Service and Care in the Johannine and Akan Conceptual Schemas: Inculturation Hermeneutics

Godibert Kelly Gharbin ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.9 No.10 October 2023 Issue  Article 2  pp. 491-499
DOI : |   Published online 20th October, 2023.
© 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (


The Johannine and Akan ideologies pertaining to communal existence place significant emphasis on the cultivation of values such as reciprocal service and care. Nevertheless, upon careful examination of the Akan conceptual framework, it becomes apparent that these principles are espoused and upheld due to Akan belief in the indispensable nature of interdependence of human beings. This belief stems from their recognition of the inherent insufficiency of the human being which consequently gives rise to imperfect expressions of service and nurturing. Thus, the study aims to provide a biblical response to these challenges by employing Ukpong’s inculturation hermeneutics. This approach presents a framework for interpretation that enables an exploration of sociocultural matters in a manner that not only enhances the comprehension of the biblical text but also permits the text to function as a discerning evaluation of the Akan culture and propose possible remedies for its sociocultural challenges. The findings reveal that the Akan concepts foster a form of reciprocal care that is propelled by individual motivations and also service that is incentivised by rewards. Consequently, this paper proposes that the Akan believers must emulate the servanthood of Jesus and see reciprocal care as a response to divine instruction. This pursuit should be undertaken with the intention of fostering a sense of familial unity, rather than with the anticipation of receiving equivalent treatment in return. This article makes a valuable contribution to the field of African Biblical Hermeneutics and the ongoing discourse surrounding the integration of the New Testament into the African cultural framework.

Keywords: Inculturation Hermeneutics, Johannine Concept of Service and Care, Akan Proverbs

Appiah, Peggy and Kwame Anthony Appiah. “Some Akan Proverbs.” New England Review 21, no. 1 (2000): 119-127.

Appiah, Peggy, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Ivor Agyeman-Duah. Bu Me Bε: Proverbs of the Akans. Oxfordshire: Ayebia Clarke, 2007.

Boakye, Lawrence L. “Akan Oral Tradition as Functional Epistemology in Scholarship, Social Change, and Development in Ghana.” In Religion and Sustainable Development: Ghanaian Perspectives, edited by George  Ossom-Batsa, Nicoletta Gatti and Rabiatu Deinyo Ammah,  27-44. Rome: Urbaniana University Press, 2018.

Borchert, Gerald L. John 12-21: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, The New American Commentary, vol. 25. Nashville: B&H Academic, 1996.

Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids-Cambridge: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991.

Gharbin, Godibert Kelly & Van Eck, Ernest. “Johannine Prologue: A Hermeneutical Key to the Community Theme.” Verbum et Ecclesia 43, no. 1 (2022): 1–8.

Gyekye, Kwame. An Essay on African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme. Rev. ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.

_______ African Cultural Values: An Introduction. Accra: Sankofa Publishing Company, 1996.

Harris, Murray J. John: Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2015.

Keener, Craig S. Gospel of John: A Commentary. 2 vols. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003.

Köstenberger, Andreas J. John: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004.

Opoku, Kwasi Asare. Hearing and Keeping: Akan Proverbs, vol. 2. Accra: Asempa Publishers, 1997.

Ridderbos, Herman. The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids-Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.

Talbert, Charles H. John: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine Epistles. Rev ed. Macon: Smyth and Helwys Publishing Inc., 2005.

Ukpong, Justin S. “Rereading the Bible with African eyes: Inculturation and Hermeneutics.” Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, 91 (1995): 3-14.

Vincent, Marvin R. Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2009.

Godibert Kelly Gharbin, PhD is a Research Associate at the Department of New Testament and Related Literature, University of Pretoria, Pretoria – South Africa.

Gharbin, Godibert K. “Service and Care in the Johannine and Akan Conceptual Schemas: Inculturation Hermeneutics, “ E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies, 9 no.10 (2023): 491-499.

© 2023 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Journals. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (