Original Research

Contextual Christology in the phrase ‘apo isa elmaseh’ and the word ‘opo’

Jekson Berdame, Denni H.R. Pinontoan, Christar A. Rumbay
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 45, No 1 | a2882 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v45i1.2882 | © 2024 Jekson Berdame, Denni H.R. Pinontoan, Christar A. Rumbay | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 April 2023 | Published: 23 January 2024

About the author(s)

Jekson Berdame, Faculty of Theology, Institute Agama Kristen Negeri, Manado, Indonesia
Denni H.R. Pinontoan, Department of Sociology of Religion, Faculty of Theology, Institute Agama Kristen Negeri, Manado, Indonesia
Christar A. Rumbay, Faculty of Theology, Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Pelita Bangsa, Jakarta, Indonesia


This study examines the Christological meaning of the phrase ‘Apo Isa Elmaseh’ and the word ‘Opo’ referring to as the ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ in catechesis books and Bibles in the Minahasa language with Tontemboan and Tombulu dialects. A translation model approach in contextual theology was used to show that the translation process is a way of determining the contextual theology that occurs dialogically between zendeling missionary, translators and indigenous teachers living in Minahasa culture. The result shows that these phrases and words are used in the Minahasa religion to express the Divinity of Christ, who is believed to be Apo Kasuruan Wangko (God of Origin of Life), Apo/Opo and the Great Ancestor, who is always close to the community and the universe. This finding has broad implications to other contexts in Indonesia where with a serious contextual approach, genuine theological knowledge could be explored.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article supplies a new contribution to the cultural, anthropological and theological discussion of Apo Isa Elmaseh to Minahasan-Christian. ‘apo’ or ‘opo’ and ‘Apo’ or ‘Opo’ expresses the spiritual appreciation of human existence in the continuity of history and community life in this region. Furthermore, the finding encourages other disciplines to investigate any issue that relates to culture, religion and theology.


Apo; Christology; Minahasa; Opo; translation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 15: Life on land


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