, assistant professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York. In addition to their reflections on the African-American experience from Africa to the United States and the West Indies and South American, articles accompanying the Bible explain the practice and celebration of the spirit of jubilee in everyday life.

   The leather-covered Jubilee Bible contains a wealth of supplemental materials for devotional Bible study, Sunday school, group meetings, cultural awareness and heritage celebrations, as well as multicultural programs.

   To purchase a copy in either flex or hardcover editions, call toll-free (800) 32-BIBLE, order from the American Bible Society's Jubilee website at or from the ABS Bookstore at 1865 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10023.

   For more information, contact Elaine Nole, communications officer for the American Bible Society at (212) 408-1325 or e-mail her at

November 30, 1999

   Information for this article was adapted from an American Bible Society press release.

Biblical Translations

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