The Embassy of Israel in Nigeria has inaugurated the 2nd National Old Testament Bible Contest in Nigeria and Africa at large to promote moral education.
Mr Shimon Ben-Shoshan, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, said this in his address at the official inauguration of the National Bible contest on Wednesday in Abuja.
The event on the theme: ”Unveiling the Secrets of the Land” was organised by Israeli Embassy in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Education and the Christians United for Israel, a faith-based organisation.
Ben-Shoshan described the theme as significant to Nigeria because it is a nation that is blessed with many visionaries and entrepreneurs.
According to him, the Jewish people are blessed by receiving the Bible and have studied it for centuries; the study of the Bible is the unveiled secret of our culture of innovation nowadays.
Ben-Shoshan said: ”Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion welcomed the creation of a Bible contest in 1958, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the state of Israel.
”As that first competition was broadcast on radio 61 years ago the nation’s pulse raced; Israel followed the competition with sense of pride that swelled from being country of the Bible.
”Since then, the Bible contest has been an annual event that has drawn Biblical scholars and enthusiasts from all ends of the globe to compete on knowledge of the Old Testament.
”For these reasons, we desire the contest in Nigeria continues every year; the contest has helped to ring people of diverse religious background together on importance and relevance of biblical education.
”I therefore believe that holding a country-wide bible competition in all six-geo-political zones can serve as a cultural bridge between people of Nigeria and Israel.”
He said that the contest is open for people from 21 years and above and that it would commence on April 15, across the country through registration on www.abuja.mfa.gov.il
He mentioned that the contest would be carried out in three stages at state, zonal and then national level, with two finalists from each stage proceeding to the next level.
Also, the first two stages would be internet-based and the final stages which hold in November in Abuja would be handwritten in front of professional judges from Israeli Ministry of Education.
Speaking, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), commended Israel for the ability to turn challenges into opportunities, being a lesson Nigerian can learn from.
Ayokunle, represented by Rev. Steven Adegbite, Director, National Issues of CAN, said that the contest would help to divert the attention of young people from irrelevant thing to reading the scripture.
According to him, for you to now have something like this is to return us to the scripture.
”Joshua Chapter 1 Verse 8, says the book of the law must not depart from you, you must meditate on it day and night and you must teach it to your children.
”When that is done, it is going to be well with you and with your children and that is what you have asked us to do.
”We thank you for the opportunity to ask the younger ones to come to the knowledge, instead of dissipating their efforts in other things that we notice in the world today.”
He explained the Old Testament to mean New Testament contained and that the New Testament is the Old Testament explained.
He, however, promised to support Israel in the organisation of the event and in other areas of bilateral relations with Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 1,800 people participated in the first edition of the contest in 2018, which had the theme: ”Living peacefully in the promised land”.
This event is part of activities to mark the 71st anniversary of Israel’s Independence on May 14 and also 61 years since the first Bible contest was held in Israel