Christian Religious Education, CRE, latest Syllabus and Curriculum Designs - (2024)



  • An objective is a goal intended to be attained (and which is believed to be attainable)

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Gain insights into the unfolding God’s self-revelation to humankind through:
  1. Their personal experience
  2. The African Religious Heritage
  3. The Biblical revelation, and specifically through Jesus Christ
  4. The Christian Community, past and present
  1. Use the acquired social, spiritual and moral insights to think critically and make appropriate moral decisions in a rapidly changing society
  2. Appreciate and respect their own, and other people’s cultural and Christian beliefs and practices
  3. Acquire the basic principles of Christian living and develop a sense of self-respect and respect for others
  4. Promote international consciousness through the understanding of universal brotherhood and sisterhood
  5. Contribute positively to the transformation of self and the society as a whole
  6. Acquire knowledge for further studies in various career fields
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Christian Religious Education, CRE, latest Syllabus and Curriculum Designs - (1)



General Introduction to Christian Religious Education

Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  1. a) Define Christian Religious Education.
  2. b) Explain the importance of learning Christian Religious Education

Meaning of CRE

  • CRE is the study of God’s self revelation to human beings through scriptures, the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Reasons for studying CRE

  • To get a better understanding of God.
  • It helps the learner to think critically and make wise decisions
  • To appreciation your religion and that of others.
  • To help you acquire principles of Christian living.
  • To help you develop a sense of self-worth and identity for ourselves and others.
  • To promote international consciousness.
  • To help us live new lives in Christ.
  • To help form a bridge for further studies and career development.
  • To identify answers to some life’s questions.
  • To contribute to the achievement of the national goals of education.
  • It helps the learner to appreciate and value human life and the rest of God’s creation
  • It helps them to appreciate their traditional beliefs
  • It helps students to develop wholly i.e. spiritually, physically, mentally andintellectually.
  • It helps to guide the learners for right behavior in society and towards God.

How the study of Christian Religious Education contributes to national development

  • It encourages the learner to have a positive attitude towards work/hard work is encouraged/laziness is discouraged
  • It helps the learner to acquire virtues/moral values that promote economic development
  • It discourages vices which hinder national development
  • Learners are equipped with knowledge/skills which lead to career development/employment
  • Learners are taught their duties/responsibilities as human beings/the need to develop the environment/nation
  • Learners are taught the need to use their talents for the development of self/others/nation
  • It stresses the need for love/peace/unity which contributes to a favourable working environment
  • Learners are taught to appreciate their culture and that of others to promote national cohesion

National Goals of Education

  • National unity
  • National development (economic and social needs)
  • Individual development and self- fulfillment
  • Social equality
  • Respect and development of cultural heritage
  • International consciousness

Reasons why C.R.E as a subject is incorporated into the curriculum in Kenyan schools today

  • To make us aware of our religion and culture
  • To improve our understanding of the Bible/know the character of some personalities in the Bible to emulate them (e.g. Abraham/Moses/David)
  • For career development leading to employment to appreciate God’s creation
  • To acquire skills and knowledge so as to make social/moral/spiritual decisions
  • To develop our faith in Jesus / to lead holy lives
  • To assist the student to achieve the national goals of education (i.e. equality/unity)
  • To help one to analyze the mystery of life (e.g. why people die /what happens after death)

How the teaching of C.R.E enhances national unity

– It emphasizes on the virtue of love, peace and unity

– It enables the learners to understand, appreciate and respect other people’s faith

– It teaches that human race has the same fatherhood of God and the same destiny

– It enables the learner to develop a sense of self respect and respect for others

– It enhances mutual social responsibility

– It promotes social justice

– It campaigns against all forms of discrimination e.g. tribalism, gender, race

Moral benefits of studying C.R.E

  • The subject instills in people the virtues of honesty, diligence, humility, tolerance e.t.c
  • Contributes to the spiritual development of a person by realizing ones relationship with God/ Supreme Being
  • Encourages love among people which is expressed when people live in harmony
  • The subject builds our faith in God
  • One develops basic principles of Christian living e.g. faith, love
  • Helps one to cope with various challenges in life, as one is guided by the Biblical teachings in making choices that are appropriate to Christian living
  • The subject instills the spirit of sharing and concern for others who are needy such as the orphans, widows and those living with HIV/ AIDS
  • Makes one to work hard for it leads to career development such as law, teaching, pastoral work, guidance and counseling and social work
  • Promotes and encourages people to live in unity and cohesion
  • Instills the spirit of self-esteem through the understanding that all human kind are created in the image and likeness of God

How the study of C.R.E. in secondary school has promoted morality in the society

Through studying C.R.E. students learn virtues such as:

  • Honest/sincerity thus are able to stay away from evils such as corruption
  • Respect for life because the bible teaches the sacredness of life.
  • Are able to appreciate their religion and this helps one in making moral decisions e.g. critical thinking, decision making, and creative thinking.
  • Respect for one’s body since our bodies are the temple of God thus is able to avoid all forms of sexual immorality.
  • It helps one to acquire skills and attitudes that help one in making moral decisions e.g. creative thinking, decision making, critical thinking etc.
  • Helps one live a new life in Christ thus be a good role model
  • Helps one develop principles of Christian living and develop a sense of self respect and respect for others/principles of the Ten Commandments and Jesus teaching on love.

– It helps one learn the character /nature of God and man having been created in His own image learns to emulate God.

Ways in which the teaching of CRE can help to inculcate moral values on the youth in

the contemporary society.

  • It enables the youth to develop Christian principles which guide them in making moral decisions.
  • Helps them to develop concern for others and other values such as equality and justice.
  • Helps young people appreciate African practices which enhance moral values.
  • Helps the young people face challenges wisely by equipping them with life skills such as critical thinking and creative thinking.
  • It enhances a deeper understanding of God’s saving power through Jesus Christ.
  • It helps the youth to appreciate their own culture and that of others’ religion hence co-existing with one another.
  • It promotes unity by advocating harmony and peace in the society.
  • It promotes respect, protection and conservation of God’s creation.
  • It helps to develop healthy spiritual life for the youth.

Importance of CRE to a secondary school student in Kenya.

  • It equips the learner with an understanding of God / spiritual growth.
  • The learner acquires life skills to handle challenges in life.
  • It helps one to respect his / her own and other people’s religious beliefs.
  • It helps one to acquire basic principles for Christian living / moral values.
  • It enables one to understand how to relate with other people.
  • It gives answers to questions / mysteries of life.
  • It explains the origin / purpose of human beings on earth.
  • It leads to employment / careers.

The Bible

Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  1. Explain the bible as the word of God, its major divisions and its human authors;
  2. Outline the translation of the Bible from the original languages (Hebrew and Greek) to local languages;
  3. Discuss the effects of the translation of the Bible into African languages.

Why the bible is referred to as God’s Word. (Hebrews 1:1-2, 2 Timothy 3:16; Rev. 22:18)

– Its authors were inspired by God

– It is a revelation of the salvation history fulfilled in Jesus Christ

– It contains the words of people sent by God i.e. the prophets

– It contains predictions and prophecies which eventually came to pass

– It reveals that God controlled what was being written, in that its ideas and truths came from God Himself.

– God Himself took part in the writing of the Bible, i.e. the Ten Commandments

– The New Testament is mainly concerned with the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the word incarnate.

– It reveals God’s nature and character.

Ways in which God speaks to us through the Bible

  • Through historical events.
  • Through creation, nature and natural events.
  • Through dreams and visions.
  • Direct revelation.
  • Through Jesus Christ.
  • Through the Holy Spirit and the conscience.

Use of the bible in a Christian life

  • It is essential for spiritual growth.
  • It is used to commit leaders to oaths of office.
  • It is used in courts of law.
  • It is used in religious ceremonies
  • It guides in our relationship with others.
  • It is a book for students and teachers
  • It reveals God’s character.

The use of the Bible among Christians today

  • To compose gospel songs
  • For guidance and counseling
  • To rebuke wrongdoers
  • To take oaths
  • In making laws
  • To study CRE in schools
  • To comfort and console
  • It is used when making wise decisions
  • Used in religious ceremonies e.g. wedding/funerals/baptism
  • It identifies the Christian faith
  • It is used to strengthen the faith of Christians and brings them closer to Lord.
  • Used in prayers

Ways in which Christians use the bible to spread the Good News today.

  • By reading the bible to other fellow Christians.
  • The bible is used for instructing new converts
  • Used in preaching / teaching by pastors
  • Used as a reference book
  • Christians use it to compose songs/ hymns which are used to praise God in the church
  • Christian literature e.g. books are derived from the bible.
  • Individuals use it at home to understand God.

Why reading the Bible is important to Christians.

  • It provides moral and spiritual guidance
  • Helps them discover the will of God/ God reveals Himself through the bible
  • Reading the bible is an aspect of Christian worship/ a way of worshipping
  • The bible is the basis of Christian doctrines and practices/ Helps in understanding Christian doctrines/eschatological times.
  • It gives guidance on the relationship among human beings/ and between human beings and God
  • It is the word of God
  • Christians come to discover who they are/ help a person discover his/ her worth /dignity of the human person.
  • It is a source of consolation to Christians/ gives hope to Christians/source of inspiration
  • It is a source of knowledge/ enlightened/ improves their knowledge
  • Helps in spiritual development and maturity/ enlightens them/ improve their faith
  • Helps them understand the universe/ environment and their relationship to it.

Human Authors (2 Peter 1:20-21)

  • Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible
  • David and Solomon composed songs and wise sayings
  • Some were scribes who wrote for their teachers e.g. Baruch for Jeremiah
  • Joshua and Esther wrote the record of the history of the people of Israel and their dealings with God
  • Some were written by prophets like Nehemiah, Ezra, Isaiah etc
  • St Luke wrote St Luke’s gospel
  • Paul wrote various letters to different churches

Ways through which God inspires the human authors of the Bible.

  • Talked to them directly
  • Through dreams and visions
  • Through the Holy spirit
  • Through historical events
  • Through physical events
  • Through prophets
  • Through Jesus
  • Through other Scriptural writings
  • Through their conscience.

Literary Forms

  • These are the different styles of writing.
  • Some of the literary forms used in the bible are;-
  • Legislative texts e.g. Leviticus
  • Prayers e.g. Nehemiah
  • Poetry e.g. Psalms
  • Gospels e.g. Luke
  • Philosophical essays e.g. Ecclesiastes
  • Love songs e.g. Song of Solomon
  • Wise saying e.g. Proverbs
  • Prophetic speeches e.g. Jeremiah
  • Religious epics e.g. Exodus
  • Epistles e.g. Romans

The Bible as a library.

  • It contains many books compiled together.
  • It has different categories of books/divisions
  • The books are written in different styles/forms.
  • The books were written at different times/situations/backgrounds.
  • The books address different issues/topics/purposes.
  • The books were written for different audiences/readers.
  • The books are systematically arranged/order/chronological.

Reasons why the Bible is referred to as the Good News

  • The Bible has messages of hope
  • The Bible contains the message of reconciliation
  • Through it man gets salvation from the fallen state
  • It deals with the suffering of man
  • It gives man revelation on mysteries
  • Through it God communicates His will to man
  • It brings man closer to God
  • It makes man aware of his destiny

Reasons why Christians refer to the Bible as a holy book

  • It talks about God who is holy.
  • The writers were inspired by God.
  • It calls for spiritual purity.
  • It is the word of God.
  • It is used in worship and adoration.
  • It has laws of what God expects of us.
  • Its presence signifies God’s presence.
  • It is a summary of the salvation history of mankind.
  • It is the core of Christian faith.
  • It is the mirror and guide to Christianity and its tenets.
  • It is reserved for special uses like worship.
  • It is a source of Christian instructions.

Reasons why Christians believe that the Bible has no errors.

  • It was inspired by God.
  • It deals with God’s revelation to human beings and their response.
  • The Bible contains the true message of God for our daily lives.
  • It contains the Ten Commandments given by God for our daily lives.
  • It is the revealed word of God.
  • The authors of the Bible wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Ways in which God is associated with the Bible

  • God inspired the writers/ authors
  • God Himself participated in writing /wrote the 10 commandments
  • God gave his messages to mankind through the Bible
  • God reveals Himself to mankind through the Bible
  • God the Holy Spirit influenced the Bible

Reasons why the Bible was written after the death and ascension of Jesus Christ

  • There was need to write an orderly account for Jesus
  • There was need for a text to combine both old and new testaments
  • There was rapid expansion of the church
  • It was intended to counter the rise of false teaching which confused the Christians
  • Christians had awaited for long for the second coming of Jesus Christ which was not forth coming
  • The death of many eye witnesses led to the need to write so that we preserve Jesus teachings
  • The writing materials on which the work was recorded was available
  • They had the Holy Spirit which inspired them to write

Major divisions of the bible

Two major divisions

  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • The bible has a total of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament
  • Some other bibles have an extra 7 books which are referred to as Deutero-Canonical/books of Apocrypha (hidden/secret)
  • They include Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees and the Book of Wisdom.

The Old Testament Books

Law books

  • Are the first five books of the Old Testament namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy
  • Are referred to as the Torah (Law) or the Pentateuch (five)
  • Sometimes referred to as the books of Moses and contain the Law of God to the people of Israel
  • The law was to regulate their relationship with God and fellow Israelites
  • From creation to time they entered the promised land

Historical books

  • Are 12 and record history of the Israelites from the time they entered and settled in the promised land to the period after the exile

  • and include Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.

Prophetic Books

  • Are 17

Major Prophets

  • Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Lamentations.

Minor Prophets

  • Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi.

Poetic Books

  • Are five and are sometimes referred to as writing books or books of wisdom and include Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs/Songs of Solomon.

The New Testament Books

  • Were written by the followers of Jesus many years after he had died, resurrected and ascended to heaven.
  • Are divided into four:
  1. Gospels(announcing of Good News) – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  • The first three are referred to as the synoptic gospels for they report similar incidents about the life of Jesus
  1. Acts of the Apostles
  • Was written by Luke and deals with the history of the Early Church.
  1. The Epistles (Letters)
  • They were mainly written by Paul to particular churches he founded in Asia Minor or to particular individuals.
  • Are 21 and include Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude.
  1. The book of Revelation
  • It is prophetic in nature
  • It is referred to as the apocalypse which means revelation or disclosure.

General / Pastoral Epistles

  • They were written by authors that are not clearly known.
  • James
  • I Peter
  • II Peter
  • I John
  • II John
  • III John
  • Hebrews
  • Jude


  • The Old Testament was first written in Hebrew.
  • First translation into Greek was done two hundred years before Christ was born.
  • The New Testament was originally written in Greek.
  • During the C14th the bible was translated into Latin.
  • Latin translation was done by a scholar called Jerome.
  • The Latin translated was called the vulgate.
  • The first English and German translations were done around 16th AD during the period of reformation.
  • The first bible translation in East Africa was done by John Ludwig Krapf.
  • He translated the New Testament into Kiswahili.
  • In Kenya, the bible society of Kenya and bible translation and literacy organization has attempted to translate the bible into smaller language groups.


  • Greek (Septuagint)
  • Latin (Vulgate)
  • International languages (English, Germany/European languages).
  • Local languages (Vernaculars)

The major stages of translation of the Bible up to the moment we now have it in several Kenyan languages

  • Translation of the old Testament from Hebrew into Greek by to translators (septraginta) resulting into the version called the Septuagint (250-100B)
  • Translation of the entire Bible into Latin from Greek by the great Christian scholar Jerome, giving rise to the vulgate version 397-404 AD 4th
  • Translation of the Bible from Latin to German by Martin Luther 1520-1536) this was as a result of the period of reformation in the church.
  • English scholars produced the authorized King James Version in English (1604-1611).
  • Joint translation of the Bible into English and German by the English foreign Bible society (1804)
  • The translation of the first three chapters of Genesis into Kiswahili by Johann L. Krapf in Kenya.
  • Translation of St. Gospel into Kirabai (1848)
  • Translation of St. Marks Gospel into Kikamba (1850)
  • New Testament translated entirely into Kiswahili (1909)
  • 1980-The Bible Society of Kenya (BSK) later Bible Translation and Literacy (BTLO) organized to translate the Bible into 42 languages.

Reasons of translating the Bible from original languages to other languages

  • To expand Christianity in the Gentile lands
  • The original languages (Greek and Hebrew) were not so clear
  • To convert many people to Christianity
  • To enable many people to read and understand the word of God.
  • To indigenize Christianity
  • For effective communication
  • To promote revival movement
  • For individuals to read at their own free time.

Versions of the bible used in Kenya today

  • Revised Standard Version
  • King James Version
  • New king version
  • The good news
  • New English version
  • The Gideon bible

  • The living bible
  • The new English bible
  • The common bible
  • New Life version.
  • The New international version
  • Jerusalem bible
  • Authorized bible
  • The African bible

Effects of bible translation into African languages

  • It led to the establishment of more schools.
  • It led to the development of independent churches
  • Africans became critical of certain issues preached by the missionaries e.g. equality, love and monogamy.
  • It led to mass evangelization
  • Africans were able to have a clear understanding of the scriptures.
  • Demand for more bibles arose and this led to the establishment of the local printing press.
  • Missionaries began to appreciate the African culture and this reduced suspicion between the two parties.
  • Africans re-discovered their own cultural identity.
  • Helped the Africans to understand themselves and become more aware of their human dignity before God.
  • It led to development of local languages.
  • It led to the expansion of the church.
  • It facilitated research and studies in the African religious heritage.
  • Africans went to school and became literate and were now able to communicate with others confidently.

How bible translation was advantageous to the African community.

  • Development of local languages. A script had to be developed to enable the local languages to be written down
  • The word reached many people because they could now read it in their own languages
  • African’s could read and understand it better
  • Africa’s became aware of their identity i.e. they learnt that all human beings are equal
  • It made African’s to have a critical outlook of some issues e.g. they were able to see similarities and differences between Christianity and traditional African way of life
  • It led to a high demand of formal education by Africans
  • Africans who went to missionary schools became literate and were now able to communicate with others confidently
  • Africans established independent churches and schools
  • Africans expanded the church by becoming leaders in the churches for example; they became priests, catechists and lay leaders
  • Many Africans embarked on research and studies in African Religious Heritage e.g. Mugambi, Mbiti e.t.c.
  • Enabled them to fight for independence

Ways in which the bible translation has facilitated the spread of Christianity in Kenya

  • It has led to the development of African languages.
  • Many people can now read the bible in their own vernacular.
  • The bible has become a useful resource for learning in school/ adult education/ classes.
  • It has led to the expansion of the church.
  • It has led to emergence of African independent churches and schools.
  • It enabled the missionaries to learn the local languages for faster spread of Christianity.
  • It has led to the high demand for formal education in Kenya.
  • Africans are able to discover certain contradictions on issues e.g. racism, equality, polygamy etc.
  • It has made it possible for Africans to participate actively in evangelism as pastors, priests, evangelists etc.
  • It has contributed to the spirit of ecumenism as several denominations work together and consult each other.
  • It helped to bring the churches together to start the bible society of Kenya.
  • It has contributed to the development of African theology (e.g. study of African religious heritage)

Hindrances to the process of Bible translation today

  • High levels of illiteracy in some parts of the country
  • Lack of money to fund the expensive translation process
  • Remoteness of some geographical regions which makes it inaccessible for the translators
  • Few people with translation skills and knowledge
  • Languages are dynamic which makes translation difficult (SHENG)

Why the Bible had to be compiled into its present form by early Christians.

  • The eye witnesses of Jesus Christ were being killed
  • Due to the expansion of the church/increased number of believers/who needed material to refer to.
  • In order to prevent information from getting lost
  • To counter false teachings which were confusing believers
  • To preserve an orderly account of Biblical themes/avoid distortion
  • To reach out to Jews in the Diaspora
  • To ensure that same doctrines were being taught to all believers

Circ*mstances which led into writing of the biblical messages.

  • The eye witnesses who heard Jesus preaching, saw his miracles and his life in general were dying hence the need for writing
  • The writing materials in which the work was recorded were available
  • To have a permanent record of the Israelites details
  • The rise of false teaching which was confusing Christians hence the need to put the right materials straight/warn the future generations against repeating their ancestor’s sins
  • There was need to write an orderly account
  • There was need to spread the gospel speedily
  • There was geographical expansion of the church
  • There was need for the text to combine the Old and the New Testaments
  • The gospel writers wrote to show that what had been prophesied was fulfilled.

Ways in which the bible is used to spread the gospel in Kenya

  • For preaching, evangelists, pastors etc. use the bible as a basic reference when preaching
  • For teaching / instruction in learning institutions/ school text for r.e
  • Selling them to willing buyers/in the bookshops/streets etc.
  • Free distribution e.g. the Gideon’s/giving them to individuals as gifts
  • Translation e.g. into different versions, languages for easy understanding
  • Illustration: biblical stories are illustrated on walls/posters/items of clothing/calendars
  • By publishing books for bible studies e.g. the daily guide / daily bread etc.

Ways in which some people misuse the bible today.

  • Quoting isolated scriptures to justify their wrong doing.
  • Quoting isolated scriptures to justify their authority.
  • Misinterpreting certain areas to cause fear among people.
  • Misinterpreting certain scriptures to lead people astray e.g. telling them that the world is ending on a given date.
  • Misinterpreting certain scriptures to exploit others financially.
  • Swearing by it and yet telling lies
  • Pronouncing curses on others using it.

Why some Christians find it difficult to read the Bible.

  • Illiteracy
  • Difficulties in interpreting scriptures.
  • Being busy in other activities / lack of time for reading the Bible/ careers.
  • Existences of different biblical versions of the Bible / some find it difficult to identify the best.
  • Lack of interest- some have interest in reading other books but not the Bible.
  • Some fear reading large volumes of books like a Bible.
  • Lack of reading skills/ Culture.
  • Unavailability of Bibles / Expositive to some / few.
  • Some fear the collective rebuking nature of the Bible.
  • Lack of faith in God as some see the Bible as an ordinary book.
  • Negative attitude to be seen reading the Bible.
  • Some believe that the Bible is only read on Sunday in the church / misconception.

Areas where the bible is used today

  • It is used to commit leaders to oaths of office
  • It is used in law courts
  • It is used in worship
  • It is used in funerals
  • It is used in baptism
  • It is used in consecration of the clergy
  • It is used in consecration of new church buildings
  • It is used in composing Christian hymns
  • It is a book for students and teachers
  • It is used in marriage ceremonies

Importance of the bible to Christians today.

  • It strengthens the faith of Christians
  • Helps in spreading the gospel to different people and communities
  • Helps Christians to compose songs and hymns
  • Helps Christian scholars and authors to write Christian text books, pamphlets and magazines

(Christian literature)

  • Helps preachers to convert new people who were non believers
  • Helps Christians understand the word of God deeply and properly
  • Helps Christian to provide guidance and counseling to fellow Christians who have problems
  • Promotes communication between God and Christians
  • To get comfort/consolation



Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  1. Describe the biblical accounts of creation and appreciate creation as the work of God
  2. Identify the attributes of God from the biblical accounts of creation
  3. Describe the traditional African understanding of creation
  4. Explain the teachings from the Biblical creation
  5. Explain the origin of sin according to the Biblical accounts of the fall of human beings and its consequences
  6. Explain the traditional African concept of evil and discuss the similarities and differences with the Biblical concept of sin
  7. Explain God’s plan of salvation


The bible contains two accounts of creation. The first account gives a record of what was created on specific days as follows;-

DAYWork of Division and Ornamentation
ILight and darkness
IIILand, sea and vegetation
IVSun, moon and stars
VBirds and sea creatures
VIAnimals and human beings
VIIGod rested
  • On the first day, God created light and separated it from darkness
  • On the second day, God created the sky
  • On the third day, God created the earth, seas and oceans
  • On the fourth day, God created the sun, moon and stars
  • On the fifth day, God created all kinds of sea creatures that live in water and all kinds of birds
  • On the sixth day, God created both wild and domestic animals. On the same day, He created human beings (male and female)
  • On the seventh day, God rested.

Second creation account (Genesis 2:4-25)

  • It’s human centered
  • God created the earth and the heavens.
  • He formed man out of dust, breathed into his nostrils and man became a living being.
  • God planted the Garden of Eden in the east.
  • He put man in the garden
  • God made every tree to grow out of the ground.
  • In the middle of the garden was the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  • Man was given the responsibility to till and conserve the garden.

  • Man was commanded to freely eat of every tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  • God formed other creatures and gave man the responsibility to name them.
  • God saw it was not good for man to be alone.
  • He needed a companion
  • God formed the woman out of man’s rib.

Activities performed by God in the second account of creation.

  • God created the heavens and the earth.
  • He moulded man from soil and gave him the breath of life.
  • He planted the Garden of Eden.
  • God put man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and guard it.
  • God planted all types of trees.
  • He commanded man to eat from all trees except from the tree in the middle of the garden.
  • He created all types of animals and gave them to man to name.
  • He made Adam to go into a deep sleep.
  • He created woman from the man’s rib.
  • He brought the woman to man / Adam.

The meaning of the command “subdue the earth” (Genesis chapter 1:28)

  • Human beings are empowered to transform the creation God provided them with
  • Human beings are to use the creation responsibly with respect e.g. forest, rivers, minerals, animals
  • It is stewardship which put human beings in harmony with nature.
  • Human beings are responsible to God for the management of creation and human affairs.
  • Human beings have a special role/responsibility towards the rest of creation/stewards
  • Human beings are to respect the sovereignty of God over all the earth.
  • Human beings are to recognize that God provides for their needs/he loves them.
  • Human beings are to depend on nature for their survival/interdependence of all creation.

How modern Christians are fulfilling the command “subdue the earth”

  • Tapping the earth’s resources through science and technology.
  • Development in medicine/prolonged life/healthier lives.
  • Practicing/teaching methods of caring/conserving the environment.
  • By sensitizing people on the importance of protecting the environment.
  • Christians avoid engaging in activities that may result in environmental degradation
  • Christians are actively involved during environmental day
  • Christians give financial support to organizations concerned with environmental protection/buying trees, planting seedlings etc.

Similarities between the first and second creation accounts

  • In both, God is portrayed as the sole creator of the universe and everything in it.
  • In both, the man and the woman are created by God and given special privileges
  • In both, God is the provider and sustainer of His creation
  • In both, man is given the responsibility to take control of all of God’s creation
  • In both, creation includes both the living and non-living things
  • In both, man shares in the life of God spiritually
  • In both, God is the source of life

Differences between the first and second creation accounts

  • The creation of the firmament, light, sun, moon, stars, fishes and creeping things are included in the first account but omitted in the second account.
  • In the first account both man and woman are created at the same time and in God’s image while in the second account, man is created from dust and woman out of man’s rib.
  • In the first account, creation is out of nothing while in the second account, man is made out of the dust of the ground and the plants made to grow out of a garden.
  • In the first account, human beings were created last while in the second, they were created first.
  • In the first account, creation was completed on the sixth day and God rested on the seventh day while in the second account, days and rest are not mentioned.
  • In the first account, everything that God created is good while in the second account, this is not mentioned.
  • In the first account, the emphasis on marriage is for procreation (Gen 1:28), while in the second account, marriage is for partnership (Gen 2:18, 23-24).
  • In the first account human beings subdue the earth, while in the second account man continued in the garden.
  • In the first account the spirit of God was moving over the face of the water while in the second account the spirit of God is not mentioned.
  • In the first account, God worked in unity with the spirit while in the second account He is alone
  • In the second account, there is the planting of the garden and the making the river while in the first account, this is not mentioned.
  • In the second account, there is mention of the forbidden tree while this is not mentioned in the first account.

Similarities in the creation of human beings in the two creation accounts

  • In both, they have a special relationship with God/image of God
  • In both, they are created by God
  • In both, their creation involves both male and female
  • In both, human beings are to be in charge of God’s creation
  • In both, human beings are superior to other creatures
  • In both, human beings are to obey God’s instructions

The relationship between man and woman according to the Genesis accounts of creation.

  • Both were created by God/given the breath of life/life giving Spirit.
  • Have to multiply /procreate/become one flesh/sex.
  • Companions/complement each other /helper.
  • Both are equal
  • They are to take care of creation/co-workers with God/continue with creation.
  • Are to die /return to the soil.
  • Are to obey/worship God/Rest /have personal relations hip with God.

Attributes of God from the biblical accounts of creation

  • There is only one God
  • God is self-existent
  • God is a personal God
  • God is the sole creator
  • God is the sole source of life.
  • God is a God of order
  • God is good and perfect.
  • God is a moral God
  • God is holy
  • God is the provider and sustainer of the universe.
  • God is all powerful (omnipotent)
  • God is supreme.
  • God is to be worshipped
  • God is all knowing (omniscient)
  • God is everywhere (omnipresent)

Teachings from the biblical accounts of creation

  • God is the sole creator of the universe
  • God requires faith from us.
  • Human beings are different from other creatures.
  • Human beings should respect one another.
  • Human life is God-given and sacred.
  • Human beings have the ability to understand and exercise control over all other creatures.
  • Marriage is blessed by God.
  • God intends that human beings should work.
  • Human beings should at least devote one day a week to praise and worship God.
  • The environment is God’s gift for human beings to exploit and conserve for their benefit.

The teaching about human beings from the Biblical creation accounts

  • Human beings are created in the image/likeness of God
  • Human beings are co-creators with God/have to continue with God’s work of creation
  • Human life is God given/have the breathe of life from God
  • Human beings have authority/dominion over God’s creation/superior to the rest of creation
  • Human beings have the ability to think/reason/make choices/decisions/bear consequences
  • Human beings are social beings/need companionship
  • Human beings have a duty to take care of God’s creation/till the land/work
  • Human beings are to use the other creation for their benefit/transform the world for their benefit
  • Human beings are blessed by God
  • Man and woman are equal before God/created by God
  • Human beings are to procreate through marriage/multiply/fill the earth
  • Human beings have been created to obey/fellowship with God/special creatures
  • The woman was created out of the man’s rib

Provisions given to man by God in the creation stories

  • The Garden of Eden/a beautiful home
  • A helper/companion/ a wife
  • The gift of life/breath
  • His love/perfect happiness
  • Wealth i.e. gold from four rivers
  • Power to procreate
  • Authority/dominion over the rest of the creation
  • All types of food they needed i.e. plants and animals alike
  • Water from the four rivers, Pishon, Tigris, Euphrates and Gihon

Expectations of God from human beings / Responsibilities given to human beings by God / Instructions given to man by God in the creation stories/accounts.

  • To till/ cultivate the land
  • To have dominion/be in charge of God’s creation/subdue/control the earth/creation
  • To guard/ protect/conserve/care for the land/keep it.
  • To obey God’s commands or instructions
  • To marry for companionship/procreation
  • To name God’s creation
  • Should help one another
  • Respect each other

The relationship between Human beings and God in the second Biblical account of creation

  • Human beings were created by God
  • Human beings have the spirit of God in them
  • Human beings are to obey God
  • Human beings get their provision from God
  • Human beings are to take care of God’s creation
  • God wants man to work
  • Human beings are co-creators with God
  • God wants human beings to lead a comfortable life.

Lessons Christians learn about work from the Genesis stories of creation.

  • Work was ordained by God.
  • Work makes human beings complete achievements self – realization and self-fulfillment.
  • Christians learn that work is to be done for 6 days and rest on the seventh day, as God did.
  • Christians learn that one has to work to provide for hi/her family needs, be self-relevant.
  • Work was introduced to man as a punishment of their sin at the Garden of Eden.
  • They learn to work is to contribute to the development of the community.
  • Christians learn that they should obey God’s command of sub-doing and conquering the earth and becoming co-worker.
  • Work is a way of continuing with the creation activity of God.
  • Christians learn that work keeps them away from idle life which may lead to sin.

why man is considered the “image of God”

  • Man is made in the image and likeness of God
  • Man has the will to choose between good and evil
  • God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life i.e. God gave man physical and spiritual life
  • Man shares with God in fellowship
  • Man was given vision powers than other animals
  • God gave man control over the earth
  • Man was to be God’s co-creator

How man has failed to take up their responsibilities as outlined in the Biblical creation accounts

  • Polluting the environment i.e. land, water, air etc.
  • Destroying vegetation.
  • Not protecting animals e.g. poaching.
  • Not honouring the Sabbath Day/Not worshipping
  • Disobeying God’s commands.
  • Practising unnatural sexual relations e.g. hom*osexuality.
  • Polygamous marriages.
  • Carrying out abortion instead of procreating.
  • Deciding to remain unmarried.
  • Preventing pregnancy by taking contraceptives.

The teachings of Genesis 1-2 on marriage.

  • Marriage is monogamous i.e. one man one woman.
  • Marriage is heterosexual i.e. between a man and a woman.
  • Marriage is for procreation.
  • It is a continuation of God’s work of creation.
  • Marriage is a permanent union.
  • Husband and wife should not be ashamed of each other.
  • Man and woman are equal marriage partners.
  • There should be love between married partners.
  • Marriage is a sacred institution ordained by God.
  • Marriage is for companionship.
  • Man and woman are to complement each other.

Why man is considered as the climax of God’s creation.

  • He was created in God’s image and likeness.
  • He has God’s breath.
  • He was created to have fellowship with God/ communicate with Him.
  • He was given free will/conscience /knowledge/intelligence / to choose between right and wrong.
  • He was given the responsibility to rule over / dominion/ manage all the creation of God.
  • Man was blessed and commanded to go and multiply / fill the earth.
  • Man was given responsibility to name the rest of the animals / creation.
  • Man was created last after everything else had been created for his use.
  • Before creation there was consultation in heaven to make man in their image and likeness.
  • Man was given a helper / companion/ mate.
  • Man was moulded by God himself.

How man’s creation was different from other creatures

  • Was created in the image and likeness of God
  • Shared God’s life i.e. God breathed life in him
  • Was given responsibilities over other creations.
  • Was empowered to subdue and take charge of others
  • Was given rules to follow e.g. not to eat fruits of the tree at centre of the garden
  • Was made to worship God/ develop a good relationship with God.
  • God thought before creating man
  • Woman was created from the rib of the man
  • Man was placed in a special garden / Eden that had all that man could need to live

How a Christian can maintain and improve God’s creation.

  • Through procreation
  • Caring and conserving the environment
  • Caring for the needy
  • Preserving life.
  • Respecting and protecting the rights of others
  • Respecting the property of others
  • Promoting peace and harmony in the society
  • Participating in the making of just laws.
  • Using their talents to be innovative and improve human life
  • Through scientific and technological discoveries which help to enhance the life and dignity of man
  • Providing work opportunities to help people realize self-fulfillment

Ways in which Christians care for God’s creation today.

  • Through procreation
  • Through responsible parent hood
  • Farming
  • Helping the needy
  • Preserving life i.e. not killing, avoiding abortion
  • Land reclamation
  • Through taking care of the environment / conserving the environment
  • Making just laws
  • Manufacturing of goods and services
  • Creating employment opportunities
  • Strengthening and joining movements like Green Belt movement which preserves environment.
  • Caring for wildlife i.e. reporting poachers to the relevant authorities.

Duties God gave to man in the creation narratives.

  • To marry
  • To procreate/Be fruitful and multiply
  • To till the land / garden of Eden
  • To give names to all creatures /animals/birds
  • To obey the Sabbath /rest
  • To eat of all the fruits in the garden except the forbidden fruit
  • To be obedient to God ‘s will or law
  • To take care of God’s creation /Environment
  • He was given authority /power/ dominion over other creatures

Teachings on the Relationship between human beings and the environment from the

Genesis stories of creation / the relationship between the environment and human beings in Genesis creation of stories.

  • Both human beings and environment were created by God
  • Human beings are superior to all other creatures.
  • Human beings should take care/conserve the environment
  • Human beings have authority over the rest of creation
  • Human beings should enjoy God’s creation.
  • All creation is very good and therefore human beings should treat it with respect.
  • Human beings and the environment are interdependent
  • Human beings and the rest of God’s creation have a common destiny.

