The Eighth Sunday after Trinity    July 30, 2023   

The Tenth Sunday of the Pentecost Season


Facing the Adversities and Evils

of Life with Faith


There’s something unusual and very interesting about the birth of a giraffe.   Permit me to explain.  First, when she is giving birth, the mother giraffe stands throughout the process.    Also, keep in mind that, as the calf comes out of its mother, it falls from roughly ten feet off the ground.    Landing hard, usually on its back, the newborn giraffe lays for a few moments motionless where it falls.   However, no more than a minute passes before something totally shocking occurs.   The other will kick her baby, booting it hard enough to send it sprawling head over hooves.   You might wonder, “Why does she do that?”   Because she wants her calf to get up.   Somehow, knowing what its mother wants, the baby giraffe will struggle to rise.   Sometimes it takes a number of attempts, but finally, it will rise to an upright stance on its tottering giraffe stilt-legs.    Once that happens, something else startling occurs.   The mother will kick it off its feet again.   The reason is simple: she wants it to remember how it got up, and so how to get up again.   That’s because, if a fledgling giraffe doesn’t learn to get up quickly and follow the herd, predators will attack and kill it.


I don’t know about you, but I think I have something in common with a baby giraffe.   I’ve been kicked off my feet before…..and kicked while I was down.   I’ve also been kicked by the very ones from whom I expected to receive kindness.   Who among us haven’t had those moments in life when we were doing the best we could, trying to keep our heads above water……and all of a sudden, out of the blue, we got the stuffings kicked out of us.   


How a person….how a Christian, in particular…..responds in moments like that reveals a lot about what we really believe about God.   In those moments when you’re kicked, or crushed, or worse…..evoke feelings of despair, hopelessness, anger, bitterness, or revenge – among others – which occupy your head and heart?   Or, even in the worst, most dire of circumstances, does a Job-like, confident faith in our almighty, gracious God, enable you to trust in the LORD to deliver and to bless you……whether you understand what is happening to you, or not?


All of us have moments, haven’t we, when we’re carrying on with our life, working our plan, trying to keep our head above water, and we get side-swiped by circumstances or side-lined by harsh people. How we respond in those moments reveals the truth about what we really believe about God, and profoundly affects both our inner and outer world.


This morning, as we inaugurate a mid-summer sermon/service series on the life and times of Joseph, that extraordinary Old Testament believer, we’re going to get a glimpse of him at 17-years of age.   As Genesis 37 (from which our Sermon Text will be drawn) opens, we can see that Joseph’s life is awfully good and his future looks bright!    He’s a gifted young man, loved by his father, as well as part of a large and affluent family.   But Joseph is about to be knocked off his feet, and he won’t know what hits him!   He ends up being kicked hard while he is down, and the ones who do the kicking are his own brothers.   Why?   Because they are jealous of him and so they hate him.    Their initial intent is to kill him, but they end up selling him to some slave-traders headed to Egypt…..after which they lie to their grieving father, telling him Joseph was slaughtered by a wild animal.   Yet by God’s amazing grace, Joseph manages to avoid the very thing that had consumed his brothers:   a bitter, vengeful, angry spirit.   Instead, Joseph faces his horrific circumstances, one after the other, with the faith that God still loves Him and is fully in control of all things – working patiently yet persistently to make everything work out for his earthly and everlasting good.


Joseph’s story, which spans Genesis 37 through 50 is a moving, amazing lesson on God’s grace, as well as on His steadfast intent to carry out His plan of salvation.    We also will see exemplary faith on full display….which should well serve as an example and encouragement to all of us….in order that we might also Spiritually walk through life in Joseph’s sandals of humble, gracious faithfulness. 


Today’s Scripture Lessons


            In today’s Psalm we find encouragement to trust in the Lord for our deliverance from evil and to wait patiently on Him for that deliverance.  What He has promised us He will do….but always according to His own, good, perfect timing.   Both the Psalmist and we know that both from the pages of God’s Word and from our own experience as God’s protected children. 


