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Understanding Genesis

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A summary and introduction to the book of Genesis.

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Introduction

Welcome & Prayer
Genesis Series — Not every single verse, but every major pericope
FaithLife group — Join the group for handouts, additional documents and images, as well as prayer updates.

About Genesis

Meaning: Genesis means beginning, generations or birth.
The English title “Genesis” is derived from Jerome’s Vulgate, Liber Genesis. This Latin name followed the Greek (LXX) title, which was likely taken from , where a form of genesis (“source, birth, generation”) renders the Hebrew tōlĕdōt.
The Hebrew title bĕrēšît, “in the beginning,” is based on the custom of titling a book in the Pentateuch by its opening word(s).
The first book of the Hebrew canon and introduces the first division, known as the Torah (“law”). This division is the first of the tripartite Hebrew arrangement: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (; ).
bĕrēšît,
Mark Water says, “Genesis presents the beginning of everything—except for God.”
Universe ()
Man and woman ()
The Sabbath ()
Marriage ()
Sin ()
Sacrifice and salvation (, )
Family ()
Civilization ()
Government ()
Nations ()
Israel ()
Author: Moses
No where in Genesis does it identify its author.
The NT refers to it as being of Moses, or the Law of Moses (; ). The Jews quoted from the Torah as coming from Moses, and Jesus did not contradict them.
Some internal OT references that refer to Moses as the author: ; ; and .
The rest of the OT bears witness: David referred to the “law of Moses” (), in the time of Josiah there was found in the temple the “book of the law of the Lord given through Moses” (), and even Ezra read from the “book of the law of God” referred to earlier as “the book of the law of Moses” (; ).
The NT refers to it as being of Moses, or the Law of Moses (; ). The Jews quoted from the Torah as coming from Moses, and Jesus did not contradict them.
Jewish tradition ascribes it to Moses.
Early church fathers __________?
Audience: The People of Israel
Perhaps during his years in Egypt
Date of Writing: 1450-1410 BC
Based on biblical data, Moses must be placed in the 15th century BC (; ). Some scholars lean toward a 13th century date.
Theme: To explain the beginning of mankind, our sinful nature, and God’s plan for redemption. One of the main themes seen in Genesis is God’s divine election.
Key Verses:
Genesis 12:1–3 NASB95
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Structure of Genesis

The beginnings of the human race (1:1-11:9)
Creation
The Fall
The Flood
The Tower of Babel
The beginnings of the Hebrew race (11:10-50:26)
Abraham
Isaac
Isaac
Jacob
Jacob
Joseph
D. Joseph

Toledot Structure

The major literary device in the book is the genealogical rubric: “This is the account of...” (these are the generations of: tōlĕdōt.
This phrase is used to introduce a list of descendants or a tribal genealogy, both inside and outside of Genesis.
tōlĕdōt
Following the tōlĕdōt phrases, the book provides its own structure in 12 sections:

Section I

Creation of Heaven and Earth (1:1–2:3)

Section II

The Toledot of Earth’s Family (2:4–4:26)

Section III

The Toledot of Adam’s Line (5:1–6:8)

Section IV

The Toledot of Noah (6:9–9:29)

Section V

The Toledot of Noah’s Sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth (10:1–11:9)

Section VI

The Toledot of Shem (11:10–26)

Section VII

The Toledot of Terah: Abraham (11:27–25:11)

Section VIII

The Toledot of Ishmael (25:12–18)

Section IX

The Toledot of Isaac: Jacob (25:19–35:29)

Section X

The Toledot of Esau and Family (36:1–8)

Section XI

The Toledot of Esau (36:9–37:1)

Section XII

The Toledot of Jacob: Joseph (37:2–50:26)

Creation of Heaven and Earth ()
The Toledot of Earth’s Family ()
The Toledot of Adam’s Line ()
In 10 generations, it runs from Adam through Seth to Noah.
The Toledot of Noah ()
The Toledot of Noah’s Sons ()
The Toledot of Shem ()
The Toledot of Terah: Abraham ()
The Toledot of Ishmael ()
The Toledot of Isaac: Jacob ()
The Toledot of Esau and Family ()
The Toledot of Esau ()
The Toledot of Jacob: Joseph ()

In Genesis we see . . .

1. The beginning of the world (1:1-25)
2. The beginning of the human race (1:26-2:25)
3. The beginning of sin in the world (3:1-7)
4. The beginning of the promise of redemption (3:8-24)
5. The beginning of family life (4:1-15)
6. The beginning of writing (4:15)
7. The beginning of civilization (4:16-9:29)
8. The beginning of government (9:1-6)
9. The beginning of the nations of the world (10, 11)
10. The beginning of the Hebrew people (12-50)
11. The beginning of tithing (14:20)

The beginnings we see in Genesis are completed in Revelation

1. God created the heavens and the earth ()
A new heaven and a new earth ()
A new heaven and a new earth ()
2. Satan’s first attack on man ()
Satan’s last attack on man ()
Satan’s last attack on man ()
3. God made day and night ()
No more night ()
No more night ()
4. The curse on creation ()
The curse removed ()
The curse removed ()
5. The tree of life forbidden ()
The tree of life restored ()