– The environment has a role to provide for the needs of man.

– The environment provides a home for man.

Meaning of the biblical accounts of creation in Genesis chapters 1 and 2

  • God existed before creation
  • God is the sole creator of all that exists
  • Creation is the will/power of God/not an accident
  • Work/rest is ordained/willed by God
  • God is concerned about the wellbeing of all creation/provides/sustains
  • Everything that God created is good
  • Marriage is ordained by God/companionship/male and female/sexuality

Lessons that a Christian may learn from the creation accounts.

  • God is the sole creator of the universe and everything that exists in it.
  • God intends that human beings should work, God Himself worked during creation.
  • The environment is God’s gift for human beings to exploit and to conserve for their benefit.
  • Human beings should at least devote a day a week to praise and worship God as the source and sustainer of life.
  • Human beings have the ability to understand and exercise control over all other creatures.
  • God requires faith from us which should be expressed in obedience to His commands.
  • Marriage is blessed by God. It is instituted for the sake of companionship, mutual love and procreation.
  • Human beings should respect one another because all human beings have equal value before God.
  • Human beings have dominion over God’s creation.

Traditional African view of creation

  • All African communities believe that;-
  • God existed from the very beginning of time
  • Names used to describe God refer to him as the creator, master of the universe, moulder and potter.
  • Human beings were created to live in harmony with God
  • Death comes to the world as God’s punishment for disobedience.
  • God is the sustainer of what he has created
  • Africans have different myths of creation
  • God created out of nothing
  • God created in stages
  • God continues to create

Similarities between the Biblical and traditional African views on creation

  • In both, creation is the work of a supreme being/God.
  • In both, God continues to sustain/provide for His creation
  • In both, God is the sole source of life
  • In both, creation was done in an orderly manner
  • In both, human beings are the centre/climax of God’s creation
  • In both, human beings are in charge of the creation/have authority over creation
  • In both, human beings are to obey / worship the creator
  • In both, God’s work of creation is still going on.

Bukusu creation myth

  • God the creator (Wele Khakaba) created the world all alone.
  • He first created heaven
  • Then he created two assistants – Mukhobe and Murumwa.
  • Later he made the moon and the sun, but the two quarreled and fought
  • Moon was defeated and thrown into the mud to prevent him from shining brightly.
  • Wele ordered the sun to shine during the day on all people and the moon was to shine only at night.
  • Wele then made the clouds and the stars.
  • He made a big red co*ck which crows whenever it thunders warning people of the coming rain.
  • He then created rain and put it in the clouds.
  • To stop rain from falling when it was not needed, Wele created two rainbows one male and the other female. They had to work together to stop rain from falling.
  • Air was created next.
  • Wele created the earth with mountains and valleys
  • Since man needed someone to talk to, Wele created for him the first woman.
  • The couple needed water to drink so Wele let rain come down which filled up valleys and plains and formed lakes, rivers and streams.
  • Wele created plants, animals, birds and other creatures.

  • The whole work of creation was completed in six days, and on the 7th day Wele rested because it was a bad day.

Similarities between Genesis and African myths of creation

  • In both, God is involved in creation
  • There is creation of human beings
  • There is formation of heaven and earth
  • The human beings increase
  • There is creation of male and female
  • There is provision of a home for man and woman
  • In both God existed before creation
  • There is creation of vegetation and other features
  • There’s order in the creation
  • In both God is eternal / immortal.
  • In both, death occurs as a punishment to sin / evil.
  • In both God is all powerful.
  • In both God creates from nothing.
  • In both God provided for / sustains his creation.
  • In both God is a source of goodness.

How man can conserve the environment

  • Avoid deforestation
  • Avoid overgrazing.
  • Discourage dumping of waste.
  • Taking care of wild animals.

How man is continuing with God’s work of creation

  • Through procreation
  • Planting trees and flowers
  • Preventing soil erosion
  • Provision of health services
  • Taking care of the needy in the society
  • Keeping the environment clean by collecting rubbish

Ways in which people in the traditional African communities take care of God’s creation

  • They build shelters for domestic animals
  • They welcome/show hospitality to strangers/visitors
  • They share their resources with the needy
  • By planting/conserving vegetation/protect vegetation
  • They have herbal medicine to treat various ailments for both animals and human beings
  • By preserving habitats for wild animals
  • By observing personal hygiene
  • By providing basic needs for themselves and their families
  • By protecting water catchment areas
  • By practicing good farming methods that protect/enhance soil fertility/control soil erosion


  • Definition of sin – Sin has 3 definitions:
  1. To miss a mark – failure to attain a goal.
  2. Iniquity – An unjust act/ absence of moral or spiritual values
  3. Transgression – It means rebellion

THE FALL OF MAN (Genesis 3:1-17)

  • The serpent was more subtle than any other creature that the Lord God had made
  • The serpent asked the woman if God had said that they shall not eat of the fruit in the middle of the garden
  • The woman replied that they were to eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden but not to eat of the tree which was in the middle of the garden lest they die
  • The devil then told the woman that God knew that if they ate of the tree in the middle of the garden, then their eyes will be opened and they will be like God knowing good and evil
  • The woman saw that the tree was good for food and it was a delight to the eyes and desired to make one wise
  • She took the fruit and ate and gave some to her husband
  • The eyes of both were opened and they saw that they were naked
  • They sewed leaves together and made themselves clothes

Causes of the original sin as recorded in Genesis chapter 3.

  • Disobedience of God’s commands.
  • Lack of total faith in God’s good intention.
  • Weak faith as Adam and Eve were easily misled by Satan.
  • Lust for material gain/ pleasure and power.
  • Not turning to God for strength.
  • Failure to take responsibility and repent.
  • Greed

Origin of sin (Gen 3:1-6)

  • Desire for worldly glory.
  • Temptation by Satan.
  • Disobedience to God.
  • Human weakness.

Causes of evil (Gen. 3-11.)

  • Disobedience to the will of God (Adam and Eve)
  • Temptation by satan (Adam and Eve)
  • Desire for worldly glory (the tower of Babel) or pride.
  • Human weakness/ violence / drunkenness
  • Jealousy /rivalry (Cain and Abel)
  • Anger (Cain)
  • Lack of self control/lust

How the temptation by Satan led to fall of human kind.

  • Made man want something which was not his…to be like God/know good and evil.
  • They doubted the nature of God as a result the serpent portrays God as a liar…you cannot die.
  • Man mistrusted God and lost their relationship.
  • They were cheated /disobeyed God…ate the forbidden fruit in disregard to God’s warning.
  • Temptation made man develop greed for knowledge and power that belongs to God alone.
  • As a result of temptation man rebelled against God after listening to the serpent’s advice.

Factors which lead people to sin

  • Power struggle
  • Greed/Materialism
  • Jealousy
  • Egoism
  • Lack of moral and character formation.
  • Insecurity
  • Extreme poverty

Causes of sin in Kenyan society today.

  • Rebellion against God/Devil worship
  • Lack of knowledge of God/ignorance
  • Temptations/mass media
  • Selfishness
  • Wicked ambitions/corruption.
  • Human weakness/peer pressure
  • Stubbornness
  • Poor role models/poor parenting
  • Availability of drugs
  • Permissiveness in the society.

The immediate consequences of sin to Adam and Eve.

  • They realized that they were naked
  • Sewed leaves to cover themselves
  • They were ashamed and became afraid of God’s presence
  • They ran away to hide from God
  • Adam blamed Eve for the disobedience
  • Eve blamed the serpent
  • They were sent away from the Garden of Eden
  • Man and the snake became enemies.
  • Woman would be below a man (subordinate) woman will experience painful labour pains / man would toil
  • God looked for Adam and Eve

The consequences of sin

  • Human beings are alienated from God (Gen.3:8)
  • What had been innocent and good becomes shameful (Gen.3:10,)
  • Pain becomes part of human experience. (Gen. 3:16)
  • The perfect relationship between man and woman is damaged. (Gen. 3:16)
  • People will have to toil and struggle to meet their needs. (Gen 3:17-19).
  • The good relationship between God and human beings is ruined. . (Gen. 3:23-24)
  • The ground is cursed on account of man. (Gen. 3:17)
  • There is enmity between man and the wild animals. (Gen. 3:15)
  • Death sentence is passed upon all people. (Gen. 3:19)
  • Murderous feelings began to enter people’s hearts e.g. Cain killed Abel. (Gen. 4:8,17-24,5:28-29)
  • Human beings changed and became prone to sin. (Gen. 6:5-6)
  • The lifespan of human beings was reduced. (Gen
  • God confused human language after the flood. (Gen
  • Sin brought instability in the world. . (Gen

The effects of sin from the fall of human beings in Genesis 3

  • Both Adam and Eve realized they were naked.
  • They became ashamed.
  • They hid from God / feared to face God.
  • They started blaming each other.
  • The serpent was cursed.
  • Enmity between the serpent and human beings developed.
  • The woman was to experience pain in child-bearing.
  • The man was made to rule over the woman.
  • The man was to toil / sweat in order to eat.
  • The ground was made to produce weeds and thorns.
  • Death was introduced in their lives.
  • They were chased / banished from the Garden of Eden.
  • Man was alienated from God / spiritual separation.

Consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience

  • Pain during delivery.
  • Women will be subject to men.
  • Man will toil/struggle to get his daily bread.
  • Enmity between human beings and the snake.
  • Life span was reduced.
  • Alienation from God.
  • Human beings became prone to sin

Evidence of humankind’s sins from Genesis 4-11

  • Cain killed his brother Abel because of jealousy
  • Humankind continued to do evil and God decided to destroy them with a flood
  • Noah lay naked because of drunkenness and Ham saw his father’s shame
  • Humankind built the tower of Babel in an attempt to reach God and rival His power
  • The earth was corrupted by human beings and was filled with violence
  • God limited the number of days human beings would live on the earth to 120 years

Lessons from the fall of Adam into sin

  • Shame is a product of sin
  • They should not hide from God
  • They should be open to God
  • They should repent their sins
  • They should not shift blame
  • They should accept God’s punishment for sin
  • They should obey God’s commandments
  • Pray to God to overcome temptations

The great evils that threaten humankind today in the modern world.

  • Diseases e.g. Aids/HIV, Cancer.
  • Natural disasters e.g. earthquakes / floods / drought / famine / hurricanes.
  • Poverty and economic depression.
  • Terrorism / wars / bomb blasts.
  • Corruption and bribery.
  • Outbreak of fires.
  • Plane crashes / road accidents.

Consequences of evil in the society today.

  • Hatred among people.
  • Poverty
  • Environmental pollution.
  • Family conflicts.
  • Wars/revolutions

Ways through which Christians can avoid sin.

  • Resist temptation from the devil
  • Obey God’s laws/regulations/Avoid rebellion
  • Be prayerful /fasting
  • Avoid selfish desires
  • Use free will/freedom given to us properly
  • Seek guidance and counseling
  • Avoid bad company/peer influence
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol abuse
  • Avoid places that make them vulnerable to sin e.g. discos/bars parties held at night etc

How the church can help to bring back people who fall into sin in the society.

  • Evangelizing / preaching to them the word of God.
  • Visiting / inviting them in their homes.
  • Forgiving them / being patient with them.
  • Guiding and counseling them/ referring them for guidance and counseling.
  • Praying for them.
  • Involving them in church activities.
  • Inviting them in church.
  • Encouraging them to repent /confess.
  • Offering them material support.

How the church fights evil in the society today.

  • Preaching the gospel to make people change.
  • Repenting
  • Helping the needy
  • Creating job opportunities to absorb the unemployed.
  • Praying for evil doers to change.
  • Educating the youth on moral issues.
  • Punishing those who go against church rules.
  • Carry out guidance and counseling.
  • Reporting evil doers to the authority.
  • Being role models for others to copy.

How Christians help to reduce human suffering today

  • They preach to convert others from sinful life
  • They condemn those who oppress others in the society
  • They support the government in providing employment opportunities
  • They contribute their views towards the enactment of just laws
  • Providing the needs of those suffering e.g. food and shelter
  • By condemning traditional practices that promote human suffering e.g. female circumcision
  • They pray for those who are suffering
  • They offer guidance and counseling services to those with various social problems.

Teachings from Genesis that support equality between man and woman

  • Both are superior to the rest of creation.
  • Both are intelligent
  • Both were given divine command to multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.
  • Both are of the same flesh.
  • Both are responsible over God’s creation.
  • Both were created in the image of God.
  • God loves them equally.
  • Both were meant for companionship


Steps taken by God towards healing the damaged relationship with mankind.

  • He looked for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
  • He made garments of skin for adam and his wife and clothed them
  • He provided them with means to find food after throwing them out of the garden of Aden
  • He saved Noah and the family during the flood.
  • He made a covenant with Abraham.
  • He chose Israel as a holy nation through whom other nations would receive God’s salvation
  • He provided a new covenant through Jeremiah.
  • He promised and fulfilled the coming of the messiah who died on the cross to reconcile man to God.
  • He sent prophets to guide the Israelites on how to live.
  • He gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
  • He renewed the Sinai covenant with Israelites after they broke it.

God’s plan of salvation for mankind in the Bible.

  • He found where Adam and Eve were after they had sinned.
  • God provided them with clothes / garments.
  • He called Abraham to save other nations through him.
  • He sent prophets to guide and direct his people in the right way.
  • He gave Moses the Ten Commandments to guide his people.
  • Jeremiah’s teaching on the new covenant show that he had a plan of saving mankind.
  • Through Old Testament prophets, he promised mankind a Messiah who would save mankind (Jesus).
  • During the time of Noah, he did not destroy everybody but spared him and his family.
  • He saved Israelites from slavery in Egypt where they would have perished.
  • God spared a remnant after exile in Babylon.

The significance of forgiveness to Christians

  • It promotes peace and harmony among the people/Christians
  • It is a way of winning people to Christ.
  • It is a way of following the example of Christ.
  • In order for them to be forgiven by God, they should also forgive
  • It is a way of showing love for others
  • It strengthens relationship among the people.
  • It is a way of tolerating others

The traditional African concept of evil

  • Evil is an offence against another person or community.
  • It is an offence against God, spirits and ancestors.
  • Many African communities believe that God is good and he did not create evil.
  • Some African communities believe that evil resulted from human beings disobedience or evil spirits.
  • Other African communities believe that what God originally created as good became evil.
  • They see evil as the work of other spiritual beings.
  • Many African communities believe that the spirit of the dead can either be the origin of evil or the agents of evil.
  • Some African communities believe that evil is caused by people who use mystical powers such as magic, sorcery and witchcraft for their own selfish reasons.

Traditional African teaching on origin of evil.

  • God is good and he did not create evil.
  • God is not responsible for evil that befall man.
  • Evil originated from men’s disobedience.
  • Evil spirits are responsible for some evils.
  • Spirits of the dead may cause evil due to wrong burials.
  • Some communities associate evil with mystical powers e.g. magic, sorcery and witch craft.
  • There is divinity behind every evil which is not good.

Causes of evil in traditional African community

  • Evil spirits
  • Malicious ancestral spirits
  • Evil people like witches, wizards and sorcerers.
  • Breaking of taboos.
  • Curses by parents and other relatives
  • Breaking of oaths
  • Bad omen e.g. an owl crying near one’s homestead.

Consequences of evil in traditional African understanding

  • Barrenness
  • Epidemics
  • Illness
  • Poverty
  • Madness
  • Drought
  • Physically and mentally handicapped children
  • Rebellious children
  • Unstable families
  • Environmental disasters.

How traditional Africans seek reconciliation with God.

  • Through prayers
  • Pouring libations to the ancestors.
  • Offering sacrifices to God
  • Singing and dancing to God.
  • Respecting / visiting the sacred places.
  • Helping the less fortunate in the community.
  • Chanting the names of ancestors
  • Approaching God through their mediators.
  • Invoking the name of God.

How Christians seek personal reconciliation with God

  • Repentance / seeking forgiveness
  • Praying and fasting
  • Forgiving others
  • Seeking guidance and counseling
  • Seeking intercessions
  • Reading the Bible / Religious literature
  • Practicing Christian Ethics
  • Partaking the Lord’s supper/Participating in fellowship / Bible studies

Similarities and differences between traditional African view of evil and biblical concept of sin.


  • In both cases God/supreme being is good/ not the author of evil/sin/did not create evil.
  • In both, sin/evil is considered/known to interfere with the smooth running of the community as intended by God/supreme being
  • In both, sin/evil leads/results to alienation of human beings from God/interferes with the good relationship
  • In both, sin/evil arises from human beings disobedience/greed/selfishness
  • In both, sin/evil causes a lot of suffering to human beings
  • In both, sin/evil may result from failing in social/spiritual obligations/duty/caused by external forces
  • In both, human beings have the ability to overcome evil by choosing good/right
  • In both, God is the guardian of morality/law/order
  • In both, evil/sin leads to punishment from God/can lead to destruction of God’s creation through natural calamities
  • In both, evil/sin leads to death
  • In both, there is a remedy for sin/evil


  • While the biblical account emphasizes the personal nature of sin the African concept emphasizes more on the social nature and the consequences of evil.
  • While the African traditional understanding of evil emphasizes the act of evil and its consequences in the bible human beings are sinners by nature because they are tainted by the sin of Adam.
  • Although the bible recognizes other forces that may lead human beings to sin, emphasis is on the moral choices people make while the African traditional understanding attributes evil to external forces like evil spirits or breaking of taboos.
  • The biblical view does not leave human beings doomed to suffer forever: there is a message of hope but the African understanding of evil does not offer a final solution to the problem of evil.
  • Traditionally, it was always believed that suffering is a consequence of evil but in the bible, suffering is not linked to evil.

Effects of sin on Adam and Eve

  • They started dying yet they were to live forever
  • They became afraid of God/they hid when He called them.
  • They lost authority over the other creation
  • Man was to rule over the woman/inequality between man and woman set in.
  • The woman was to be in pain when giving birth
  • There developed enmity between human beings and the serpent
  • They became embarrassed because of their nakedness
  • They were expelled out of the Garden of Eden /separated with God
  • Mistrust developed between man and woman.

How the church helps to bring back members who have fallen from the faith.

  • By visiting them/inviting them to their homes
  • By being patient with them/forgiving them
  • By evangelizing to them/preaching/teaching the word of God
  • By guiding and counseling them/advice.
  • By praying for/with them
  • By inviting them to come to church
  • By encouraging them to repent/confess/seek forgiveness
  • By offering material needs/aid
  • Forgiving/accepting him/her in church



Specific objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  1. Outline the background to the call of Abraham
  2. Define the term ‘faith in God’
  3. Explain how Abraham demonstrated his faith in God and its relevance to Christians today
  4. State the promises made by God to Abraham and explain their relevance/importance to Christians today
  5. Define the term covenant
  6. Explain the importance of God’s covenant with Abraham
  7. Identify covenants in modern life and state their significance
  8. State the importance of circumcision to Abraham and his descendants and relate it to the African circumcision practice

Background to the call of Abraham (Genesis 11:27-32)

  • He and family lived in Ur of the Chaldeans
  • His father was Terah
  • His wife was Sarai
  • Sarai was barren, and they were childless
  • In Ur, people worshipped the moon god/idols
  • He had two brothers, Haran and Nahor
  • Haran died in Ur and left a son, Lot.
  • The family moved from Ur, heading to Canaan , but settled in Haran
  • His father, Terah, died in Haran
  • Abraham was called by God when in Haran, at the age of 75 years
  • He belonged to the Semitic tribe who were nomadic pastoralists

The call of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-9).

  • It was through a dream / vision/an inner voice
  • He was 75 years /an old man
  • God told him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household to go to a land He would show him
  • God promised to make him into a great nation and bless him
  • God promised to make Abraham’s name great, to bless those who blessed Abraham and to curse those who cursed him
  • God promised that through Abraham all people on earth would be blessed
  • Abraham left as God had told him
  • He was accompanied by Lot his nephew and Sarai his wife
  • He took with him all the possessions he had accumulated and the slaves he had acquired in Haran.
  • He set out and arrived at the land of Canaan

Reasons for the call of Abraham

  • To reveal himself to the Israelites
  • To begin God’s plan of salvation
  • It was a new beginning of rescuing human beings from sin
  • To teach the meaning of faith/obedience/trust
  • So as to be the father and founder of God’s chosen people.
  • God intended to teach us that He is merciful/forgiving
  • To give Abraham the land of Canaan
  • To separate Abraham from idol worshippers
  • To begin the worship of one God.

What Abraham learnt about God during his call.

  • God is the source of blessings.
  • God demands obedience.
  • God provides for his people.
  • God punishes evil.
  • God is faithful to his promises
  • God protects his people.
  • God chooses anybody to carry out his plans.
  • God saves.

The significance of Abraham`s call

  • Abraham would be the founder /father of a great nation.
  • Abraham would be blessed
  • Abraham would be a blessing to others
  • Abraham’s name would be great
  • His descendants would be given a land of Canaan
  • His own son by Sarah would inherit his property
  • Their names were changed to Abraham and Sarah from Abram and Sarai
  • Circumcision was to serve as a sign of a covenant between God and Abraham.

What Christians learn from the call of Abraham

  • Obedience to God is important
  • Faith in God is rewarding
  • God took the initiative to repair the broken relationship with man by calling Abraham showing his loving nature
  • Faith is best seen in actions
  • God always works through men of faith
  • God communicates with people
  • One’s background cannot prevent God from working through and with an individual

Definition of faith – (Genesis 11:1-6)

  • Faith is complete trust or confidence in somebody or something.

How Abraham demonstrated his faith in God (Gen 12:1-9, 15:1-6, 17:23-24, 21:1-7, 22:1-19)

  • He obeyed when God told him to move from Haran to Canaan, an unknown land.
  • He got circumcised at an old age with all his descendants
  • He believed he would get a son when God promised him.
  • He was ready to sacrifice his own son Isaac to God.
  • He believed that God would fulfill his promise.
  • His faith in God made him built altars one in Bethel and the other at Shechem.
  • He changed his name from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah
  • He rescued Lot by obeying the angels of God

How God tested Abraham’s faith (Gen. 22:1-18)

  • God called Abraham and he responded, “Yes here I’ am”
  • God told him to take his only son and go to Mount Moriah and offer the son as a sacrifice to Him.
  • He set off the journey and on 3rd day he saw the place at a distance.
  • He told his servants to remain there as they continued to the Lord’s place
  • He made Isaac carry the firewood as he carried the knife and coal for the sacrifice.
  • Isaac asked his father where the lamb for the sacrifice was.
  • He said that God Himself would provide one
  • On reaching the place, Abraham built an alter and placed the woods on it
  • He tied Isaac, placed him on the alter and lifted up the knife ready to kill him.
  • The angel of the Lord called Abraham and told him not to injure the son, for God had seen his obedience and faithfulness.
  • Abraham looked aside and saw a lamb caught in the bush by its horns
  • Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt sacrifice to God
  • The angel called Abraham and gave him several promises

Lessons Christian learn from the incident when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac

  • They should Obey God
  • They should have faith in God
  • They should be patient and wait upon God/ should not give up
  • They should be prepared to face difficult situations
  • They should be ready to give up everything for God/ totally committed to God
  • God blesses those who are ready to serve him
  • They should be wise when dealing with issues affecting their lives
  • They should involve family members in worship

What Abraham learnt about God’s nature from the Mt. Moriah experience

  • God is a provider -he provided the ram
  • God demands obedience from his people
  • God values human life that is why he did not allow Abraham to sacrifice his son
  • God sometimes tests the faith of his people
  • God blesses those who obey and trust him
  • God is faithful to his promises

Lessons learnt from Abraham

  • Christians should have complete faith in God like Abraham
  • Christians should obey God’s voice without question
  • Christians should worship the only true God
  • Christians should trust in God’s promises
  • Christians should be prepared to face difficulties and challenges with faith like Abraham
  • Christians become Abraham’s descendants because of their faith in God
  • Christians should give to God like Abraham gave sacrifices/ offerings/ tithes
  • Christians should be prayerful e.g. intercessors
  • Christians should put up places of worship for God
  • Christians should be humble as Abraham was

The importance of faith to Christians today

  • Faith enables Christians to obey God.
  • It strengthens Christians in their relationship with God.
  • It helps Christians to understand God better.
  • It enables Christians to face trials and temptations with confidence.
  • By faith Christians believe in God’s promises
  • Faith brings blessings from God.
  • It enables Christians to make right choices.
  • It enables Christians to work for peaceful relationships with other people.
  • It enables Christians to share their possessions with the needy.

How Christians can express their faith in God

  • By worshiping and praying to God.
  • By separating themselves from the worship of idols.
  • Giving tithes and offerings
  • Being kind to people.
  • Reading the bible.
  • Obeying God’s commandments

  • Going to church
  • Helping the poor
  • Preaching the gospel.

Why Abraham is called the father of faith

  • He left his homeland to go to a foreign land
  • He wanted to sacrifice his son Isaac to God
  • He undertook a long dangerous and uncertain journey to an unknown land
  • He trusted in God’s promises of a son despite his wife’s age
  • He did not give up in spite of the hardships he encountered in his journey
  • He entered into a covenant with God
  • He accepted to be circumcised together with his servant and his son
  • He worshipped and sacrificed to God
  • He accepted to change his and his wife’s name
  • He abandoned idol worship
  • He built two altars at Bethel and Shechem in honour of God

God’s promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:2-7, 15:1-21,17:1-8,15-18)

  • Give him many descendants.
  • Bless him.
  • Make his name great/famous.
  • Establish an everlasting covenant with him.
  • Give him and his wife Sarah a son of their own.
  • Bless those who blessed him
  • Curse those who curse him.
  • All the people of the earth would be blessed through Abraham.
  • Protect him
  • Give him a land to live in.
  • Make some of his descendants kings.
  • Abraham would die in peace and be buried at a good old age.
  • His descendants would be strangers in a foreign land but afterwards would come out with great possessions.
  • Punish the nation that enslaves Abraham’s descendants.

The nature of God as shown in his promises to Abraham.

  • God is our shield.
  • He is the sovereign Lord.
  • He is the giver of children and other blessings to his loved ones.
  • God is faithful to his promises.
  • God is pleased with those who remain steadfast to him.
  • God is powerful/mighty.
  • God knows what we require from him/all knowing.
  • God rewards us when we remain faithful.
  • He wants to renew the broken relationship with us/he is kind.

Ways in which God fulfilled His promises to Abraham.

  • Abraham moved from Haran to the promised land/ was given land
  • Abraham was the father of a great nation through the birth of Isaac, Jacob and the 12 sons.
  • He had many descendants in Israel and the new Israel /Christians
  • Promise of a son- the birth of Isaac.
  • Promised his descendants to occupy Canaan after serving in slavery for 400 years after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.
  • Delivery from enemies (Israelites) through Moses they were delivered from Egypt.
  • To bless Abraham – He blessed him with material possession i.e. silver, gold, livestock and servants.
  • To make an everlasting covenant – through Jesus.
  • To make Abraham a great name- God today referred to as God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/descendants of Abraham

How a Christian facing difficulties can be encouraged from the life of Abraham

  • Christian should learn not to doubt God but to always remember that God is there and he fulfills his promises
  • Christians should be prepared to face very difficult situations as tests of their faith the way Abraham was tested.
  • Christian should learn to be patient and wait upon God’s promises just like Abraham waited patiently for the gift of a son
  • Christians should continue having faith in God even when circ*mstances of life are against them
  • Christians should be alert and listen to what God is saying for God still communicates with men like he did to Abraham
  • Faith in Jesus gives Christians power to overcome all temptations
  • Christian should be ready to give up everything they have or to give up their jobs and work for God in order to prove their faith in Him.
  • Christians must respond to God through complete obedience like Abraham

How people are initiated into Christian worship today

  • Are given Christian induction into Christian living.
  • Encouraged/taken through lessons/Bible study/reciting verses in the Bible.
  • Undergo baptism /confirmation
  • Some are anointed with oil
  • Are allowed to partake the holy communion/Eucharist.
  • Fellowship/pastoral visit by church leaders.
  • Are introduced to the members of the congregation
  • Counseled on Christian values
  • Taught their duties/responsibility
  • Taught catechism to prepare for baptism

Relevance of the promises to Christians today

  • Christians believe that God fulfills the promises He makes with his people just like he fulfilled the promises he gave to Abraham.
  • Christians believe that they are heirs and descendants of Abraham by faith.
  • Christians acknowledge that the promises and blessings are part of God’s plan for the salvation of those who put their trust in God and who belong to Him.
  • Christians believe that nothing is impossible with God.
  • Christians are assured of God’s protection.
  • Christians believe that Jesus, a descendant of Abraham, was sent by God to establish God’s kingdom in their hearts.
  • Christians enter into a new and everlasting covenant with God through Jesus Christ.
  • Christians are called to leave their past sinful lives.

The meaning of Covenant

  • It is a solemn agreement between two or more parties.

Occasions when solemn promises are made in Kenya today.

  • During marriage
  • During baptism in church
  • When leaders are taking over public offices / swearing-in ceremony by members of parliament whereby they promise to be obedient
  • When church leaders are being sworn in
  • When somebody is buying or selling land
  • When people want to be trading partners.

Types of covenants

Conditional covenant

  • In this type, both parties bind themselves to each other and regard each other as equals.

Unconditional covenant

  • They are made between unequal parties e.g. between kings and their subjects.

Characteristics of covenants

There should be;

  • Participants
  • A witness
  • A sign
  • Promises

  • Consequences
  • A ceremony
  • A seal

Examples of covenants in the bible

  • God’s covenant with Noah (Gen 9) the sign of covenant – rainbow
  • God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen 15, 17): sign of the covenant – circumcision
  • God’s covenant with people of Israel at Mt. Sinai ( Exodus 24): sign of the covenant – the law
  • God’s covenant with King David ( 2nd Samuel 7:14-16)
  • Jeremiah’s covenant (Jeremiah 31:3-34)

God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:1-21, 17:1-22)

  • God told Abram to offer a sacrifice of animals and birds
  • He asked Abram to take a heifer, a she- goat, a ram each of them 3 years old, a turtle dove and a young pigeon
  • Abram was to cut the animal’s in halves and place the halves opposite each other
  • He did not cut the birds
  • Abram kept watch over the sacrifice and chased away the birds that came down to pick the carcasses
  • When the sun was going down he fell into a deep sleep
  • He saw a smocking fire pot and a flaming torch pass between the halves
  • This was a clear indication that God had accepted the sacrifice and made a covenant with Abraham

How God manifested Himself during the making of the covenant

  • A smoking fire pot
  • A flaming torch

NB: The physical manifestations of God are called a Theophany.

Signs of the Abrahamic covenant

  • Change of names
  • Circumcision
  • Flaming torch
  • Smoking fire pot
  • Countless stars / sand.

The characteristics of a covenant demonstrated in the covenant between God and Abraham.

  • A covenant is made between two parties who enter into a mutual agreement. God and Abraham were the two parties that entered into a mutual agreement.
  • In a covenant promises are made. God made several promises of what He would do for Abraham
  • Covenants are solemnized through rituals/ceremony. Abraham offered animals/birds as sacrifices to God.
  • A covenant has an outward sign. Abraham was to circumcise all his male children/descendants to show that he made a covenant with God.
  • A covenant has conditions/obligations to be met. The covenant between God and Abraham was not to be broken; it bound even his descendants generations later
  • During covenant making there were witnesses. God as the sole initiator passed through the sacrifice as the witness to the covenant
  • A covenant is sealed. It was sealed through the blood of an animal

Elements of the covenant made between God and Abraham.

  • Was initiated by God
  • It was solemn/permanent/long lasting /binding
  • It was unconditional /between God and man
  • There were promises to be fulfilled
  • It was sealed through the sacrifice of animals
  • Parties entered it willingly/was voluntary
  • It had an outward sign, circumcision
  • It was between two unequal parties

Importance of the covenant

  • God bound himself in a personal relationship with a human being.
  • As God passed through the pieces of meat, he showed Abraham that he would always protect him.
  • The covenant that God made with Abraham begins a lasting relationship between God and all the nations of the earth.
  • This covenant was meant to confirm God’s choice of Abraham.
  • It showed that God was ready to fulfill his promises.
  • It exemplified the importance of faith followed by obedience that Abraham shared.
  • By passing between halves, God showed that he had accepted the sacrifices.
  • It pointed to God’s plan of salvation to use Jesus Christ, his own son who was going to die on behalf of man for the redemption of their sins.
  • The covenant brings out the important concept of faith.

Covenants in modern life

Examples of covenants today

  • Marriage
  • Baptism
  • Oath of loyalty
  • Confirmation
  • Vows of sister or nun
  • An agreement between an employer and an employee.
  • Treaties between tribes and countries.
  • Agreements made when buying or selling land.
  • Agreements signed by students.

How baptism qualifies to be a covenant

  • Promises are made during baptism
  • There are witnesses e.g. sponsors/congregation/clergy
  • There is the ritual of pouring water/immersion/sprinkling
  • There are signs e.g. baptismal certificate/lit candles/wrapping in white garment/new name os given

Marriage as a covenant

  • It has a ceremony – In modern marriages there are weddings
  • It has symbols / signs – Those symbols like rings, certificate, and animals for dowry.
  • It is a solemn agreement between two parties i.e. between a man and a woman / two parties come together and a relationship is developed.
  • There are promises made. The two promise to remain married till death / promise to be loyal for the rest of their lives/ Taking vows.
  • There are obligations. Each party is supposed to fulfil some obligations if the marriage is to last.
  • There are witnesses called upon – Usually closest friends in modern society or members of the community in the traditional society.

Circ*mstances under which covenants were made in the traditional African society

  • During reconciliation ceremonies between warring tribes or clans
  • In settlement of disputes between husbands and wives, families or friends
  • In compensation for accidents, killing or wounding another person accidentally
  • During oathing ceremonies to keep tribal or clan secrets and promote unity
  • Before warriors went to war
  • When borrowing or hiring property like land
  • During inheritance ceremonies
  • During rites of passage e.g. marriage
  • When choosing leaders
  • During agreements for trade between two tribes or clans

The importance of modern day covenants

  • Promote peace among people
  • Help society to be organized / order is promoted
  • Covenants e.g. trade agreements help countries to develop economically
  • Unite people e.g. reconciliation
  • Enable people to develop trust in relationship
  • It ensures commitment
  • Promote understanding in the society
  • Enlighten people on their rights
  • Encourage people to have right relationship with God
  • Make people to overcome emerging daily challenges together
  • Remind office bearers to serve the nation in the spirit of total loyalty


  • Was started by Abraham and has been kept by the Jews up to the present time

The origin of circumcision for Abraham and his descendants

  • God appeared again to Abraham when he was 99 years old and renewed his covenant promises to him
  • He asked Abraham to be obedient
  • Abram’s name was changed to “Abraham” meaning the “the father of a great multitude”
  • Sarai’s name was changed to “Sarah” meaning, the “Princess and mother of kings”
  • Abraham’s descendants were to keep the covenant and be obedient like him
  • This covenant was to be given an external sign, which was circumcision.
  • All male children were to be circumcised when they were eight days old.
  • Abraham was circumcised when he was 99 years old together with his son, Ishmael, and all male servants in his household

Instructions given by God to Abraham concerning Jewish circumcision (Genesis 17:10-17)

  • Every male among his descendants had to be circumcised
  • They would be circumcised by cutting the flesh of the foreskin
  • Circumcision would take place when a boy was 8 days old
  • All the male servants of Abraham had to be circumcised
  • It would be a symbol of an everlasting covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants
  • Any male who was not circumcised would be cut off from Abraham’s descendants

The importance of circumcision for Abraham and his descendants (Gen 17:1-16)

  • It was a physical sign that Abraham and his descendants had entered into a covenant with God.
  • It was a mark of identity for the true Jews.
  • It was an outward sign of their inner faith.
  • It showed their readiness to inherit the promises of God to Abraham.
  • It was an acceptance of God as their only true God and their willingness to remain faithful to him.
  • It was a sign of Abraham’s obedience and faithfulness together with that of his descendants
  • It was a sign of the bond between God, Abraham and his descendants
  • It was a physical badge of Abraham’s descendants

Comparison between the Jewish and the African practice of circumcision.


