Many Black churches have stained glass windows of a White Jesus, A White Apostle Paul, or any other Biblical characters posted high that congregates look up to as they sit in the edifices. Whatever the case may be, there is a tendency to “overlook” the Black presence in Christian literature. And while some more conscious congregations may make the effort of rejecting pale skinned figures and pictures in favor of a Jheri Curled Jesus or maybe an Afro’d Moses, it may be safe to say that despite these efforts, many Black Christians often wonder where they are in the Bible, especially when they understand that the Old and New Testament text were written in Hebrew and Greek.

Without necessarily touching on the topic of Jesus’ race, some scholars argue that several figures in the Christian story have African origins, possibly including Adam and Eve. If science and religion actually have a connection, one could conclude without a doubt that first couple was indeed African.

Scientists have found that the first man originated in Africa. So if the story of Adam and Eve is remotely true, their connection can be directly linked to Africa, where the first human bones were found.

“Lucy” as the three million year-old remains are called, is the oldest human skeleton, and was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. However, in November 2000, archaeological excavators Martin Pickford and Brigitte Senut discovered six million year-old bones in Kenya that have stirred up some controversy in the scientific world. Although these remains have been called one of the closest and oldest ancestors to humans, they still resemble an ape-like creature. But that is neither here nor there. The point is, the first humans were found in Africa and did not migrate out of the continent until some 60,000 years ago.

Beyond that, several scholars and religious theorists believe the Old Testament Israelites were actually African.

Chawviv be Yisrael, author of “The Hebrew People of the Bible, What Color Are They?” an essay that uncovers his theories about the Biblical people, say the children of God were Black Africans.

He begins his essay with the lineage (which can be found in Genesis) of Noah’s sons. According to Genesis 10:6-18, Ham, Noah’s youngest son, produced nations of Africa, which was called Cush at the time. His eldest son’s, Shem, whose offspring included Peleg–the family from which Abraham would later come. Shem gave rise to the populace of West Asia, including the Mediterranean.

According to J. Daniel Hays, author of “From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race,” Noah’s children gave birth to several nations, including what was then called Cush.
“As part of our goal in focusing particularly on texts relating to the Black-White tensions in the Church today, it is significant to note that the biblical picture of the common humanity that descended from Noah included the Cushites (10:6-12), a Black African people,” he writes.

Yisrael suggests that the many characters, including Abraham, and Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob–who, according to the Old Testament was the descendent of Abraham–were a dark skinned race.

Referencing the accounts of Genesis 37-38, Yisrael points out that Joseph was abandoned by his brothers and sold into Egypt. There he became an appointed leader.

When his brothers were faced with famine in their own land, their father, Jacob, sent them to Egypt to find food.

“When the brothers of Joseph, the sons of Jacob had entered the land of Egypt, they were told to see a particular person. Not knowing (who) the individual was they were going to see, when they faced him, they didn’t recognize him, but Joseph recognized them. If Joseph is supposed to be a White person, and he was in the mist of Black people, don’t you think his brothers would have recognized him immediately(?) Why didn’t his brothers recognize him immediately? Could it have been due to him being Black amongst Black people, and he blended in?” Yisrael wrote.

Further, there are several references of Black skin in the Old Testament, including a popularly referenced scripture, Song of Solomon 1:5, in which the maiden proclaims, “I am Black and beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.”

In the New Testament, at the church in Antioch, Luke mentions five significant teachers and prophets who include Simeon, who was called Niger in Acts 13:1.

“While it is difficult to draw conclusions about the name Niger with absolute certainty, it is probable that this man was called Niger because he was Black and came from Africa,” Hays writes.

“… through the mention of Simeon called Niger, Luke demonstrates that Black Africans were involved in the gospel expansion from the very beginning … they were also leaders in the church that spawned the major Christian expansion across the Mediterranean world …”