In our Epistle Lesson, Paul begins by reminding us that the entire “creation waits in eager expectation” for the Last Day when it “will be liberated from its bondage” as part of a sin-compromised universe.  He goes on to encourage patience in suffering, assuring us that in everything (even the worst and most painful of life’s circumstances and events) God is always working for the earthly and eternal benefit of those who love Him.  Then, in closing he states that through the power of Christ we can be certain that — difficult though they are to deal with — none of life’s evils and tribulations will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ.  


Today’s Gospel Lesson is a part of Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer,” offered in Gethsemane the night He was betrayed.  In this portion He prays for His disciples, noting that He has protected them from the Evil One (Satan) up to this point.   Now the Savior asks His Father in Heaven to continue that protection once He returns to heaven, yet while His disciples remain in the world doing the work He has given them.  


In our Children’s Lesson, using the example of calling 9-1-1 in an emergency, we will emphasize that when troubles come, when facing evil, we can always “call” on God to deliver us. 


Finally our Old Testament Lesson/Sermon Text is the opening portion of the story of Joseph.  Well give our attention to the jealousy and hatred of his brothers, who intended to kill him, but instead sold Joseph into slavery.   Yet God was with Joseph even though his evil brothers conspired against him.   Faithful to the Lord even in the face of adversity and loss, Joseph began a 20 year odyssey in Egypt that would eventually reunite him with his family, but also use him to achieve God’s purposes.




Pre-Service Prayer

The day has dawned and duty calls – so many tasks await.

Lord, strengthen me when my spirit falls, or when I hesitate

To do the good I ought to do, to shun each sinful way.

Jesus, forgive the wrongs I’ll do, and keep me safe today.    Amen.




The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831



Silent Prayer                                                                                                                                                       

Pre-service music                                                                                                                                                


The Introduction and Welcome to Worship   



We Praise Our God


At the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for

The Invocation


Pastor               We begin this service in the name of the Father


Congregation           Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.


P:        And of the Son

C:        Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


P:         And of the Holy Spirit

C:        Who gave us eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.


P:         Amen.



The Call to Worship                                                                                        selected verses of Psalm 37


P:        Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;  for like the grass they will soon wither, like       green plants they will soon die away.


C:        Trust the LORD and do good;   +   Delight yourself in the LORD   +  and He will give you the      desires of your heart.


P:        Commit your way to the LORD;  trust in Him and He will do this:   He will make your righteousness shine like the    dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.


C:        Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him;    +   do not fret when men succeed in their           ways,   +    when they carry out their wicked schemes.


P:        Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;  do not fret — it only leads to evil.   For evil men will be cut off, but those          who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.


C:        A little while, and the wicked will be no more;   +   But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.


P:        If the LORD delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm;   though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD         upholds him with His hand.


C:        I was young and am now old,   +   yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken   +  For the LORD      loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.    +   They will be protected forever.


P:        The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;  He is their stronghold in time of trouble.


C:        The LORD helps them and delivers them;   +    He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,               +   because they take refuge in Him.



following which the Congregation may be seated.



The Opening Hymn                                                                                                                      Hymn 478  

“With The Lord Begin Your Task”



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor                          We have come together in the presence of God, our Heavenly Father, who created us to love and serve Him

                                    as His dear children.    But We have disobeyed Him through our thoughts, words, and actions, and deserve only His wrath and punishment.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.   In the words of Jeremiah, we confess:



Congregation           Although our sins testify against us, O LORD, do something for the sake of Your name.    For our backsliding is great;   we have sinned against You.


Pastor                          In the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, we acknowledge how thoroughly sin fills our lives, even our very being:


Congregation           From within, out of our hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy slander, arrogance, and folly.    All these evils come from inside and make us ‘unclean.’


Pastor              Along with the Apostle John, we recognize:


Congregation           If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.


Pastor              And in the words of David, before the Lord we plead:


Congregation           I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.   Against You, You only have I sinned     and done what is evil in Your sight,   so that You are proved right when You speak    and justified when You judge.     Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.


Pastor                          Jesus says to His people:   “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.”   Our Savior’s perfect life and sacrificial death have paid for the guilt and penalty of our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.   Do you believe this?


Congregation           Yes, I believe this.


Pastor                          Then be assured that you are a dear child of God and an heir of everlasting life.   And carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.     May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.