  • In both it is a mark of identity
  • In both it provides a sense of belonging
  • In both it is observed as a religious experience or event.
  • In both it is compulsory
  • In both it is held as a tradition passed from one generation to another
  • In both blood is shed
  • In both, animals are slaughtered to celebrate it.
  • In both, prayers are offered to God for the well being of the initiates.
  • In both a specialist performs the rite.
  • In both, gifts are given at this time.
  • In both, a ceremony accompanies the initiation/circumcision.
  • In both, names are given to initiates.
  • In both, the practice takes place in sacred places.
  • In both, the foreskin of the penis is cut.

Differences between the Jewish and the African practices of circumcision

  • Among the Jews it was for boys only while among the traditional African communities, it was for boys and girls
  • The Jews circumcised babies aged eight days old while the traditional African communities circumcised adolescents age between eighteen and twenty five years old
  • It is not a rite of passage among the Jews but among the traditional African communities it was a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood
  • Among the Jews, protection comes from God while among the traditional African communities, protection comes from spirits and ancestors
  • Among the Jews, blood bound the initiate to God while among the traditional African communities, blood bound the initiate to ancestors
  • Among the Jews, no status and responsibilities are given while among the traditional African communities, initiates acquired new status and responsibilities
  • Among the Jews, one who is not circumcised becomes an outcast while among the traditional African communities, once a person becomes of age, he/she is forced to be circumcised
  • Among the Jews, no education was given to initiates while among the traditional African communities, initiates are educated on taboos, sex, marriage and the secrets of the community
  • Among the Jews, there is no seclusion period while among the traditional African communities, initiates have a seclusion period away from the rest of the community
  • Among the Jews, circumcision is the only form of initiation while among the traditional African practice, there are other forms of initiation such as removal of teeth and body piercing
  • Among the Jews, the rite is not according to seasons while among the traditional African communities, the rite is done according to seasons
  • Among the Jews, it is in obedience to God while among the traditional Africans, it is in obedience to customary laws

Challenges Abraham faced after his call.

  • His father (Terah) died at Haran
  • He had to get a son at an old age.
  • He was tested to sacrifice his only son Isaac.
  • He was mocked by his wife Sarah after he told her she was to bear a son.
  • He was to move from his familiar land to an unfamiliar one.
  • He was forced by Sarah to chase away Haggai and Ishmael his son.
  • He was told to change his name (Abram) and that of his wife (Sarai)
  • He was told to get circumcised at an old age.
  • He had to change from polytheisms to monotheisms.
  • Being childless.
  • Parting with his nephew Lot.
  • He had to change from nomadic way of life.
  • Insecurity/hostility of the desert.

Challenges experienced by Abraham in his life

  • He was to depart from familiar land to unknown land of Canaan.
  • He experienced sorrow when his father died.
  • He encountered harsh climate on his long journey to Canaan.
  • Doubts assailed him when God delayed in fulfilling his promise to give him a son.
  • Abraham and Sarah had no child for a long time.
  • The Egyptians threatened to take his wife Sarah until he had to pretend he was his sister.
  • He endured the temptation to sacrifice his son Isaac
  • He became a nomad due to harsh climate in Canaan

Values that Abraham expressed to God.

  • Obedience to follow God’s commands.
  • Faith / his strong belief in God.
  • Perseverance / was ready to wait for fulfillment of the promises God gave him.
  • Respect / Abraham was loyal to God.
  • Reverence / He worshipped God.
  • Tolerance / He tolerated some of the difficulties.
  • Loyalty / followed the authority of God.
  • Humility / he was calm and humble before God.

Possible questions

  1. Explain why Abraham is referred to as the father of faith
  2. Give five actions from the life of Abraham that show his faith to God
  3. List some of the promises God gave to Abraham
  4. Compare and contrast the Jewish and traditional African practice of circumcision
  5. What is the importance of faith to Christians?
  6. State the elements of a covenant
  7. Give examples of covenants in the bible and the modern society
  8. Discuss the circ*mstances that led God to enter into a covenant relationship with Abraham.


THE SINAI COVENANT – MOSES (Gen 37:1-36, 50:1-26; Exodus 1,2)

Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  1. Describe the call of Moses
  2. Explain how God saved His people from Egypt
  3. Discuss the attributes of God learnt from the ten plagues
  4. Give an outline on how God cared for the Israelites during the Exodus
  5. Describe how the Sinai Covenant was made, broken and renewed
  6. Explain the Ten Commandments and show how they should be applied in a Christian’s daily life
  7. Describe how the Israelites worshipped God in their life in the wilderness
  8. Explain the new understanding that Moses gave to his people about the nature of God

The call of Moses (Exodus 3:1-22)

  • Moses was in the wilderness looking after his father- in-law’s flock
  • An angel of the Lord appeared to him in form of a burning bush
  • Moses moved closer to see why the bush was burning and yet it was not being consumed
  • God called him by name and commanded him to remove his shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy
  • God revealed Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
  • Moses was filled with fear and hid his face
  • God commanded him to go back to Egypt and be His instrument of saving the Hebrews
  • Moses was reluctant to take up the task
  • God promised to protect him
  • Moses asked to know God’s name and God revealed His divine name-Yahweh
  • In Egypt, Moses was to assemble the elders, ask the Pharaoh to release the Israelites and lead them to the promised land
  • Yahweh foresaw the reluctance of the Pharaoh but promised to send wonders in Egypt that would eventually force him to yield
  • On the way to the promised land, the Israelites were to pass by Mount Sinai and worship Yahweh

Ways in which God speaks to men today.

  • Through religious leaders like priests and bishops.
  • Through nature.
  • Through the Bible.
  • Through political leaders whose authority He ordains.
  • Through visions, dreams.
  • Through the conscience.
  • Through their experiences.
  • Through prophets.

What Moses learnt about God from his call

  • God is loving and caring
  • God is transcendent – beyond human understanding
  • God chooses whoever he wills to carry out his plans.
  • God expects total obedience and faith on the part of those he chooses.
  • He was God’s choice in the plan to rescue the Israelites from Egypt.
  • God is holy.
  • God is mysterious. He manifested himself in the burning bush that was not being consumed.
  • God is all powerful, is eternal and everywhere.
  • God was ready to fulfill the promises he had given to Abraham.

The qualities of Moses shown during his call at Mt. Sinai

  • Inquisitiveness
  • Caring/ cautiousness
  • Respectful
  • Patience
  • Courage/ bravery/ fearlessness
  • Consistence/ reliability
  • Humility
  • Faith/ trust
  • Wisdom/ intelligence
  • Obedience

Reasons why Moses was not willing to go back to Egypt after his call.

  • Moses was afraid to go face Pharaoh who wanted to kill him having killed an Egyptian
  • He had killed an Egyptian.
  • He doubted whether the Israelites would accept or believe him.
  • He lacked adequate knowledge of the God of Israel
  • He lacked confidence in himself
  • He was a stammerer/ not fluent in speech.
  • Moses doubted the power of God and his mighty works that would convince Pharaoh
  • He may have been worried about the family he had established in the Midian.

Reasons that force some people to leave their country today.

  • Drought and famine causes them to search for food.
  • To seek political asylum
  • War forces them to live as refugees in other countries
  • To further their education.
  • To search for jobs / business opportunities
  • Displacement as a result of floods / earthquakes.
  • Due to intermarriages by people of different countries

How Yahweh promised to support Moses in the Jewish liberation during his call

  • He gave Moses power to perform miracles with his stick.
  • He promised to help Moses speak.
  • He promised to tell him what to say.
  • He gave Moses his own brother Aaron to act as a spokesman
  • He promised to be with Moses.
  • He gave him power over the Nile waters
  • He promised to punish Egypt severely for defying his instructions.
  • He guided Moses on how to conduct every stage of the ministry.
  • He gave him power to make his hand leprous and clean to convince him.

Ways through which God empowered Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

  • He gave him a spokesman, Aaron.
  • Enabled him to use his rod to perform miracles.
  • Gave him his name “I AM WHO I AM”.
  • Assured him of his protection.
  • He caused the Israelites to obey him.
  • He gave him the courage to stand before the Israelite elders, the people and Pharaoh.

Occasions when God guided and protected Moses.

  • God guided Moses to elect his successor
  • When Moses was leading the Israelites in the desert. (Desert enemies)
  • When being given the Ten Commandments to help him guide his people.
  • During the crossing of the Red Sea.
  • When he performed miracles
  • The rescue of Moses by Pharaoh’s daughter
  • When Moses grew up in the pharaoh’s palace, he escaped death after killing an Egyptian.

Lessons that Christians can learn from the call of Moses

  • God hears and responds to the cry of his people
  • God uses natural events to reveal himself
  • God is holy and pure
  • God commissions and appoints people to perform certain tasks
  • God does not give people impossible tasks
  • God protects his people/ caring/ loving
  • God is powerful/ almighty
  • God punishes enemies of his people
  • God is miraculous
  • God is beyond human understanding/ transcendent
  • God keeps his promises
  • God is omnipresent
  • God is all- knowing

How God prepared Moses to be the future leader of his people

  • His life was spared when he was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter and brought up as a prince.
  • He was nursed by his own mother through God’s plan and design.
  • Knowledge of his family background and of the true God through his mother gave him his true identity as an Israelite.
  • Life in the wilderness hardened him to be bold and to persevere hardships.
  • He learnt to be patient, keen and responsible as a shepherd.
  • He also learnt family responsibilities through taking care of his own family and that of Jethro.
  • He acquired leadership while living in Pharaoh’s palace.
  • He learnt literacy and numeracy skills while in the palace.
  • He was not a stranger to pharaoh and Egypt hence could approach him freely.

The Role of Moses in the history of the Israelites

  • He was one of the first Israelite prophets to receive God’s call with a mission to liberate them
  • He battled with Pharaoh so as to liberate the Israelites
  • He liberated and delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage
  • He led the Israelites throughout the wilderness during the Exodus
  • He endured suffering for the sake of the Israelites who abused him
  • He led the Israelites into making a covenant with God at Mt. Sinai
  • Moses was given the Ten Commandments to guide the Israelites to live according to the covenant way of life
  • He punished the Israelites who broke the covenant and worshipped the golden calf
  • He interceded on behalf of the Israelites for God to forgive them their sins
  • Moses sought for God’s providence for the Israelites e.g. manna and water
  • Moses made the Israelites enter into a renewal of the covenant with God
  • Through God’s guidance, he protected them against hostile desert tribes e.g.
  • He mediated between God and the Israelites through the entire period of the Exodus.

The Ten Plagues (Exodus 7:14 – 11:1-11)

God sent plagues to the Egyptians as follows:-

  1. The plague of blood
  2. The plague of frogs
  3. The plague of gnats
  4. The plague of files
  5. The plague of death of animals
  6. The plague of boils
  7. The plague of hail
  8. The plague of the locusts
  • The plague of darkness
  1. Death of Egyptians male first born.

Attributes of God learnt by Christians from the ten plaques

  • He empowers the people he sends
  • He is almighty/all powerful
  • He is determined to fulfill his plans no matter how hard they appear to the human eye
  • He is just
  • He gives everyone a chance to repent/is forgiving
  • He is faithful/keeps his promises
  • He expects obedience and faith from those he sends
  • He is loving/caring/sees the plight of his people/merciful
  • He is savior/rescues those he loves
  • He is creator and controller of human life
  • He is universal
  • He is omnipresent
  • He is all knowing
  • He responds to/answers prayers

The physical effects on the Egyptians when Pharaoh refused to release the Israelites

  • River Nile turned into blood causing a foul smell
  • Frogs came out of the river and covered everywhere
  • Gnants invaded the land
  • Great swam of biting flies invaded the land
  • Death of Egyptian animals
  • Thunder/hailstorms
  • Terrible diseases killed the Egyptians
  • Locust invaded the land
  • There was thick darkness
  • Death of Egyptian first born sons and first born male animals.

Significance of the plagues

  • God was aware of the problems of the Israelites.
  • God was determined to save his people.
  • God was working through his prophet Moses.
  • God was more powerful than Egyptians gods.
  • God was just.
  • God requires absolute obedience.
  • Moses was God’s chosen leader of the Israelites.
  • God communicates his will through natural events.
  • He punishes the enemies of his people.

THE PASSOVER – (Exodus 12:1-51)

Moses Passover instructions

  • On the tenth day of that month each man had to choose either a lamb or a young goat for his household.
  • The animal chosen was to be killed on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month. The animal blood was to be smeared on the door posts and the lintel of the Israelites houses.
  • The lamb or animal for sacrifice was to be roasted whole that is, with its head, legs and inner parts.
  • The meat was to be eaten that night with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
  • They were to eat the sacrificial meat after they had dressed up and packed their luggage.
  • The Israelite women were to ask for jewellery, silver and clothing from the Egyptian women on the eve of departure.
  • Everyone was to remain indoors until morning in order to be protected from the angel of death.
  • The Passover was to be commemorated annually and its significance taught to the coming generations.

The significance of the preparations for the Passover (Ex 12: 1-31)

  • A lamb or a goat one year old signified purity and innocence.
  • Blood smeared on the door posts to identify the Israelites.
  • The sacrifice was to be roasted whole signifying no time.
  • Eat bitter herbs reminded them on the slavery and suffering.
  • Eating while standing to show they were ready for the journey.
  • Remain indoors was to avoid the angel of death.

The events which took place on the night of the Exodus.

  • The slaughtering of the Passover lamb by the Israelites
  • The painting of the door posts of the houses of the Israelites with the blood of the lamb
  • The eating of the meat of the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs
  • The killing of the Egyptian first borns by the angel of death
  • The Israelites knelt and worshipped God
  • The wailing/ mourning by the Egyptians
  • The Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt
  • The Israelites began the exodus from Egypt to Canaan.

Activities that took place on the night of the exodus

  • Animals were slaughtered
  • Blood was put on the door post of the houses
  • The slaughtered animal was to be roasted
  • Israelites ate unleavened bread /bitter herbs
  • They ate while fully dressed for the journey
  • They stayed indoors until morning
  • They burnt all the leftovers of the meal
  • The killing of Egyptian firstborns by the angel of death
  • The mourning by the Egyptians when they realized their firstborns were dead
  • The pharaoh allowing the Israelites to leave Egypt

The meaning of the events that took place on the night of exodus.

  • One year old lamb without blemish meant purity/no sin/innocence
  • Blood smeared on door posts meant/ was a sign of identity to the angel of death.
  • Ate unleavened bread/roasted meat meant haste to leave.
  • Ate bitter herbs; meant bitterness of slavery in Egypt.
  • Ate while fully dressed/standing, meant being ready to leave Egypt.
  • Taking jewellery and other valuables from the Egyptians meant compensation for slave labour.
  • Not breaking any bone and split blood meant forgiveness
  • Stay indoors throughout the night meant to encourage one another.
  • They were to eat everything, a sign of leaving no mark.

Modern day forms of slavery

  • Drug addiction
  • Fornication/prostitution
  • Addiction to theft
  • Alcoholism and smoking
  • Habitual lying
  • Bitterness/ failure to forgive
  • Materialism
  • Greed for power
  • p*rnography

Similarities between the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter

  • Both are annual events
  • Both involved sacrifices i.e. lamb and Jesus
  • In both cases there is movement from slavery to freedom
  • Both incidences are important historical events
  • Both are central points to belief and worship of Judaism and Christianity respectively
  • They both point towards God’s saving power
  • In each case there is a command to follow and remember the occasion
  • In both point towards God’s saving power
  • In each case there is a command to follow and remember the occasion
  • In both God uses an individual to intervene


Reasons why God rescued the Israelites from Egypt

  • God had chosen the Israelites as his people
  • He wanted them to live in the Promised Land
  • He had heard their suffering, cries and oppression in bondage
  • He wanted to demonstrate to the Israelites that he was the God of their ancestors such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  • He made a promise to Abraham that his descendants would be sojourners in a foreign land but would be delivered to freedom

Reasons that made Pharaoh to refuse to release the Israelites.

  • He never wanted to loose labour of Israelites.
  • He feared his people (Egyptians) would riot.
  • It was the plan of God for him to be adamant so that God could show His power.
  • He valued the population of Israelites.
  • He wanted to show that he was powerful.

Reasons why Hebrews left Egypt.

  • The new Pharaoh did not know the good deeds of Joseph
  • The Hebrews grew powerful/ influential / threatened Egyptians
  • Increased number of Hebrews posed a threat to Egypt
  • Egyptians subjected Hebrews to forced labour / enslaved them/ killed their baby boys
  • Increased oppression of the Hebrews by the Egyptians
  • God heard Hebrews prayers / cry for help
  • God sent Moses to rescue them from bondage
  • God had promised it to Abraham their ancestor

The significance of the night of the Exodus to the Israelites.

  • It confirmed that Yahweh had destroyed the arrogance of Pharaoh.
  • It provided an opportunity for the Israelites to understand the nature of God.
  • It affirmed to the Israelites that God is faithful to His promises.
  • It demonstrated God’s salvation to the Israelites as His chosen people.
  • It was the beginning of the Israelites experience as a nation of God’s people.
  • It was a confirmation of Moses as their leader.
  • It was the beginning of true worship for the Israelite to their God, Yahweh.
  • It marked the birth of the nation of Israel.
  • It confirmed that Yahweh had power over the Egyptian’s gods.

How God showed his love and concern to the Israelites during the Exodus.

  • The crossing of the red sea – God instructed Moses to hold his rod over the sea so that it divided the water to let the Israelites cross. (Exodus 14:5-31)
  • Provision of water – God provided them with water to drink.(Exodus 15:22-27, 17:1-6)
  • Provision of manna and quails – God provided them with manna and quails to eat. (Exodus 16:1-35)
  • Defeat of the Amalekites, a hostile desert tribe. (Exodus 17:8-16)

How God showed His concern for the Israelites

  • The ten plagues that God brought on the Egyptians
  • Separating the waters of the Red Sea(Exodus 14:5-31)
  • Killing the Egyptians during the crossing of the Red Sea
  • Provision of manna for the Israelites to eat
  • Provision of quails for the Israelites to eat
  • God gave the Israelites victory over the Amalekites, a hostile desert tribe.
  • God led the Israelites during the night with a pillar of fire and of cloud in the day.
  • God gave them the snake curving to save them from snake bites.
  • During the making of the covenant at Mt. Sinai, He manifested Himself physically

How God cared for the Israelites in the wilderness.

  • Guided with a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud during the day
  • Enabled them to cross the Red Sea safety but drowned the Egyptians
  • Provided them with water/sweetened for them bitter water
  • Gave them food: manna, quails
  • Protected them from their enemies e.g. Amalekites, enabled them to defeat them.
  • Entered into a covenant with them
  • Provided them with Ten commandments and Mosaic laws to guide them
  • Healing those who were bitten by snakes
  • He forgave them after breaking the Sinai covenant
  • By providing them with leaders e.g. Moses, Aaron and priests who acted as intermediaries between people and God.

How God intervened in the life of Israelites during the Exodus.

  • By protecting them against their enemies e.g. the Amalekites and Egyptians.
  • By providing them with food / manna from heaven.
  • God provided the Israelites with water.
  • By helping them to cross the Red Sea hence protecting them against Egyptians.
  • By providing them with the 10 commandment/ Mosaic Laws.
  • By making a covenant with them where God promised to protect them.
  • By giving them direction through the pillar of clouds.
  • By healing those who were bitten by the snakes.
  • By providing them with priests who acted as intermediaries.
  • Making the walls of Jericho collapse for easy conquering.
  • God forgave the Israelites after they broke the covenant.

Ways in which the Israelites showed lack of faith during the Exodus.

  • When they doubted God before crossing the red sea
  • They complained when there was no food
  • The Israelites made a golden calf and worshipped it
  • They complained to Moses when there was no water
  • The Israelites broke the covenant easy of life hence did not obey God
  • When some people Kept food overnight as opposed to the command of the lord

Occasions during the Exodus when the Israelites lost faith in God.

  • When they were pursued/ followed by Pharaoh’s soldiers.
  • When they lacked water/ food in the wilderness.
  • When attacked by diseases.
  • When attacked by snakes.
  • When Moses stayed for long on the mountain/made the golden calf.
  • When Moses died.

Lessons that Christians learn about God during the Exodus

  • God is loving/merciful/kind- he protected and provided for all their needs
  • He is powerful
  • God is holy and desires that his people be holy
  • He demands that all obey His commandments
  • God fulfils His promises
  • He is mysterious- He manifested His presence in a unique way
  • He is just- He punishes all those who break His commands
  • He desires that His people have a personal relationship with Him

Duties and responsibilities of Moses during the Exodus

  • To lead the Israelites to safety from the Egyptians
  • To guide the Israelites to Mount Sinai
  • To lead in the worship of God
  • To provide them with basic necessities
  • To plead with God to have mercy on the Israelites
  • To be a counselor and comforter
  • To teach the law of God
  • To hand over to the Israelites the Ten Commandments
  • To fight idolatry
  • To pass on God’s messages to the Israelites

Importance of the Exodus in the history of the Israelites

  • They emerged as a community that had been reserved and chosen by God.
  • The Israelites realized that their journey to Canaan was a fulfillment of the promises of God to Abraham.
  • Their God proved to be mightier than the Egyptian gods.
  • The event confirmed Moses as God’s chosen leader.
  • It united the people of Israel as a nation.
  • It made them to understand the nature of God
  • It taught them God needed obedience from human beings
  • They received the Ten Commandments which guided them in their relationships
  • It marked the end of their oppression in Egypt.

How Christians show their respect to God

  • They set aside a day of worship
  • Set aside holy places of worship
  • They do not mention God’s name in vain
  • They pray to him
  • Live exemplary lives/ role models
  • Giving offerings/ tithes
  • Praising him for wonders
  • Taking care of the environment
  • Looking after the needy
  • Preaching/ spreading his word

The making of the Sinai covenant –( Exodus 19, 20:18-21, 24:1-8)

How God prepared the Israelites for the making of the covenant at Mt.Sinai.

  • God told Moses to remind the people of Israel of how he had brought them out of Egypt.
  • God told Moses that he wanted to make a special relationship with Israel and make them a kingdom of priests.
  • Moses called all the leaders and told them what God had said.
  • God told Moses that he wanted the Israelites to obey him.
  • The Israelites promised to do all that the Lord had said.
  • God promised to come down and meet with the people on the third day.
  • The people were to make themselves holy by washing their garments
  • They were to mark the boundary on the foot of the mountain to prevent any person or animal going up the mountain
  • They were to abstain from sexual relationships.
  • On the third day, there was a thick cloud upon the mountain/ loud trumpet blast/ an earthquake.
  • Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God/ they took their stand at the foot of the mountain.
  • The Lord came down to the top of the mountain/ called Moses to go to him.

The Sealing of the Covenant

  • Moses came from the mountain and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances.
  • All people said that all that the Lord has said they could do.
  • He built an altar at the foot of the mountain on which he placed twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • He then sent young men to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord.
  • Moses took half of the blood and poured it on the altar, the place of meeting with God.
  • He then took the book of the covenant in which the divine laws had been written down by him.
  • He read it in the hearing of all people and the people said all that the Lord has spoken we will do and we will be obedient.
  • Moses took the remaining blood and sprinkled it over the people.
  • Sprinkling of the blood implied that the covenant was binding to the Israelites to God.
  • God concluded the covenant ceremony by giving Moses the two stone tablets on which the laws were written

Why God made a covenant with the Israelites at Mt. Sinai

  • Because he is faithful to his promises
  • God wanted to guide them in how to relate with them
  • God wanted a personal relationship with the Israelites as the chosen race
  • God wanted them to remember that he was powerful and had rescued them to come and worship him on Mt Sinai
  • God wanted to guide them on how to relate with each other
  • God expected that the Israelites would obey and have faith in him
  • He wanted to enable the Israelites to enjoy his blessings
  • God wanted to provide guidance to the people as they entered Canaan

The qualities of God learnt by the Israelites during the making of the Sinai covenant.

  • God is holy
  • God is powerful/ almighty
  • God demands obedience
  • God choose/ elects people to work for him or to be his spokesmen
  • God is faithful to his promises
  • God controls the earth
  • God speaks to his people
  • God reveals himself through nature
  • God is awesome/ should be feared
  • God is imminent/ everywhere
  • God is just judge
  • God is Transcendent/ beyond human knowledge
  • God is worthy of worship
  • He is a God of freedom/ liberates
  • God is caring/ loving/ compassionate or merciful

Significance of the Sinai covenant

  • God is the only one to be worshiped
  • God is powerful
  • God expected the Israelites to obey and have faith in him.
  • God wanted a personal relationship with them.
  • The Israelites had a moral obligation to be a light to other nations.
  • They had a duty to relate well with one another.
  • It showed that Israel was God’s chosen nation and He was their God
  • If they disobeyed the covenant, certain consequences would befall them
  • God showed that He remembers His promises and fulfils them

Ways in which God demonstrated his mercy to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai

  • God appeared to the Israelites to reassure them that they were not alone, he was present among them
  • God reminded them that he was the God who brought them out of Egypt
  • God gave them the Ten Commandments to guide them in their relationships with him and with one another
  • He entered a covenant relationship with them in which he promised that they would be his special people and he would be their God
  • He forgives those who repent after worshipping the golden calf
  • After Moses broke with the tablets of law God replaced them with new ones
  • He promised to be with them always to preserve them and to make them prosperous (Exodus 32: 34)
  • After the Israelites broke the covenant by worshipping the golden calf he renewed the covenant with them
  • God continues to provide for their needs

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17)

The Ten Commandments can be divided into two parts:-

  • The first 4 deal with the relationship between man and God.
  • The last 6 deal with man’s relationship with fellow human beings.

They are as follows;-

  1. You have no other gods beside me.
  2. You shall not make yourself a graven image.
  3. You shall not mention god’s name in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and mother that your days may be long.
  6. You shall not kill.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s property.

Commandments given to the Israelites that teach how to relate to one another

  • Honour your father and mother
  • You shall not kill
  • You shall not commit adultery
  • You shall not steal
  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbours
  • You shall not covet your neighbours property or wife

Commandments given to the Israelites that teach on how to relate to one another

  • 5th commandment “Honor your father and mother”
  • 6th commandment “You shall not kill”.
  • 7th commandment “You shall not commit adultery”.
  • 8th commandment “You shall not steal”
  • 9th commandment “You shall not false witness against your neighbour”
  • 10th commandment “You shall not covet your neighbours property or wife”

Ways in which the Israelites disobeyed the Ten Commandments.

  • They worshipped idols
  • Committing adultery
  • Bearing false witness against others
  • Coveting other people’s property
  • Practicing syncretism
  • False swearing of kings in public to subjects in God’s name which are not fulfilled
  • Marrying foreign wives who brought idol worshipping in Israel
  • They worked on the Sabbath day

Reasons why Christians should not covet their neighbors property

  • It’s a caution against greed/selfishness
  • It instills the virtues of hard work/honesty
  • It creates satisfaction/contentment amongst them
  • It’s a way of self control
  • To avoid the deliberate will to wish to posses what is coveted.
  • To create dependent trust in God’s providence.

How people break the commandment “Do not kill’’ in the society today

  • Through murder/ physical killing/ mob justice
  • Voluntary infection of another with HIV
  • Dumping lethal chemical waste in the environment
  • Through suicide
  • Through abortions
  • By abusing drugs
  • Wishing harm to someone
  • Warfare / terrorism / genocide
  • Witchcraft

Ways in which the Decalogue applies to Christian life today.

  • It helps to protect Christians from idol worship
  • It helps them to have the right relationship with God
  • It helps them to have right relationship with others
  • It is the foundation of Christian lives
  • It makes them avoid all forms of immoral behaviour such as adultery, rape, and fornication
  • They teach Christians the need of being humble through the observance of the Sabbath
  • It helps in respecting of parents by their children.
  • It helps them to avoid all forms of social injustice such as murder, false accusations, oppression of the weak, robbery etc.

Why Christians should live by the laws of God

  • Laws help Christians to keep off idolatry
  • Laws encourage sexual uprightness
  • Laws help one to respect other people’s property
  • The laws help Christians to avoid telling lies and accusing other people falsely
  • They enables Christians to respect life and not to take it away
  • By obeying laws Christians escape God’s judgement
  • By obeying laws Christians receive blessings from God
  • They enable Christians to develop obedience to everybody around and hence create a peaceful co-existence

Moral teachings contained in the Ten Commandments

  • It stresses on respect for parents and elders
  • It stresses people to respect and not use God’s name in vain
  • It stresses love of God and other people in the society
  • It tells us to respect other people’s property and not to steal
  • It wants us to speak the truth all the time
  • It wants us to be faithful to our marriage partners
  • It wants us to be contented with what God has given us and not covet
  • It directs us to work hard for six days then rest on the seventh day
  • It directs us to respect human life/ preserve it
  • It directs us to worship only one true God and not to be involved in devil worship

Values that Christians learn from the Ten Commandments

  • Obedience
  • Faithfulness/chastity
  • Trust/faith
  • Loyalty
  • Generosity
  • Reverence
  • Love
  • Truthfulness/honesty
  • Respect
  • Hard work
  • Contentment

The importance of the Ten Commandments/Decalogue

  • They safeguard Christians against idol worship/promote the worship of one God
  • They help Christians to have the right relationship with God/warns against indulging themselves in practices that drive them away from God/not to misuse God’s name
  • They remind Christians to keep the Sabbath day/celebrate the Sabbath day by carrying out acts of charity/fellowship with one another
  • They promote good relationship between parents and their children
  • They help Christians to preserve/respect/protect human life
  • They act as a guide to Christian living/safeguard marriages/ bring stability in families
  • They help to protect people’s property/condemn all forms of theft
  • They help to teach the virtue of honesty/self-control/moral values
  • They promote good relationship with other people/enhance peaceful co-existence

The importance of the Decalogue to Christians today/Ten commandments

  • Teaches that there is only one God
  • Helps Christians to worship the true God and not idols
  • Helps Christians to honour leisure time.
  • Helps Christians to respect life as God given
  • Helps Christians to respect other people’s property.
  • Helps Christians to love their neighbours by not bearing false witness.
  • Helps Christians to be contented with what they have thus they avoid coveting.
  • Helps Christians to live a chaste life by avoiding sexual immorality.

The breaking of the Sinai Covenant (Exodus 32:1-35)

  • After making the Sinai covenant, Moses went up Mt Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.
  • He left Aaron in charge of the people.
  • When Moses delayed in coming back, they became impatient and restless.
  • Israelites asked Aaron to make them a god since they did not know what had happened to Moses.
  • Aaron asked them to take off the gold ornaments.
  • He melted them and moulded them a golden calf.
  • They declared that the golden calf was the god who had brought them out of Egypt.
  • They built an altar for the calf.
  • Offered burnt and peace offerings to it.
  • They indulged themselves in feasting and an orgy of sex.
  • God revealed to Moses what the People had done/ broken the covenant.
  • Moses came down the mountain and found the people at the foot of the mountain.
  • Moses was annoyed, threw down the stone tablets containing the commandments.
  • He took the golden calf, burnt it down into powder, mixed it with water and made the people to drink.
  • He called those who had not sinned and ordered them to kill those who sinned by their swords.

Circ*mstances that led to the breaking of the Sinai Covenant.

  • Moses went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets on which the laws were written.
  • He stayed for 40 days
  • The Israelites became impatient.
  • The Israelites told Aaron to make for them gods they could see.
  • Aaron collected their jewelry and molded a golden calf which they celebrated and worshipped.
  • God was angry with them and wanted to destroy them.
  • Moses pleaded with God to forgive them.
  • Moses came down with the Ten Commandments and found the people singing and worshipping the calf.
  • He threw the stone tablets down and broke them.
  • Moses burnt the golden calf and ground it in to powder.
  • He mixed the powder with water and made the Israelites drink the mixture.
  • Those who turned to God were forgiven while those who refused were killed

Reasons why the Israelites broke the covenant they had made with God while at Mt Sinai

( Exodus 32:1-35).

  • Moses their leader delayed to come down from the mountain.
  • Aaron who had been left in charge of the people was a weak/was easily manipulated.
  • The Israelites wanted a god they could see
  • The Israelites were still influenced by the Egyptian way of worship/ idolatry.
  • Moses teaching/ influence had vanished from the people’s minds.
  • The Israelites lacked faith in God.
  • The Israelites lacked knowledge of the nature of the invisible God

Factors that cause people to depart from God’s instructions

  • Bad company
  • Weak in faith/human weakness
  • Ignorance of God’s ways
  • Threats from non- believers
  • Greed and lust for wealth
  • Greed for power
  • Lack of trust in God
  • Impatience

Why Christians are not able to keep the law of God

  • Lack of faith
  • Temptations from Satan/ devil
  • The pleasures and joys of life
  • The love of secular/permissive life
  • Cultural influence e.g. believe in witchcraft
  • Lack of awareness /ignorance of God’s laws
  • Influence of modern education /technological advancement.
  • Wrong interpretation of the laws
  • They find the law too demanding /burdensome to them
  • Peer influence/discouragement from others

Reasons why some Christians have lost faith in God today

  • Their prayers are not answered
  • Why they suffer and die and yet non-Christians prosper and lead a good life
  • Why there should be prolonged poverty/starvation/famine and drought
  • Wrangling in Church leadership
  • Bad examples by Church leaders due to corruption/immorality
  • Over delaying of Jesus coming
  • God’s failure to punish law-breakers
  • Some leaders fail to condemn evils in society/compromising/abuse of justice by leaders

Reasons why Christians repent their sins today.

  • It is obedience to Christ’s teaching.
  • So as to lead holy lives.
  • To be a good example to others.
  • To be able to prepare for the kingdom of God.
  • For their faith to be strengthened.
  • In order to receives God’s blessings.
  • To renew their relationship with God.

Ways in which Christians demonstrate their support for the government in Kenya today

  • Obeying the laws of the nation.
  • Praying for the government/leaders.
  • Participating actively in government projects/processes e.g. constitutional review.
  • Highlighting the good things the government does/appreciating/praising.
  • Correcting the government where it goes wrong/being the conscience.
  • Paying taxes.
  • Reporting culprits/law breakers to the relevant authorities.
  • Teaching the citizens/faithful about loyalty to the government and its importance.
  • Establishing schools and hospitals to supplement the government effort.
  • Establishing charitable organizations to help the needy, like street children, the aged, the poor, orphans and AIDS victims.

Lessons from the breaking of the Sinai covenant.

  • Christians learn that God is the only one to be worshipped.
  • Christians learn that God is more powerful than other gods/idols
  • Christians should be patient
  • Christians learn that God is merciful/forgiving
  • Christians should take their roles seriously/should be responsible
  • Christians learn that disobedience can result into suffering/punishment
  • God is a jealousy God/does not condone evil/punishes evil
  • They should exercise self- control
  • Christians should repent/ask for forgiveness
  • Christian leaders should intercede for the people

Lessons Christians learn from the incident when the Israelites worshiped the golden calf

  • Christians learn that they should worship God alone
  • Christians should lead righteous lives
  • Christians should intercede for others
  • Christians should not represent God in any kind of image
  • Christians should be firm in decision making/not to be swayed/misled easily/avoid peer pressure
  • Christians should have faith/trust God
  • Christians should repent their sins/ask for forgiveness/forgive others
  • Christians should respect those in authority/appointed by God
  • Christians should be patient
  • Christians should obey God’s instructions/teachings
  • Christians should exercise self control/avoid anger
  • Christians should condemn evil

The renewal of the Sinai Covenant (Exodus 34:1-35).

