INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS
Read Genesis: In
the ‘Contents' that follows it is easy to assume that the book
is all about people and in some senses it is, but it is people
interacting with God.
people struggle with the first three chapters as to whether they
are strict history or myths or legends designed to convey principles.
Without doubt there are question marks over the meaning of occasional
verses, [which we point out in the notes with the text] but possibly
not so many as other alternatives that the world offers, and such
questions do not detract from the overall integrity and veracity
of the book.
The early chapters explain the concept and consequences of ‘sin'
as revealed in the Bible.
key question throughout is, “What does this tell us about God?”
and also, “What does this tell us about mankind?” Without these
chapters we are left speculating how mankind has the characteristics
it has, both good and bad. One of the amazing things to note,
is that although God separates mankind (Adam and Eve) from Himself,
after they have sinned, He is clearly there in the background,
and, from time to time, interacting with specific individuals,
for their blessing, and progressing a plan He clearly has from
before the foundatgion of the world.
revelation becomes more clear from chapter 12 onwards as we see
God blessing the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, again
and again, despite their stumbling approaches at faith.
revealed as an Aramean nomad from Mesopotamia who steps out with
an embryonic faith, often still showing more self-concern than
faith, but who eventually comes to the position of realising that
God is in control and does mean what He says about his future
and the promised land of Canaan. He is known as the father of
faith and a friend of God (Jas 2:23).
in the same footsteps as his father, sometimes getting it right,
sometimes not, but still holding to the fact that he is the outworking
of the ongoing plan of God through this family in this land.
named twister and shows through much of his early life how apt
that name was. However by the end he is transformed. Not only
is he very wealthy, and also the father of a family of twelve
sons and one daughter, but is without question a godly man of
faith whose name has been changed to Israel.
What is most remarkable is that even though God knows him to be
a twister, He chooses him over his slightly older brother, Esau,
who turns out to be indifferent to God. God clearly knows our
final story of Joseph shows a spoilt brat who
is given prophetic pictures by God and because he handles them
in such an immature way, they only add to the hatred his ten brothers
have for him. A horrendous story follows, of being sold into slavery
in Egypt, and then cast into prison over a period of about thirteen
or fourteen years, but ends up with him being appointed to the
right hand of the Pharaoh of Egypt and becoming saviour of at
least what we would call the Middle East, courtesy of the gift
of dream interpretation from God. By the end of the story he is
revealed as having an amazing understanding of the sovereignty
and providence of God.
book ends up with the family of Israel living in Egypt where we
will find them some four hundred years later going through one
of the greatest events of Israel's history, the ‘Exodus' from
Egypt, to go and take and recover the Promised Land of Canaan.
No one who wants to understand the Old Testament history of Israel
can do it without Genesis. An amazing read for the person with
an open heart of a learner.
other things to note: First, family trees appear from time to
time showing the growing family. Second, the use of names with
meanings again and again throughout the book.
you wish to go directly to any chapter, please simply CLICK on
the CHAPTER NUMBER below.
ONE: Creation, Fall & ongoing Consequences: Gen 1-11
–The ‘big picture' of Creation
– Focused creation, God lays down the ground rules for the use
– The Fall
– Cain killing Abel
– The family tree from Adam to Noah.
– Decline of mankind and the Flood
– The nations that are formed after the Flood
– Building the tower of Babel; the family tree of Shem
TWO: Relationships: Gen 12-50
2A: Gen 12-25: Abram's Story
The Call, going to Canaan and on to Egypt
Problems with Lot
Abram & Lot separate
Lot gets taken in a local conflict & Abram rescues him
The Lord's Revelation, the Couple's Failure
The Lord's Covenant with Abram
Hagar has Ishmael
Interactions with God
Reassurances & Circumcision
Visitors, Reassurances & Intercession
Failures of this family
Lot & the destruction of Sodom
Abraham & his failure with Abimelek
Abraham tested through Isaac
Death & burial of Sarah
Abraham's servant finds Rebekah for Isaac
appears in his own right from chapter 25 on, but appears in these
earlier chapters in his early role as Abraham's son, born as a
2B: Gen 25-28 – Isaac's Story
Esau & Jacob born to Isaac; Esau sells Jacob his birthright
Isaac in the Land
Isaac's blessings of his sons
& Jacob overlap in that much of Isaac's story involves the
early years of Jacob. Isaac's death is found in chapter 36]
2C: Gen 25,28-36 – Jacob's Story
Jacob steals Esau's blessing
Jacob leaves for Haran & has dreams of God
Jacob tricked into marrying both Rachel and Leah
A race for children and sheep & goats
Jacob leaves & is caught by Laban
Jacob prepares to meet Esau; wrestles with God
Jacob meets Esau
Dinah & the Shechemites [An aside]
Moving through the Land
Esau's Descendants; death of Isaac
see more of Jacob in the latter part of Joseph's story.]
2D: Gen 37-50 – Joseph's Story
Joseph in tough times
Joseph sold into Slavery
Judah & Tamar [An aside]
Joseph & Potiphar
Joseph in Prison: Two dreams & interpretations
Joseph saves the world
Joseph & Pharaoh: Joseph implements the rescue plan
Joseph tests the brothers
Joseph meets his brothers
The Brothers' Second Visit to Egypt
Judah takes responsibility
Settling in Egypt while holding the faith
Jacob & Family go to Egypt
Jacob settles the family in Egypt
Jacob blesses Ephraim & Manasseh
Jacob blesses all the sons; Jacob dies
Jacob buried in Canaan; Joseph eventually dies