These notes were adapted from Bob Deffinbaugh’s study on bible.org: Genesis: From Paradise to Patriarchs
The book of Genesis is an account of the origin of the world and mankind, providing answers to where we come from. As Gentiles, non-Jews, we have been adopted into the family of God through our faith in Jesus Christ. Focusing on the innate wickedness of man and the effects and consequences of such wickedness, Genesis reveals the grace of God and His provisions for man’s salvation.
Theological, scientific, historical, and literary viewpoints of Genesis abound, with strong and cherished opinions over each. Further, there are four interpretations of the account of creation: Jewish myth, pre-scientific vision, symbolic, and truth.
Title: Genesis – a translation of the Greek word, Septuagint (Bereshith in Hebrew text), meaning “in the beginning.”
Author: Most likely Moses, and part of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible), which he wrote.
Outline: Two sections: 1 – 11, and 12-50. The ever widening ruin of man to God’s ever narrowing program for man’s redemption. Chapters 1 – 11 can be summarized by four main events: the creation, the fall, the flood, and the confusion of languages. Chapters 12-50 can be remembered by four main characters: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
Importance: A historical point of reference, regarding our roots, and foundation. Genesis also sheds light on contemporary events, such as our troubles with the Middle East
Genesis Main Characters
The origin of mode of formation of something
Earth: 7 days – (1) light for day and night, (2) Heaven, (3) land, sea, and vegetation, (4) space (stars, sun, moon, etc.), (5) sea creatures and birds, (6) livestock and insects, and man, (7) rest
Adam (out of dust) – Eve (from Adam’s rib/mother of all living)
Made in the image of God. Banished from the Garden of Eden after being tricked by the serpent into eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but were removed from Eden to be kept from eating from the tree of life in order that they would not live forever in sin. Adam was punished by having to work for food and encountering death, while Eve was punished through the pain of childbirth, the desire for a husband, and the husband serving as her leader. The snake was punished by losing its legs and being enemies with people
Cain (Worker of the ground. Killed Abel. Marked by God so no-one would kill him. Notable descendants were the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock; the father of all those who play the lyre and the pipe, and the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron) &
Abel (Keeper of sheep. Killed by Cain.)
Seth (Believed to be born to replace Abel)
Noah (From Seth) Believed to be born to bring relief from Adam & Eve’s curse. (Man’s Lifespan is limited during this time to 120 years). Built an ark to God’s specifications to protect his family and two of each kind of animal (male and female) and every sort of food that is eaten from God’s great flood that was meant to blot out people and start over with Noah’s family. The flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights. Noah first sent forth a Raven to check if the land had appeared because the raven would feed off dead carcasses if it was able to find them in the water. He later sent out a dove because it would return to its point of origin if no land was found. The dove returned once, but not the second time it was sent out.
(God makes a covenant with man that he will never again destroy them in such a way and uses the rainbow as his sign of the covenant. Man is instructed that all living things are under his control).
Shem (Peleg – earth was divided), Ham (cursed for making fun of his father’s drunkness & nakedness. Father Nimrod who was the first mighty man (hunter) but this name changed meaning and is known as dumb today. Tower of Babel (earth develops multiple languages). Phillistines defeated by David. Father of Canaan), and Japeth (Coastland peoples)
*The people of the whole earth were dispersed from these three.
Abram (from Shem) Moved by God’s command to Canaan – the land given by God to Abram’s offspring who would become the Israelites. Started circumcision covenant. Renamed Abraham – father of multitude of nations. Pleads for Sodom & Gommorah because of Lot. First to buy property in Canaan for burial land. Sarai Offers servant Hagar to Abram because finds it impossible that she will bear a child. Renamed Sarah – mother of nations. Drives Hagar and Ishmael away out of jealousy. First to be buried in Canaan.
(Deceit through lies of pretending to be brother and sister. Don’t trust God will give them a child and take matters into their own hands by having their servant, Hagar, sleep with Abram.
Ishmael Conceived by Abram and servant Hagar from Sarai and Abram not believing God would grant them a child and choosing to use Hagar to bear the child. Muslim religion descended from Ishmael.
Isaac Almost made a sacrifice to God as a test of loyalty, but saved by God in the end. Rebekah
Esau (Hunter. Sold his brithright to Jacob for his stew. Grew jealous of Jacob and took Ishmael’s daughter as a wife to displease his parents). Jacob Tricked Isaac into blessing him over Esau. Started 10% tithe. Renamed Israel because striven with God and men and prevailed. 12 sons are 12 Tribes of Israel.
*Twins – Isaac loved Esau but Rebekah loved Jacob
Leah & Rachel
*Rachel was wanted but per tradition Jacob had to marry the older sister, Leah, first. Rachel was made barren when God saw how Leah was hated. The sisters were jealous of each other.
Judah (from Leah) forefather of the messiah and fourth son of Leah
Levi (From Leah) Head of the priestly tribe
Joseph (From Rachel) most loved son by Jacob, given coat of many colors, brothers jealous and faked his death and sold him into Egypt. Interpreter of dreams for Pharaoh. Reunites his family in Egypt. Has Egyptians sell themselves to Pharaoh for food which leads to dislike of the free Israelites and later their slavery.