  • This came after Moses had pleaded with God to spare the Israelites had broken the covenant
  • God spared them and commanded Moses to cut two stone tablets and go up to the mountain
  • He promised to make another covenant with the Israelites but with conditions:

God’s conditions

  • The Israelites were to obey God’s commands
  • The Israelites were not to make any treaties/covenants with other tribes.
  • The Israelites were to destroy/break down the altars of their gods/ smash their sacred stones/places of worship.

  • They were not to worship any other god but Yahweh.
  • They were to keep the feast of the unleavened bread
  • They were not to make cast idols/graven images/idols.
  • To rest on the seventh day/Sabbath.
  • To dedicate all their first born male children and first born male of their domestic animals to God.
  • To offer to God the first fruits of their crops/observe the feast of weeks
  • All the male Israelites were to appear before the Lord God three times in a year
  • They were not to offer the blood of the sacrifices with leaven
  • They were not to intermarry with foreigners.

The characteristics of God revealed to Moses during the renewal of the Sinai covenant (Exodus 34:1 – 28)

  • God is compassionate
  • He is gracious
  • God is slow to anger/tolerant
  • God is loving and merciful
  • God is faithful
  • He is forgiving
  • He punishes evil and sin
  • God is powerful
  • God is jealous
  • He is Holy
  • God is all-knowing

God’s promises to the Israelites

  • Protect and preserve them.
  • Bless them.
  • Make them prosper so much.

The worship of God by the Israelites in the wilderness

Features of worship

  1. Laws to guide them e.g. Ten Commandments
  2. There were priests who came from the tribe of Levi.
  3. There were feast and important days e.g.
    1. Sabbath day
    2. Passover festival
    3. New Year’s Day
    4. Pentecost/feast of weeks
    5. The feast of tabernacles
    6. The Day of Atonement.
  1. Sacrifice and offerings:
    1. Holocaust (burnt offering)
    2. Grain offering, gift offering
  • Communion offering
  1. Atonement (sin offering)
  2. Incense offering
  3. Offering for purification
  1. 5. Tabernacle: this was a portable structure (tent) that was used in worship.
  1. Ark of the Covenant: this was a wooden box where the Ten Commandments were kept. It symbolized the presence of God.
  2. Altars – this marked an earthly meeting place between God and the people. They built altars in places where they received a Theophany.
  3. Prayers for petition – Thanksgiving and asking God for protection.

Ways the Israelites worshipped God in the wilderness

  • They worshipped Yahweh as the only God
  • They celebrated the three yearly feasts i.e. Passover, Pentecost and the feast of tabernacle
  • They build an altar for God where they sacrificed the holocaust and communion sacrifices
  • They observed the Ten Commandments to guide them in their day to day living
  • They observed the Sabbath and kept it holy
  • They prayed, sang and danced to God
  • They paid tithes
  • They moved from place to place with the Ark of the Covenant where the stone tablets containing the 10 commandments were kept

Worship practices that Israelites adopted in the wilderness

  • They worshipped one God called Yahweh.
  • They had various feasts like Passover, Pentecost and Day of Atonement.
  • They had sacrifices and offerings like grain offering, fellowship offerings, offering for purification.
  • They had the tabernacle that was a portable tent for meetings between God and his people.
  • They also had the Ark of the Covenant that was a wooden box containing the Ten Commandments.
  • They had the Sabbath that was a sacred day for resting and worshipping Yahweh.
  • The Israelites had sacred leaders who led them in all aspects of worshipping Yahweh.
  • There were altars that were places for sacrifices.
  • The Mosaic law that the Israelites were expected to follow.
  • They had hymns especially derived from the book of Psalms.

Forms of worship that were practiced by the Israelites in the wilderness which are found in the Christian worship today

  • Obeying the ten commandments
  • Singing/dancing in church
  • Praying to God
  • Celebration of festivals/feasts
  • Observing the Sabbath
  • Giving offerings/tithes
  • Building places of worship/decoration/consecrating places of worship
  • Burning incense.

How people are initiated into Christian worship today

  • Are given Christian induction into Christian living.
  • They undergo baptism/confirmation.
  • Some are anointed with oil.
  • Are allowed to take Holy Communion.
  • Unite with other Christians to share the body of Christ.
  • Pastoral visit by church leaders
  • Taught their responsibilities/duties.
  • They are introduced to the members of the congregation
  • Taught catechism to prepare for baptism
  • Are taken through lessons/bible study.

Ways Christians worship God today

  • They read the Bible
  • Priests interpret the scriptures for them
  • They attend church service on stipulated days
  • They observe important events in the history of Christianity e.g. Easter, Christmas
  • They sing songs of praise and dance to God
  • They undergo baptism
  • They give offerings to God
  • They lead exemplary Christ like life

How Christians can enhance the true worship of God today

  • Praying for God’s guidance
  • Seeking guidance and counseling from church leaders on how to worship
  • Reading the bible/relevant Christians literature
  • Living exemplary lives
  • Giving tithes/offering
  • Repenting/forgiving one another
  • By not cursing one another in public during worship
  • Attending Christian conventions/conferences/seminars
  • Providing theological training for the clergy
  • Carrying out worship within the legal frame work.

Circ*mstances under which covenants were made in the traditional African society.

  • During reconciliation ceremonies between warring tribes or clans.
  • In settlement of disputes between family members such as husband and wives or between two different families.
  • During oathing ceremonies to keep secrets of the society and promote harmony and unity.
  • Before warriors went to war.
  • During marriage ceremonies.
  • When choosing leaders.
  • In compensation for accidents killing or wounding another person accidentally.
  • During inheritance ceremonies.
  • During agreements for trade between two tribes of clans.

Ways in which Moses showed his obedience to God

  • He accepted to remove his sandals when ordered by God during his call
  • He accepted to perform the plagues in Egypt to deliver the Israelites despite the difficulties he would face
  • He accepted to perform the plagues in Egypt to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites
  • Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea as commanded by God
  • Moses prepared for the Passover as commanded by God
  • He provided the Israelites with proper instructions on how to collect food offered by God as God commanded him
  • Moses wrote the defeat of the Amalekites on the scroll as God Commanded him
  • He prepared for the Mt. Sinai covenant as God commanded and allowed the instructions given by God

The Israelites new understanding of the nature of God (Exodus 33, 34)

  • Nature refers to the inherent character or behaviour of a person
  • He is holy – He did not want to be touched by anybody when the Israelites met him.
  • He fulfills his promises / faithful by rescuing the Israelites from Egypt
  • He is powerful – showed his power through plagues / crossing of the Red sea
  • He hates sin – punished the Israelites / initiated the remaining part of the covenant after breaking the initial one.
  • He is just – punished the wrong / concerned with justice in Decalogue
  • He is moral – gave Israelites laws to guide them.
  • He is personal – initiated a covenant relationship with Israelites on Mount Sinai.
  • He is merciful / loving – provided water / food / protected them form enemies
  • He is mysterious – manifested himself in various forms e.g. thunder / lightening/ thick cloud.
  • He is omniscient / all knowing – knew that Israel was sinning when Moses was on Mount Sinai.
  • He is forgiving – forgave the Israelites who sinned / gave them another chance
  • He is patient – slow to anger even when Pharaoh enslaved his people.

Problems that Moses faced as he led the Israelites

  • The Israelites turned against him and panicked when they saw the Egyptiansfollowing them
  • Lack of food / hunger in the wilderness
  • He had problems of organizing and uniting the Israelites
  • They encountered hostile / unfriendly tribes in the wilderness
  • Lack of water
  • Sometimes people lost confidence in Moses and disobeyed or grumbled against him
  • The Israelites worshipped the golden calf while Moses was away
  • Harsh desert conditions i.e. hot during the day and very cold at night
  • Wild animals posed a danger e.g. snakes
  • Disputes arose and he had to settle them among the people
  • Israelites feared the might of the Canaanites.
  • He had to lead the people in traveling through unfamiliar territories and routes
  • He had trouble managing the people who were fatigued/ tired
  • Moses was a stammerer and he had trouble communicating
  • He lacked confidence in himself
  • The Israelites angered Moses by breaking the covenant

Challenges that church leaders face today.

  • Rejection by people
  • Struggle for leadership in some churches
  • Inadequate funds to do their work
  • Denial of permission to work by authorities
  • Strong influence from traditional African culture in some areas
  • Challenges on how to harmonize science and spiritual matters
  • Some lack enough training
  • Many people do not go to church
  • Competition for converts from other churches
  • Hypocrisy among church leaders
  • Immorality among some of them.

Qualities of Moses which modern Christian leaders should emulate

  • Christian leaders should have faith in God just as Moses did
  • They should be courageous / brave just like Moses
  • They should have wisdom and experience
  • They should have concern for their people
  • They should be obedient to God as Moses was
  • Should have determination / endurance
  • Should have diplomacy
  • Should be tolerant
  • Should have confidence in God.

The role of Moses in the history of the Israelites

– He was one of the first Israelite prophets to receive God’s call with a mission to liberate them.

– He battled with Pharaoh so as to liberate the Israelites

– He liberated and delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage

– He led the Israelites through the wilderness during the Exodus

– He endured suffering for the sake of the Israelites who abused him

– He led the Israelites into making a covenant with God at Mt. Sinai

– Moses was given the Ten Commandments to guide the Israelites to live according to the covenant way of life

– He punished the Israelites who broke the covenant and worshipped the golden calf

– He interceded on behalf of the Israelites for God to forgive them their sins

– Moses sought for God’s providence for the Israelites e.g. manna and water

– Moses made the Israelites enter into a renewal of the covenant with God

– Through God’s guidance, he protected them against hostile desert tribes e.g. Amalekites.

– He mediated between God and the Israelites throughout the entire period of the Exodus.



Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  1. Explain the reasons for kingship in Israel
  2. Explain reasons against kingship in Israel
  3. Explain King Saul’s failures
  4. Explain lessons that can be learnt from King Saul’s failures
  5. Explain the importance of David as King of Israel and as an ancestor of Jesus Christ
  6. Explain the qualities of a good leader drawn from King David’s leadership
  7. Explain King Solomon’s achievements and failures
  8. Explain the importance of the Temple in Israel
  • The Israelites were a theocratic community. God ruled them through human leaders like judges and kings.

Judges in Israel

  • Othniel – Judges 3:9-10
  • Ehud – Judges 3:15
  • Samson –
  • Gideon – Judges 6:11-24, 7:1-25
  • Abimelech
  • Deborah – Judges 4:4
  • Samuel
  • Barak
  • Shamgar – Judges 3:31

Duties of judges in Israel

  • They acted as Gods Prophets; they foretold the will of God to the Israelites
  • They offered prayers
  • They settled disputes among the people
  • They led the Israelites to war against their enemies
  • They anointed kings g. Samuel anointed king Saul and later David as kings of Israel
  • Performed priestly duties such as offering sacrifices
  • They acted as religious leaders and led the Israelites in worship.
  • They asked the Israelites to abide by the covenant law.
  • Acted as mediators between God and the people.

Roles of kings in Israel

  • To obey God’s prophets
  • To lead people in the covenant way of life
  • To keep God’s commandments and ensure the people do the same
  • To make peace and justice /solving disputes
  • To build for God a place of worship and maintain it
  • To lead the Israelites to war against their enemies
  • To lead the people in national prayers

Duties of prophet Samuel in Israel.

  • He performed priestly duties
  • He anointed the first two Kings of Israel: Saul and David
  • He settled disputes and passed judgment on offenders
  • He foretold God’s plan for the future.
  • He acted as a mediator between God and the people
  • He asked the Israelites to abide by the covenant law
  • He prayed to God to have the Israelites defeat the Philistines
  • He rebuked the Kings when they went wrong for example, King Saul.
  • He led the Israelites into war against their enemies.
  • He condemned idolatry and preached the worship of Yahweh
  • He warned the elders of Israel against demanding for a political King.
  • He advised both the king and the people to obey the covenant law in order to be blessed by God.

Challenges Israelites faced as they settled in Canaan.

  • They admired their neighbors
  • Idolatry
  • Strain in battles

  • Inability to worship together
  • Inferiority complex.
  • They were not experienced in farming having led a nomadic life.

Reasons for kingship in Israel (1 Samuel 8:1-9)

  • The sons of Samuel Joel and Abijah lacked leadership qualities.
  • They wanted to be like other nations with kings over them.
  • They wanted an earthly king whom they could see and touch.
  • They desired to have a hereditary system of government.
  • They wanted a political government with law and order.
  • They wanted a leader for political stability
  • They wanted a leader who could lead them in war.

Reasons against kingship in Israel (1 Samuel 8:10-20)

  • Israel was a theocratic community so demanding a king meant that they were rejecting God as their unseen king.
  • By having a hereditary leadership, the Israelites would deny God a chance to replace bad rulers.
  • The king would introduce idolatry
  • The king would introduce forced labor.
  • The king would impose high taxes.
  • Hereditary leadership would eventually lead to emergence of kings with inadequate leadership qualities.
  • The King would forcefully recruit their sons into the army.
  • The people would be enslaved.
  • The king would grab people’s property.
  • The Israelites would lose their identity as a covenant people.
  • The king would take their daughters to be perfumers, cooks or maids in his palace.
  • Hereditary kingship would bring oppression and dictatorship.
  • When the Israelites would cry to God, He would not listen to them.

The qualities that were required for one to be acknowledged a king in Israel

  • One had to have charisma / spirit of God
  • On had to receive official anointing by a recognized prophet of God.
  • To receive public acclamation and be recognized prophet of God
  • To receive public acclamation and be recognized by the people as a leader
  • One had to be upright / honest/ God fearing
  • Had to be a member of the tribes of Israel
  • One had to command respect in the community.

KING SAUL’S SUCCESSES AND FAILURES (1 SAMUEL 11:1-11, 13:8-14, 14:47-48, 15:7-25)

Successes of King Saul

  • Fought against Ammonites (1Sam 11:1-11)
  • Led successful war against the philistines, thus saving Israel from their enemy (1Sam 14:47-48)
  • Defeated the Amalekites (I Sam 15:7)

Failures of King Saul

  • Saul demonstrated impatience in his leadership i.e. went ahead to offer sacrifices to God instead of waiting for Samuel/ he ignored advice from God’s prophet when he offered a sacrifice instead of waiting for Samuel
  • He disobeyed God by failing to honour the rule of Harem which required him to destroy the enemy completely
  • He was jealous of David and plotted to kill David because of his growing fame
  • He consulted a medium, an indication of lack of faith in God (1 Sam 8 )
  • He committed suicide showing lack of regard for human life

Lessons Christians learn from the failures of King Saul.

  • Christians should be patient/wait upon the Lord
  • Christians should avoid evil deeds /thoughts in their lives
  • They should obey God/His teachings/authority
  • They should have faith in God alone
  • They should trust in the saving power of God alone
  • They should respect people anointed to do the will of God/church leaders
  • They should not be greedy/selfish
  • They should repent/ask for forgiveness
  • It is sinful to consult mediums.
  • Christians should respect the sanctity of life as God given.
  • Christians should carry out their duties responsibly and be ready to face the results of the decisions they make.
  • Authority comes from God as such should be obeyed.

Reasons why politicians and church leaders should co-operate.

  • To enhance peace and harmony in the society
  • To enhance respect and good public image
  • Both have a duty to promote the socio-economic and political welfare of the society
  • To enhance transparency and accountability in their work.
  • To ensure that members of the society receive essential services
  • All authority is given by God.

Reasons why some leaders may be rejected in the society today

  • Poor role models
  • Are oppressive to the subjects
  • Doesn’t listen to the needs of the people he/she is leading
  • If he/she does not practice justice to all
  • When one fails to address the problems of his/her subjects
  • When he/she practices discrimination (tribalism/nepotism for his/her people
  • Lack of education and proper training for the leader
  • Due to misappropriation of public funds and facilities/corruption
  • Old age and ill health
  • If the leader is associated with people of questionable behavior
  • If the leader is immoral

Ways in which leaders of nations misuse their positions today

– Taxing citizens heavily.

– Practicing tribalism.

– Grabbing fertile pieces of land from their subjects.

– Harassing religious leaders.

– Murdering their political opponents.

– Suppressing weaker nations.

– Imposing his religion to all citizens.

– Detaining people without trial.

– Misusing public funds.

King David’s achievements (1 Sam 16:1-23, 2 Sam 6:1-15)

  • He was chosen by God.
  • He honored and obeyed God.
  • He established the longest serving dynasty in Israel.
  • He established a strong military force.
  • He captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites.
  • He established good international relations with the neighboring nations.
  • He improved the economic status of Israel by encouraging trade with other nations.
  • He expanded Israel’s territorial boundaries.

  • He had outstanding leadership qualities.
  • He defeated the philistines who were the most feared in the region.
  • He united the nation of Israel.
  • He composed Psalms that were used in worshiping God.
  • He organized the administrative systems of Israel.
  • He consulted and obeyed God’s servants.

The role played by king David in the salvation history of Israel.

  • He captured Jerusalem city and made it a religious centre
  • He honored God by bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem
  • His reign was full of peace and love
  • He united all the Israelites under one Nation and God
  • He defeated all the enemies of Israel and brought them under his rule
  • He consulted the prophets of God and heeded their advice
  • He established an efficient civil service when he centralized his administration
  • He composed many Psalms and songs used in the worship of God
  • He was humble before God and sought for forgiveness when he offended Him
  • He made Israel rich and prosperous as the people he conquered paid tribute to him
  • He wished to build a house for Yahweh
  • He re-organized the office of priesthood to serve in the temple
  • He chose Jerusalem a neutral City as his capital which did not belong to any other tribe
  • He established foreign trade with other countries

How King David demonstrated his faith in God

  • He killed Goliath with a stone and a sling because he believed that God would fight on his behalf
  • He accepted to be anointed by Samuel as the second king of Israel
  • He trusted all the promises that God made to him through Nathan
  • He wanted to build a temple for God
  • He brought back the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem with the aim of making it a centre of worship/holy city
  • He accepted his sins and repented
  • He constantly sought God’s guidance
  • He praised through song and dance
  • He practiced justice in his leadership
  • He was faithful to God

How King David promoted the worship of Yahweh in Israel.

  • Brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem/signified God’s presence among the people.
  • Composed the Psalms used in worship of Yahweh.
  • Respected the prophets of Yahweh/ listened to their advise.
  • Repented every time he made a mistake/asked Yahweh for forgiveness
  • Humbled himself before Yahweh/ called himself a servant of Yahweh
  • Shepherded Israel to the worship of God/ made them keep God’s commandment.
  • Constantly prayed to God/sought God’s guidance/glorified God/gave thanks to God.
  • Practically praised God/sung/danced/for God
  • Peace enjoyed by the Israelites was a sign of God’s presence amongst the people.
  • Made Jerusalem a religious city.

Ways in which Christians demonstrate God’s guidance in their lives.

  • Asking for forgiveness/ repenting/being baptized
  • Act as peace-makers/reconcilers
  • Writing/composing Christian literature/songs
  • Offering their talents for the work of the church/building worshipping places
  • Caring for the sick/old/disabled
  • Preaching/teaching/witnessing to the Gospel
  • Caring for the environment
  • Working for the well being/development of their community.
  • Through prayers/thanks giving/praise/worship

Significance of the Ark of the covenant in Jerusalem

  • The ark symbolized king David; obedience to God
  • It was to ensure that the presence of God was felt by all the people of Israel
  • It made Jerusalem the religious centre of Israel, hence God’s holy city.
  • It was a unifying factor to the people of Israel
  • It showed that David was a servant of God while the real king was Yahweh
  • The ark helped David to maintain moral behaviour in Israel.
  • By bringing the ark to Jerusalem , David humbled himself before God despite being a king
  • David used the ark to remain close to God for proper guidance and salvation of

Reasons why David is considered as the founder of Israel

  • Defeated enemies of Israel
  • Expanded the geographical boundaries of Israel
  • Was a wise administrator
  • Established peace among neighbouring countries
  • United Israelites
  • Composed psalms
  • Set up the capital of Israel
  • Was a wise administrator

Reasons why David is referred to as the greatest King of Israel.

  • He was anointed by God; he received the Holy Spirit and was accepted by God
  • Had outstanding qualities e.g. bravery, generous, patience, eloquent speaker
  • Expanded Israel’s territorial boundaries
  • Strengthened the city of Jerusalem as capital and worship centre and named it city of David
  • He honoured God; he brought the Ark to Jerusalem, a religious centre
  • Brought prosperity through trade and tribute from other nations
  • Victorious soldier-He fought successful battles and even killed Goliath the Philistine giant
  • He was a skilled musician. He composed many songs and psalms
  • He consulted and respected God’s servants e.g. prophet Nathan and God and remained prayerful
  • He united the nation by selecting Jerusalem as a centre of worship and he united twelve tribes
  • Established dynasty, David dynasty which lasted for 400 years
  • Had good administrative skills. He delegated responsibilities

The promises that God made to David through Prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 7:1- 29)/David as an ancestor of Jesus Christ (2 Sam 7: 1-29, Luke 1:26-33)

  • God promised to keep David and his descendants safe from his enemies.
  • God would give David’s descendants a place to settle.
  • God promised to raise up an heir from the house of David to sit on the throne.
  • He promised to let David’s son be the one to build a temple for him.
  • God promised to make David’s name great or famous among all other leaders of the earth.
  • He would build a house for David
  • He would raise a heir from David’s lineage to establish an everlasting kingdom
  • God would take David’s son as his own, if he sinned, God would not respect him but chastise him

Ways in which God fulfilled His promises to King David

  • God gave the descendants of David a place to settle.
  • Solomon took the throne of David as his successor.
  • God made David’s name great among all leaders on earth.
  • Solomon built a temple for God as promised to David.
  • God established an everlasting Kingdom for David in Jesus Christ.
  • David and his descendants were kept safe from all enemies

Importance of the promises made to David for Christians today.

  • It is through the promises that Jesus, a descendant of David was born
  • Christians are the many descendants promised to David
  • They are protected by God against evil forces
  • Christians are the beneficiaries of the promise of a permanent place for David’s descendants which is heaven.
  • Their bodies form the spiritual temple in which the Holy Spirit is housed.
  • Jesus is the king promised from the lineage of David
  • Christians who join the kingdom will live in peace
  • They have personal relationship with God their father.

How Jesus fulfilled God’s promises to David

  • The gospel writers tell us that Jesus was born in the family of David (Luke 1:26-27)
  • The same angel in his annunciation message to Mary that Jesus will be king like his ancestor David (Luke 1:32-33)
  • Zechariah in his Benedictus said that God has raised up a savior descended from the house of David. (Luke 1:69)
  • Jesus was born in Bethlehem which was also the birth place of David (Luke 2:4)
  • The blind man at Jericho hailed Jesus as the son of David and looked to him to restore his sight (Luke 18:38)
  • Jesus was hailed by the crowd as the messiah descended from David during his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Matt 21:9)
  • In their summons, the early apostles like Peter and Paul made a number of references to Jesus as a descendant of David. (Acts 2:29-35, 13:23).
  • Saint Paul asserted that the good news of salvation is about the son of God who took human nature and was born from David’s lineage. (Rom 1:3-5)
  • Matthew says that Jesus was a descendant of David. (Matt 1:1)

The significance of David as an ancestor of Jesus to Christians today

  • The promises that God made to King David pointed to the mission of Jesus in the world to save sinners
  • Through Jesus, a descendant of David, Christians are blessed/protected/have peace
  • Through David, Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom/the church
  • David recognized the divinity of Jesus as Lord/Saviour who Christians also recognize as Saviour
  • David as an ancestor of Jesus established proper worship of God in Israel and this has been emulated by Christians
  • David the ancestor of Jesus made preparations to build a temple for God which has been realized in the modern day places of worship built by Christians


  • Courage and bravery-He bravely faced Goliath and Israel’s enemies
  • Faithful-He did not let his power compromise his faith in God or the covenant
  • Gratitude/grateful-He always acknowledged God’s part in his victories
  • Loyalty/patriotism- He never imposed himself on his people
  • Justice- He ruled fairly by having a system of fair taxation
  • Wisdom

  • Humility/obedient-He humbled himself before God and His prophets
  • Kindness/compassionate/merciful-He was tolerant with King Saul and helped the needy
  • Hardworking- He led his people to war, built the city of Jerusalem and ruled in an orderly manner
  • Charismatic- He was an influential and inspiring leader (2 Sam 5:1-3
  • Patient-He ruled over Judah for seven years and three months before he was accepted as King over all Israel
  • Shrewd administrator- He chose wise leaders to help and advice him
  • Repentant- He would always apologize whenever he went wrong

Reasons why today’s leaders fail to be acceptable as King David of Israel.

  • David was chosen and anointed by God but today’s leaders choose themselves through the use of money.
  • David was always fair /just in his dealings but today’s leaders are corrupt.
  • David was humble but today’s leaders are arrogant /proud
  • David obeyed and walked in God’s way unlike today’s leaders who walk in their own selfish / egocentric ways
  • In the case of a problem, David used diplomacy which is missing in most of our leaders today.
  • David was always grateful and thankful unlike today’s leaders
  • He was always ready to admit his mistakes/ repent while today’s leaders do deny their mistakes.
  • He was very social/ entertaining because he was a very good psalmist unlike most of the leaders who want to be entertained like Saul the first King of Israel.
  • David was very forgiving unlike most of our leaders who keep grudges

Ways in which King David’s successors fulfilled prophet Samuel’s reasons against kingship in Israel

  • Forced labour: Solomon used forced labour in building his palace and the temple of God
  • Land grabbing: As indicated by Samuel Ahab killed and grabbed Naboth’s vineyard
  • Over taxation: King Solomon over taxed his people to meet the expenditure of his royal palace
  • Lose their identity as covenant people: During the reign of Zedekiah, Israel was taken to exile
  • Hereditary leadership would lead to oppression: Rehoboam, Solomon‘s son promised to double the burden on the people, leading to schism.

Factors that have led to the increase of Christian denominations in Kenya.

  • Rivalry for leadership/hunger for power.
  • Differences in biblical interpretations
  • Resistance to change by the older church members who want to remain as it was/generation gap.
  • Material gain/greed selfishness where starting a church has become a business
  • Lacks of spiritual satisfaction by some members make them start their own churches
  • Lack of good example/poor role model by the leaders/corrupt leaders
  • Desire to be free from missionary/foreign control
  • Differences in mode of worship/ritual observance /model of worship
  • Nepotism/tribalism/clannish/racialism among Christians
  • The Kenya constitution has allowed freedom of worship
  • Disagreements in ethical issues/policies in the church regarding how certain matters should be handled e.g. family planning, dressing.



  • He built the magnificent Jerusalem temple.
  • He proved to be the wisest king of his times.
  • He strengthened the military forces in Israel.
  • He established an organized civil administration
  • He developed trade with neighboring nations like Edom and Tyre.
  • He maintained peace and political stability in Israel
  • He brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem temple.
  • Just like his father he was a talented musician.
  • He was a shrewd diplomat – he signed treaties with other nations so that peace would be maintained.
  • He made the nations he subdues pay tributes to Israel and enriched the kingdom.
  • He dedicated the Jerusalem temple of God.

Reasons why Christians build churches.

  • Used for worshipping God
  • Signify God’s presence / house of God
  • Used for meetings / place of gathering for members
  • Religious functions take place in the church e.g. festivals
  • Places where Christians receive the word of God/ preaching
  • Act as a sign of prestige/ recognition/ identification
  • To demonstrate their faith in the existence of God
  • Can be used as a place of refuge in times of danger/ calamity
  • Sign of spiritual growth

King Solomon’s failures

  • He allowed idolatry – he allowed his foreign wives to worship idols and built high places for idols.
  • He made treaties with other nations when Israel was forbidden from this.
  • He married foreign wives, which was against God’s commands.
  • He killed his half brother Adonijah.
  • He oppressed people by using forced labour
  • He was extravagant and used a lot of state wealth to entertain and pleased his many wives and concubines.
  • He built temples for the pagan gods worshipped by his wives.
  • He introduced forced labour in Israel.
  • He practiced nepotism/Solomon’s tribes men from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were exempted from forced labour.
  • He introduced high taxation in Israel for the upkeep of his foreign wives.
  • Solomon worshipped the gods of his wives and thus broke the covenant with God.
  • He was selfish/ valued himself more than God/built his palace for thirteen years and the temple for only seven years.
  • He hired the skills of pagan craftsmen who designed, decorated and furnished the temple of God.
  • He sold part of Israel’s territory – 2 tower of Galilee to Hiram the king of Tyre to repay for debts he was unable to settle.

Factors hindering political leaders from performing their roles effectively in Kenya today.

  • Cultural/religious barriers/tribal/racial/corruption.
  • Inadequate/poor infrastructure.
  • Conflicting ideologies resulting in decisive decisions.
  • Personal differences
  • Inadequate funds to initiates development projects/programmes to help their electorate.
  • Lack of adequate forum to meet and address their electorate.
  • Ridicule from members of the society.
  • Inability to live up to the promises made during campaigns.
  • Women leaders are discriminated against by some members of the society.
  • Lack of leadership skills resulting into poor public relations.
  • Division and conflicts within and between the parties.
  • Insecurity/death threats/harassment by their opponents

Why Christian leaders are unable to keep their oaths of office today

  • Power struggle
  • Greed for wealth/ materialism
  • Tribalism/ Nepotism/ Racism
  • Sheer pride/ personality cult
  • Too much expectations from them
  • Termination of periods in office

Ways in which King Solomon fulfilled Samuel’s prophesy about kingship in Israel.

  • Solomon used forced labour during the construction of his palace and the temple.
  • He overtaxed the Israelites to provide for the upkeep of his palace and the army.
  • He grabbed the property of the Israelites and gave it to his officials.
  • He forced their sons to join the army.
  • He took their daughters and made them perfumers and concubines.
  • Through marriage alliances with other nations, Israel lost its identity as God’s nation.
  • He was oppressive in his rule e.g. he killed his brother Adonijah who was a threat to his throne.
  • He sold part of Israel’s land which was a sacred property.
  • He allowed his wives to bring false gods into Israel.

Ways which show that King Solomon turned away from the covenant way of life.

  • He married foreign wives/concubines.
  • He allowed worship of foreign gods/idols/he worshiped foreign gods.
  • He murdered his half brother Adonijah whom he thought would rival his power
  • He taxed the Israelites heavily for his upkeep
  • He disobeyed the instructions given to him by his father David to rely on God
  • He built places of worship for the false gods
  • He subjected the Israelites to forced labor/slavery during the construction of the temple/his palace.
  • He signed treaties with his neighbors for protection
  • He sold land to Hiram King of Tyre
  • He used more time to build his palace than the temple of God

Ways in which Christians disobey the ten commandments today

  • Devil worship instead of worshiping God alone
  • Unfaithfulness i.e. committing adultery, fornication etc
  • Coveting other people’s property
  • False swearing using Gods name
  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Swearing in vain using God’s name
  • Not respecting parents

Factors that influenced Solomon to build the temple.

  • The prevailing peace in Israel.
  • God had revealed to David that Solomon would build the temple. Therefore, he was obeying God’s command.
  • He wanted honour God with a fine building.
  • There was plenty of labour available.
  • The kingdom had a lot of wealth.
  • Israel had trade links with neighbouring countries where building materials were easily available.
  • The Ark of the Covenant needed to be protected from invaders.

How the construction of the temple of Jerusalem contributed to the failures of King Solomon

  • Made peace agreements with Canaanite kings which was against God’s commandments
  • To strengthen peace, he married foreign women
  • Used materials from Canaanite countries
  • Used forced labour
  • Levied heavy taxes to facilitate the building of temple
  • Paid out 20 towns of the holy land to King Hiram for construction materials
  • Hired the skills of pagan craftsmen who designed decorated and furnished the temple
  • Idolatry was brought to Israel by foreign women

Lessons Christians learn from the reign of King Solomon.

  • Leaders should maintain morality in sexual matters
  • Leaders should have established administration
  • Leaders should not be extravagant and careless
  • Leaders should be development oriented
  • Leaders should practice monogamy
  • Leaders should avert chaos by trusting and obeying God’s will
  • Leaders should have respect for life as it comes from God.
  • Leaders should avoid accumulating property at the expense of the people.
  • They should resist foreign influence e.g. idolatry.
  • Leaders should not live in luxury at the expense of their subjects.
  • Christians should preach against the evils of tribalism and nepotism which are rampant today unlike Solomon who favoured the people of Judah and Israel.
  • The injustice people suffered led to the split of the Kingdom.

Factors which led to the division of the Kingdom of Israel after the death of King Solomon. (1 Kings 12)

  • The introduction of the foreign gods by wives of King Solomon.
  • Solomon allowed his foreign wives to worship their gods which displeased Yahweh
  • The building of high places for foreign gods in Israel by King Solomon
  • Failures of King Solomon to keep the covenant with God not to worship foreign gods/intermarry with other nations
  • Oppression of the Israelites through over taxation introduced by Solomon
  • Introduction of forced labour in Israel by King Solomon.
  • Rehoboam’s resection of the elder’s advice to rule less harshly
  • Rehoboam’s following the advice of young men to rule more harshly than Solomon
  • The readiness of jeroboam to lead the rebellions tribe
  • Long standing internal conflicts in the house of King David
  • Failure of King Solomon to guide his son

Reasons that contributed to schism between Judah and Israel

  • It was a punishment for Solomon’s sins
  • Jeroboam had built two worship places at Dan and Bethel
  • Solomon’s rule was oppressive in the form of forced labour, high taxes and slavery.
  • Rehoboam rejected the request of the people even after being advised by the elder
  • Solomon’s great development in the South which brought tension between the Northern and Southern kingdom.
  • Solomon had also exempted the inhabitants of Judah from paying taxes
  • Rehoboam’s oppressive rule
  • Jerusalem city belonged to the Southern division
  • Ten tribes preferred Jeroboam while two tribes went for Rehoboam

Ways in which King Jeroboam made Israelites in the Northern Kingdom turn away from God/promoted religious schism between Judah and Israel

  • King Jeroboam stopped the Israelites from going to worship in Jerusalem
  • He made golden bulls and placed them in Bethel and Dan thus encouraging idol worship
  • He chose priests who did not belong to the family of Levi who misled the Israelites
  • He instituted religious festivals in Israel in a month of his choice unlike those found in Judah
  • He worshipped idols thus set a bad example to his subjects
  • He led a revolt that led to the split of the kingdom of God thus destroying the idea of the covenant of brotherhood that had been established by David
  • He did not listen to the advice of the prophets of God
  • He burnt incense at the altar of idols thus breaking the first commandment

Ways used by Israelite kings to bring people back to God

  • Destroying the altars of gods
  • Set examples to the people by repenting their sins when warned by prophets
  • Killing the priests of Baal4 e.g. John 2 kings 10: 18
  • Restoring temple worship David
  • Renewal of the covenant / they led the people in renewing their allegiance – Jehu & Josiah
  • Did not form political alliances with neighboring kings
  • Building the temple of God Solomon

Roles modern Christians play in restoration of the true worship in Kenya

  • They should be role models and repent their sins whenever they do wrong.
  • Preach the word of God so that people may know God.
  • Pray to God to guide them on what they should do as they restore others.
  • Put up places of worship so that people can meet and worship God.
  • Evangelize the word of God/spread the word of God
  • Expose the works of the devil so that people know the true worship of God.
  • Correct those who do wrong in a manner that would restore them to the true worship of God.

The importance of the temple in Israel

  • It symbolized God’s presence
  • Worship was done in the temple on the Sabbath day.
  • Animals for sacrifices were bought from the temple.
  • Sacrifices to God were offered in the temple.
  • It was a residence for the priests.
  • Annual religious festivals were celebrated in the temple.
  • It was an academic centre for the Israelites where the law was taught.
  • Purification and dedication rites were performed in the temple.
  • The Ark of the Covenant was kept in the temple.
  • It was used as a law court and adjacent to the temple was a tribunal where criminals were tried.

