Archive for March 21st, 2009

Genesis: An Outline, Review and Preview

Posted on March 21, 2009. Filed under: Genesis: Answers to Life's Crucial Questions |

Redeemer Church Sunday School

“Genesis Class”

Gen. 1-11 and 11-50 A Review and Preview

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bryan Walker


Read Gen. 11:27-32


Introduction: Every once in a while it is good to stop and look around in order to see from where you have come, where you are currently and where you are heading. In our studies in Genesis we have reached the major division in Moses’ work. Genesis is not neatly divided up into halves. The first major section is 11 of our chapters and the second section extends from the last little bit of ch.11 to the end of ch. 50. Moses further divides his work up into 11 smaller sections, the introduction of ch. 1:1-2:3, then the ten toledoth sections that, in English, read, “these are the generations of…” These toledoth sections are also not evenly balanced. A couple of them are only a few verses long, as in 11:10-26, and the one we are about to start is very long, extending from 11:27-25:11.


In my original plan for this class I thought I could be at this point last June. Then I revised it to December. But here we are in March…that’s OK, we are just going to go slow and steady.


This morning I want to briefly review Gen. 1-11 and hit the highlights of what we have learned and then look at 11-50 to see what lays in store for us. As we do this we must remember that this is God’s Word, not merely some ancient piece of literature. We do not study this out of mere curiosity, or for the sake of the artistry that we find in Moses’ writing. We study Genesis in order to know Christ and be changed into his likeness as the Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to what He wants to teach us.


I.                   Our Method

A.     Approach the Bible with Faith in the God of the Bible

When we seriously study God’s Word we need approach it with the presupposition that it is in fact God’s Word and that we are here, not to critique the Bible, not to judge the Word of God, but rather to let it critique and judge us. So we come to the Bible as people of faith, trusting in the Holy Spirit to teach us. We believe the Bible to be inerrant, infallible and divinely inspired.


B.     DUA- Discover, Understand, Apply

1.      Discover what the text actually says-

Too many times we approach the Bible with preconceived notions of what it says that are based upon our faulty memory or actual bad teaching from before, maybe even with worldly notions rooted in a false worldview. So even though we are trusting in Christ and believing the Bible to be true and authoritative, our preconceived notions might lead us astray. Therefore we must actually discipline ourselves to study the text afresh to see what is really there. A careful Literary Analysis can help in this regard. Therefore, I spend a lot of time looking at the structure that Moses has built into the text and we will look at how one part of the story reflects back on something already covered and points forward to something he will bring up later. We will look at the usage of various words and even compare the words and stories with other ancient literature of the same region and time period. We will look at the historical context and background to help us understand what Moses is saying.

2.      Seek to understand what the text meant then and what it means now-

Here we are looking to find the theological meaning of what Moses has written. What doctrines is he teaching? It helps to contrast what Moses is teaching with what the pagan world around him believes and Moses frequently gives us clues about that. Moses is doing way more than writing a history for his people, he is teaching them who God is and helping them to understand what he has done for them. The broad context of Genesis is the Exodus, the salvation event of Israel. He is saying to his people, this God who saved you is the only true God and he created the universe and has chosen you to be his special people who will bring salvation to the world.

3.      Apply what the text teaches-

How should we then live? How are we to apply what we have learned? What step of obedience are we to take? I think this part will noticeably grow as get into the narratives of ch.12-50. We don’t want just to grow intellectually, in knowledge alone, as we study God’s Word for knowledge alone puffs up with pride. We should be humbled by God’s Word.

C.     Answering Questions-

1.      Life’s Crucial Questions-

Genesis answers so many basic questions like, Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we headed? Why are things messed up? Is there a Creator? What is God like?

2.      Moses engages in apologetics-

Moses frequently uses words or phrases and ideas to directly challenge and confront the pagan worldviews around Israel. Therefore we can also use the Bible to challenge the views that our world presents.

3.      Hard Questions/Texts-

There are a few very difficult texts for which we simply do not yet have satisfactory answers. But we will not shy away from those texts. The atheists will sometimes use those texts to challenge us, so we need to be prepared. No fear! is our motto.

4.      Different interpretations-

On some passages there are a variety of good interpretations. I will usually try to give you some of the best if there are many options. We need to keep in mind that we should have unity in the essentials, and practice charity in the non-essentials.


II.                Review of Genesis 1-11 A Primeval History

A.     Prologue, ch. 1:-2:3 Creation of the Heavens and the Earth

1.      Vs. 1 serves as a brief introduction to the rest

Verse 1 is separate from verses 2-2:3 and allows for the creation to be a very long time ago, the words used are not time specific. Efforts to date the earth from Genesis are problematic. Nonetheless, there are many who agree with Bishop Ussher that the earth and universe were created about 4000 years BC.

2.      Vss. 2-2:3 can be a literal 7 days or not

Within conservative ranks there are a variety of ways to interpret the 7 days ranging from a literal 7 days to create the whole world to a literal 7 days to create Eden and the Garden. Rather than getting upset at the views you don’t hold, the key is to understand that Moses was striking at the pagan views of creation and insisting that God alone is the creator of all that is.

3.      1:26-31 God created man and woman in his image

Here, and again in 5:1-2 we see that man is created in the image of God, and so is the woman! Man is given a blessing from God and is to have dominion over the world and God pronounces his creation to be “very good”.

4.      2:1-3 God rests on the Sabbath

B.     The First Toledoth 2:4-4:26 The Account of the Heavens and Earth

1.      2:4-25 Work and Marriage

In this wonderful chapter we are given a biblical view of work as being a gift and blessing from God that has meaning and dignity. With the story of the creation of Eve we see God’s intentions for sex and children, love and companionship. Marriage of one woman and one man is ordained of God and is his plan.

