SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.31 issue1Creative preaching: The importance of creativity in the preaching processDating the Priestly text in the pre-exilic period: Some remarks about anachronistic slips and other obstacles author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Verbum et Ecclesia

On-line version ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.31 n.1 Pretoria  2010

http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ve.v31i1.363 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

 

The biblical ethics of work: A model for African nations

 

 

Godwin N. Toryough

Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

This article has unpacked issues surrounding workers' poor attitude in terms of work and focuses on Nigeria and on Africa at large. It addresses the lapses of labour for both employers and the employees, which include misconduct, non-commitment, unfaithfulness, apathy and exploitation, amongst other things. It is the argument of this article that a misconception of work and a lack of work ethics are some of the major factors responsible for these negative attitudes. In order to get around this perceived problem, the article suggests a theological solution which is rooted in the Christian Scriptures. Thus polemic approaches as well as an exegesis of the Scriptures concerning the right concept and attitude to work are employed in this study. The synchronic approach to exegesis is employed in this work. This approach looks at the final form of the text as it stands in the Bible. The particular components of this approach applied in this article are narrative and rhetorical criticism whilst others involve lexical, grammatical and syntactical analysis. In addition, the Intercultural Hermeneutics approach of contextualization is employed. The article points out how work which, from a theological perspective, originated with creation and was not intended to be evil later became conceived as a kind of punishment. It also demonstrates how work became bifurcated into secular and spiritual spheres with its attendant negative consequences in the Middle Ages. It concludes with a presentation of the biblical ethics of work which is recommended as a benchmark for attitudinal change in stakeholders.

Keywords: work ethics; Nigeria; concept of work; African Nations; employer-employee relationship


 

 

Full text available only in PDF format.

 

 

References

Abogunrin, S.O., 2007, 'General Editor's Introduction', in S.O. Abogunrin, J.O. Akao, D.O. Akintunde, K. Dada, G.N. Toryough & P.A. Oguntoye (eds.), Biblical Studies and Corruption in Africa', Biblical Studies Series, No. 6, pp. 8-11, Nigerian Association for Biblical Studies, Ibadan.         [ Links ]

Akunyili D.N., 2010, 'Re-branding of Nigerian Universities', paper presented at the 39th Convocation Lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 05 August, viewed 07 September 2010, from http://www.unn.edu.ng/images/convocationk_convocation_lecture.pdf        [ Links ]

Aluko, M.A.O., 2004, 'Social-cultural Dimensions of Motivation and Management in Nigeria', AJPAM, XV(1), 37-53, viewed 09 October 2009, from http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/d        [ Links ]

Amadi, E., 1982, Ethics in Nigerian Culture, Heinemann Educational Publishers, Ibadan.         [ Links ]

Ameson, R.I., 1997, 'Meaningfulness of Work and Socialization', Ethics 97(3), 517-545.         [ Links ]

Ayantayo, J.K., 2009, 'Oath-taking and Governance in Nigeria', in I.O. Albert (ed.), Praxis of Political Concepts and Cliches in Nigeria's Fourth Republic, Essays in Honour of Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, Bookcraft, Ibadan, p. 57-73.         [ Links ]

Balstore, E., 1988, The Reform of Work Place and Industrial Relation: Theory, Myths and Evidence, Clarendon Press, Oxford.         [ Links ]

Barker K.L. & Kohlenberger J.R. III, 1994, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, O.T., abridged edn., pp. 7-8, Zondervan, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Belcher, D.W., 1962, Wage and Administration, Prentice Hall, Englewood.         [ Links ]

Bertocchi, G. & Canova F., 2002, 'Did Colonization matter for growth? An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment', European Economic Review 46, 1851-1871, viewed 07 September 2010, from www.elsevier.com/locate/econbase        [ Links ]

Boer, H., 1976, A Short History of the Early Church, Daystar, Ibadan.         [ Links ]

Clarke, P., 1991., 'Religion and Political Attitude since Independence', in Olupona J.K. & Falola T. (eds),Religion and Society in Nigeria:Historical and sociological Perspectives, pp. 216-229, Spectrum Books Ltd, Ibadan.         [ Links ]

Davis, H.H., 1988, 'Work', in SB. Ferguson, Wright DF. & Packer JI.,(eds), New Bible Dictionary of Theology, p. 728, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship, Leicester.         [ Links ]

Dzurgba, A., 2003, Nigerian Politics and Moral Behaviour, A Study in Politics and Moral Behaviour, John Archers, Ibadan.         [ Links ]

Dzurgba, A., 2007, Contemporary Ethics: Theory and Issues, John Archers, Ibadan.         [ Links ]

Demonstratio Evangelica, I, viii, in W.R. Forester, Christian Vocation, 43, Rayburn 2006.         [ Links ]