  • It served as a commercial centre where goods were sold and bought.
  • The Israelites believed that the messiah would reveal himself at the temple.
  • It was the only place where people with problems presented themselves to God for mercy.

How the Jerusalem Temple promoted the true worship of God

  • It housed the priests who presided over the worship of God
  • It was the only place where sacrifices to God were offered
  • All religious offences could be tried at the Temple courts
  • It was a centre of learning the Mosaic Law
  • Animals for sacrifice were sold in the Temple
  • Major religious functions were conducted in the Temple

Causes of power struggle in the church in Kenya today

  • Greed for lack material possession/ poverty
  • Hypocrisy among the believers/ leaders misbehavior
  • Tribalism/ nepotism/ clanism/ racism/ ethnicity/ all other forms of discrimination
  • Gender discrimination
  • Economic status/ rich versus the poor in the church
  • Educational status
  • Differences in interpretation of the Christian doctrine
  • Rigidity/ conservatism among leaders
  • Political interference in the leadership of the church
  • Fighting for recognition/ prestige
  • Succession wrangles



Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  1. Explain how and why idolatry became widespread among the Israelites
  2. Explain the effects of idolatry in Israel
  3. Describe how Elijah fought against false religion and corruption among the people of Israel
  4. Explain why Elijah faced danger and hostility as a prophet of God
  5. Explain the relevance of Elijah’s prophetic mission to Christians today

The spread of idolatry in Israel

Circ*mstances which led to the spread of idolatry in Israel

  • Transition from pastoralism to agricultural life made the Israelites resort to Canaanite gods of fertility
  • Intermarriages between the Israelites and others, especially the Kings of Israel who allowed their foreign wives to bring idol worship to Israel.
  • When the Kingdom of Israel split into Israel and Judah following the death of Solomon, Jeroboam established two new places of worship at Dan and Bethel where he placed idols to represent God.
  • The Kings who came after Jeroboam in the Northern Kingdom of Israel continued to worship idols leading people further away from the worship of Yahweh
  • When the Israelites were defeated in battles they thought God had forsaken them and this made them seek consolation from the Canaanite gods
  • .The Israelites continued using Canaanite temples for worship and this led them deeper into idolatry
  • Some Kings of Israel married foreign wives and made treaties that brought stronger political alliances with neighboring states and this increased idolatry as foreign gods were also imported into Israel.
  • The Israelites were attracted to the visible gods of the Canaanites as opposed to the invisible Yahweh.
  • Failure of Israelites to keep the covenant they had made with God on Mount Sinai

Practices of Idolatry during the time of Elijah

  • Worshipping of many gods/goddesses
  • Making of images/symbols to represent god/goddesses
  • Worshipping of false gods/goddesses
  • Building of high places for the gods/goddesses
  • Offering of human/animal sacrifices to the gods
  • Syncretism/apostasy
  • Performing elaborate rituals/fertility rituals to the gods/goddesses
  • Listening to false prophets
  • Cultic/temple prostitution

Modern forms of Idolatry in the society.

  • Power/position in administration
  • Wealth / money
  • Sex /prostitution
  • Devil worship.
  • Betting/ gambling

Activities of King Jeroboam which led to the spread of idolatry in Israel.

  • He made two golden calves to represent Yahweh.
  • He made Dan and Bethel centres of worship.
  • He made the people to offer sacrifices to the false gods.
  • He built high places of worship on hilltops.
  • He chose priests who were not Levites.
  • He worshipped idols.
  • He instituted his own religious festivals.
  • He stopped the Israelites from going to Jerusalem for worship, trade, etc.
  • He offered sacrifices to false gods.

The characteristics of the Local Canaanite religion.

  • It was a nature/cosmic/cyclic religion
  • It comprised of many gods/goddesses/polytheistic
  • They had a chief god/El
  • They worshipped their gods on mountain tops/high places of worship/temples/shrines
  • Symbols/idols/images were made to represent each god/goddess
  • They worshipped temple prostitution/was part of the worship of gods/goddesses
  • They offered elaborate human/animal/crop sacrifices to the gods/goddesses
  • Feasts/festivals were celebrated in honour of the gods/goddesses
  • Each god had his/her own prophet/prophetess
  • Each god/goddess played a specific role in the community

The effects of idolatry in Israel

  • It led to syncretism in Israel where the Israelites worshipped their God alongside the Canaanite gods.
  • The Israelites turned away from the covenant way of life.
  • They forgot the covenant of brotherhood and practiced injustices such as corruption and murder.
  • False prophets came to Israel and gave false messages.
  • God punished the Israelites with a 3 year drought.
  • The Israelites adopted new religious festivals and sacrifices.
  • The Israelites adopted other cultural aspects e.g. naming children after Canaanite gods.
  • Baalism was promoted and even made a state religion
  • There was increased sexual immorality due to temple prostitution.
  • God sent prophets to remind the Israelites to return to the worship of one true God.
  • God withdrew his blessings on Israel.
  • Worship places for God were neglected and left in ruins.
  • Kings had short reigns characterized by coups.
  • Kings who did not know God oppressed the Israelites.
  • Israelites were defeated in wars and taken to exile.

Ways in which the Israelites engaged in syncretism

  • Former places of worship for Canaanite gods were used for worshipping Yahweh.
  • Canaanite agricultural calendar was adopted by Israelites.
  • Names of Canaanite gods were applied to Yahweh e.g. Baal.
  • Parents named children after Canaanite gods.
  • They worshipped Baal to give them rain and Yahweh to give them victory in war.

Ways in which Kenyans may be tempted to turn to idolatry today.

  • The promise of wealth by devil worship.
  • The promise of power by witchcraft.
  • Careers and education over-emphasized even on worship days.
  • The desire for pleasure lures youth into modern idolatry.
  • Cultism lures people into it.
  • Celebrities are often idolized.

Ways in which the people of Israel made the temple of God more or less a Canaanite


  • Canaanite gods were later kept in the temple
  • The people sacrificed to false gods in the temple
  • Temple prostitutes were housed in the temple of God
  • Canaanite gods were later worshiped in the temple
  • Canaanite festivals and feasts were observed in the temple
  • Burnt incense to idols in the temple
  • Over drinking and immorality during worship

Reasons why the Israelites easily got into the worship of idols while in Canaan.

  • The Israelites had shallow faith in God.
  • The Canaanite religion appeared to be very attractive e.g. beautiful sanctuaries.
  • Some intermarried with Canaanites and adopted their practice.
  • Some of their kings were poor role models in God’s worship.
  • Some kings like Ahab and Solomon promoted idolatry.
  • Canaanites seemed quite successful in their agriculture which they attributed to fertility rites.
  • There emerged false prophets who assured the people that all was well.
  • Some of their kings persecuted God’s prophets who preached against idolatry.

Reasons why Kenyans are attracted to the church.

  • Being members of a church gives them a belonging/identity.
  • Some go to church as a form of leisure/routine/habit.
  • To worship and join others in worship.
  • Some go to church to make friends/meet friends/to socialize.
  • Others go to church to look for material help.
  • For spiritual growth/development/nurture.
  • To some, it is prestigious to go to church/seek popularity/recognition.
  • To fulfill an obligation/as a sense of duty.
  • To seek comfort and consolation.
  • To seek forgiveness.
  • For physical and spiritual healing.
  • For guidance and counseling.
  • To cover up their sins/crime/wrong doing/hypocrism.
  • To seek God’s blessings.

Modern forms of idolatry that threaten Christianity today.

  • Status
  • Love of pleasure
  • Too much desire for sex
  • Too much love for money
  • Too much love for wealth/material possessions
  • Devil worship
  • Too much academic achievements leading to atheism
  • Too much religious fanaticism which confuses the identity of God
  • Too much desire for power.


The evils that Elijah fought against

  • False religion(1 kings 18:17-46)
  • Corruption (1 Kings 21:1-29)

Why Idolatry was widespread in Israel at the time of Elijah.

  • The alters meant for Yahweh‘s worship had been destroyed.
  • Jezebel had brought many false prophets and prophetesses of Baal.
  • The Israelites were attracted to the visible gods as opposed to their unseen Yahweh.
  • The kings and priests had failed to teach the Israelites their covenant way of life.
  • The surviving prophets of Yahweh were being persecuted by Jezebel.
  • The division of the kingdom which cut off the Northern tribes from the Temple worship in Jerusalem.
  • The Israelites intermarried with their neighbours who practiced idolatry.
  • The Israelites adopted the Canaanite religion.
  • King Ahab built an altar for Baal in the temple in Samaria.
  • Baalism was made a state religion.
  • The Israelites made treaties with the Phoenician nation.
  • They had a belief that God was only powerful in his own land.
  • The Israelites failed to destroy the cultic objects and temples for the worship of Canaanite gods.
  • Jeroboam made golden calves in Bethel and Dan, offered sacrifices and worshipped them.
  • Commercial and agricultural prosperity
  • The transition from pastoral life to agriculture made the Israelites to admire the Canaanite gods of fertility.

Ways in which the Israelites moved away from the true worship of Yahweh during Prophet Elijah’s time.

  • They worshipped idols/Baal and Asherah.
  • They intermarried with foreigners.
  • They practiced temple prostitution/fertility rituals.
  • They offered human sacrifices.
  • They practiced injustices like corruption.
  • They practiced syncretism.
  • They established alternative places of worship/shrines, thereby undermining Jerusalem.
  • They had priests who were not Levites thereby defiling priesthood.
  • They held their religious ceremonies in months of their choice.
  • They destroyed and neglected Yahweh’s altars.

Fight against false religion (1 kings 18:17-46)

The contest at Mt. Carmel

  • Elijah challenged Baal’s prophets to a contest to prove who the true God is.
  • Baal’s prophets sacrificed a bull and put it on the altar.
  • They prayed to Baal / screamed / pleaded and cut their bodies, but there was no response.
  • Elijah ridiculed them to pray harder as Baal could be away on a trip or asleep.
  • Elijah prepared an altar with twelve stones for the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • He dug a trench round the altar and poured water into it.
  • He prepared the sacrifice and put it on the altar, and then prayed to God to prove Himself as the true God.
  • God answered with fire and burnt the sacrifice.
  • Elijah ordered the killing of Baal’s prophets.
  • As a result of God’s sign, many people worshipped Him.
  • Elijah prayed for rain and the 3 year drought ended.

How Elijah fought against false religion in Israel

  • Proclaimed drought
  • Directly condemned Ahab and Jezebel
  • Had a contest with Baal prophets to prove who the true God is
  • He ordered the killing of Baal prophets
  • He prayed for the rain for the drought to end
  • He performed miracles
  • Prophesied judgement and punishment on Ahab and Jezebel’s descendants

Reasons that led to the Mt Carmel contest.

  • King Ahab had married a Phoenician /Jezebel who brought Baal worship in Israel.
  • Ahab build a temple for Baal worship.
  • Yahweh’s alter had been broken in Israel.
  • Religious syncretism had been brought in Israel.
  • Prophets of Yahweh had been killed /others were hiding.
  • There was prolonged drought which threatened the nation.
  • Israelites had broken the covenant relationship with God.
  • Elijah’s religious experience /deep conviction about the true nature of God
  • The contest was to prove before Israel and their king whether Baal or Yahweh was to be worshipped.

Lessons Christians learn from the contest at Mount Carmel

  • Yahweh controls the forces of nature (He can bring drought or end it)
  • Yahweh controls the welfare of human beings
  • Yahweh is holy and does not condone sin.
  • He is a forgiving God as He pardoned the Israelites when they repented.
  • He is the protector of His servants.(He protected and provided for Elijah)
  • Yahweh is jealous. He does not share His glory with anyone or anything else.
  • He is the true God. Baal is a powerless and remote god.
  • Yahweh answers prayers. He is faithful to those who put their trust in Him.

Lessons learnt about the nature of God from the contest at Mt. Carmel

  • Yahweh is the only God.
  • Yahweh is a living God
  • Yahweh is a Powerful God.
  • Yahweh is a merciful God.
  • Yahweh is a jealous God.

  • Yahweh is a God of Justice
  • Yahweh answers prayers
  • Yahweh controls the forces of nature
  • Yahweh takes care of the welfare of human beings
  • Yahweh is a forgiving God
  • Yahweh is the true God
  • He is a protector of his servants.

Ways in which false religion is manifested in Kenya today

  • Emergence of cults
  • False prophesy about end times
  • People claiming to be Messiah /God
  • Human sacrifice
  • Selling of anointing oil/water for cure
  • Consulting mediums, wizards, palmists and fortune tellers
  • Commercializing spiritual gifts
  • Devil worship
  • Syncretism
  • Prosperity gospel

Ways that Prophet Elijah used to fight idolatry in Israel.

  • Stood for the covenant way of life
  • Faced the 450 prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel
  • Preached against idol worship
  • He announced a three and a half year drought as a punishment from God for Idolatry
  • He openly rebuked King Ahab and Jezebel for promoting Baalism in Israel

Why Elijah was uncompromising in his attitude to the worship of Baal

  • He believed that only Yahweh was the Israelite God
  • By worshipping Baal, people had broken the covenant la
  • The worship of Baal led to the killing of prophets of Yahweh
  • By condemning Baal worship, he knew that he would put away the foreign ideology that Ahab was trying to bring in Israel
  • Being a prophet, he was against baalism because his vocation was to turn people back to the covenant way
  • He had strong faith in God
  • By worshipping Baal, people failed to recognize Yahweh as God and Lord of everything
  • He believed that the people will turn away from the covenant faith

Factors which lead people away from the worship of God today

  • Materialism / earthly wealth
  • Permissive society
  • Mass media
  • Corruption
  • Urbanization
  • Threats to human life e.g. wars
  • Confusion from false religion
  • Oppression which makes the oppressed lose hope / faith
  • Sexual immorality
  • Drug addiction/abuse
  • Scientific discoveries
  • Poverty which dehumanizes people
  • Education which seems to answer so many questions
  • Personality cults

Consequences of false religion in the world today

  • Social injustices
  • Murder of the innocent
  • Persecution of true prophets
  • Too much individualism and materialism
  • People having false hope
  • Devil worship
  • Widespread evil practices
  • Natural calamities

Ways in which Christians may assist church leaders to perform their duties effectively

  • By giving them financial/material support
  • By providing them training opportunities
  • Praying for them
  • Giving tithes and offerings
  • Obeying the word/living exemplary life
  • Advising and counseling them
  • Respecting them
  • Participating fully in church activities

Reasons why Christians should fight against the spread of devil worship in the society.

  • Devil worship is against God’s commandments.
  • It advocates for human destruction.
  • It advocates for materialism as the guiding factor of man’s success
  • Leads to lack of faith / dependence on God
  • Rituals involved in devil worshipping are dehumanizing.
  • Christians fight devil worship to warn people of God’s judgement.
  • It instills fear on God’s people.

Ways in which the Church is promoting the true worship of God in Kenya today.

  • By spreading the Gospel for people to understand/ evangelism/teaching/preaching.
  • By condemning/speaking against false prophecies prevalent in the society.
  • Doing charity work/ helping the needy in their midst.
  • Promoting unity among Christians and communities.
  • Building sacred places of worship/ churches.
  • Encouraging / calling people to repent their sins.
  • Condemning evils/ social injustices in the society.
  • Providing training for the clergy to promote the right doctrines.
  • Holding Bible studies/fellowships/seminars among Christians for better understanding.
  • Through prayers.
  • By living holy/exemplary lives/ obeying God’s word.
  • Formulating the C.R.E. syllabus in schools and colleges.
  • Distributing / donating free Bibles.
  • Giving catechism/discipleship classes.
  • Writing Christian literature.
  • Offering spiritual guidance and counseling/Pastoral care.

How political leaders can promote the worship of God.

  • Enforce freedom of worship
  • Organize and contribute during fund raising for buildings or other projects in the church.
  • Giving land for church projects.
  • Having prayers before meetings and other public rallies.
  • Condemning satanic worship / devil worship.

Forms of modern-day idolatry.

  • Love for money and wealth.
  • Visiting witchdoctors.
  • Devil worshipping.
  • Worldly pleasures e.g.-music.
  • Abuse of alcohol and drugs.
  • Fashion
  • Personalities or individuals e.g. celebrities, leaders.
  • Greed for power.
  • Leisure and sports e.g. football, wrestling.
  • Work and studies (education)

Reasons why Kenyans are attracted to the church.

  • Being members of a church give them a belonging/identity.
  • Some go to church as a form of leisure/routine/habit.
  • To worship and join others in worship.
  • Some go to church to make friends/meet friends/to socialize.
  • Others go to church to look for material help.
  • For spiritual growth/development/nurture them.
  • To some, it is prestigious to go to church/seek popularity/recognition.
  • To fulfill an obligation/as a sense of duty.
  • To seek comfort and consolation.
  • To seek forgiveness.
  • For physical and spiritual healing.
  • For guidance and counseling.
  • To cover up their sins/crime/wrong doing/hypocrisy.
  • To seek God’s blessings.

Elijah’s fight against corruption ( 1 Kings 21:1-29)

  • Is the injustice done to the innocent by those in position of leadership.

How Prophet Elijah fought against corruption and injustice in Israel

  • Naboth, a peasant farmer had a fruitful vineyard next to King Ahab’s palace
  • Ahab coveted Naboth’s vineyard and offered to buy it at a better price or have it exchanged for another one
  • Naboth refused to sell it or exchange because it was an inheritance from his family
  • Ahab’s pagan wife Jezebel influenced him to misuse his powers and get the vineyard
  • She forged letters in the king’s name and sealed them with his rubberstamp, and sent them to the elders
  • Naboth was falsely accused of blasphemy and treason which were punishable by stoning to death. His male heirs were also killed
  • Ahab then went and possessed the land since it became state property.
  • Elijah was sent by God to pronounce judgment to the royal family. He told Ahab that his dynasty would come to an end and that dogs will lick Jezebel’s blood in the same place where Naboth was killed
  • It was prophet’s work to fight injustice in Israel because they were a covenant people and kings were not above the law.

King Ahab and Naboth’s Vineyard

  • King Ahab coveted Naboth’s vineyard which was close to his own palace at Jezreel
  • He offered to buy it at a generous price or have it exchanged with another one
  • Ahab refused both proposals because it was a family estate and that he could not dispose it off as he pleased
  • This made Ahab gloomy, lay in bed and even refused to eat
  • When his wife Jezebel realized this, she promised to get the vineyard for the King
  • She therefore forged letters in the king’s name and sealed them with the king’s rubber stamp and send them to the elders of Jezreel
  • In it, she accused Ahab of blasphemy and treason, crimes punishable by death
  • Ahab was not given time to defend himself and was stoned to death in accordance to the law prescribed for such crimes
  • Ahab then went and possessed the land as it had become state property
  • God sent Elijah to go and pronounce divine judgement on the house of Ahab for what he had done
  • Ahab’s dynasty was going to be destroyed

Reasons why Naboth refused to sell the vineyard to King Ahab

  • The land belonged to God/ God was the rightful owner
  • The land belonged to the family/ was an ancestral property which an individual had no right to sell
  • Land was inherited from generation to generation and could only be rented out but not sold
  • Naboth respected the Mosaic law which gave guidelines on land issues
  • Land was given to the Israelites by God to settle on and was not to be sold
  • It was his only piece of land and was very beautiful

The incidence when Ahab took Naboth’s vineyard (1kings 21)

  • Naboth the Jezrite, had a vineyard in Jezreel beside the palace of king Ahab of Samaria
  • The king coveted it to make it a vegetable garden.
  • He asked Naboth to give it to him because it was near his house.
  • King Ahab approached Naboth to sell him the vineyard /exchange it with another vineyard
  • Naboth declined the offer because in Israelite selling ancestral land was against the covenantal laws. The land belonged to God.
  • Ahab went home angry and could not speak /eat
  • Jezebel Ahab’s wife leant of Naboth’s refusal and she arranged for his Murder.
  • Jezebel promised Ahab she would get him the vineyard
  • She forged letters in Ahab’s name and sent them to elders nobles who lived in the same city with Naboth
  • Jezebel instructed them to proclaim a fast /take Naboth out of the city/accuse him of treason /blasphemy and stone him to death.
  • On learning that Naboth had been killed, Jezebel told Ahab to take possession of the vineyard which he did.
  • God commanded Elijah to go and declare His judgment on Ahab for committing such an evil act in Israel

Lessons Christians learn from the story of Naboth and the Vineyard about church-state relationship

  • Both the church and the state should work together to cater for the needs of the people
  • Each citizen has a right and duty to participate in church and political issues of the state
  • Christians should condemn moral evils and corruption in the society.
  • The church should use proper ways to correct the state and not to agitate for violence /revolt.
  • The state should protect the church
  • The church should respect the state that brings order in the society.
  • The state should give freedom of speech, worship to its citizens
  • The church and the state should assist the helpless in the society.

How King Ahab broke the covenant way of life in the story of Naboth’s vineyard.

  • He coveted Naboth’s vineyard
  • He failed to respect the Jewish law and land ownership.
  • He allowed his wife to make false accusations against Naboth.
  • He allowed his wife to forge a letter in his name accusing Naboth of blasphemy.
  • He allowed Naboth to be stoned to death.
  • He grabbed the land belonging to Naboth’s family.
  • He considered himself above the law.
  • He oppressed the weak and lowly.

Ways in which the church and certain individuals are fighting for social justice in the modern society

  • They pray for corrupt people to change
  • They set a good example by avoiding corrupt practices
  • They preach, guide and counsel the people on the evils of corruption
  • They share their belongings with those who do not have
  • The church/ some individuals give relief services to victims of floods, drought and land displacement
  • They visit and pray for the sick/ prisoners/ bereaved/ depressed
  • The church provides social services such as education by building schools/ health care by putting up hospitals/ orphanage
  • They pray for peace and justice in the society
  • The church provides civic education which guides Christians in electing honest leaders
  • The church trains marriage counselors who assist Christian couples on how to fulfill their domestic obligations
  • They care for the environment by condemning wanton felling of trees and depleting forests

How corruption has affected the society in Kenya today

  • There is increase in crime.
  • The public has lost trust/faith in the government.
  • There is an increase in poverty.
  • There is a high level of inflation.
  • Lack of quality services in all areas of life.
  • There is hiring /employing inefficient people.
  • It has led to strikes/riots among workers.
  • It has led to disillusion/poor morale of workers.
  • It has created unemployment due to in ability to create jobs.
  • It has led to sexual immorality which leads to STD’S, HIV/AIDS.
  • It has given the country a negative image globally.

Ways through which a Christian can help reduce corruption in Kenya today

  • Praying for corrupt people in Kenya
  • Being a role model avoid taking part in corrupt practices
  • Preaching to the people on the of corruption
  • Report incidences of corrupt to the relevant authority
  • Encourage people adhere to the stipulated laws/ procedures/ regulations
  • Publish books/ magazines / newsletters on negative effect of corrupt
  • Fund / contribute for airtime so that people can listen to issues on corrupt
  • Organize seminars/ conferences/ workshops for people to discuss solutions to end corruption/ teach people on their rights
  • Carry out testimonial cases of corruption
  • Campaigning for better salaries
  • Choosing/ electing honest leaders

The failures of King Ahab

  • He broke the fist commandment by allowing idol worship
  • He killed the prophets of God
  • He coveted Naboth’s vineyard
  • He killed Naboth / broke law against murder
  • He broke the law that forbids stealing
  • He failed to protect the weak / poor as demanded by the law
    • He allowed his wife Jezebel to bear false witness against Naboth
    • He took Naboth’s vineyard unlawfully
    • He worshipped idols
    • He used the name of God in vain when he said that Naboth had blasphemed against God

Evils committed by King Ahab according to Prophet Elijah

  • Worshipped Baal and Asherah.
  • Built temples for Baal and Asherah.
  • Married Jezebel who was not an Israelite contrary to Old Testament teachings.
  • Killing Naboth and his family
  • Taking Naboth’s vineyard.

Comparison between Solomon and Ahab as kings of Israel in relation to the covenant demands.

  • Both were kings of the Israelites
  • Both practiced idolatry
  • Both made marriage treaties with foreigners
  • Both worshipped other gods apart from Yahweh
  • Both were oppressive- Solomon overtaxed the people while Ahab oppressed the poor
  • Both committed murder- Solomon killed his half brother Adonijah while Ahab killed Naboth

Reasons why political leaders in Kenya fail to perform their duties effectively.

  • Lack of leadership skills
  • Lack of obedience in God
  • Lack of faith / trust in God
  • Some of them were chosen through bribery / corruption / misappropriation
  • Conflicts among themselves on issues affecting the government
  • They are not loyal to their leaders and subjects
  • Failure to accept their mistakes and change for the better
  • Lack of patience e.g. campaigning for presidency instead of serving the citizens.
    • Women leaders are discriminated
    • Inability to live to the expectation of the electorate
    • Inadequate funds to initiate development projects to help their electorate
    • Cultural/religious/ tribal/ethnic/racial/ corruption
    • Insecurity /threats/harassment
    • Ridicule from members of society
    • Lack of adequate forum to meet with the electorate

Lessons that Christian leaders learn from King Ahab.

  • They should shun all forms of corruption.
  • They should be fair and just to all.
  • They should promote the worship of God at all times.
  • They should avoid and help fight all forms of idolatry in the society.
  • They should not allow other people to lead them astray.
  • They should respect and listen to the true prophets of God.
  • They should be obedient to God.
  • They should be repentant.
  • They should be contented with what they have / not covet nor steal other people’s property.
  • They should put their complete faith/trust in God.
  • They should be truthful/ honest / not bear false witness against others.
  • They should respect and protect human life as it is sacred.

Reasons why politicians and church leaders should co-operate.

  • To enhance peace and harmony in the society
  • To enhance respect and good public image
  • Both have a duty to promote the socio-economic and political welfare of the society
  • To enhance transparency and accountability in their work.
  • To ensure that members of the society receive essential services
  • All authority is given by God.

Factors that have affected the true worship of God today

  • Devil worship
  • Career and employment
  • Love for money and selfishness
  • Peer pressure
  • Love for worldly pleasures
  • Sexual immorality
  • Elevation of the status of education
  • Poverty
  • Ignorance and illiteracy
  • Lack of religious and moral teachings

How Christians can enhance true worship of God today.

  • Praying for God’s guidance
  • Seeking guidance and counseling from church leaders.
  • Reading the bible /relevant Christian literature.
  • Leading exemplary lives.
  • Giving offerings.
  • Repenting or forgiving one another.
  • Avoiding castigating one another in public/during worship.
  • Attending Christian conventions/seminars/conferences.
  • Providing theological training for the clergy/church leaders

How corruption has affected the society in Kenya today.

  • There is an increase in crime
  • The public has lost trust in the government
  • There is an increase in poverty
  • There is a high level of inflation
  • Lack of quality services in all areas of life.
  • There is hiring of inefficient people
  • It has led to disillusionment of workers
  • It has created unemployment due to inability to create jobs.
  • It has led to sexual immorality which leads to STD and HIV/AIDS
  • It has given the country a negative image globally
  • It has led to strikes/riots among workers.

Ways Christians can use to reduce/fight corruption in Kenya today

  • Condemning all the unjust practices in the society
  • Praying for the corrupt to change their evil ways.
  • Through advocating for the enactment of laws that can help to strengthen the fight against corruption
  • Leading exemplary lives for others to copy and change/act as role models for others to emulate/set good examples by avoiding corrupt practices.
  • They make moral choices/informed decisions through the use of life skills
  • By lobbying for the punishment of all those who abuse justice/promote corruption
  • By educating/providing civic education on the evils of corruption
  • Through exposing corrupt practices in the society
  • By obeying the laws of the state
  • By preaching the importance of integrity to the people
  • Reporting those engaged in corruption to the relevant authorities

How Kenya Anti Corruption Authority (KACA) can help reduce corrupt in the society

  • KACA should advocate for the return of the illegal acquired property
  • KACA should ensure equitable distribution of national resources g. revenue and CDF money
  • KACA should enlighten people to respects the low
  • KACA should encourage people to report corruption cases
  • KACA should take people who misuse there power for political and economical gain e.g. Anglo leasing, Goldenberg to a court of law
  • KACA official should be good role models and ensure they are also not implicated in case of bribery and corruption

Why Christians should fight against bribery and corruption in Kenya today

  • It promotes injustice on the citizens
  • It is a criminal offence and anyone involved may be imprisoned
  • It leads to suffering of one’s family if one is sacked and looses the source of income
  • It makes the public loose respect and confidence, especially if it involves leaders
  • It creates a situation of hopelessness, despair, poverty and political instability
  • Employment and promotion of unqualified people leads to unemployment, bitterness, hatred, and discontentment and demoralizes other workers.
  • It leads to under development of a country if the employees are not qualified
  • Leads to poor performance in some schools when incompetent students take places they don’t deserve
  • It is condemned in the Bible
  • If it involves supply of consumer goods and food it makes citizens suffer a lot and some may even die of hunger
  • It widens the gap between the rich and the poor, hence social inequality
  • It enhances discrimination e.g. nepotism and tribalism.

Reasons why Elijah faced danger and hostility (1 Kings 18:1-46, 19:1-21, 21:1-26)

  • Elijah ran away in fear and hid in the wilderness where he was in danger of attack by wild animals.
  • He was endangered because he courageously identified himself with Yahweh in the midst of persecution of God’s prophets by Jezebel.
  • He condemned the moral corruption of the powerful.
  • He proclaimed judgement on Ahab’s family.
  • He blamed Ahab and Jezebel’s sins for being the cause of the drought.
  • He had prophesied a three year drought which resulted in severe famine in Israel.
  • He lived and preached at a time when Baalism was the official state religion and Yahweh’s prophets were being killed
  • Elijah killed 450 prophets of Baal resulting in the threats by Jezebel to kill him.
  • Elijah was commanded by God to anoint Hazael as King of Syria and Jehu to take over from Ahab. This seemed like a conspiracy against the Kings of Israel and Syria by Elijah
  • Elijah declared God’s judgement on King Ahab when the King possessed Naboth’s vineyard. This exposed him to a lot of danger.
  • In the wilderness, Elijah faced starvation due to lack of food and water.
  • Elijah lacked moral courage since he was the only prophet of Yahweh left as some had been killed while others had gone into hiding.

Why Elijah was forced to escape from Israel

  • He openly condemned corruption
  • He ordered the killing of all the prophets of Baal
  • Jezebel wanted to kill him
  • He condemned King Ahab and his wife for taking Naboth’s vineyard
  • He was seen as a trouble maker by Ahab
  • He condemned King Ahab for encouraging syncretism
  • He prophesied a three and a half year drought
  • He pronounced judgement over the king and his family
  • He challenged idolatry/refused to abandon the worship of the true God

The challenges that Prophet Elijah faced in Israel during his prophetic ministry.

  • He had to defend his faith/religion to prove that Yahweh was the true God
  • Hee was accused by King Ahab of being the trouble maker in Israel/enemy
  • He had to convince the people that he was the true prophet of Yahweh
  • He lived in fear after pronouncing the drought in Israel
  • He had to flee from Israel after killing the prophets of Baal
  • Jezebel threatened to kill him
  • Elijah despaired/felt discouraged/lonely/wished to die
  • True prophets of God were being persecuted/killed in Israel
  • He had to fight baalism which had been made a state religion
  • The death of 450 Baal and Asherah prophets in Israel

The signs used by Elijah to prove that Yahweh was the true God.

  • Prophecy of the drought
  • The raising of the widow’s son.
  • Fed by ravens/ birds in the wilderness.
  • Provision of fire for his sacrifice and rain afterwards.
  • The still small voice.
  • Provision of oil and floor to the widow of Zarephath.
  • He was raised up to heaven by a whirl wind.
  • Earthquake, fire and Thunder on Mt. Horeb.

How God manifested his power during Prophet Elijah’s time (Theophany)

  • God sent fire to burn the sacrifice during the contest at Mount Carmel with Baal prophets
  • God miraculously fed Elijah at the brook of Cherith at Beersheba / wilderness
  • God brought rain after the drought.
  • At Mount Horeb, he manifested his presence through a storm, earthquake and lightning
  • He brought judgment on King Ahab and his wife-Jezebel.
  • Elijah raised the widow’s son at Zarephath through God’s power.
  • The three year drought
  • Elijah ran faster than Ahab’s chariots at his age

Ways in which Christians can deal with challenges they face in modern society.

  • Reading the scripture / Bible.
  • Perseverance in trials and temptations.
  • Seeking government protection.
  • Preaching on unity and reconciliation.
  • Organizing joint programmes.
  • Giving a common approach to issues affecting citizens in Kenya.

Qualities of Elijah that modern day Christian leaders should strive to emulate

  • Courage
  • Promotion of social justice
  • Patience
  • Faithful
  • Concern for the needy
  • Prayerful
  • Perseverance
  • Charismatic / wise

Life skills one can use to fight against corruption

  • Creative thinking – this is the ability to think about and explore possibilities of doing tasks in solving problems in more than one way.
  • Critical thinking – this is the ability to think and ask questions in situations.
  • Decision making – this is being in a position to make the right choices.
  • Assertiveness – this is the ability to express one’s opinion strongly and with confidence.
  • Self esteem – this is the feeling of being contended with your character and abilities.

Forms of corruption in Kenya today;

  • Tribalism
  • Bribery
  • Cheating in business
  • Stealing
  • Misuse of public property.
  • Grabbing of personal and public land.
  • Dishonesty
  • Robbery with violence.
  • Mismanagement of public funds
  • Forgery

Factors that contributed to the failures of the kings of Israel

  • They did not seek God’s will and advice before undertaking any leadership task
  • They ruled not according to the will of God and but according to their personal wishes
  • They did not obey God’s commandments! did not live according to the Covenant way of life
  • They did not lead people in the worship of one God(Yahweh)
  • They were not God- fearing and therefore did not rule in a just manner
  • They did not acknowledge the supremacy of Yahweh as the overall leader of Israel.
  • They married (many) foreign wives e.g. Solomon, Ahab
  • Signing treaties with foreign nations
  • Maintaining of luxurious lifestyle at the expense of the people they led
  • Disregarding the prophet’s advice/ warning

Ways of fighting corruption today.

  • Condemning unjust practices in society.
  • Making the right moral choice through use of life skills.
  • Practising moral values of honesty.
  • Punishing those who abuse justice.
  • Obeying laws of the state.
  • Exposing corrupt practices in society.
  • Assisting in enactment of laws that will fight corruption.
  • Preaching to corrupt people to change their ways.
  • Providing civic education on corruption.

How Christians fight moral corruption in society today

  • Praying for the corrupt to change.
  • Creating awareness on evils of corruption.
  • Leading by example.
  • Reporting the corrupt to the authorities.
  • Forcing corrupt leaders out of office.
  • Convincing the corrupt to change their ways.
  • Preaching to the corrupt to change.
  • Guiding and counseling the corrupt.

How Christian leaders misuse their positions today

  • By ridiculing/attacking/expelling their critics from the church
  • Sexually exploiting their trusting /naive church members
  • By diverting church funds projects at the expense of other people
  • Employing family members/close friends in the church projects
  • Putting strict conditions before providing services i.e.
  • burial/wedding/baptism
  • Discriminating against the poor/ women.
  • Personalizing church facilities e.g. vehicles/houses

The evils that Elijah would condemn in Kenya today.

  • Land grabbing
  • Murder and tribal clashes
  • False prophecies and hypocrisy
  • Power struggles
  • Corruption and bribery
  • Love for money
  • Witchcraft, sorcery, magic
  • Oppression and exploitation of the poor
  • Cultic practices and sects.
  • Bearing false witness
  • Coveting other people’s property

The success of Elijah as a Prophet of God.