Messianic Passages

The seed of the woman ()
The line of Seth ()
The blessing of Shem ()
The line of Seth ()
The blessing of Abraham for “all the families of the earth” ()
The blessing of Isaac’s seed ()
The promise of Jacob ()
The blessing of Shem ()
The promise of kingly rule to Judah ()
The Covenant of God ()
Preaching Christ from Genesis: Foundations for Expository Sermons The Challenge of Preaching Christ from Genesis

Genesis 3:15, the seed of the woman;

Genesis 4:25, the line of Seth;

Genesis 9:26, the blessing of Shem;

Genesis 12:3, the blessing of Abraham for “all the families of the earth”;

Genesis 26:3, the blessing of Isaac’s seed;

Genesis 46:3, the promise to Jacob; and

Genesis 49:10, the promise of kingly rule to Judah.

The blessing of Abraham for “all the families of the earth” ()
The blessing of Isaac’s seed ()
The promise of Jacob ()
The promise of kingly rule to Judah ()
The Command
• Leave country / relatives / father’s house
• Lesson: Faith is required to follow God
The Promise
• Be a blessing AND all the families of the earth will be blessed
The Fulfillment of Christ ()
– Christ redeems us from the curse of the Law (v. 13).
– Christ provides the blessing of Abraham to all (v. 14 & 16).
– Christ fulfills the promise made to Abraham (v. 22 & 29).

1. The Covenant of God ()
a. Background: Creation, Fall, Flood, Tower of Babel, Terah dies, Abram is called (420 yrs after God spoke to Noah)
b. Name: Abram (a high father) to Abraham (the father of a multitude)
c. A Command and a Promise
i. Command – Leave your country/relatives/father’s house (your comforts, your family, your way of life, your all – this is what God asks us to do, leave and follow Him) [IMPERATIVE – Leave]
ii. Promise, Part #1-
1. Leave your country – I’ll make you a nation (2a)
a. To leave his country – filled with polytheism and idolatry (Ur worshipped Nannar the moon god)
i. Note: Abram didn’t know or deserve God’s call…but God called him anyway (grace).
b. To become the father of a new God-focused nation
2. Leave your relatives/hometown – I’ll bless you (2b)
a. His relatives/hometown was the source of provision, his livelihood, his wealth.
b. To be blessed…God said, I’ll take care of you
3. Leave your father’s house – I’ll make your name great (2c)
a. The father’s name was important. To be the patriarch was important in those days.
b. To become the patriarch of a new family…a family of God.
c. Remember: Sarai was without child…total reliance on God
i. Note: Abram and Ishmael vs. Islam
4. MESSAGE: Faith is necessary to follow God (leave and go…but not told where to go!).
iii. Promise, Part #2 -
1. You Shall be a Blessing (2d) [IMPERATIVE—Be a blessing]
a. Not merely a subject of blessing…but a medium for blessing others (more blessed to give than receive)
b. Our obedience brings blessing!!! (leave and be a blessing)
2. Bless those who bless you
3. Curse those who curse you
4. In you, “all the families of the earth” will be blessed
a. The form of this promise is different…all others were “I will…” but this is “all the families…will be blessed.”
b. This gives it emphasis…therefore the point: “Leave…so that all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
i. Transitions from Abram the man TO Abram the means for blessing.
2. The Fulfillment of Christ ()
a. Christ redeems us from the curse of the Law (v. 13).
i. The curse of and of the Law is removed in Christ
ii. Christ became the curse (death on a cross) for us!
1. Not for me alone…but for all (pante ta ethnee – all the nations, )!!!
b. Christ provides the blessing of Abraham to all nations (v. 14 & 16).
i. In Christ, all the families of the world are blessed (Gentiles and Jews).
ii. Jesus is the seed by which all are blessed…a seed must die to give life!
Christ fulfills the promise made to Abraham (v. 22 & 29).
i. The Law condemns us because no one can fulfill the law.
ii. Therefore, we must have “faith” in Jesus and in God’s promise to Abraham.
iii. The line is drawn from God’s promise to Abraham to Christ – thus, we are heirs to the promise…heirs to all that God has promised!!!
Lessons:
1. We are not saved by making promises to God, we are saved by believing God’s promises to us.
2. Babel (chapter 11) vs. Abram (chapter 12):
a. At Babel, men said, "Let us!" but to Abraham, God said, "I will."
b. At Babel, men wanted to make a name for themselves; but it was God who made Abraham's name great.
c. At Babel, the workers tried to unite men, only to divide them; but through Abraham, a whole world has been blessed, and all believers are united in Jesus Christ. Of course, Pentecost () is the "reversal" of Babel; but Pentecost could not have occurred apart from God's covenant with Abraham ().
3. God promised Abraham 3 things:
a. Seed (a great nation)
b. Soil (the Promised Land)
c. Savior (; , )
4. Abram’s pilgrimage began where ours begins; with a vision of another country, a better country, a home forever blessed as the dwelling place of God.
a. God speaks, we believe, faith dawns, life begins!
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