Congregation                                                           “We Praise You O God, Our Redeemer, Creator”


We praise You O God, our Redeemer Creator

In grateful devotion our tribute we bring:

We lay it before You, we kneel and adore You;

We bless Your holy name;   glad praises we sing.


We worship You God of our Fathers, we bless You.

Through life’s storm and tempest,

our Guide You have been;

When perils o’er take us, escape You will make us,

And with Your help, O Lord, our battles we win.


With voices united, our praises we offer;

To You, Great Jehovah, glad anthems we raise.

Your strong arm will guide us,   Our God is beside us.

To You, our Great Redeemer, fore’er be praise!    Amen.


The Prayer for Today


O Almighty God,  +  bless the preaching of Your Word  + among us this morning +  and throughout the world.   +   Also please give us, gathered here,   +   an added measure of Your Holy Spirit   +   to keep us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ,   +   to equip us for works of faithful service to You,   + and to fill us with joy in that service.   +   Also strengthen our faith through Your Word and Sacraments  +   that we might remain in this one, true Christian faith as long as we live.   +   We ask this in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ,  +   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   + as the one true God,   +   for ever and ever.   +   Amen.

After which the Congregation will be seated



We Hear God’s Word


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                 Genesis 37:2-36


When Joseph was seventeen years old, he was tending the flock with his brothers. He was just a boy compared to the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. Joseph brought a bad report about them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, because he was the son born in his old age, and he made him a special robe.  4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him and could not speak to him in a friendly way.


5 Once Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers, so they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Please listen to this dream that I have dreamed: 7 There we were, binding sheaves in the field, and suddenly my sheaf rose up and stood upright. Then your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.”


8 His brothers said to him, “So will you really reign over us? Will you really have dominion over us?” They hated him all the more because of his dreams and what he said.


9 Then he had another dream and told it to his brothers. He said, “Listen, I had another dream. This is what I saw: The sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.” 10 He told it to his father and to his brothers. His father rebuked him and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have dreamed? Will I and your mother and your brothers really come and bow down to the ground in front of you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept what he had said in mind.


12 His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Go, I will send you to them.”


Joseph said to him, “Yes, I will do it.”


14 Israel said to him, “Please go and see whether everything is going well with your brothers and with the flock. Then bring me word again.” So he sent him off from the valley at Hebron, and he arrived at Shechem.


15 A man met him as he was wandering in the countryside. The man asked him, “What are you looking for?”


16 He said, “I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.”


17 The man said, “They have left here. I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”


Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18 They saw him in the distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to each other, “Look, here comes this master of dreams. 20 Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we will say, ‘A wild animal has devoured him.’ Then we will see what will become of his dreams.”


21 Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands. He said, “Let’s not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood. Throw him into this cistern that is in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him.” He said this so that he could rescue him out of their hands and restore him to his father.


23 And so when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the special robe he was wearing. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.


25 They sat down to eat bread, and they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead with their camels loaded with spices, balm, and myrrh, which they were going to deliver to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there in killing our brother and concealing his blood? 27 Come on, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay a hand on him, since he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers listened to him. 28 As the Midianites, who were merchants, were passing by, the brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. They brought Joseph to Egypt.


29 When Reuben returned to the cistern, he saw that Joseph was not in the cistern, so he tore his clothing. 30 He returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is no longer here, and as for me, where will I go now?”


31 Then they took Joseph’s robe, killed a male goat, and dipped the robe in the goat’s blood. 32 They took the special robe, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Examine it now, and see whether it is your son’s robe or not.”


33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A wild animal has devoured him. Without a doubt Joseph has been torn to pieces.” 34 Jacob tore his clothing, put sackcloth around his waist, and mourned for his son for many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. He said, “No, I will mourn for my son until I go down to the grave.” So his father wept for him.


36 In Egypt the Midianites sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, who was the captain of the guard.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                             Romans 8:18-39


18 For I conclude that our sufferings at the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 In fact, creation is waiting with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in the hope 21 that even creation itself will be set free from slavery to corruption, in order to share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.


22 For we know that all of creation is groaning with birth pains right up to the present time. 23 And not only creation, but also we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we eagerly await our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 Indeed, it was for this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for something we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patient endurance.


26 In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that are not expressed in words. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints, according to God’s will.