  • Elijah’s prophecy of three and a half year drought came to pass.
  • Through God’s power Elijah got accommodation with the widow of Zarephath and God empowered him to perform a miracle of the supply of sufficient food throughout the drought.
  • Elijah raised the widow’s son.
  • At Mount Carmel he successful challenged the prophets of Baal.
  • Through the contest he proved God’s power over forces of evil and revealed Yahweh as the only true living God.
  • Elijah killed Baal prophets and this proved God’s power working through him to destroy Satan’s kingdom.
  • Elijah predicted the end of the drought showing he was a true prophet of God.
  • Jezebel attempted to destroy true worship of Yahweh by killing the prophets of
  • God but failed because Elijah remained alive defending Yahwism.
  • He strongly condemned corruption and abuse of power by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel without fear.
  • He did not die an ordinary death but taken up to heaven alive by God’s chariot.
  • His punishment about God’s punishment to Ahab and his family was fulfilled.
  • He installed a new king, Jehu for Israel.
  • He left Elisha to succeed him in God’s work.

Relevance of Elijah’s prophetic mission to Christians today

  • Christians learn to denounce evil and condemn injustice courageously.
  • Christians should remain faithful to God even when faced with danger.
  • Christians should not despair in their missionary work but lean on God for encouragement and providence.
  • Christians should pray to God in faith and God would surely answer them.
  • Christians should advocate for the rights of the poor.
  • Christians should not give false evidence against their neighbors like Jezebel against Naboth.
  • Christians should be persistent like Elijah in their struggle against injustice.
  • Christians should be prepared to suffer and meet opposition and rejection.
  • It is the duty of Christians as God’s servants to call people to repentance.
  • Christians should develop life skills that will enable them to make appropriate decisions.
  • Christians should strive to live a life free from corruption.
  • As Elijah agitated for the destruction of false religion, Christians learn to do likewise.
  • Leaders need to use their positions to protect and uplift the poor and weak and not exploit and oppress them.
  • Christians need to be very honest in giving information that affects others.





Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  • Explain the African concept of God, spirits and ancestors
  • Explain the African understanding of the hierarchy of beings
  • Describe the role of God, spirits and ancestors
  • Explain the responsibilities of the living towards God, spirits and ancestors
  • Describe the traditional African way of worshipping God, venerating and communicating with the ancestors and spirits



  • All traditional African communities believe in a Supreme Being who is the origin and sustainer of all things.

Attributes of God

  • God is all knowing or omniscient
  • God is everywhere/omnipresent
  • God is all powerful/omnipotent
  • God is transcendent or is beyond human comprehension
  • God is immortal and eternal
  • God is kind and generous
  • God is good
  • God is the creator
  • God is holy
  • God is incorruptible
  • God is just
  • God is mysterious
  • God is self-existent
  • God is a spirit.

The Spirits

  • Spirits are invisible beings
  • They are more powerful than human beings
  • Spirits can be found in a particular place e.g. ( burial ground, ancestral land, shrines, spirits of the world but they can move freely hence they are tied to a particular place
  • Spirits can be found in mountains rivers , trees ,rocks and lands
  • Human beings can reach God through spirits of their ancestors, they are intermediaries, they are mediators between God and human beings
  • Spirits are sometimes unpredictable and they can bring either good or evil to the living
  • Spirit can enter into human beings and communicate important messages through them e.g. mediums
  • Spirits are generally feared
  • Human beings make sacrifices to ancestral spirits to appease them
  • Sprits are reborn in the living members

The importance of myths in traditional African communities.

  • They explain the origin of people
  • They explain the occupation and culture of the people
  • Justify the ownership of the tribal land
  • They explain the origin of death
  • They describe the original status of God and human beings
  • They explain some religious status of God and human beings
  • They give people identity
  • They entertain people.
  • They are basis of unity
  • They explain the origin of some practices customs and traditions
  • They educate people hence help in preserving culture and traditions.

African understanding of the hierarchy of beings

  • Hierarchy means the order in which created beings are ranked or placed in the universe. In the traditional African understanding it is as follows;-



Common spirits


Human beings

Animals and plants

Non-living things

  • At the top of the hierarchy is God, the Supreme Being.
  • Below God are special spirits called divinities
  • Below divinities are spirits
  • Fourth in the hierarchy are the ancestors / living dead.
  • Below ancestors are human beings
  • Sixth in the hierarchy are plants and animals.
  • Non-living thing such as rocks, rivers, lakes, and mountains occupy the last-category. They are dwelling places for God and spirits

The responsibilities of the living to the ancestors in the African traditional communities.

  • Sacrifice and give offering to them
  • Name their children after the ancestors
  • Offer venerations and pray through them
  • Should respect them
  • Remember them by inviting them to social functions and invoking their names
  • Teach their children about them
  • Build shrines for them
  • Pouring libations to them
  • Protecting their culture and ancestral land
  • Obeying their wishes and wills revealed through dreams
  • Appeasing them through sacrifices and offerings
  • Inviting them to take part in celebrating of rituals
  • Giving ancestors whatever they need in rituals
  • Approaching shrines with respect

The role of God

  • God loves all human beings and can be invoked.
  • God is the giver and sustainer of life.
  • God protects human beings from evil.
  • God is the guardian of the moral and ethical order.
  • God controls true spirits.
  • God gives order to the universe and controls it.
  • God speaks to human beings through prophets.
  • God gives power to the specialists e.g. medicine men, kings, priests, healers etc.

Components of life in Traditional African Communities

  • God being the source of life
  • Social aspect of life because of close relationship among people
  • The spiritual aspect of life because of communicating with God
  • The environmental aspect of life as we depend on nature for our survival
  • The physical aspects which is the material life
  • The observance of rituals, taboos and regulations
  • The rhythm of rites of passage
  • The passing on of life i.e. procreating

Ways in which traditional African communities show their appreciation to God as a source of life

  • Giving thanks after a good harvest
  • Naming children after God
  • Offering sacrifices to God
  • Taking care of the environment
  • Pray to God
  • Give blessings/ curse in God’s name
  • Invoking God’s name frequently

The role of spirits

  • They can be manipulated by human beings to cause harm to others.
  • They can possess religious specialists.
  • They acted as intermediaries between human kind, divinities and God.
  • Bad spirits sometimes posses people and drive them away from home.
  • They received the living dead into the unseen world.
  • They were consulted to explain to the living certain occurrences beyond their understanding.
  • They are guardians of family members

Factors undermining the responsibilities of modern Africans towards spirits

  • Modern education –most elite don’t believe in spirits
  • Christianity –condemns the belief in spirits (necromancy)
  • Urbanization –grouping of different ethnic groups
  • Changing of social trends-changing societal values
  • Globalization-interaction of different cultures in the world
  • Secularization-people are more worldly than they are religious

Roles played by ancestors in African traditional communities.

  • They gave blessings to the living
  • They protected their families against calamities
  • They warn the living against impending dangers/calamities
  • The rebuke those who disobeyed their instructions
  • They safeguard traditions/ethics/other family’s affairs
  • They mediated between men and God
  • They inflict punishments on offenders
  • They avert the consequences of curses
  • They assist specialists in their works e.g. diviners
  • They welcome the dead people to ancestral world
  • They guide the living in their day to day lives
  • They are invited to ceremonies to give strength and encouragement to people

Responsibilities of the living towards God

  • Show gratitude to God for all His blessings such as the gift of life, wealth, victory etc
  • Honour and revere God because He is mighty and supreme
  • Consult Him before making major decisions
  • Pass their beliefs about God to the younger generations
  • Take good care of God’s creation
  • Protect God’s dwelling places and alters

Traditional African ways of worshiping God

  • The following are some aspects of traditional African worship of God.
  1. Sacrifices and offerings
    • Sacrifices involve shedding of blood whether of human beings, animals or birds.
    • Offerings involve the taking of foodstuffs milk, water or honey and giving them to God.

Reasons why sacrifices were offered in traditional African communities

  • To thank God for the blessings given to them
  • To ask God to forgive them for the wrong done
  • To petition God for help in difficult situations
  • To acknowledge God as the source of life
  • It’s a way of maintaining fellowship with God
  • To ask God for blessings
  • To avert evil in the society
  • To appease the spirits and the ancestors
  • During the making of the covenants e.g. peace covenants, clan disputes so that God can be a witness

Occasions when sacrifices were offered in traditional African society.

  • During planting
  • Harvest of first fruits
  • Outbreak of epidemics
  • During birth and naming ceremonies
  • During initiation
  • During traditional African wedding ceremonies.
  • During funerals
  • Purification ceremonies
  1. Singing and Dancing in worship
    • The songs were often in praise of God and they brought the community together. There was clapping of hands, drumming and use of musical instruments.

Ways the traditional African communities used to demonstrate thankfulness to God for his provisions.

  • Religious festivals of thanksgiving.
  • Communal prayers for thanksgiving
  • Making good use of the provision
  • Giving offering
  • Taking extra care of his creation
  • Being at peace with others in the community / helping the needy.
  1. Prayers, invocations and blessings
    • Prayers are normally short and to the point
    • Invocations are short informal prayers e.g. “help me Oh God”, older person other than the one being blessed also constitute acts of prayers.

Significance of prayer in the traditional African community.

  • Thanks giving
  • Appeasing God
  • Asking for forgiveness
  • Restoring broken relationship between man and God/Spirit/ Ancestors
  • Blessing others
  • For victory in battles
  • Requesting for rain/good harvest/ health/ blessing

Prepared by Rev. Marans Chenge Keya

  • Veneration of ancestors
    • Veneration means showing respect to somebody or something considered important.

Ancestors were honored by:

  • Mentioning their names at the time of prayers to God.
  • Naming children after them.
  • Pouring libations daily.
  • Inviting them to participate in ceremonies
  • Maintaining their graves well.
  • Giving the dead a decent burial.
  • Setting aside shrines in their honour
  • Praising them through song and dance

Ways in which Africans venerated their spirits and ancestors

  • Sacrifices
  • offerings
  • prayers and invocations
  • songs and dance
  • Respect existence of places of worship
  • existence of religious specialists
  • pouring libations
  • naming
  • inviting them to important occasions in society

Reasons for the veneration of ancestors in traditional African society.

  • Acted as mediators between God and people.
  • They prayed to God through them
  • They blessed the living
  • Sacrifices / offering were done to God through ancestors
  • Ancestors protected them from certain misfortunes
  • They were believed to offer solutions to certain difficulties in the family, clan and society.
    • They helped in maintenance of harmony, good behavior and peace by punishing wrong doers
  1. Communication with spirits
    • People came to know what the spirits want through the use of specialists especially mediums and diviners.

Ways through which people communicate with the Spirit world in traditional African Communities.

  • By pouring libation to the ancestors
  • By offering sacrifices to the ancestors and spirits
  • By praying.
  • By naming children after the ancestors
  • By divination through diviners or mediums
  • Through dreams and visions
  • By singing and dancing
  • By invoking/chanting their names
  • By giving offerings
  • Through African religious specialists.

Ways in which God was worshiped in Traditional African society

  • They worshiped God through sacrifices and offerings. Sacrifices involved shedding of blood, offering involved giving of food stuff, milk water or honey; all meant for appreciating what God has done to them.
  • Through singing and dancing
  • Through prayer, invocations and blessing they did this through the ancestors and spirits
  • Through construction of places of worship i.e. sacred places such as shrines, which were approached with reverence
  • Through religious specialists such as priests, diviners, medicine men, elders and mediums

Places of worship in traditional African communities

  • Under sacred trees
  • Caves
  • Shrines
  • In forests
  • River banks
  • On hill tops/Rocks
  • Cross-roads
  • Temple
  • Waterfalls

Ways in which Africans demonstrated their faith and belief in God

  • Identified sites as sacred / God’s presence
  • Built structures for honouring God i.e. Shrines
  • Approached sacred sites with respect.
  • Held prayers addressing them to God
  • Invoked the names of God is times of danger and even happiness.
  • Offered offerings and sacrifices to God.
  • Sang hymn songs and danced for God
  • Respected the religious specialists i.e. the priests and prophets
  • Took care of other creations because they belong to God.
  • Taught their children the attributes of God and His capabilities.
  • Named their children after the qualities of God e.g. Obongo

Ways in which Christians honour God today

  • Prayers and fasting
  • Offerings
  • Song and dance
  • Attending church services
  • Respecting and supporting religious leaders
  • Preaching
  • Reading the Bible
  • Repenting their sins
  • Obeying His commandments

Factors that have affected the traditional African responsibilities to God, Spirits and


  • Money economy i.e. success depends on money / wealth
  • Science and technology i.e. relying on interpretation of catastrophes and epidemics etc
  • Witchcraft
  • Worship of power
  • Christianity and its teachings
  • Western cultures
  • Western education
  • Fame /heroship
  • Competition among people in all fields i.e. business.


The meaning of life and its wholeness in traditional African society

  • In traditional African society God is the source of life.
  • Life is a rhythm which recycles itself.
  • There are several dimensions of life which include physical, social, spiritual and environmental.
  • Life is enhanced through observance of rituals, taboos and regulations.
  • Life is promoted through transitional stages e.g. birth, initiation, marriage and death.
  • Life is perpetuated through marriage for the continuity of the community.
  • Death transforms an individual from physical life to a spiritual one.
  • Life is communal as everybody depends on the other for survival.
  • Life is precious- It is highly valued /murder is condemned.
  • There is life after death – people are buried with personal belongings e.g. spears.

Traditional African practices which show that life is sacred

  • Greetings, which express a state of life and wish for prolonged prosperous life
  • Taking care of the physical body through feeding, protecting it, nurturing and taking

medication when sick

  • Establishing a good relationship with God and the ancestors through worship, prayers

and veneration

  • Seeking God’s protection at all times, especially in times of crises
  • Participating in the activities of the community, which provides a sense of belonging
  • Following the rituals and ceremonies connected with the rites of passage
  • Taking care of ancestral land which links the living and the dead
  • Taking care of animals both domestic and wild by providing food and protecting nature
  • Protecting human life including that of the unborn
  • Respecting sexual intercourse and the taboos associated with it
  • Obeying rules and taboos that govern the well-being of the community
  • Respecting one’s parents and elders and supporting them especially in their old age

Meaning of life

  • Life is viewed as a totality or holistic.
  • Life is a mystery not only in its source but also in the way it is experienced and its purpose
  • Africans believe that God is the source of life.
  • Life is the most important gift from God.
  • It is not only physical existence but has several aspects which may be referred to as social, spiritual, environmental and physical


  • We mean that life is understood in terms of relationship or living with others.
  • Life can only be experienced through living in a community.
  • This community is made up of living, the dead and those yet to be born.


  • This is because it is directly linked with God. Human beings are animated body derived from God.


  • All nature and non-living things are related. The relationship is seen in the fact that God created everything.
  • Human beings depend on nature for survival and they in turn depend on each other.

Why the traditional African communities conserved forests

  • They act as homes for wild animals
  • Spirits live in the forests
  • Some sacrifices are carried out in the forests
  • They are a source of medicinal herbs
  • Rain makers depend on behavior of trees to foretell when rains are likely to come
  • Some rituals take place in them like circumcision
  • After initiation some communities take the initiates there for seclusion
  • The dead/ very sick are thrown there by some communities
  • They are a training ground for warriors
  • Hunting is carried out in them
  • They are a source of firewood

Ways in which people in traditional African communities use the environment to demonstrate their belief in God.

  • Setting aside sacred places and building shrines for worship of God.
  • Setting aside totems regarded as sacred such as animals, birds and reptiles.
  • Using the land and other natural resources responsibly.
  • Praying while facing heavenly bodies, mountains, objects which are regarded as symbols of God’s presence.
  • Using soil during oathing/ cursing ceremonies, when blessing or making covenants.
  • Protecting the land because it was given to them by God.
  • Giving to God the resources from the land such as grains and animals as offering and sacrifices.
  • Sharing of the resources given to them by God.
  • Pouring libation to the ground.
  • Burning sacrifices to God so that the smoke ascends to God.
  • Worshipping God to end a calamity such as drought or floods

Ways in which Christians can contribute to the conservation of the environment

  • They should understand that the environment was created and sanctified by God and should be revered and kept holy.
  • They should teach others the need and importance of preserving, rescuing and caring for the environment
  • They should make contributions towards the preservation, protection and caring for the environment in terms of money, time, ideas and equipment
  • They should participate in conservation projects for example planting of trees, digging terraces and gabions, cleaning the environment
  • They should avoid buying and using products made from materials obtained through destruction of the environment e.g. game, trophies, charcoal and by refusing to participate in activities leading to the destruction of the environment
  • By observing personal hygiene and cleanliness
  • By caring for the needy, the poor, the sick, the disabled and victims of accidents
  • By caring for the flora and fauna
  • Through sharing the fruits of the environment with justice that is fair distribution of fruits

Reasons why the Kenyan Government is advocating for conservation of forests.

  • Forests help to build soil particles together hence control soil erosion
  • Forests maintain the ecological cycle
  • Forests sustain soil fertility
  • They provide home for wildlife
  • Some trees/ plants are a source of medicine
  • Forest conservation provides employment opportunities
  • Forests are a tourist attraction
  • Forests provide wet and cool climate conditions by retaining moisture


  • This dimension is the material.
  • It covers the human being and the physical environment.
  • Life in traditional African community is enhanced through observance of rituals, taboos and other community regulations.

Features of Traditional African communities.

  • Occupy a specific geographical location
  • Each ethnic community occupies land inherited from their ancestors in different geographical areas.
  • They believe in common ancestry or origin. Each community traces its origin from a common ancestor e.g. The Agikuyu believe they are descendants of Gikuyu and Mumbi
  • They have unique religious beliefs and practices which bring people together and provide a basis for moral values and judgment of human action
  • They are tied by strong kinship ties whether through blood or marriage.
  • People’s attitudes and behavior are governed by values, regulations and taboos that are strictly observed.
  • Unique traditional education systems through stories, myths, songs and dances which prepared individuals to be responsible members of the community.
  • Clear political organization consisting of leaders, religious specialists and elders who played different roles.
  • African communities comprised of the living, the yet to be born and the departed
  • Unique language

The characteristics of an African community.

  • Members are related by blood, marriage or adoption.
  • Spoke one common language.
  • Occupied same geography region.
  • Made up of clans.
  • Had distinct rules, taboos, beliefs, customs and cultural and social practices.
  • Each member appreciated existence of common values and obligations.
  • Show concern for the needy.
  • Included the unborn, the living, the living dead

The importance of kinship system

  • It helps in preserving traditional customs through informal education
  • They bind the entire life of a community/unites members of the same clan/family
  • It helps maintain law and order in the community
  • It promotes a sense of belonging/identity
  • It defines the punishment/reward in the community
  • It regulates marriage relationships in the community
  • It helps in settling disputes in the community/family
  • It defines duties/responsibilities of members of the clan/family
  • It governs the relationship between the living and the dead/among the living
  • It prepares the youth for leadership roles
  • It enables people to share/help one another
  • It provides a sense of security to all members at all times

Factors that have affected kinship system in the traditional African communities today.

  • Formal education
  • Modern religions/Christianity/Islam
  • Mass media influence
  • Permissiveness in the society
  • Western civilization
  • Migration/individual land ownership
  • New government structures/systems
  • Economic factors/poverty/wealth/social status
  • Urbanization
  • Modern science and technology

Ways in which western education has affected kinship ties in the society today

  • Educated members develop individualism and are not concerned about the poor kin members
  • Children from educated families may not be given names of their ancestors
  • Educated parents fear leaving children in the rural areas with their grandparents because they claim hygiene standards are low
  • Children from educated families rarely visit or stay with their extended families
  • Education abroad and boarding schools separates kin members
  • Most of the educated work in urban areas where the space limit extended families staying together
  • Western culture and Christianity allow interracial marriages hence kinship system no longer regulate marital customs
  • Educated people use the police, courts, and magistrates in case of despites or to maintain law and order in the country instead of elders
  • Educated members are so involved in demanding careers and would rather take orphans and the aged to orphanages and homes for the aged.

Importance of observance of blood kinship

  • Prevents the spread of hereditary diseases
  • Provides a wide source of material help in case of need
  • Promotes harmonious living as related people respect each other
  • Serves as a check on ones behaviour/discipline
  • Provides a wide source of security to members
  • Prevents incestuous behaviour in marriage
  • Helps maintain the culture of the people (religion, customs, traditional beliefs, marriage)
  • Helps members to face challenges together/ hardships/moral support

African moral and cultural values

  • It determines how members relate to one another
  • It binds together the entire life of a community.
  • It helps people to live peacefully in harmony with one another.
  • It provides security to all concerned.

Prepared by Rev. Marans Chenge Keya

  • It regulates marital customs, rules and regulations.
  • It gives an individual a deep sense of belonging.

Moral values that strengthened kinship ties.

  • Hospitality – African welcomed relatives and provided them with basic needs e.g. land
  • Honesty- They spoke truth about self and among the relatives. No one was to bear false witness about another.
  • Courtesy – Controlled interactions among relatives and promoted good mannerism among them.
  • Chastity- Ensure sexual feelings are not expressed towards relatives e.g. incest was controlled.
  • Respect: Africans aimed at treating self and others with dignity e.g. wives respected their husbands.
  • Responsibility:- Each relative played his / her role seriously for family and community purpose
  • Co-operation:- Relatives came together in all undertakings in times of sorrow and happiness.
  • Integrity: – Each family member was encouraged to perform their roles without giving up.
  • Love: – The kin were expected to help protect and serve one another through action.

How urbanization and formal education have affected kinship ties in the African Communities

  • People have moved from rural to urban areas therefore breaking traditional ties
  • People move to urban areas making them to have little or no contact with those in the rural traditional community
  • People develop new relationships in the urban areas
  • Education has enhanced social mobility that has enabled people to move away from traditional homes in search of jobs or new homes
  • It has cultivated individualism
  • There is more focus on the nuclear family as opposed to the extended
  • Poverty has contributed to inability to help each other

Methods used to impart knowledge to youths/ members in A.T.S

  • Through songs, dance, teaching the cultural heritage
  • Lectures by old people on customs/ responsibilities
  • Assignments –Young people assigned work to do under supervision
  • Through age groups where members educated each other
  • Through apprenticeship in special skills e.g. rain making
  • By questions and answers
  • Through dramatizing/ role play while the youth watched
  • By observing rituals or activities in order to learn to do them e.g. dance
  • Through practical involvement/ youth accompanying older people
  • Through proverbs, riddles, parables which trained youth to think
  • Through folk stories, tales, myths, children were taught the values of the community

Methods of disciplining errant members in traditional African Communities.

  • Members of the family especially children can be denied food for sometime so that they do not repeat the wrong
  • Beating/ caning/ whipping/ pinching/ pulling of ears especially for the children when they disobey the older members of the family.
  • Wife beating if wives disobey husbands
  • For small mistakes a person can be reprimanded by the elders/ given a warning not to repeat the mistake.
  • For committing a crime that was embarrassing to the relatives/ age mates, a person could be disowned by parents, the clan or the age group.
  • Payment of fine in form of a bull/ goat/ sheep/ a co*ck/ beer
  • An errant member can be defamed through songs that were composed to ridicule him/ her
  • By being given unpleasant nicknames which reflected the wrong the person has done.
  • Sometimes relatives refuse to name children after errant members
  • An errant member can be summoned to appear before the council of elders/ age- groups/ elders
  • An errant member can be served with banning orders e.g. cannot join such social functions as dances/ feast initiation ceremonies etc.

Reasons why sex education was given to the youth in the Traditional African communities

  • To instill discipline and responsibility
  • To sensitize them on the consequences of irresponsible sexual behavior
  • Sex before marriage was prohibited
  • Virginity was highly valued
  • Girls who became pregnant before marriage were severely punished
  • Young men who impregnated girls before marriage were punished
  • Parents especially the mothers were held responsible for their daughters conduct. They therefore closely watched their movement
  • During occasions such as dances, young people were supervised so that they did not misbehave
  • There was physical separation of the sexes (males and females lived in separate houses)
  • There were taboos on sexual relationships

Factors contributing to harmony and mutual responsibility in the African community

  • Political ties – this refers to the way authority is exercised and power is shared in a community.
  • Division of labour- Tasks were distributed according to one’s age, gender and status.
  • Communal worship – a common belief in God, the spirits and the ancestors and communal worship and participation created a sense of togetherness.
  • Leisure activities – leisure activities e.g. singing and dancing brought people together to discuss family and community matters.
  • Rites of passage- during important ceremonies such as birth, initiation, marriage and death the whole community is involved. This enhances social harmony.
  • Sharing – people shared ideas and even property.
  • Rules/social norms- people grew up knowing what is wrong and right, good morals help people to live in peace and harmony.

Ways in which the elders ensure harmony in the community.

  • They officiated in prayers
  • They officiated in ceremonies e.g. marriages.
  • They offered counseling and education in the society.
  • They prescribed punishment and discipline to the youth.
  • They prescribed laws governing inheritance in society.
  • They organized marriage negotiations.
  • They solved conflicts and disputes which promoted peace in the society.
  • They fixed dates for ceremonies
  • They ensured that communal work went on smoothly.
  • They rewarded heroes of war.
  • They were custodians of the community secrets.
  • They were role models in the community.

Ways in which religious beliefs and practices contributed to harmony and mutual

responsibility in the African communities.

  • Enable community members to share in sacrificing.
  • Enable members to learn certain rules which governed their wor
  • Children were brought up understanding their religious practices which united the
  • They brought the living and their ancestral spirits together which enhanced peaceful existence.
  • They ensured respect among people and care for each other.
  • They made people share the belief of having the same
  • Through sacrifice they appeased the spirit world which enabled them to have good health, harvest and prosperity.
  • Enabled community members to learn about their origin and destiny which enhanced their unity.

How Christians can promote mutual responsibility in the society today

  • Promote charity work for the needy like street children
  • Forming social groups and associations
  • Visiting the sick, imprisoned and the bereaved
  • Meeting and knowing one another
  • Coming together for celebrations
  • Defending the exploited and oppressed
  • Lovingly correcting offenders
  • Creating awareness on people’s social responsibility

The ceremonies which provided leisure in the Traditional African Society.

  • Birth ceremony.
  • Naming ceremony
  • Initiation ceremony
  • Marriage ceremony
  • Thanksgiving ceremony.

How leisure was spent in the Traditional African Community.

  • After a hard day’s work children played together.
  • Men gathered in one homestead to drink/discuss.
  • Women gathered to make pots/mats etc.
  • Youth got advice from elders in society.
  • Traditional dances were performed.
  • Sporting activities were carried out e.g. bull fighting.
  • There were leisure visits between family members.
  • They held important traditional ceremonies of wedding/initiation.
  • Children were told stories/riddles, proverbs, etc.
  • Both men and women had time to decorate/groom/spice themselves.

How the virtue of co- operation was cultivated in traditional Africa community.

  • By teaching children through songs /proverbs what it entails
  • By punishing those who do not show co- operation
  • The elders showed exemplary qualities of co-operation to be copied by the children
  • Those who demonstrate co-operation were praised / rewarded.
  • Children were allowed to socialize with others during entertainment.
  • There were guidance and counseling sessions for the youth to be advised on the need to co-operate.

Factors that promote harmony and mutual responsibility in Kenya today

  • National language
  • Common education system
  • Law and order maintenance
  • Common currency
  • National flag/anthem/motto/coat of arms
  • Religion / religious practices
  • Constitution
  • The Presidency
  • Equal employment opportunities/ economic activities for all
  • Emphasis on the focus on constituency development fund (C.D.F)

The use of alcohol in traditional Africa communities

  • Used as medicine
  • Used for entertainment during ceremonies e.g. marriage/ leisure activities
  • Given to the visitors as assign of generosity / hospitality
  • Elders drank beer as they discussed important issues
  • It was used as sign of appreciation after communal work
  • Poured as libation to the ancestors

The traditional African teaching about work.

  • Its related to provision of basic needs
  • It takes place in relation to a religious context; for example, special rites were carried out before planting, cultivating and harvesting
  • Work is a social activity- people work together and help one another
  • Work was accompanied with songs and common meals
  • Competition is limited- people can show skills and win praise but do not strive for promotion or increase in salary
  • There’s division of labour according to sex, age and status
  • Work is personal- It’s under the worker’s on control and often creative leading to satisfaction in achievement
  • There is no slavery in work
  • Work is a communal activity- people work together
  • Each community is associated with a certain activity e.g. the Maasai are associated with pastoralism


Rites of passage and moral values

Specific Objectives

  1. Describe the rites of passage and their role in inculcating moral values in the traditional African community
  2. Explain the role of religious specialists in the African communities and evaluate their relevance in the modern society
  • In the traditional African society, the main stages of life were;-
  1. Birth and naming
  2. Initiation
  3. Marriage
  4. Death

Characteristics of rites of passage ceremonies

  • Separation/seclusion
  • Transition
  • Incorporation

Birth and naming

Ways in which traditional African communities show respect for unborn children.

  • The expectant mother is given charms to wear to protect her and the unborn child
  • The expectant mother observes taboos hence avoid certain foods, people and places
  • The expectant mother is checked and occasionally advised by traditional mid-wives
  • Prayers, sacrifices and libations are given to God and ancestors for protection
  • Sexual intercourse is not allowed during pregnancy
  • Herbs and medicine is administered to the expectant mother
  • There should be no harmful implements in the house or compound where the expectant mother lives
  • Expectant mothers were not to be treated cruelly by members of the family / society etc

How people welcomed the birth of a baby in traditional African community

  • Ululations
  • Sacrificing to God and ancestors
  • Pouring libation to ancestors
  • Giving gifts to the parents
  • Feasting with song and dance
  • Proper disposal of the placenta
  • Seclusion of the mother and baby who would be treated and fed well
  • Naming of the baby

Importance of rituals connected to birth in traditional African society

  • Ululation to announce the birth of a child
  • Seclusion of the mother and child so as to acclimatize with the new environment.
  • Proper disposal of the placenta to ensure continued fertility and good growth of the child
  • Shaving of mother and child so as to start a new life.
  • Washing of the mother and child with herbs so as to ensure protection

Ways in which names were chosen in traditional African Community.

  • To reflect problems the mother faced e.g. childlessness
  • Reflected conditions of the weather and seasons of the year.
  • Some had religious meanings.
  • Initiation names indicated the age-group
  • Reflected the feelings of the parents
  • Some were named after heroes
  • Some were named after ancestors.
  • Some were named after relatives e.g. parents, aunts etc.
  • Physical appearance.

The importance of naming in Traditional African Communities.

  • A sign of acceptance into the community
  • It was an occasion for sacrificing to God/ ancestors for more blessings
  • Occasions to give presents to the child and mother
  • Naming described the circ*mstances present at birth e.g. rain, war, day, season
  • Some names indicate religious feeling of the people
  • Names indicate the qualities of a child e.g. wisdom
  • Some reflect the problems undergone by parents
  • For identification of a member in the community


Why Initiation rites were observed in traditional Africa communities.

  • They brought relatives and friends together hence strengthening their bond.
  • It transformed one from childhood to adulthood hence one considered a full member of the society.
  • The shedding of blood binds the living to the dead.
  • During seclusion initiates receive special education on how to behave as adults in the society.
  • During initiation prayers were offered to God for the initiates and community members’ well- being.
  • Initiation allowed one to acquire special rights e.g. one was allowed to marry.
  • Pain endured allowed one to be prepared to face difficulties later in life.
  • If helped in structuring of the community through age-sets and age-groups.
  • If was a sigh of courage- the pain they experienced.

Importance of initiation

  • The initiate gains a new status in life i.e. becomes a full member of the community.
  • Initiation rites help in structuring the community through age sets or groups.
  • Initiation ceremonies are looked at as occasions for prayers to God.
  • Initiation ceremonies bring families, relatives and friends together.
  • Initiates receive special education from their sponsors during the seclusion period.
  • The initiate acquires new rights and privileges e.g. the right to marry.
  • The initiation rite is a sign of courage and bravery.
  • Initiation prepares the initiates to face the difficulties and challenges of adult life.
  • It helps the community to identify future leaders and warriors from the initiates.

  • Initiation rites have a religious significance.
  • It creates a strong bond between the initiates, the sponsor and ancestors.

The value of initiation in Traditional African Society

  • To shed childish behaviour.
  • One was qualified to marry or to be married having learnt the responsibilities of a married man or a woman.
  • It was widely believed that the initiate was now able to face situations with courage. Fear and shyness were discouraged.
  • It was expected that initiates learnt the virtue of self- control.
  • The initiates were taught the value of becoming sexually responsible members of the community.
  • Initiation provided a link between the living and the dead e.g. during the ceremony, the living would pour libation out for the ancestors, shedding blood on the ground linked the initiates with the ancestors.
  • Sacrifices were given to the ancestors to bless and protect the initiates in their new life.
  • The initiates came out of seclusion having being well educated in the traditions and beliefs of the community.

Why there was singing during initiation ceremonies in T.A communities

  • To remind participants of their past history and secrets
  • To provide socialization opportunities for participants
  • Divert initiates minds from the impending pain
  • To teach participants gender relationships/roles
  • To imbue the initiates with courage in order to face challenges
  • To exercise part of the body
  • To teach participants gender relationships/roles
  • To welcome initiates into full membership of the community.
  • To provide an opportunity for promotion, perfection and sharpening of talents
  • To ask blessings from God for the initiates
  • To link initiates and the ancestors by invoking their names
  • To condemn evil in society
  • To entertain participants and conduct ceremony.
  • To identify the initiates
  • To provide an opportunity for participants to expose and discover their leadership qualities, skills and talents.

The role of the sponsor during Traditional African circumcision ceremonies.

  • They offer guidance and counseling to the candidates
  • They give candidates instructions in sex education
  • They encourage the candidate to face the operation with courage
  • They give moral/physical support during the operation
  • Acts as a link between the candidates and their families
  • They play the role of a mentor to the initiated
  • They ensure that the initiated are protected/well cared for

Reasons why ancestors are accorded respect during the rites of passage

  • They are closer to God
  • They are to be in good relationship with them
  • They are mediators between men and the spirit word
  • Are senior beings
  • Are part of the family / community
  • We still remember them / their deeds
  • To seek blessings from them
  • So as to avert punishment
  • Invite them in the rites / ceremonies

Why the newly initiated young men lived together in a community for some time.

  • So that they could receive common teachings/ values
  • For proper monitoring of their healing
  • To facilitate proper feeding for all
  • To undergo certain rituals before returning home
  • It gave them an opportunity to socialize
  • They learned to live as brothers and this cemented age- group relationships
  • It made it easier to provide them with guidance and counseling
  • So that they could learn the secrets of their community
  • They were taught facts of life
  • To keep away from members of the opposite sex and children
  • To teach them to be independent

Moral values taught to the youth during initiation to adulthood in Traditional African communities

  • Hospitality/ generosity/ kindness
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Tolerance/ perseverance/ endurance
  • Chastity/ faithfulness/ self- control
  • Loyalty/ obedience
  • Respect/ courtesy
  • Love, responsibility
  • Cooperation, unity, courage, hard work

Ways in which initiation prepared the initiates into adulthood in the Traditional African community

  • They were made to endure pain in order to develop perseverance.
  • Assigned duties similar to those performed in adult life.
  • Exposed them to hardship in order to help them develop coping mechanisms.
  • They were told moral stories to help them develop deductive thinking.
  • Punished for disobedience to learn about the consequences of acts.
  • Made to share their belongings to teach them communalism.
  • Taught the history of community to help them trace their ancestry and the society’s secrets.
  • Grouping into age- set and age- groups help them develop collective responsibility.
  • Lived in seclusion in order to develop independence.

How the rites connected with initiation into adulthood express traditional African beliefs in life after death.

