Translating Εὐαγγελιον, ἀποστόλος and ἱερεύς in the Oshindonga Dialect of Namibia: A Proposal

Magdalena Ndatoolewe Shilongo & Isaac Boaheng ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.5  No.1 January 2023 Article 1  pp. 1-16
DOI :   |   Published online 19th January, 2023.
© 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (


Throughout the world, Bible translators face several challenges as they attempt to transfer God’s word from the source languages into their native languages. This paper looked at the rendering of three biblical terms—namely, εὐαγγέλιον, ἀπόστολος and ἱερεύς—in the old Oshindonga Bible (published in 1954) and the theological and socio-religious impact these renderings have on the Oshindonga community. The data for the research was collected using personal interview based on structured and non-structured questions. The researchers used a sample size of thirty (30) people—including pastors from different denominations, theologians, “ordinary” congregants and translators of both old translation and the ongoing translation of the Oshindonga Bible and church elders—selected from Ondangwa and Omuthiya towns and some selected villages. These interviews were done face-to-face and via telephone with the chosen participants. The non-structured questions consisted of open-ended questions designed to meet the objectives of this research which were met. Field notes were taken during the contact sessions, whether during phone call interviews or face-to-face sessions. The analysis of the results resulted in the proposal of an alternative and a more meaningful translation of the Greek words under study.

Keywords: Apostle, Gospel, Oshindonga, Priest

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Magdalena Ndatoolewe Shilongo holds a Master of Theology degree from St. Paul’s University, Kenya. She is a Bible Translator with the Bible Society of Namibia with research interest in Translation Studies, Biblical Studies and African Christianity.

Isaac Boaheng (PhD) is a Lecturer in Theology and Christian Ethics at the Christian Service University College, Ghana, and a Research Fellow at the Department of Biblical and Religion Studies, University of the Free State, South Africa. Boaheng is an Ordained Minister of the Methodist Church Ghana serving the Suame Circuit of the Kumasi Diocese.


This paper is dedicated posthumously to Rev. Dr. Martin Ngodji who was the both the exegete and leader of the Oshindonga translation team.

Shilongo, M.N. & Boaheng, I. “Translating Εὐαγγελιον, ἀποστόλος and ἱερεύς in the Oshindonga Dialect of Namibia: A Proposal,” Journal of Mother-Tongue Biblical Hermeneutics and Theology 5, no.1(2023): 1-16.

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