28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, 29 because those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called. Those he called, he also justified. And those he justified, he also glorified.


31 What then will we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also graciously give us all things along with him?


33 Who will bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies! 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus, who died and, more than that, was raised to life, is the one who is at God’s right hand and who is also interceding for us! 35 What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 Just as it is written:


For your sake we are being put to death all day long.

We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.


37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.


38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither things present nor things to come, nor powerful forces, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.



after which, out of respect for Jesus’  words, the Congregation will rise for



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                    John 17:6-17


6 “I revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me, and they have held on to your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me, and they received them. They learned the truth that I came from you. They believed that you sent me.


9 “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, because they are yours. 10 All that is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine. And I am glorified in them. 11 I am no longer going to be in the world, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name, which you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept those you gave me safe in your name.  I protected them and not one of them was destroyed, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.


13 “But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so that they may be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I am not asking that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the Evil One. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.


17 “Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth.


The Apostles ‘ Creed


I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;  Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit;  Born of the virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;  Was crucified, died, and was buried;  He descended into hell;  The third day He rose again from the dead;  He ascended into heaven;  And is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.   I believe in the Holy Spirit;  The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;  The resurrection of the body;  And the life everlasting.  Amen.


Following which the Congregation may be seated for



The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                               Psalm 50:15


Call upon Me in the day of trouble;  I will deliver you and you will honor Me


Whom Do You Call When You Need Help?



The Sermon Hymn                                                                  Hymn 416      “How Firm A Foundation”


The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge

of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                               Genesis 37:25-36

the italic portion of the Old Testament Lesson


What Should We Believe When Evil Seems To Be Winning?



The Post-Sermon Blessing


May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  Amen.




We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address:    (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can donate on our website:


the Congregation will please rise   as the offerings are brought to the altar

We Offer Our Prayers to the Lord


P:    Dear Heavenly Father, once again we have enjoyed the privilege of gathering together in this place to sing Your praise, to worship You, and to hear Your Word.  We praise and thank You for all that You give us each day.  We are not worthy of the many mercies You show us.


C:    Bless every person here today, that we might grow in Your grace, and rededicate ourselves to conforming our faith and lives to Your sure Word alone.


P:    Daily cover our human faults, frailties, and sins, that they might not hinder the work which You have entrusted to us as Your servants here on earth.    And grant that all our words, our actions, and our intentions reflect our love for the Lamb of God Who has taken away the sin of the world.


C:    Keep our sinful instincts and ambitions from dominating our lives + and, instead, empower us through Your Spirit +   to make the crucified and risen Christ   +   the very center of all our worship, faith, and living.


P:    Bless our congregation and church body – indeed, Your Church at large throughout the world – by granting them faithful pastors, teachers, leaders, and lay members.  


C:    Watch over Your missionaries wherever they are, +   at home and abroad   +  and enable them to serve You faithfully and joyfully.   +    Remind us to hold them up regularly in our prayers   +    and to support them generously with our gifts.   +  Let no area of Your harvest field wither and perish   +    because we have failed to do what You require of us.


P:    Hear us also, LORD, as we take a few moments to silently offer You our personal petitions and praises.         


A Moment for Silent Prayer


P:         Finally,  Lord God, accept our thanks for the tremendous privilege of being called Your children, and of being able to come to You now and at any time in prayer.   Help us to grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually through Your Word, so that we may be faithful servants for You in our homes, and communities, in our congregations, and as members of Your Church on earth. Mercifully hear our prayer, and bless us one and all, for the sake and in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, eternally one God, forever and ever.   And in Whose name we also offer our Lord’s Prayer:


Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;   Thy Kingdom come;  Thy will be done    on earth as it is in heaven;    Give us this day our daily bread;    And forgive us our trespasses,    as we forgive those who trespass against us;     And lead us not into temptation;     But deliver us from evil;  For Thine is the kingdom,  and the power,  and the glory,   forever and ever.  Amen.



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing




Brothers and sisters, now go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.   And Serve the Lord in gladness.

The LORD bless you and keep you,

The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you,

The LORD look upon you with favor, and grant you His peace.   Amen.