  • Initiation has been handed down from the ancestors who are custodians of the tradition
  • Rejection of the rite of initiation may lead to punishment from the ancestors
  • In some communities a person cannot be buried before circumcision if he is a grown up for fear of him being rejected in the spirit world
  • The shedding of blood during initiation incorporates the living and the dead/ unites the initiates with the ancestors.
  • The shedding of blood during initiation incorporates the living and the dead/unites the initiates with the ancestors
  • It is only after initiation that a person is allowed to procreate so that after death there will be offspring to inherit and remember him
  • Initiation songs depict past heroes and ancestors who withstood the operation without fear.
  • The medicine/ herbs used on the wound is said to belong to the ancestors who have power to heal
  • Offences committed before initiation must be confessed before initiation lest one bleed to death due to the wrath of the ancestors
  • Gifts to the initiates were to please the ancestors and were a sign of welcome to the community which is composed of the living, the dead and the unborn
  • Prayers are made through the ancestors for the protection and blessings of the initiates.
  • All members of the community participate in the initiation ceremony- the living, the dead and the unborn
  • The initiates learn the stories of heroes so that they can emulate them
  • Initiation is a stage closer to death which leads to life after death
  • Ancestors are consulted regarding the initiation rite
  • In some communities the initiates acquire names of ancestors after initiation to honour them as a sign the ancestors are still alive/ represented

The changes that have taken place in the rite of initiation in Kenya today

  • Female circumcision/ cl*toridectomy has been discouraged
  • Circumcision can be done at any age/ time
  • Some communities take their children to hospital for circumcision
  • Education of the initiates is offered by persons/ bodies other than traditional sponsors
  • Some initiation practices like removal of teeth/ tattooing of the body are being discouraged/ discarded
  • Some communities have minimized/ stopped elaborate ceremonies/ rituals associated with initiation
  • People are being discouraged from using the same circumcision instruments
  • The role of age set/ age group is fading away in some communities
  • Initiation practices are no longer a test of courage/ bravery

Why Traditional initiation rituals are not as popular today as they were in the past

  • Modern education takes most of the children’s time so no time for rituals
  • Some families take their boys to hospital for hygienic reasons
  • Because of urbanisation and migration families arrange for their sons’ initiation without involving other members of the extended family
  • Christian teachings condemn girl circumcision/ cl*toridectomy
  • The role played by the sponsors has been replaced by formal education
  • Initiation is no longer a certificate of marriage
  • The fear of diseases like HIV/ AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases

Challenges facing rite of initiation today.

  • Sexually transmitted diseases e.g. HIV/AIDS
  • Modern medicine has led to modern surgeons
  • Formal educated reduces chances of seclusion for initiates
  • Purpose for initiation has changed i.e. even children of below 5 yrs are initiated
  • Gender discrimination where organizations have fought against female initiation
  • Urbanisation has led to migration and ignoring of African culture

Traditional African practices that make somebody vulnerable to HIV /AIDS

  • Traditional circumcision where one knife is shared by the initiates
  • Traditional midwifery where sanitation is not taken seriously, FGM and Polygamy
  • Wife /widow inheritance
  • Traditional medication where a herbalist or a medicine person makes incision in one’s skin and the cutting object is used for other members of the community
  • Tattooing of the skin for beauty

Reasons why female circumcision is being discouraged in Kenya today

  • It can lead to infection/ STIs/HIV/AIDS due to use of same instruments
  • It can lead to injury/ Mutilation of the reproductive organs of the initiate
  • It is against child/ human rights
  • It can cause psychological torture/ traumatizes the initiate.
  • It can lead to early marriages
  • It can lead to school dropouts among the girls
  • It can lead to bleeding/ death
  • It can lead to separation/ divorce
  • It can lead to disagreement/ quarrels in families

African beliefs and practices that lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS today.

  • The belief that HIV/AIDS is caused by witchcraft/Curse.
  • The African practice of oathing where a person’s blood is drunk as a sign of allegiance and commitment to the oath.
  • Widow inheritance /wife inheritance especially those widows whose husbands died of HIV/AIDS.
  • The practice of male /female circumcision using the same tool/implement.
  • Healing process where one was to suckle blood from a wound with his /her mouth so as to apply medicinal herbs.
  • The practice of sharing wives sexually e.g. among the Maasai as a sign of hospitality.
  • The practice of polygamy.
  • Piercing of ears using a common object.

Reasons why initiation is still practiced in the modern African community.

  • It shows respect for the African culture and heritage.
  • It is still away of graduating from childhood to adulthood.
  • Individuals acquire new rights and privileges to marry / inherit property.
  • Initiation ceremonies bring families, relatives together thus strengthening kinship ties.
  • Helps in structuring the communities.
  • Young people are given sex education, and taught about social relationships and secrets of the community plus new skills and values.
  • It is a demand from older generation for acceptance.
  • In some societies, it is away to prove manhood.

Forms of marriages in African traditional societies

  • Polygamy
  • Monogamy
  • Ghost marriage
  • Wife inheritance – levirate
  • Surrogate

Ways through which a marriage partner is chosen in traditional African Communities.

  • Boys and girls choose their mates freely without interference from parents
  • Parents could make a choice when the children were young
  • Parents of a young man approached the parents of a young lady and asked for her hand in marriage
  • An intermediary could be used
  • A girl could be waylaid by the Youngman and dragged to his house
  • A senior wife could choose another wife for her husband
  • A brother of a dead man could inherit his wife
  • In some communities rich men could be given wives as gifts
  • In other communities a debtor could give his daughter as a wife to pay a debt
    • A relative identifies a girl from a family and suggests to the family of the young man.
    • The young man and her age mates way lay a girl and take her away for marriage.
    • One could inherit a brother’s wife

Acceptable ways a man could get a wife in traditional African Communities

  • Through parental arrangement
  • Through a go-between e.g. friends, relatives
  • A young man could meet a lady during social gathering e.g. dances and inform their parents
  • Wife inheritance
  • A senior wife could chose a wife for her husband
  • Leaders could be given wives as gifts
  • Young girls could be kidnapped during tribal wars who could be married to young men
  • A debtor could give his daughter to a creditor as a wife

The role of parents in Traditional African Community.

  • Procreation and bringing up the children.
  • Providing basic needs.
  • Providing security.
  • Maintaining discipline.
  • Education on social norms.
  • Developing the children’s religious beliefs.
  • Enhancing family unity.
  • Passing on inheritance.
  • Showing good example.
  • Settling disputes.

Why courtship was important in Traditional African Community

  • It enabled a man and a woman to know if they were suitable marriage partners
  • It gave the parents of the girl and the boy a chance to meet and know one another
  • It allowed time for the bride- wealth to be paid and negotiated
  • It allowed the boy and the girl to be taught their responsibilities
  • The boy and the girl got a chance to learn about their in- laws to be
  • Time to investigate if they are related / not suitable for marriage
  • Helps to know if each came from marriageable clans / families
  • Allows time for exchange of gifts between parents

Ways through which marriage was formalized in the traditional African community.

  • Marital negotiations / discussions
  • Gifts exchanged
  • Payment of dowry
  • Religious rituals are done/ceremonies
  • Inter-visits
  • Mutual help
  • Exchange of vows / swearing
  • Proof of brides virginity in some communities

Rules and regulations that an expectant mother was expected to observe in traditional African societies

  • Eating special foods/avoiding others
  • Refraining from heavy tasks
  • Refraining from sexual intercourse
  • Avoiding handling iron tools
  • Not speaking to her husband directly
  • Returning to her parents’ home to give birth
  • Avoiding people with wicked eyes/seclusion
  • Taking medicinal herbs for the good health of the baby/safe delivery
  • Wearing of protective charms
  • She observes certain taboos
  • She is checked by midwives
  • Prayers and sacrifices are offered to protect the unborn child

Why pregnant women were given special care in traditional African Society.

  • They were given special food to ensure healthy growth of the baby.
  • Exempted from hard labour in order to protect the baby.
  • They carried new life which was a gift from God.
  • Life was viewed as sacred.
  • Birth brought continuity of the community.
  • They had to be protected from malicious people
  • To avoid annoying the ancestors who would bring misfortune on the community.

Observed regularly by midwife to ensure safety of the mother and child.

Measures taken in the traditional African community to discourage pregnancy before marriage

  • Separation of boys and girls
  • Rules / regulations and taboos set and enforced on sex relationships
  • Punishment to those involved
  • Premarital sex is illegal
  • Sex education during initiation was given
  • Early marriage was allowed
  • Moral fibre emphasized

Why abortion was rare in traditional Africa community

  • Life was regarded as sacred
  • Provision of sex education to the youth
  • Virginity was highly valued
  • Young men learnt ways of satisfying their sexual urge without having sex
  • Women were in most cases faithful to their husbands
  • Early marriages were practiced
  • Girls were well protected by their parents and relatives
  • Cases of rape were rare
  • Children were regarded as very important
  • Premarital sex was forbidden / those involved were severely punished.

The significance of traditional African wedding ceremonies.

  • They act as a uniting factor for the two families
  • The ancestors are made to participate in the rituals and ceremonies
  • It is an occasion when gifts were exchanged
  • Make the marriage to be sealed through dowry payment or binding rituals
  • An occasion for socialization of members/ entertainment
  • Marriage is publicized in the community
  • The couple is educated on marital life
  • The community’s cultural values and traditions are maintained
  • Through the rituals/ ceremonies, the elders confer blessings to the couple
  • Helps in checking virginity of the bride therefore high moral standards are maintained
  • The ceremonies comfort the bride in the new environment

Importance of dowry in the traditional African community

  • Acts as a compensation to the girl’s family for the loss of her help and contribution in the homestead
  • It acts as a seal of the marriage
  • It acts as a public expression of appreciation for the coming of a new wife and mother into the man’s community
  • It acts as a symbol of the girl’s presence in her home since she is not dead
  • The gifts serve as a marriage insurance and stabilizer and as a reminder that the girl is not cheap or insignificant
  • It is a symbol that the man will be able to take care of the wife
  • The gifts are symbols of marriage covenant and security

The importance of dowry in modern society

  • It ensures a lasting marriage relationship
  • It is a token of appreciation by the bridegroom and his family to the bride’s family for having cared for her.
  • Dowry strengthens the relationship between the families
  • It is regarded as compensation to the bride’s family for losing a member
  • It is a seal of the covenant between the family of the bridegroom and that of the bride
  • It brings members of the two families together to share celebrations
  • It is a sign that the man is serious with his intention to marry

The significance of naming ceremony in traditional African communities

  • It is an occasion through which the ancestors are appeased
  • It helps to identify the child with the community
  • The mother and the baby are given gifts and presents
  • It is an occasion when the child receives blessings
  • It is when community members join together thus promoting social cohesion
  • The new born is accepted and welcomed to the community
  • During this time sacrifices are made and offerings given to God, spirits and ancestors
  • Naming described the circ*mstances present at birth e.g. rain, war, day, season
  • Some names indicate religious feeling of the people
  • Names indicate the qualities of a child e.g. wisdom
  • Some reflect the problems undergone by parents

Moral values acquired during birth and naming in traditional African communities.

  • Earns the couple respect in the society.
  • Promotes love between husband and wife.
  • Enhances truthfulness and acceptance in the community.
  • Instills obedience to customs and traditions.
  • Promotes unity as members come together to celebrate.
  • Promotes hospitality as the family receives guests who celebrate the birth.
  • Promotes patriotism through naming the child after heroes in the community.
  • Restores harmony between the community and the spirit world through thanksgiving.

Reasons for divorce in the African traditional society.

  • Laziness
  • Witchcraft/ sorcery
  • Breaking of taboos
  • Disrespect of in- laws
  • Failure to pay dowry
  • Unfaithfulness
  • In case one is discovered to be a thief
  • In case one suffered from madness, leprosy, epilepsy

Factors that promoted the stability of marriage in the traditional African community

  • Dowry sealed the marriage
  • Family members were involved
  • Elders settled disputes in time
  • Children sealed the marriage
  • Divorced women were stigmatized in the society
  • Irresponsible husbands and wives were ridiculed in the community
  • Childlessness was solved by polygamy
  • One’s background was well known before marriage

The importance of marriage in traditional society

  • It creates new bonds of relationship.
  • It promotes the social status of those involved.
  • It is a source of wealth to the family of the girl because of dowry payment.
  • The children born provide labor.
  • It brings together the living, the dead and those yet to be born.
  • Marriage and child bearing are a neutralizing factor against death.
  • It is a religious obligation through which human life is preserved.
  • It promotes immortality as parents are remembered through their children.
  • It gives identity, a sense of belonging and completeness.
  • It allows individuals to have sex.
  • It brings people together hence enhancing kinship ties.
  • It provides security especially in old age when their children take care of them.

Importance of children in African traditional society.

  • Acted a seal to marriage
  • Were sources of labour and wealth e.g. dowry from married daughter.
  • Increased the immortality of parents
  • Provided care to their old parents
  • Promoted social status of the parents
  • Ensured reincarnation of ancestors through naming children after them.
  • Provided security to family and clan.
  • Ensured continuity of the culture of the clan.
  • Acted as errands, entertainers and company to the aged.
  • Inherited and protected family wealth like land, livestock.

Causes of childlessness in African societies

  • Curses
  • Witchcraft
  • Breaking of taboos
  • Evil spirits
  • Hereditary problems
  • Nonpayment of dowry
  • Lack of respect for elders.

Why childless marriage was seen as unfortunate occurrence in African Traditional Society

  • Children could enable parents to gain immortality/they could be remembered for a long time
  • Children could be sources of wealth
  • Children could provide labour e.g. shamba, taking care of livestock
  • Children raised the status of parents e.g. parents without children could not be chosen as leaders
  • Children cemented parents marriages e.g. marriage could break if children are not available
  • Enabled the parents to relate with the world of ancestors
  • It fought against the problem of divorce
  • A childless mother was looked down upon in the society
  • Children inherited parents wealth when they died

Reasons why single parent families were rare in Traditional African Society.

  • People were encouraged to marry (single parents attracted no respect)
  • Spouses who lost their partners were encouraged to remarry/ be inherited and not live as single parents
  • Divorce was discouraged (if it occurs then the affected parties were allowed to remarry)
  • Girls who gave birth outside wedlock were married off as extra wives
  • Pre-marital sex that could lead to pregnancy was highly discouraged
  • Marriage was a communal affair and no one was allowed to remain single
  • The importance of marriage and staying together as a family was highly valued / taught

Why divorce was rare in traditional African society

  • The youth were taught during initiation on marriage roles.
  • Marriage was a communal affair / wives belonged to the community.
  • There was continuous counseling
  • Elders were there on hand to solve marital conflicts.
  • Divorcees were stigmatized
  • Polygamy was allowed
  • Payment of downy to seal marriage
  • The marriage process was a well-planned/ organized affair
  • Unfaithfulness e.g. adultery was highly punished.

Methods used to maintain the sanctity of marriage in Traditional African Society

  • Marriage involved communal choice of partners.
  • Severe punishment was inflicted on those involved in sexual immorality
  • Polygamy was encouraged to curb sexual immorality
  • Extreme sex education was given before marriage on sacredness of sex.
  • Guidance and counseling was offered to married people by elders
  • There were taboos that regulated sex
  • The extended family assisted in arresting causes of marriage breakdown.
  • Dowry could be returned in case of unfaithfulness.

Circ*mstances under which divorce was allowed in the African community.

  • Unfaithful man / woman.
  • If the two are having blood relationship.
  • Failure of man to /pay /complete payment of dowry.
  • Lack of respect for the in-laws.
  • One practicing witchcraft / sorcery.
  • Unacceptable behaviour e.g. stealing
  • One not initiated / circumcised
  • Woman arrogant / not submissive
  • Woman /man being excessive lazy.

The view that a woman is married to the whole clan in the traditional African Community.

  • In traditional African marriage, everyone is an actor or an actress, that is, there were no spectators/ everyone is an active participant in the ceremonies and rituals connected with marriage
  • The intended couple may not make a final decision without consulting and seeking the consent of their clan members
  • In some communities, kinsmen had the upper hand in choosing the bride
  • Clan members are deeply in marriage deal: they negotiate and assist in the payment of dowry
  • On the marriage day, the clan members collect the bride and bring her to her new home
  • Clan members share wedding expenses by contributing foodstuffs, labor and entertainment
  • After marriage clan members can visit the married woman and she is expected to show hospitality at all times
  • Clan elders and age mates of the husband may give discipline to the woman if she misbehaves
  • If the husband dies, a brother or a kinsman takes over the wife
  • The woman is supposed to participate in all clan functions
  • Any clan elder or age-mate of the husband may give orders/ instructions to the wife in the absence of the husband
  • In case of a quarrel between the couple or between the woman and others, the clan elders set in to solve it
  • If a man is unable to bear children with his wife, a kinsman is called to raise a family for him
  • A man cannot divorce his wife easily without the approval of the clan elders
  • In some communities a very intimate age mate is allowed to have sex with a friend’s wife while in other communities e.g. the Maasai and kikuyu brothers can share wives

Traditional African practices that undermine the dignity of women

  • cl*toridectomy
  • polygamy
  • early marriage of girls
  • wife inheritance/widow remarriage
  • land /wealth inheritance
  • Definition of diet on gender lines
  • wife beating/mistreatment/battering

Reasons why Christians condemn the practice of female circumcision in Kenya

  • It dehumanizes the person who goes through it
  • It reduces the pleasure of sex to the woman
  • It damages the genitals of the woman
  • It sometimes leads to death in case of excessive bleeding
  • It can lead to infection of diseases
  • It can lead to deep pain at childbirth in case the wound does not heal
  • It encourages early marriages among the girls
  • It can lead to barrenness
  • A lot of time is spent during healing

Factors on African attitude towards marriage.

  • Binding union between man and woman and their families.
  • Helps strengthen kinship ties.
  • A communal affair / brought people together.
  • Family formation / foundation.
  • For procreation.
  • Promoted social status of the married.
  • Help perpetuate the community/ continuity of the society.
  • Polygamy was common / acceptance feature of marriage.
  • Man was considered superior to the woman.
  • Marriage promoted a sense of belonging / security
  • Pride- price cemented the unity of marriage

Reasons why wife inheritance is not common today

  • HIV/AIDs pandemic
  • Economic strain due to large family/unemployment
  • Modern education leading to individualism
  • Disruption of traditional settlement due to urbanization
  • Hatred / jealous among wives
  • Religious believes/Christianity
  • Influence of western culture
  • Peer influence
  • Widows can inherit and own property.

Why the church is opposed to wife inheritance.

  • Can lead to abandonment of one’s children /wife
  • Can cause jealously/breakage of family
  • May lead to destruction of property/snatching/grabbing/poverty
  • It is dehumanizing/oppressive to the woman/widow
  • Can lead to disease e.g. HIV/AIDS
  • Causes embarrassment to the concerned members/not promoting respect
  • It is against the Christian teaching of monogamy
  • Can lead to street children/increase in crime
  • Can lead to mistreatment of the partial orphans//widow
  • It can create psychological/emotional problems /stress

Factors that have contributed to present day changes in traditional husband-wife relationships.

  • Western culture which allows individual freedom to choose/ do what they want.
  • Formal education which has opened new job opportunities for women outside the home and some are the heads of households/ bread winners.
  • Christianity which teaches on equality between male and female before God.
  • Urbanization which leads to separation of husband and wife due to work.
  • Gender equality movement which champion women’s rights – they are not submissive as in the past.
  • New systems of government which advocate for protection of women’s rights discouraging some practices e.g. wife beating.
  • Disintegration of traditional values as people are influenced by western culture.
  • Less emphasis on bride wealth where women are not viewed as property even after paying bride wealth.
  • Drug and substance abuse which causes conflict/ violence against wives.

Why the church condemns trial marriage.

  • Undermines individuals dignity
  • Undermines the institution of marriage
  • It is against God’s laws / Christian principles
  • Leads to diseases / aborting / death
  • Born children lack identity / role model / become indisciplined.
  • A sign of lack of commitment/ unfaithfulness
  • Promotes irresponsible sexual behaviour / immorality
  • Leads to lack of trust / honesty.

Death rites

  • Rituals associated with death varied from one community to another and are taken seriously by the family and the community members.
  • All this is done in order to maintain the relationship between the living and the dead.
  • It is held that death is caused by something or somebody.
  • There is no natural death in the African understanding.

The causes of death in the traditional African community

  • Breaking taboos
  • Being cursed by elders
  • Breaking an oath
  • Disrespecting ancestors and spirits
  • Failure to sacrifice to God as required
  • Old age
  • Sorcery
  • Witchcraft or evil magic
  • Evil spirits

The causes of suffering in the traditional African society

  • Breaking taboos
  • Curse by one parent / elder due to disobedience
  • Due to witchcraft
  • Failure to respect ancestral spirits/failure to offer libation
  • Disobedience to God’s laws
  • Breaking of oaths / agreements
  • Breaking of societal norms/rules and regulations
  • Failure to respect sacred places

Funeral rites

  • In some communities the corpse is washed using water and herbal medicine in order to preserve it and send it clean to the spirit world.
  • In some communities, the dead are buried with their belongings such food stuffs, animals, bows and arrows.
  • Pregnant women and children are not allowed to touch or come in close conduct with the corpse so that misfortunes do not befall them.
  • The dead are buried in a carefully selected place in the ancestral land so that the spirits continue to be close to the family.
  • The body is carefully placed in the grave facing the appropriate direction according to the customs of the people.
  • In some communities, the bodies are properly dressed before disposal while in others like the Ababukusu, they are buried naked in the belief that they will be re-born in the spirit world.
  • The grave which is a symbol of separation is respected by being protected and made a family shrine particularly in cases where the dead was the head of the family.
  • Before and during burial, the members of the family and all relatives enter a period of mourning.
  • During the same period there is singing of mourning songs and dancing as a way of expressing sorrow and sending off the departed to the next world.
  • In some communities, there is feasting and drinking of beer.
  • After burial, the close relatives shave their hair as a sign that one of their members has been separated from them and for cleansing impurities.

Ways in which people in the Traditional African Communities helped bereaved families

  • They visited the bereaved, stayed with them and gave them moral support
  • Consoled them through singing, dancing, praying and giving words of comfort
  • Contributed food and other material needs and gave them moral support
  • Helped them by performing certain duties for them e.g. cooking for them
  • Helped in preparing the grave/ digging and burying
  • They attended the funeral to give the departed a good send off.
  • Helped in preparing the body for burial
  • Informed friends and relatives about the death.
  • Made a eulogy to praise or to testify the deceased’s contribution to the community
  • Participated in rituals/ ceremonies performed by the bereaved family e.g. slaughtering, eating, dancing and cleansing

The significance of rituals associated with death in the traditional African society.

  • Washing of the corpse to preserve the body and send it clean to spirit world.
  • Careful burial of body in appropriate position near the ancestral land for the spirit to be close to the family.
  • Some communities dress the body properly before disposal and in others bury it naked to be born in the spirit world.
  • Singing mourning songs and dancing – to express sorrow/send off the dead to the next world.
  • Avoid close contact with bodies of those who committed suicide/died of dreaded diseases for fear that such bodies would contaminate the living
  • Those murdered or committed suicide were buried with some charms of religious value to allay such fears.
  • Close relatives shave their hair, a sign of cleansing and to show separation of a member..
  • During mourning period, no work was done – a way of expressing grief/respect to the dead.
  • In some communities there was feasting and drinking of traditional beer- as a way of sending the dead off to the spirit world.
  • Unfaithful husband/wife could not touch/go near the dead partner lest he/she be struck dead as a punishment
  • Dancing and singing is a way of sending off the dead warmly/consoling the bereaved family
  • Animals are slaughtered for purification of family members

The traditional African altitude towards death.

  • Death was the most painful experience at it takes away loved ones.
  • Death often struck unannounced / it came unexpectedly.
  • Death came to all people, whether rich or poor / good or bad.
  • It was the transition from physical world to the world of spirits.
  • Death united the living and the ancestors.
  • It could be caused by evil people like the witch doctors.
  • Death brought impurity on the family members of the dead/ Bereaved people had to be virtually cleansed.

Practices in traditional African Communities that show their belief in life after death

  • Naming children after the dead
  • Invoking the names of the dead during problems
  • Taking care of the graveyards
  • Fulfilling the wishes/ will of the dead/ carrying out the demands of the dead
  • Washing the dead body/ oiling/ decent burial
  • Holding commemoration ceremonies
  • Burying the dead in a particular position/ direction/ ancestral land.
  • Pouring of libations to the ancestors showing that they were alive.
  • Burying the dead in ancestral land so that their spirit continues to live in the family.
  • Burying the dead with property believing they would need them in the next world.
  • Sacrificing to ancestors before burial to request them to accept the dead.
  • Inviting them during important occasions e.g. birth, circumcision, marriage ceremonies.
  • Many communities left a seat vacant during meal times.
  • Terms used in referring to the dead show that they are still alive e.g. “gone to rest”, has gone home” ,gone for a walk

How the ceremonies connected to death fostered solidarity in Traditional African society.

  • Death was viewed as an enemy of the people and thus people came together to face a common enemy
  • Relative and friends came together to console each other.
  • People helped in organizing the funeral and in feeding the relatives.
  • Specialists would be consulted to warn of dangers, and imminent death I the community
  • Relatives joined in song and dance to depict anger and indignation towards death
  • Relatives gathered to bid farewell to the departed
  • In some communities, the wife / wives of the departed were inherited by his close male relatives so that they could bear more children for him
  • Prayers and Sacrifices were made to ask for protection and to the ancestors to accept the dead.

Reasons why death is feared in traditional African communities.

  • It disrupts the rhythm of human life/ activity.
  • It is irrevocable / inescapable
  • It brings impurity to the family
  • It deprives the community of individuals.
  • It involves to many rituals
  • It comes unannounced
  • It separates one from the loved ones/ end of life on earth
  • Nobody knows about the after-life.
  • It may cause misunderstanding in the community
  • Death rites reveal people’s characters
  • It brings poverty to the family involved.

Occasions when oaths were administered in traditional African communities.

  • During reconciliation ceremonies
  • During marriage
  • After initiation
  • When preparing for a raid
  • When deciding on cases/ settling disputes
  • When a person is being adopted into a family or clan or tribe
  • When a person was being initiated into a secret society
  • During installation of leaders ( oath of office)
  • When a community was threatened members took oath to remain united against the enemy
  • During the making of peace treaties
  • When buying land
  • During some naming ceremonies

Why oaths were administered in traditional African communities

  • To ensure secrecy of information known
  • As a binding symbol of members of the community/ a sign of covenant
  • To ensure compliance to the social norms and disciplines
  • To find out the truth of the matter in question
  • To deter people from telling lies
  • To link the living with the dead or the ancestors
  • To prepare the parties for serious tasks
  • To make people remain loyal to each other/ good etc

Importance of oathing in traditional African society.

  • It helped in judging a crime whose authors were not known
  • It helped to ensure that the community was free from witchcraft
  • Helped in cases of default in payment of debts.
  • Used to commit leaders to offices to ensure respect and commitment to duty
  • Helped to ensure peace.

The importance of observing taboos in traditional African Communities

  • They outline social relationship within the community.
  • They give guidance on eating habits.
  • They help to faster respect for the elderly and leaders
  • They enhance respect for ancestors
  • They ensure respect for God
  • They safeguard the traditions and customs.
  • They create a sense of belonging.

Factors which have led to the decline in the observance of taboos in traditional African communities.

  • Urbanisation / growth of towns
  • Foreign religions like Christianity and Islam
  • Formal education and training
  • Permissiveness in the society.
  • Inter – ethnic marriages
  • Inadequate resources due to poverty.
  • Struggle for equality and gender sensitivity.
  • Government policies over some of traditional practices e.g. F.G.M

Why cleansing rituals were important in African traditional society

  • Were done to explicate or forgive wrong doers for their wrongs.
  • Were performed to protect individuals, families or community against repercussion for the wrong doers.
  • They helped to maintain good interpersonal relationship or cohesion in the community.
  • Cleansing rituals for purifications were meant for acceptance of members who had been declared ritually unclean
  • Performed to appease the ancestral spirits.
  • Cleansing rituals were part of the passage.
  • Cleansing the body before burial was to prepare the deceased for a new life.
  • Done to send away evil spirits.

Similarities found in African myths

  • God is the creator of the universe
  • God is the creator of man
  • Everything God made was good
  • Man was created came after most things were created
  • Creation work did not stop in the distant past (God continues working)
  • God is powerful and merciful
  • Death/ evil came as a result of disobedience

The role of rites of passage in inculcating moral values

  • Morals deal with issues of what is right and wrong. Morals are concerned with goodness or badness of human character or behavior.


  • Values are principals or standards that govern human conducts or behavior

Moral values young people are taught

  • Obedience, respect, honesty, self control, responsibility, courage, hard-work, patriotism, hospitality, loyalty, thankfulness and mutual concern/sharing.

Ways that were used by elders to maintain morality in African traditional society.

  • Setting rules/ regulations to be followed.
  • They act as role models.
  • They acted as court of law to try the errant members of the society/wrong doers.
  • They ensured that the traditional values/customs were followed.
  • They educated the youth on their duties responsibilities.
  • They disciplined errant members.
  • They offered guidance and counseling to the members of the community.

Reasons why teaching of sex education is done by grandparents.

  • They have enough knowledge and experience on the subject.
  • They are not shy but free with children.
  • They have time to be with the children.
  • It is a taboo for parents to discuss sexual matters with their children.
  • The youth will take the teaching seriously when it is taught by elderly people.
  • They have enough skills to handle the youth and to communicate with them effectively.
  • It is a taboo for young people to mention some parts of the body connected to sex and acts related to it but elders are allowed.

Ways in which the rites of passage inculcate values in the society

  • It leads to mutual concern and unity for every person
  • Rites of passage promoted education as children are taught what is good and bad in various ways
  • It united the living with the ancestors hence they become one family
  • Helped in promoting virtues in the society e.g. obedience ,courage ,endurance, patience of an individual
  • Promoted personality in an individual e.g. after initiation one was to be an adult and courageous.

The role of rites of passage in inculcating youth with moral values in traditional African society

Birth and naming

  • Respect for life-Abortion was unheard of.
  • Chastity-Pregnancy was only allowed in marriage
  • Responsibility-Taking care of pregnant women


  • Sexual purity/chastity
  • Tolerance in times of hardship
  • Perseverance
  • Self-respect
  • Loyalty
  • Responsibility
  • Cooperation
  • Sharing
  • Hard work


  • Responsible parenthood
  • Caring especially for members of the extended family
  • Respect especially for spouse
  • Providing for family
  • Loyalty to spouse
  • Good relations with in-laws

Death and funeral

  • Empathy
  • Caring for the widows and orphans
  • Unity between members of the family
  • Living proper lives to be given decent burials


  • Initiation and marriage: – obedience as a moral value was reinforced
  • Children taught to obey parents /elders
  • -Initiation and marriage: respect as a moral value was emphasized
  • Initiation and marriage: – honesty, youth were taught on importance of honesty in marriage
  • Self-control was stressed during preparation for initiation and adolescents were educated on need for self-control in sexual matters.
  • Mutual concern and sharing were inculcated during initiation rites
  • Chastity/ sexual purity emphasised during initiation
  • Responsibility: – initiates were taught how to be responsible future wives and husbands.
  • Courage and bravery: emphasized during initiation to enable initiates face challenges in life
  • Hard work: emphasized during marriage rite. Hard work was necessary to enable future wives, husbands provide for their families.
  • Patriotism: was enhanced during initiation and marriage rites
  • Hospitality: stressed during rites like birth, naming, initiation, marriage.
  • Loyalty: emphasized during initiation
  • Thankfulness: emphasized during all rites of passage. Every youth was trained to thank parents and all members.

Factors that have led to the erosion of African Traditional moral values

  • Urbanization
  • Western Education
  • Breakdown of Traditional social structures
  • Science and technology
  • Globalization
  • Influence from other religions
  • Western cultural influence
  • Politics
  • Poverty
  • Pressure groups e.g. women liberation movements

African moral values relevant to Christian life today

  • Hospitality
  • Honesty
  • Courtesy
  • Tolerance / perseverance
  • Loyalty
  • Chastity
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Love
  • Cooperation
  • Integrity

Factors that have affected traditional African education system

  • Introduction of modern technology
  • Introduction of Western education system
  • The coming of Christian missionaries
  • Establishment of colonial rule/new system of government
  • Growth of urban centres/urbanization
  • Rural-urban migration
  • Rural-rural migration
  • Western culture/westernization
  • Money culture/economy

How the church in Kenya uses mass media to educate the people

  • Use of electronic media to our programmes on Christianity.
  • Use of newspapers to educate people on the work of church.
  • Churches publish their own magazines, newsletter and pamphlets in which they write political and socio-economic issues.
  • Use of posters carrying Christian messages
  • They print cards which carry religious messages.
  • Use of audio-cassettes for songs and sermons.
  • Use of print media to publish pastoral letters and statements.



  • These are specialized people who are responsible for bringing or stopping rain.

The responsibilities of rainmakers in traditional African community

  • Bring rain to the community when there is shortage
  • Studied and interpreted the weather conditions
  • Prayed for rain on their behalf
  • Performed certain rituals / ceremonies e.g. offering sacrifices to bring rain
  • Pleaded with God to stop excess rain
  • Trained the upcoming rainmakers


  • They predict rain or drought.
  • They start or stop rain.
  • They offer sacrifices to the ancestors to provide rain.
  • They stop rain from falling on the land of their enemies.
  • They act as intermediaries between God and the people.
  • They are highly respected.
  • They had sacred objects in rainmaking.
  • They maintain a shrine where rain-making activities take place.
  • They pray to God to stop the rain in case of floods.
  • Advised the community on rain and drought
  • Had mysterious power
  • Acted as diviners/ priests and prophets


  • These are people through whom the spirits and ancestors communicated to the living.


  • They gave the cause, nature and treatment of a disease or misfortune.
  • They received messages from the spirits world on behalf of the living.
  • They gave information concerning lost articles or theft.
  • They only acted when they were spirit possessed.

Duties of traditional African healers.

  • They carefully listened to people’s problems.
  • They created good relationship with the patients.
  • They showed concern to the peoples’ problems.
  • Asked carefully worded questions to elicit appropriate responses.
  • They gave their patients assurance that the problem is solved.
  • They analyzed the information given to identify the causes of problems.
  • They offered remedies for future consultations and follow ups.
  • Gave advice to the patients on what to do in order to overcome the problems.
  • Provided protection against evil and harm.

Duties of a traditional African healer as a counselor in the community

  • They carefully listened to people’s problems
  • They created a rapport or good relationship with the patient in order to build trust and confidence
  • They showed interest, concern and compassion to the people’s problems
  • They asked carefully worded questions to elicit appropriate responses (These could be questions on the patient’s life)
  • They gave their patients hope that their problems will be solved
  • They offered remedies for problems/ solutions to the problems
  • They made appointments for future consultations and follow ups
  • They gave advice to patients on what to do in order to overcome the problems
  • They pounded protection against evil or harm for example protective charms and medicine


  • Diviners deal with the question of finding out why something has gone wrong.
  • They reveal information from the past or the future.


  • They predict future occurrences.
  • They warn against future calamities
  • They advise and counsel people on various issues.
  • They heal sick people.
  • They mediate between God, ancestors and people

  • They get rid of impurities from the land by cleansing the land, animals and the people.
  • They comfort the sick and depressed in society.
  • They identify the evil spirits causing trouble
  • They drive away spirits that cause problems.
  • They helped to solve difficult issues.
  • They interceded on behalf of the community in times of trouble
  • They interpreted messages from the spirit world
  • They were consulted in cases of bareness or impotence

Occasions when diviners were consulted in traditional African societies.