Erondu, E.A., Sharland, A. & Okpara J.O., 2004, 'Corporate Ethics in Nigeria: a Test of the Concept of an ethical Climate', Journal of Business Ethics 51(4), 349-357.         [ Links ]

Falola, T. & Babalola D., 1991, 'Religion and Economy in Pre-colonial Nigeria', in Olupona J.K. & Falola T. (eds), Religion and Society: Historical and sociological Perspectives, pp. 151-169, Spectrum Books Ltd, Ibadan.         [ Links ]

Grint, K., 1991, The Sociology of Work: an Introduction, Polity Press, Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Guthrie, D., 1981, New Testament Theology, Intervarsity Press, Leicester.         [ Links ]

Hargreaves, J., 1998, A Guide to Genesis, New edition, SPCK International Study Guide no. 3, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London.         [ Links ]

Harmon, M., 2007, Labor Day Reflections on Work, viewed 09 July 2009, from http://bibtheo.blogspot.com/2007/09/labor-day-reflections-on-work.html        [ Links ]

Izibili, M.A., 2005, 'The Responsibilities of Business Organizations: An Ethical Insight', in P.O. Iroegbu & A.O. Echekwube (eds.), Kpim of Morality Ethics, General, Special and Professional, pp. 356-361, Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria) PLC, Ibadan.         [ Links ]

Jeremias, n.d., Rediscovering the Parables, in Ryken, Worldly Saints, 24, cited by Rayburn 2006, viewed 07 July 2007 from http://www.faithacoma.org/series/work.aspx.         [ Links ]

Kuiper, B.K., 1964, The Church in History, Wm. B. Erdmann's Publishing Company, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Lawuyi, T., 1991., 'Nigeria in the 1980s: Religion and National Integration', in J.K. Olupona & T. Falola (eds),Religion and Society in Nigeria: Historical and sociological Perspectives, p. 230-243, Spectrum Books Ltd., Ibadan.         [ Links ].

McDonald, H.D., 1982, 'Work' in J.D. Douglas, Hillyer, N., Bruce, FF., Guthrie, D., Millard, AR., Packer, JI & Wiseman, DJ., (eds.), New Bible Dictionary, 2nd edn., pp. 1260, Intervarsity Press & Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship, Leicester.         [ Links ]

Mounce, W.D., Smith D.M. & Van Pelt, M.V. (eds.) 2006, Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, pp. 632-635, Zondervan, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Natural Theology Synopsis, n.d., Work, viewed 15October 2007, from www.naturaltheology.net        [ Links ]

Nworah U., 2006, 'Rebranding Nigeria; Critical Perspectives on the Heart of Africa Image Project', viewed 07 September 2010, from http://www.brandchannel.com/images/papers/4        [ Links ]

Olugbile, F., 1997, Nigerian Work: A Survey of the Psychology of Work among Nigerians, Malt House Press Ltd, Lagos.         [ Links ]

Oparanma, A.O., 2008, 'Motivation and Productivity: Study of civil Servants in Rivers State, Nigeria', Research Journal of International Studies 7, 43-55.         [ Links ]

Polano H., 1973, The Talmud; Selections from its commentaries, teachings, poetry, and legends, transl. by H. Polano , Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., London/New York.         [ Links ]

Pope Paul VI, 1965, 'Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World', Gaudium et Spes IV(43), viewed 08June 2008, from http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html        [ Links ]

Rayburn, R.S., 2006, 'Theology of Work' Sermon Series, viewed 07 July 2007, from http://www.faithacoma.org/series/work.aspx        [ Links ]

Sowumi, B., 2004, 'The Role of Labour in National Development', The Constitution 4(3), 18-34.         [ Links ]

Uka, F., 2010, 'Ebonyi Gathering for Attitudinal Change (1) [ANALYSIS]',         [ Links ] 16 Jul. 2010 viewed 14 Aug. 2010, from http://allafrica.com/stories/201007160242.htm

Vine, W.E., Unger, M.F. & White, W., 1996, 'To Work' and 'Work', Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words with topical Index, pp. 293 & 683, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville.         [ Links ]

Vroom, V.H., 1964, Work and Motivation, Wiley, New York.         [ Links ]

Yousef, D.A., 2001, 'Islamic Work Ethic: a Moderator between organizational Commitment and job Satisfaction in a cross-cultural Context', Personnel Review 30(2), 152-169.         [ Links ]

 

 

Correspondence:
Godwin Toryough
Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan
Ibadan
Oyo State
Nigeria
Email: revtoryough@yahoo.co.uk

Received: 08 Dec. 2009
Accepted: 14 Oct. 2010
Published: 23 Nov. 2010

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License