Closing Hymn                                                                                                                                                        Hymn 444                                                                                  “If You But Trust In God To Guide You”


Silent Prayer, Announcements, Post-service music



+ + + Thank You + + +

For being a part of our worshiping assembly this morning. We invite you to join those around you for some good conversation and fellowship at the  conclusion of today’s announcements.    We also invite you to join us for coffee, juice, tea, and other refreshments in our gymnasium/fellowship hall. Finally, we encourage you to remain afterward with us

for further growth in God’s Word through our Bible Class  and Sunday Classes.    

May the comfort of God’s love and His forgiveness through Jesus Christ be with you throughout this day and this week.


Genesis:   The Book of Beginnings

“God’s Grace in a Fallen World

from Paradise to the Patriarchs”

“Genesis” is a fitting name for the first book of the Bible.  It is a transliteration of the Greek word which is the title of the book of Genesis in the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament used in Christ’s day). In the Hebrew text, the word Bereshith, is the first word of the text, being translated, “in the beginning.”


Genesis describes the origin, or beginning, of everything except God, Who has no beginning. The Book of Genesis is the account of the beginning of time, matter, and space;  the beginning of the universe and everything in it, including and especially mankind;   the beginning of sin; the beginning of the OT promises about a Savior;   the beginning of the institution of marriage;   the beginning of nationalities and races, and more.     When we understand the origin of such things, we have insight into the meaning and purpose given them by God.


Genesis is the foundation for the rest of Scripture.     No other book is quoted or referred to more often than Genesis (hundreds of times in the Old Testament; 165 times in the New Testament!).      It sets the stage for the magnificent Biblical account of God’s involvement in history for the salvation of hopeless, helpless sinners.   In that light, it is entirely proper to subtitle our study of the Book of Genesis “God’s Grace in a Fallen World.”    May the Holy Spirit lead each one of us, who still struggles with life in a fallen world today, to receive inspiring, relevant encouragement from God’s grace displayed in Genesis…..and effective still today.


Assigning Authorship….      

  1. Sidlow Baxter, in his work, Explore the Book, sums up the difficulty that many have in trying to determine who authored Genesis by asking this question: Is it Mosaic, or a mosaic?”

Typically when it serves as a topic for discussion in Scripture, Genesis is not treated within the Bible as a separate book.   Instead, it is consistently combined into a unit with the four books that follow it and is usually referred to as the “Law of Moses.”   These first five books of Scripture (and of Moses) are frequently called the “Pentateuch” – which means “five books.”


It seems quite clear – internally – from a number of Pentateuch passages (e.g., Exodus 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Leviticus 1:1; 4:1; 6:1,8,19,24; 7:22,28, etc.) that Moses wrote Genesis as well as the other books of the Law of Moses (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).   For example, it would be highly unusual for the first word of Exodus to be “and” unless it was connected to what preceded it – the book of Genesis.   And if the author of Genesis was Moses, then one ought to readily recognize him as the writer of Exodus (along with the remaining books of the Pentateuch) as well.


In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ frequently attributes the writing of the Pentateuch to Moses (Matt 8:4; 19:7,8; Mark 1:44; 7:10; 10:3,4; Luke 5:14; 16:29,31; John 5:45,46; 7:19-23).   Other New Testament writers follow this same approach (Acts 3:22, 13:39; Rom 10:5,19; I Cor 9:9; II Cor 3:15).    It is therefore hard for anyone who accepts the authority and inerrancy of Scripture not to conclude that Moses wrote the Bible’s first five books… spite of the fact (as critics like to point out) that there is not a single air-tight statement to this effect (e.g., “I, Moses, wrote this book”) within the Pentateuch.


It’s easy to understand how Moses could have – and why Moses would have – written the other four books of the Pentateuch, since they cover events that occurred during his life time.    But how did Moses know the facts about all the events that are recorded in Genesis?

Since no one was alive to witness the creation of the world, that event for certain must have been revealed directly by God, either to Moses, or to Adam, or to others.    Did God reveal everything in Genesis directly to Moses?   Or did He guide Moses as Moses worked with  documents recording that history?   Or did he receive these stories first as “oral traditions” –  passed along from one generation to another and then finally written down by Moses through the guidance of the Holy Spirit?    Quite simply…..we do not know which of these three (or other) possibilities is what actually happened, or what combination of them developed into what we today identify as the first five books of the Bible.    Regardless of how Moses received/gathered the information found in Genesis, we believe the teaching of the New Testament about these words, “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), and – consequently – that, while Moses was the human agent in preparing these books, God the Holy Spirit was, in reality, its Author.    Thus we can be confident, with God superintending each word written, that every word in Genesis through Deuteronomy (indeed, in all of Scripture’s 66 books) is true and comes from God Himself.

