Original Research

Biblical principles as an answer to the African people’s questioning of witchcraft

David K. Semenya, Rantoa Letsosa
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 33, No 1 | a674 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v33i1.674 | © 2012 David K. Semenya, Rantoa Letsosa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 August 2011 | Published: 24 October 2012

About the author(s)

David K. Semenya, North-West University, South Africa
Rantoa Letsosa, North-West University, South Africa


Witchcraft is still an enormous and serious issue in African culture. The media, including the entertainment component (e.g. African Magic programmes on satellite television), portray witchcraft as an issue that needs to be addressed. Witchcraft has in a sense been integrated into the system and context of the Nigerian community because most of the programming originates from this country. The same can be said of the South African milieu. It would be remarkable to read a tabloid such as the Daily Sun without at least one reference to witchcraft. Between 1994 and 1996 several hundred people were killed in the Limpopo Province on suspicion of witchcraft, to which the response from the Christian sector was diverse and varied. De Vries (2010:35) argues that Christians believe that upon becoming a member of this faith, witchcraft is powerless; yet there are indeed Christians who consider bewitchment possible, despite a belief in God. This being the case, the question that arises is, ‘What does the Bible teach in this regard’? The most compelling evidence for the existence of witchcraft is its mention in both the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT). Although all Christians read the same Bible, the interpretation of its teachings on witchcraft differ greatly. This article has attempted to identify, from a historical-grammatical exegetical point of view, a number of biblical principles on witchcraft that could be set as guidelines for addressing witchcraft-related matters and to obtain a clearer picture on Scripture’s teachings regarding witchcraft. (This topic has also been explored from a meta-theoretical perspective in a follow-up article.)


Witchcraft; sorcery; witch


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