2.      3:1-24 Sin enters humanity

This chapter gives us the story of how sin entered the human race and it shows us hints of God’s grace and mercy and his plan for redemption. We have an introduction to the devil through the serpent and angels (cherubim) are mentioned for the first time.

3.      4:1-26 The spread of sin

Cain is envious because God has regard for the sacrifice of a lamb by Abel (a sacrifice of blood, in faith) but no regard for Cain’s offering of grain (no blood, works). We see the first murder and then the division of mankind into the line of Seth and the line of Cain.


C.     Second Toledoth 5:1-6:8 The Account of Adam

1.      The reign of death and spread of sin

In this genealogy we see the importance of the individual in God’s eyes, but we also see the judgment of sin in that “and he died” is the recurring refrain. We meet Enoch who walked with God and Methuselah, the oldest man. We see the very enigmatic passage about the “sons of God” marrying the daughters of man and the Nephilim. These could be simply tyrants, or the line of Seth straying into marriages with the line of Cain or angels breeding with humans. We see God’s intentions to blot out man yet Noah finds grace in the eyes of the LORD.

D.    Third Toledoth 6:9-9:29 the Account of Noah

1.      God makes a covenant with Noah

Noah’s character is evaluated highly as being one who walked with God and was blameless and righteous. God makes a covenant with Noah to save him and his family

2.      Noah builds the ark and God saves him from the flood

Noah did all that God commanded him and God brought all the animals to Noah and the entered the ark 2×2 and God shut the door. All life perishes on the earth in the flood but God carries Noah, his family and the animals safely through the flood.

3.      Noah worships the LORD and God makes a covenant

God promises to never again destroy the world with a flood and uses the rainbow as the sign of the covenant.

4.      Noah’s drunkenness leads to Ham’s sin and a curse

The Scriptures are so honest they give us the sordid details of the sins of people like Noah, Moses, David, etc. Ham sinned sexually in some manner and Noah curses Canaan.

E.     Fourth Toledoth 10:1-11:9 The Account of the Sons of Noah

1.      The descendants of Noah

2.      The story of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel

F.      Fifth Toledoth 11:10-26 The Account of Shem

1.      The descendants of Shem and the introduction to Abram


III.             Preview of 11:27-50 A History of the Patriarchs and the Promise of the Land to Their Descendants

A.     Sixth Toledoth 11:27-25:11 The Account of Terah

1.      11:27-12:9 Genealogy and Call

Abram comes from the line of Terah and leaves Ur of the Chaldees with his father’s family and Sarai. Abram is specifically called of God to leave his family behind and to go to a land that God will show him. Abram will be a blessing to the whole world. The line of the Messiah is established.




2.      12:10-20 Abram in Egypt

God does not tell him to go to Egypt and this side trip leads to many troubles. When we act out of fear instead of faith we lose sight of God’s plan.

3.      13 Lot separates

Lot and Abram are contrasted as Lot chooses the best for himself but it is Abram who is blessed by God.

4.      14 A war and the mysterious Melchizedek

Lot’s choice leads to consequences and Abram with his trained men come to the rescue. Melchizedek is a type of Christ.

5.      15 God’s Covenant with Abram and Abram’s Faith

In a solemn ceremony God ratifies the covenant with Abram, promising him many descendants. Abram believes God and it is credited to him as righteousness.

6.      16 Hagar and Ishmael

In a loss of faith moment Abram listens to Sarai and goes in to her handmaid, Hagar, and Ishmael is born, producing many troubles.

7.      17:1-18:15 The Covenant Reconfirmed and Sarah Promised a Son

Abram and Sarai’s names are changed to Abraham and Sarah, The covenant is sealed with circumcision.

8.      18:16-19:38 God Judges Sodom and Gomorrah

Abraham intercedes for Sodom to no avail. Lot and his family are removed from danger but Lot’s wife fails. Lot and his daughters have a sordid affair.

9.      20 Abraham fails again

Abraham lies about his wife to Abimelech.

10.  21 Isaac is born, Hagar and Ishmael leave, Peace with Abimelech

11.  22  God tests Abraham’s Faith

God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and Abraham follows through until the Lord stops him.

12.  23-25:11 Isaac

Death of Sarah and the finding of Rebekah; Isaac and Rebekah are married. Abraham dies.

B.     Seventh Toledoth 25:12-18 The Account of Ishmael

C.     Eighth Toledoth 25:19-35:29 The Account of Isaac (and Jacob and Esau)

D.    Ninth Toledoth 36:1-37:1 The Account of Esau

E.     Final Toledoth 37:2-50:26 The Account of Jacob (and his sons, Joseph)



IV.                   Themes of the Toledoths

Toledoth #1                                              Toledoth #4

Man, creation and Fall    Man, re-creation and more sin

Toledoth #2                                              Toledoth #5

 godly line  of Seth                           godly line of Shem


Toledoth #3                                              Toledoth #6

Covenant w/Noah                   Covenant w/Abram


Toledoth #7                                              Toledoth #8

Non-elect Ishmael                                      Elect Isaac


Toledoth #9                                              Toledoth #10

Non-elect Esau                                           Elect Jacob


V.                Our Schedule

A.     I will not attempt to set and publish a firm schedule. I am just unable to be that organized.

B.     Basically, each story will get one lesson and some will get 3-4.

C.     We have 12-13 lessons left if we go straight through till the end of June. We will probably take off Easter and maybe Memorial Day, I will be missing one or two Sundays coming up for hunting/camping excursions. But there are folks in this class who are capable and willing to fill in.

D.    I will likely get to about chapter 14-15.






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