Introduction to the Book of Genesis

Overview of the book of Genesis covering authorship, basic outline, and a survey of its contents with the 10 generations (toledot).

Introduction to the Book of Genesis
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Overview of Genesis

  • First book of the Old Testament
  • First book of the Pentateuch (Torah)
  • The Pentateuch refers to the first five books of the Bible
  • The name Genesis comes from the Greek translation of the word "generations"

Date and Authorship of Genesis

  • Moses is the primary author, and he likely wrote Genesis along with the other books of the Pentateuch around 1400 BC.

Basic Outline of Genesis

Genesis 1–11

  • Narrates the history of the world.

Genesis 12–50

  • Narrates the history of Israel.

10 Occurences of Toledot in Genesis

1. Genesis 2:4 (Generations of the heaven and earth)

  • Two creation accounts given.
  • The main character is the creator God.
  • Sin enters the world. (Gen 3)
  • Cain kills Abel (Gen 4)

2. Genesis 5:1 (Generations of Adam)

  • Adam and Eve's obedience to be fruitful and multiply to fill the earth. (Gen 1:28)

3. Genesis 6:9 (Generations of Noah)

  • God commands Noah to build an ark to save his family and every type of animal since God is about the judge the world.
  • After the flood, God promises never to destroy the earth by water again.
  • God repeats his command to Noah to multiply and fill the earth (Gen 9:1)

4. Genesis 10:1 (Generations of the Sons of Noah)

  • God re-creates humanity through Noah's son.
  • Events of the Tower of Babel created a diversity of nations.

5. Genesis 11:10 (Generations of Shem)

  • Generation ends with Terah

6. Genesis 11:26 (Generations of Terah)

  • Transitions the narrative from the history of the world to the history of Israel
  • God appears to Abraham and instructs him to depart from his homeland Ur to a new promised land (Gen 12:1)
  • In addition to the land, God also promised Abraham an offspring and blessing to the entire world through Abraham.
  • God fulfills his promise not through Hagar but through Sarah who gives birth to Isaac. (Gen 21)
  • God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. (Gen 22)
  • Sarah's death (Gen 23)
  • Abraham's servant finds a wife for Isaac (Gen 24)

7. (Generations of Ishmael)

  • God is faithful to his promises given to Ishmael (Gen 16:12)

8. Genesis 25:19 (Generations of Isaac)

  • The narrative focuses on Jacob.
  • Sibling rivalry of Jacob and Esau
  • Jacob deceives his father Jacob to give him the blessing.
  • Jacob flees to Haran and is deceived by Laban.
  • Jacob marries both Leah and Rachel.
  • God wrestles with Jacob and renamed Israel. (Gen 32)
  • Jacob reconciles with Esau.

9. Genesis 36:1 (Generations of Esau)

  • God's blessing for another nation besides Israel.
  • Esau is the father of Edom, with whom Israel will have a difficult relationship.

10. Genesis 37:1 (Generations of Jacob)

Bible Studies on the Story of Joseph

  1. Introduction to the Joseph Narrative in Genesis
  2. Joseph the Dreamer (Genesis 37:2–11)
  3. Joseph Sold to Slavery (Genesis 37:12–36)
  4. Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38)
  5. Joseph Tempted by Potiphar's Wife (Genesis 39)
  6. God Remembers Joseph in Prison (Genesis 40)
  7. Pharoah's Dreams Interpreted (Genesis 41:1–36)
  8. Joseph Made Prime Minister (Genesis 41:37–57)
  9. Jacob's Sons' First Trip to Egypt (Genesis 42)
  10. Jacob Accepts Judah's Guarantee (Genesis 43:1–14)
  11. Joseph Reunites with Benjamin (Genesis 43:15–34)
  12. Joseph Plants His Silver Cup (Genesis 44:1–17)
  13. Judah's Plea for Benjamin (Genesis 44:18–34)
  14. Judah Becomes Surety for Benjamin (Genesis 44)
  15. A Portrait of Forgiveness (Genesis 45:1–8)
  16. It Is Enough (Genesis 45:9–28)
  17. Prepared to Die (Genesis 46)
  18. God Rescues Egypt (Genesis 47:1–26)
  19. "God Will Be With You" (Genesis 47:27–48:22)
  20. Lion of Judah: When All Is Said and Done (Genesis 49)
  21. God Meant It For Good (Genesis 50)

Introduction to the Pentateuch