  • When death occurs frequently.
  • When sickness occurs frequently.
  • When there was disaster / calamity / an epidemic.
  • Before embarking in war / raiding
  • When properties / own belongings lost
  • During marriage occasions
  • Before initiation rites took place
  • During pregnancy / causes of difficult child birth / barrenness / naming etc.
  • When there is serious dispute / dilemma disagreement.

Occasions when a medicine man is consulted in traditional African communities

  • During sickness
  • During childbirth(especially when there is complications)
  • During initiation into adulthood e.g. raid, war, marriage.
  • During catastrophe e.g. drought floods and death.
  • When a person required charm for protection against evil/a portion to use to achieve a desired goal.
  • When it was necessary to dispel witch craft/magic/sorcery/other evils.
  • In case of impotence/barrenness.

Importance of healers in traditional African society

  • They healed the sick after identifying the disease
  • They act as counselors when they give advice to people on issue of life
  • Others act as priests by praying for people and leading them in religious rituals
  • They drive away witches and sorcerers
  • They provide means of preventing misfortunes /impending danger
  • They also see in the future and warn /caution people
  • They give charms during initiation to help heal the initiates
  • They offer knowledge and practical application of herbs to their trainees and clients

Factors that have undermined the role of diviners

  • Introduction to Christianity, people believe in God rather than diviners, mediums etc.
  • Modern medicine which people use when sick instead of consulting diviners.
  • Western culture which is against African beliefs and practices.
  • Science and technology which try to explain things which people think to be mysterious.
  • Establishment of new judicial system in which cases are heard and judgment passed by court of law
  • Urbanization in which people of different cultures interact
  • Modern education
  • Intermarriages
  • The art is dying / few are trained.

Reasons why witchcraft is feared in the traditional African Communities

  • Many deaths are attributed to witchcraft
  • It leads to suffering of individual/community
  • People suffer mysterious illnesses/sickness
  • It causes hatred/disunity
  • It causes fear/suspicion/mistrust among the people
  • It carries severe punishment from ancestors/spirits/God/community
  • It leads to poverty
  • It is full of mysterious happenings
  • It forces people to migrate from their homes/ancestral land
  • Those associated with it are regarded as evil/outcasts


  • They give sacrifices to God/pour libation to ancestors
  • They act as advisors to the community
  • They intercede/offer prayers to God/spirits/ancestors on behalf of human beings (mediator)
  • They are the religious symbols of God’s presence in the community
  • In some communities, they can act as political leaders
  • They solve /settle disputes in the society/judge cases
  • They presided over religious ceremonies/festivals
  • They take care of shrines/places of worship
  • They are custodians of customs/taboos/traditions of the community

Factors that undermine the role of traditional priests today.

  • Emergence of new religions like Christianity.
  • Western civilization/Education which is more practical compared to traditional practices.
  • Inventions in science and technology which solve mysteries that surround traditional practices.
  • Urbanization which uproots people from traditional settings reducing contact with priests.
  • Inter-tribal interactions through intermarriage have downplayed roles of traditional priests as people tend to mix cultures.
  • Presence of modern medicine which has provided cure for most diseases hence weakening powers of traditional priests.
  • The institution of priesthood has been by passed by time and borders on magic and fiction.

Why religious leaders may be disliked today.

  • Because they condemn evils openly.
  • Some lead immoral lives.
  • Some misinterpret the word of God.
  • They may make a lot of demands on the congregation.
  • Some may give boring sermons.
  • They condemn popular leisure activities, like beer taking


  • They predict the future.
  • They foretold invasions, wars, drought and epidemics.
  • They advise in matters of war and drought and warn people.
  • They often played the role of political leaders.
  • They performed religious duties.
  • They received messages from ancestors and spirits.
  • They communicate with spirits on behalf of the people.
  • They bless and curse.
  • They predict the will of god and spirits.
  • Sometimes they act as judges.

Occasions in Traditional African societies when seers were consulted.

  • When sickness and death occurred frequently.
  • When there was disaster/ calamity / epidermis.
  • During marriage ceremonies where –they blessed the couples.
  • During cleansing rituals burials sacrifices etc.
  • Before embarking on war and raiding expeditions.
  • Before initiation rites took place.
  • During pregnancy cases when child birth was difficult.
  • When there was serious disputes and state of dilemma.


  • They are in charge of families, villages and clans.
  • They are custodians of community property.
  • They protect family shrines.
  • They console people in times of distress, war, famine and other calamities.
  • They stipulate rules and regulations to be followed.
  • They counsel and guide the youth.
  • Supervised/participated in marriage negotiations
  • Supervised division of property after death of a family head
  • Passed on customs of community to the next generation
  • Made major decisions affecting family / community
  • Settled disputes / conflicts
  • Fixed dates for rites of passage
  • Defined punishments for offenders
  • Ensured law and order was maintained
  • conducted purification ceremonies
  • conducted prayers
  • blessed members of the community
  • offered sacrifices on behalf of the people

Conditions one was to meet to be made an elder in the Traditional African community

  • One must have been initiated into adulthood
  • Must be married
  • Must be able to afford the membership fee
  • Should be exemplary in dealing with family/ community affairs be knowledgeable in matters of the society/ confidential/ wise
  • Should be of good conduct/ earned respect in the community
  • Should have grown up children/ be of the right/ specific age
  • Should have the support of other elders
  • Ability to provide for others/ wealthy
  • Be of sound mind/ good health
  • Be a bonafide member of the community
  • By undergoing the rituals of being an elder

Qualities for one to become a leader in the African Traditional Society

  • Courage, bravery, endurance etc.
  • Age factor
  • Professional background e.g. witches, sorcerers were not accepted.
  • The wealth status of the individual, industry.
  • The number of wines, children was a sign of responsibility.
  • The health status of the individual, physique.
  • The genealogy clan.
  • The popularity, charisma, level of acceptability.
  • Eloquence (power of speech)
  • Personal achievements (in war, hunting etc.

Factors that are undermining the role of elders in Kenya today

  • Laws are made in parliament/ constitution of Kenya is applied
  • Western way of life tends to promote individualism
  • Wealth has taken over ‘age’ as a symbol of status
  • Christianity has influenced the members who listen to their church leaders other

than the elders

  • Urbanization where we have cosmopolitan groups of people /great diversity.
  • The law courts solve disputed today hence no need for elders.
  • Western education – elders no longer possess knowledge/ wisdom.
  • Permissiveness – This makes the youth not to listen to the advice given by the elders.
  • The government has taking up the administration duties of elders through provincial administration.
  • Generation gap.

Relevance of elders today

  • They adjudicate land cases
  • They settle family disputes
  • They are custodians of the customary law
  • They preside over traditional rituals
  • They perpetuate traditional values
  • Church elders organize church services, are in charge of offering, organize for finance in the church.

How the training of medical specialists was done in ATS

  • An experienced specialist trained the trainers
  • A fee was paid for the training
  • The student could board at the trainer’s home or operate as a day scholar
  • The specialist could treat in the presence of the student/student was expected to observe
  • The student would be taken to the forest and shown herbs
  • The students would accompany the specialists to various healing missions
  • Student could be sent to heal on cases he had mastered
  • The specialists would carry out various tests to ascertain the proficiency of the student
  • When qualified the two would operate together or separately

Factors which undermine/affect the role of African Religious specialists today.

  • Introduction of hospitals has denied medicine men to practice their skills traditional leaves are associated with witchcraft.
  • Modern religions e.g. Christianity, Islam etc. have affected the role of medicines and diviners as they stress belief in God.
  • Modern science and technology has affected the role of rainmakers as people rely on meteorological reports on weather.
  • Modern education has affected the role of elders for wisdom is now associated with education and not age.
  • Emergency of other leaders such as pastors Bishops etc. who replace traditional African ones.
  • The mass media has influenced people’s beliefs and practices.
  • The money economy has changed African society. Instead of specialists serving the society, they are serving individuals and themselves(those who have money)
  • Urbanization has led to erosion of culture – It is not easy to relate with traditional African specialists.
  • Many conmen in the same fields.


African moral values

Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

  1. Explain the African moral values
  2. Discuss and evaluate continuity and change in the African understanding of leisure, dress, old age, the aged, widows, orphans, dowry, community, land, medicine, worship and property.


Morality and moral values


  • Morality is a set of social rules and norms intended to guide the conduct of people in a society.
  • Morality is both religious and social.

  • The purpose of morality in African traditional community is to promote the welfare of the community and the individual.

Moral values

  • Are forms or patterns of conduct that are considered most worthwhile by the society.
  • Moral virtues are traits of character.

Examples of moral values

  • Hospitality, honesty, loyalty, respect, co-operation, obedience, integrity, humility, sharing, hard work, responsibility, chastity/faithfulness, love, unity, courtesy, and tolerance/perseverance,

Methods used to teach the youth in African Traditional Communities

  • Through songs, dance, teaching the cultural heritage
  • Lectures by old people on customs/ responsibilities
  • Assignments –Young people assigned work to do under supervision
  • Through age groups where members educated each other
  • Through apprenticeship in special skills e.g. rain making
  • By questions and answers
  • Through dramatizing/ role play while the youth watched
  • By observing rituals or activities in order to learn to do them e.g. dance
  • Through practical involvement/ youth accompanying older people
  • Through proverbs, riddles, parables which trained youth to think
  • Through folk stories, tales, myths, children were taught the values of the community

Causes of conflicts between parents and children in Kenya today

  • Age barrier i.e. young feel the old are out dated
  • Money issues either abundant or lack of it
  • Parents being strict with their children/talk of breathing space
  • Children or parents abusing drugs and alcohol
  • Absentee parents, who don’t have time to know their children
  • Children take much time in schools or colleges making them strangers to their parents
  • Permissiveness in the society
  • Bad behavior from parents being copied by the young thus losing respect and role models

Continuity and change of some aspects of traditional African culture

  • Traditional African communities have undergone many changes since the coming of the missionaries and western influences.


  • African community is a cohesive community which values harmony and concern for each other.
  • Today this sense of community is being threatened by the creeping in of individual values that seem to replace the community values.
  • Through mass influence it has brought; culture of disrespect to elders, individualism, selfishness, and lack of concern for others.

Change in Traditional concept of community

  • The dead are not part of community
  • Comprises of several tribes, races not one tribe
  • Members of community no longer live in the same geographical region.
  • Economically, the community depends in employment and has led to social classes
  • Socially, informal education has been overtaken by formal systems of education.
  • They have learned new languages of interaction for example Kiswahili, English and French
  • They have learnt to eat new dishes
  • The mode of dressing has changed
  • Some rites of passage have been abandoned
  • New forms of worship have been introduced
  • In some cases, the old have been left on their own, or put in homes for the aged.
  • People have learnt to plan their families and are becoming more and more individualistic.
  • New political systems and forms of government have emerged.
  • Land is now owned individually rather than communally.
  • Bride wealth has been commercialized

Factors that have promoted changes in African Community.

  • Urbanization which has separated blood related families and created urban community.
  • Formal education
  • Religion e.g. Christianity and Islam.
  • National consciousness where people see themselves as Kenyans not tribes.
  • Loss of traditional and cultural practices and beliefs.
  • Human rights movements
  • Science and technology
  • Media influence


  • Was the ethnic group of people sharing the same traditions, values and customs


  • People still visit their ancestral homes
  • People still rely on relatives for help
  • Politicians capitalize on ethnic following
  • Some traditions are still observed
  • There are still membership criteria that are followed


  • Intermarriages
  • Marriage is optional
  • Life is individualistic rather than communal
  • People mix with other ethnic groups almost daily
  • Some young people do not speak their mother tongue/vernacular language
  • People have done away with some traditional customs
  • Some people have settled away from their ancestral homes

Community land

  • There was plenty of land which was owned and occupied according to different families, clan’s tribes.
  • Each family had its own land.
  • No one had a right to sell community land or ancestral land but every son had a right to inherit some land from his father.

Changes that have occurred in land ownership in Kenya today

  • Land is owned individually through title deeds.
  • Clan members living together on own patches of land.
  • Land can be used as security for loans unlike before.
  • One can buy land and live anywhere/ land has been commercialized.
  • Land disputes are settled by adjudicators and not traditional elders.
  • The government owns large patches of land e.g. game parks, forest reserves etc.
  • Landless / homeless people are no longer cared for/ emergence of squatters.
  • Communal land has been sold and people live in urban areas.
  • Emergence of land grabbers / corruption.
  • Women can own and inherit land.

Changes on land tenure system

  • The community land is almost extinct.
  • Land is owned individually; hence one can sell part of their piece of land.
  • Women own land in our society today as they have the money to buy the land.
  • Land owned in urban centers is for commercial purposes e.g. rental houses
  • Land owners today hold title deeds which they use as security for loans.
  • Today’s land tenure encourages mobility of different communities.
  • Today land is leased for a period of time for economic use e.g. agricultural use.

Reasons why disputes over land were rare in the traditional African communities.

  • The elders disciplined greedy people/land grabbers.
  • There were clear guidelines on the use of land.
  • Those without land were assisted to acquire it by the clan/community
  • There was enough land assigned to individuals by elders
  • The wish/will of parents/clan on property ownership was respected.
  • People were hesitant to acquire land unlawfully for fear of curses.
  • Justice/ fairness by elders was adhered to in land ownership/allocation.
  • There was clear guideline on ownership.

Factors that have led to individual land ownership today

  • Poverty
  • Growth of social classes
  • Growth of towns
  • Government policy/ individual title deeds/ demarcation
  • Modern laws governing land ownership
  • Migration
  • Insecurity
  • Introduction of money economy/ capitalism
  • Decline in traditional values
  • Influence of Western culture
  • Erosion of the powers of elders
  • Mushrooming of private developers

The importance of land in African traditional society.

  • It was a place of residence for the ancestral spirits.
  • It was a source of medicine/herbs /minerals
  • It belongs to God.
  • A source of food/fruit/seeds/vegetables to man/animals /other creatures.
  • It was a home of animals/insects
  • A source of firewood/building materials.
  • It was inherited/family property /never to be sold.
  • It provided source of wealth.
  • It gives foundation of construction of human homes.


  • In traditional African communities it was men who owned property and their position in the society was measured by how much property they had acquired.
  • It was measured in terms of number of wives, children, cows, sheep, and goats.
  • In case of death the children inherit the property.

Changes that are taking place in property ownership in traditional African communities.

  • Women/ children can now own property
  • Wealth is no longer determined by the number of wives / children
  • The introduction of money economy has reduced the value attached to land.
  • The role of elders in sharing out property has been eroded
  • Land is individually owned through the issuance of title deeds
  • People write wills to share/ decide who should inherit their property
  • Property can be owned outside one’s ancestral home.
  • Land can now be sold/ auctioned.
  • Whatever the property the family has is jointly owned.
  • In modern society, wealth is measured in terms of buildings both residential and commercial, vehicles, number of plots or land and amount of money.

How wealth was acquired in African Traditional Society.

  • Through inheritance from father to son(s)
  • Through raiding for example, communities which did raiding as an economic activity
  • Through trade for example, Africans practiced barter trade
  • Through wars- defeated communities were looted
  • Through dowry- girls were married and large herds of cattle, goats and sheep were paid
  • Through gifts/ donations from their friends/ subjects in case of rulers
  • Through marriage for example, women and children were considered as wealth
  • Through services offered

Why disputes over ownership of property were rare in traditional African communities

  • Property was owned by the community and given to individuals by elders
  • There were clear regulations on ownership of land
  • There were laid down machinery relating to deal with problems pertaining to ownership of property
  • Those who did not have were assisted to acquire property
  • Those who showed greed on the ownership of property were disciplined
  • There were clear guidelines on inheritance
  • Strict justice was observed
  • The will of the parents on property ownership was respected


  • It is to petition God, thank Him, and appease ancestral spirits.
  • This is done through sacrifices, offerings, prayer, songs and dancing and invocations.

Traditional African

  • Religion influenced all aspects of life
  • All worshipped in places like mountains, hills, caves, forests
  • It was communal
  • It was led by religious specialists


  • Today many Africans follow the Christian faith and other foreign religions

  • Prayer at individual, family, community levels.
  • Congregational or communal worship.
  • Buildings for worship.
  • Offerings in form of money and material goods.
  • Singing and dancing.
  • They no longer sacrifice animals to God.
  • Worship of God is not a must-freedom of worship

Factors that have changed the traditional African way of worship

  • Influence from other religions e.g. Christianity
  • Permissiveness
  • Influence from science and technology
  • The hard economic times
  • Migration
  • Introduction of formal education

Aspects of traditional African worship that have been incorporated in Christian worship.

  • Use of vernacular in worship
  • Use of traditional music and instruments
  • Use of body movement e.g. dancing
  • Congregation involvement e.g. responding to prayers in unison
  • Spontaneous prayers
  • Performing cleansing rituals
  • Adopting individual family names in Baptism
  • Giving offerings in kind.

Occasions when songs were used in traditional African Communities

  • During festive seasons to show happiness
  • During marriages to praise the couple and welcome them
  • During burial ceremonies to covey sadness of the mourners and to comfort the bereaved family
  • Initiates sung songs to drive away evil and encourage one another as they faced the actual initiation
  • Mothers sung lullabies to help the baby sleep
  • They were sung to pass time when people were working
  • They were sung for heroic characters in ancient times

Why Christians may oppose traditional songs in worship

  • Some may involve dangerous styles that may lead to injury
  • Some people get possessed by spirits
  • Some of the dances are obscene
  • War songs may result to violence
  • They venerate ancestors which is against biblical teachings
  • They are attractive and seen as a form of idolatry
  • They express traditional religious beliefs which are condemned in Christianity.
  • Some songs and dances are discriminatory

Worship practices in the traditional African community that are not advocated for in Christianity

  • Ancestral veneration
  • Consulting dead spirits
  • Sacrificing animals to appease God and spirits
  • Human sacrifice
  • Pouring libation
  • Wearing charms or amulets
  • Maintaining shrines
  • Passing messages meant for God through the spirits of the dead


  • African communities have their own concept of medicine, illness and how to cure them.
  • Illness is influenced by their culture and environment, and therefore regarded as threat to individual and the community well-being.
  • Cured through ritual like purification and reconciliation
  • Today it is viewed scientifically. Illness is rising from germs, viruses and other causes. Thus doctors are consulted in hospitals.

How the training of medical specialists was done in ATS

  • An experienced specialist trained the trainers
  • A fee was paid for the training
  • The student could board at the trainers home or operate as a day scholars
  • The specialist could treat in presence of the student/student was expected to observe
  • The student would be taken to the forest and shown herbs
  • The students would accompany the specialists to various healing missions
  • Student could be sent to heal on cases he had mastered
  • The specialists would carry out various tests to ascertain the proficiency of the student
  • When qualified the two would operate together or separately

The challenges in the use of traditional medicine today.

  • Most medicinal plants have been destroyed through deforestation.
  • The advent of modern medicine has reduced the extensive use of herbal medicine.
  • Herbal medicine is now scientifically prepared before use. It is not taken in the raw form as was the case.
  • Laboratory tests are carried out to give a detailed picture of the disease as opposed to the traditional methods.

The relation of herbal medicine to modern drugs in today’s societies

  • Some modern medicine is made from herbs.
  • It is believed that some illnesses cannot be treated in hospital hence service of herbalists.
  • Herbal medicine is cheaper thus many people seem to turn to it.
  • Herbalists are believed to give politicians greater political powers.
  • Some people believe that medicine men can change their fate.
  • Some view it as fetishism.
  • Some have strong belief and trust in modern medicine.
  • Herbal medicine has led to deforestation.
  • Modern education sees it as being primitive.

Reasons why the practice of traditional African Herbalism is still recognized today.

  • The need to preserve African Culture.
  • To supplement the modern medicine.
  • It promotes medical research.
  • In some cases it is more effective.
  • It is cheaper than modern medicine.
  • Easily available and accessible in rural areas.
  • It is a means of livelihood for some people.
  • Herbs treat a wide range of diseases.
  • Have fewer side effects.
  • Used to develop modern medicine

Old age

  • Old people in the community were held in high esteem as old age was equated with wisdom
  • Growing up children were expected to look after their aging parents.
  • A new development in modern life is that there are some old people who have no close relatives to take care of them.
  • There are many old people who now live in special homes set up for the aged people through pension schemes, life insurance policies, income generating projects and investments, savings through co-operative societies and fixed deposits in banks and other financial institutions.


  • Some people still consult old people about traditions
  • Some people still visit old people in their homes or stay with them in towns
  • The old are consulted still before decisions are made especially in marriage and building homes
  • They are given decent burials
  • People avoid annoying them lest they are cursed


  • Many old people are living by themselves in the countryside
  • Most are ignorant about modern things like science entertainment or careers
  • Some people ignore the old as backward and ignorant
  • Creation of special homes for the aged
  • Some old people are taken to live with people who are not their relatives
  • Some old people are seen begging in the streets or working instead of being provided for by their children
  • Their wisdom is no longer considered important

How the aged prepared for Ancestor hood.

  • Talked of their coming death courageously
  • Divided wealth among their wives and sons.
  • Showed relatives the sites for their burial
  • Blessed their first sons / loved sons
  • Decided the inheritors to their wives
  • Made their wills and wishes to the relatives
  • Promised the living what they would do when they die.
  • Explain the death and burial rituals to be practiced during their deaths e.g. sacrifices

How the aged prepare for death in traditional African society

  • They divide wealth among children/ wives
  • They bless their relatives
  • They identify the one to inherit the family leadership
  • They make their will to be known
  • They offer sacrifices to the ancestors so as to welcome them
  • A fellowship meal is prepared so that he eats with other members
  • He reconciles with the parties he had differed with
  • He names his creditors /pays his debts
  • He sermons his relatives to hear the last words
  • A diviner is consulted to identify the cause of illness.


  • In traditional African communities, the mode of dressing varied from one place to another and was depended on the type of climate.
  • It was determined by age, sex and social status
  • In many communities, clothes were fashioned from skins of animals and leaves, and barks of trees and bananas.
  • The women enhanced their beauty by adorning themselves with ornaments such as beads and necklaces.


  • Modern people in Kenya have adopted western ways of dressing.
  • There is different clothing for men and women but some styles are fashioned in such a way that they are used by both sexes e.g. T-shirts and open shoes.
  • Old people complain that the young dress indecently
  • It has become more elaborate and expensive
  • Fashion changes from time to time
  • Traditional dress is often seen among traditional dancers or during traditional occasions
  • Scanty clothing is considered provocative

Bride wealth

  • Is a gift by the groom’s parents to the bride’s parents.
  • This is usually in the form of cows, goats, sheep, honey and other items depending on the community.
  • Today, the concept of bride wealth has been commercialized.
  • Some see it as a way of enriching themselves.
  • Some communities have converted the traditional values of bride wealth in terms of cows and sheep to cash.

Changes/Reasons why dowry is losing its meaning in contemporary Kenya.

  • It has been commercialized – the bride’s family demands a lot of money depending on the girl’s education level or position.
  • Dilution of traditions and customs regarding marriage.
  • Rising instance of eloping: People skip the marriage preparations.
  • Many people live in towns and live as husband and wife without formalizing their marriage.
  • Influence by western culture which portrays payment of dowry as buying / selling of the bride.
  • The women liberation movements reject payment of dowry.


  • In African society, leisure is integrated with other activities.
  • It is also a time set apart particularly during ceremonies and celebrations.
  • Leisure activities are according to age and gender.
  • At times people enjoy together in initiation rituals and marriages.


  • Today, leisure activities comprise of watching movies, listening to music, leisure walks, worshiping in churches and other aspects of entertainment.
  • Some leisure activities are too expensive for most people
  • Many people have little time with for leisure with their families
  • Some leisure activities are negative e.g. watching p*rnography
  • Some people abuse leisure time by engaging in immoral behaviour
  • Most youth lack supervision as they spend their free time with peers who mislead them
  • Leisure activities are individualistic
  • There are diverse leisure activities
  • There are no restrictions on leisure activities

The different occasions when songs were used in traditional African communities.

  • During festive seasons to show happiness.
  • During marriages to praise the couple and welcome them.
  • Burial ceremonies were accompanied by songs to convey sadness of the mourners and to comfort the bereaved family.
  • Initiates sung songs to drive away evil and encourage one another as they faced the actual initiation.
  • Mother sung lullabies to help the baby sleep.
  • They were sung to pass time when people were working.
  • For heroic characters in ancient times.

Reasons why Christians may oppose traditional songs in worship today.

  • Some may involve dangerous styles that may lead to injury.
  • Some people get possessed by spirits.
  • Some of the dances and obscene.
  • War songs may result to violence.
  • They venerate ancestors which is against Biblical teachings.
  • They are attractive and seen as a form of idolatry.
  • The songs express traditional beliefs traditional religious beliefs which are condemned in Christianity.
  • Some songs and dances are discriminating.

Widows and orphans

  • All societies’ women whether or not depend on male relatives.
  • Women had no right to inherit property particularly family land.
  • They only have access to it and this is done through wife inheritance.


  • Wife inheritance is no longer encouraged due to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS
  • There too many widows and orphans that those left behind cannot be able to take care of all of them
  • Some families deny widows and orphans of their rightful property
  • Some widows are rejected and isolated by their families
  • Many orphans end up as street children because they are neglected
  • The church has stepped in to care for widows
  • Orphanages for children and support systems for widows through churches and other organizations have been established.

Ways through which the traditional African community took care of widows and orphans

  • Wife inheritance – in traditional African society a woman was married to the family and when her husband died she was to remain in the family through inheritance
  • They were to built for them another house
  • Food and other basic necessities were provided to them by other members of the family
  • Cleansing rituals were performed on them in order to enable him participate in community activities
  • Orphaned children were adopted by relatives and were taken care of as members of the


  • Other members of the family provided assistance e.g. Cultivation or looking after the animals.
  • Family members pooled their resources together to assist them.

The consequences of neglecting widows and orphans in Kenya today.

  • Increase in the number of street children/families
  • Abandonment of children by mothers who cannot take care of them
  • Orphans drop out of school
  • Increase in criminal activities
  • Depression and loss of self-esteem on victims
  • Increase in levels of child abuse
  • Increase the suffering of children (physical, social emotional)
  • Exploitation of widows and orphans by the members of the members of extended families
  • Increase in prostitution by widows to earn a living

What the church is doing about the plight of orphans in the society today.

  • Set up homes for the orphans.
  • Finances their education.
  • Encourage members to adopt orphans
  • Offer counseling services to them.
  • Offer skills / training the orphans.
  • Preaching to them about the care of God.
  • Praying with /encouraging them.
  • Protecting them from exploitation
  • Offer them employment opportunities

Why the church is opposed to wife inheritance

  • Can lead to abandonment of one’s children wife
  • Can cause jealously/breakage of family
  • May lead to destruction of property/snatching/grabbing/poverty
  • It is dehumanizing/oppressive to the woman/widow
  • Can lead to disease e.g. HIV/AIDS
  • Cause embarrassment to the concerned members/not promoting respect
  • It is against the Christian teaching of monogamy
  • Can lead to street children/increase in crime
  • Can lead to mistreatment of the partial orphans//widow
  • It can create psychological/emotional problems /stress

Modern factors affecting the Traditional African heritage.

  • Foreign religions e.g. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism
  • Foreign cultures and values
  • Western Education Plus Agencies High cost of living/inflation
  • New forms of government and politics
  • Science and technology
  • Urbanization
  • Improved infrastructure
  • Mass media

The socio-cultural changes that have taken place in traditional African communities today

  • The mode of dressing has changed
  • There is introduction of new forms of worship/Christianity/Islam/other world religions
  • Ancestors are no longer considered as part of the family/not involved in the activities of the community
  • There is individual ownership of land/property rather than communal ownership
  • Some rites of passage are no longer carried out/ have been dropped eg removal of teeth, female circumcision, tattooing, ear looping
  • People have migrated to urban centres/free inter-mingling of people/weakened family/clan ties
  • People can plan for the number of children they can have/introduction of modern contraceptives
  • Homes for the aged have emerged/the aged have been left on their own
  • New diet has been introduced/ new food
  • New forms of government has emerged replacing the role of elders/specialists
  • Modern forms of technology/infrastructure have transformed life
  • Introduction of formal education
  • Dowry has been commercialized/paid in monetary terms
  • Modern medicines have been adopted

Negative effects that have resulted from cultural changes.

  • Influence by Western culture whereby some women and men remain unmarried.
  • Finding a virgin girl or woman is rare.
  • Communal life dying and individualism taking root.
  • No proper cause is given to the landless as it was in the past.
  • Land no more as valuable as before.
  • Some young people not recognizing the contribution of elders. Aged no longer automatic advisors of young people.
  • Early marriages for girls and boys.
  • Commercialization of dowry.
  • Syncretism
  • Increased immorality.

How introduction of money has affected traditional African societies.

  • Money has replaced barter trade
  • Money has encouraged many people to seek paid employment
  • Has created individualism unlike in traditional societies where wealth was communal
  • Has led to class society i.e. rich and poor
  • Has caused other forms of corruption thrive on money
  • Some traditional practices like dowry have been commercialized
  • Communal life has been disrupted by people moving away to seek employment
  • Some people who move to urban areas disregard extended families
  • Many wives and children are an economic burden unlike in traditional African society where they were an asset

Negative influence that the introduction of money brought in traditional African economy

  • Close family ties is destroyed/ broken as people are separated in rural/ urban areas
  • The gap between the rich and the poor widened as Africans became materialistic
  • It brought various vices e.g. corruption, prostitution, robbery, crime, etc.
  • African moral values, customs deteriorated e.g. bride wealth became commercialized
  • Africans were forced to work for Europeans in order to pay taxes/ they lost their human dignity.
  • The cash crop introduced reduced the traditional food crops. This has led to food insecurity.
  • Work which used to be communal became a commodity for sale.
  • Africans became labourers in their own land
  • Land changed from being communally owned to individually owned.
  • The migration from rural to urban areas after the rural areas were sold ,children and women could work.
  • Exploitation of the poor by the rich increased
  • Natural environment has been destroyed due to urbanization/ industrialization
  • The cost of living has gone up due to need of money.
  • Stiff- competition for goods, services, employment, etc.
  • People have become materialistic as they desire to be wealthy
  • Capitalistic type of economy came up
  • Dependence of the poor countries on the rich countries
  • Respect and prestige is given only to the rich.

The role of the government in the promotion of the African culture.

  • Creation of museums
  • Establishing ministry of culture and social services
  • African traditional heritage is taught in schools during R.E lessons
  • Drama/ music festivals taught in schools and colleges.
  • Incorporating traditional leaders in public functions
  • Recognizing customary marriage rites.
  • Incorporating African medicine in modern medicine and research
  • Clan elders serve on government boards at divisional or clan levels
  • The government authorizes for traditional rites e.g. male circulations bull fighting and traditional wedding ceremonies.

African cultural practices that the missionaries condemned.

  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Brewing of African traditional liquor.
  • Early marriages.
  • Witchcraft
  • Consulting diviners.
  • Killing of twins due to the belief they were a bad omen.
  • Raiding as an economic activity.
  • Ancestor worship/veneration of ancestors
Christian Religious Education, CRE, latest Syllabus and Curriculum Designs - (2024)


What are the main areas of study in CRE? ›

The five strands are deliberate in developing the intellectual skills necessary for moral living including reflection, discernment, critical thinking, and deciding how to act in accordance with an informed conscience. The method of teaching and learning CRE is Life Approach.

Why is CRE taught in secondary schools? ›

One of the major objectives of CRE is to help learners acquire social, spiritual and moral insights to help them make ethical decisions in a rapidly changing society (Kenya Institute of Education [KIE], 2000).

What is Christian religious education? ›

Therefore, Christian Religious Education (CRE) is the; a) Systematic study of religious beliefs and practices based in the life and teaching of Jesus. b) Study of God's revelations to people through personal experiences, his creation, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and the word of God.

How does the study of CRE promote international consciousness? ›

The CRE curriculum stipulates that students who interact with CRE content should acquire social; spiritual and moral insights to think critically; and make appropriate moral decisions in a rapidly changing society, appreciate and respect their own; and other peoples' culture, promote international consciousness through ...

What are the three tenets of CRE? ›

CRE is a pedagogy that “advances equity and social justice by: Centering and valuing students' cultures and identities. Using rigorous and culturally relevant curriculum and anti-oppressive teaching practices. Building strong, positive relationships between students, families, and school staff.

What are general learning outcomes of CRE? ›

Subject General Learning Outcomes By the end of Upper Primary, the learner should be able to: a) Demonstrate an awareness of God as the sole Creator by protecting, preserving and conserving the environment. b) Recognize the Bible and apply its teachings for responsible living.

Which moral and religious values are acquired from studying CRE? ›

This is a form of education that stresses the acquisition of living values by learners. Religious Education inculcates universal and ethical values such as compassion, courage, honesty, tolerance and truthfulness.

What does CRE mean in teaching? ›

Culturally Responsive Education (CRE) connects curriculum and teaching to students' experiences, perspectives, histories & cultures.

How many accounts of creation are there in the Bible? ›

There are two stories of how God created it which are found at the beginning of the book of Genesis. in the Bible. Some Christians regard Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 as two totally separate myths. that have a similar meaning.

What are the 14 books removed from the Bible? ›

  • Books of the Apocrypha. 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras (150-100 BC) Tobit (200 BC) Judith (150 BC) Additions to Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4 – 16:24) (140-130 BC) Wisdom of Solomon (30 BC) ...
  • Books of the Pseudepigrapha. Epistle of Barnabas. 3 Maccabees. 4 Maccabees. Assumption of Moses (Testament of Moses) Book of Enoch.

What is cre in God? ›

Therefore, Christian Religious Education (CRE) is the.

1. Systematic study of religious beliefs and practices based in the life and teaching of Jesus. 2. Study of God's revelations to people through personal experiences, his creation, the Holy. Spirit, Jesus Christ and the word of God.

What skills are learned in CRE? ›

3 Develop the soft skills

Some of the key soft skills for CRE professionals are communication, negotiation, persuasion, collaboration, creativity, innovation, adaptability, and resilience.

Which other religions do you know apart from Christianity? ›

Here are a few of them for consideration:
  • Buddhism: the Buddha (Gautama Buddha) ...
  • Islam: Muhammad (Muhammad ibn Abdullāh)
  • Judaism: Moses - prophet.
  • Catholicism: Pope Francis.
  • Christianity (also Protestantism): Jesus of Nazareth. ...
  • Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints): Joseph Smith, Jr. ...
  • Scientology: L.
Jun 7, 2024

What is the role of CRE in the curriculum? ›

Teaching CRE in secondary school is intended to help the learners to: i. Gain insight into the unfolding of God‟s revelation to human kind through their personal experience, the African Religious Heritage, the Biblical revelation as a whole and specifically in Jesus Christ and the Christian community.

Why do Christians read the Bible? ›

One of the main uses of the Bible is as a source of authority. This means that Christians can use the Bible as a guidebook to provide advice and guidance during different dilemmas they may face in life. There are many rules and parables in the Bible which can tell Christians what they should do in certain situations.

What topics are in CRE Paper 1? ›

Introduction to C.R.E 1 2. The Bible 1 3. Creation and the fall of man 4 4. Faith and God's promises: Abraham 5 5.

What values do we acquire through studying CRE? ›

Religious Education inculcates universal and ethical values such as compassion, courage, honesty, tolerance and truthfulness. This paper sought to establish CRE teachers' use of valuing methods for learner value acquisition in National Secondary Schools in Kenya.

What is the concept of CRE? ›

Corporate real estate (CRE) is the real property that a company owns or holds for the purposes of housing its operations. Multiple types of properties and facilities, including offices, warehouses, data centers and retail spaces, can be part of a corporate real estate portfolio.

What are competencies in CRE? ›

Competence. CRE Teachers must master each teaching material; in this case, teachers must collect relevant materials and choose appropriate methods for use in the teaching and learning process. CRE teachers must be well trained in the teaching skills of subjects.

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