On the other hand…..according to a theory propagated by those who do not accept the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, the Pentateuch is merely a “scissored-and-pasted”  document which did not reach its final form until some  1000 years after the time of Moses — that is (they maintain) that it was completed during those years following the Jewish remnant’s return from captivity in Babylon [which occurred between the years 606 and 536 B.C.].    Our Northwestern Publishing House’s The People’s Biblecommentary on Genesis explains this theory (commonly called the J-E-D-P Theory):

“Beginning with J. Astruc (1753), critical ‘scholars’ have attributed this book to the work of an unknown redactor who skillfully compiled the writings of four or more editors.    Over the years, this critical approach to Moses’ authorship (and rejection of the same) has come to be identified as the Graf-Wellhausen theory or Documentary hypothesis.   However, the Documentary hypothesis stands condemned on at least two counts. First, it is based upon the very thin ice of conjecture of scholars who are supposedly better informed than the author(s) of old.  Secondly, it has placed most of the emphasis upon the isolation of fragments (doublets1) and their supposed authors/editors, rather than upon the proper interpretation of the clear text itself


“According to the Documentary Hypothesis/Graf-Wellhausen theory, the Jahwist (J) was supposed to be a theologian who lived in the southern kingdom about 850 B.C. and who usually referred to God as Jahweh. The Elohist (E) is said to have lived in the northern kingdom about 750 B.C. His contribution to the Pentateuch can be identified by its preponderant use of the name Elohim for God. The Deuteronomist (D) is said to have been a person or a school or a group in northern Israel who wrote after the capital of Samaria had fallen to the Assyrians, perhaps some time around 625 B.C.   Their contribution – allegedly – was addition of an abundance of laws (Latin, “nomos”) stated and restated throughout the Pentateuch.    The Priestly source (P), we are told, was composed by a writer or writers who addressed Israel in the Babylonian Exile or later (500 B.C., give or take a century). It retells the story of Israel’s ancestors and outlines the way Israel was to worship God.   Genealogical tables, tribal lists and worship regulations are usually assigned to this Priestly source.” 

Throughout this Bible Class we will consistently operate from the understanding that Jesus –  and not the J-E-D-P theory’s “scholars” –  is correct:     namely, that Moses (under divine inspiration) wrote the first five books of Scripture.     What’s more, both the Old and the New Testaments ascribe authorship of the Pentateuch to Moses (Once again, Joshua 8:31, 2 Kings 14:6, Nehemiah 13:1, Mark 12:26, Luke 2:22, 5:14, John 7:23).   And, quite simply, if Christ was in error in attributing authorship to Moses, then He was wrong and – consequently – He could not have been perfect, and so would not be capable of serving as my (and the world’s) faultless Savior from sin !!!

An Outline of Genesis

Nearly every student of the book of Genesis agrees that it logically divides into two sections: chapters 1-11 and 12-50. The first eleven chapters focus upon the ever-widening ruin of man, fallen from his created perfection and coming under the judgment of the Creator. Chapters 12-50 describe God’’s ever-narrowing program of man’s redemption.

The first division of the book, chapters 1-11, can be summarized by four major events: the creation (chapters 1-2);  the fall (chapters 3-5);  the flood (chapters 6-9);  and the confusion of languages of the tower of Babel.  The last division of Genesis, chapters 12-50, can be remembered by its four main characters:  Abraham (12:1-25:18);   Isaac (25:19-26:35);   Jacob (27-36);   and Joseph (37-50).


  1. The History of Mankind up to Abraham 1:1-11:26


  1. Creation of the world: The stage of human history 1:1-2:3


  1. History of Heaven and Earth 2:4-4:26
  2. From “It is good” to “groaning in travail” 2:4-3:24
    2. From sinful parents to sinful offspring 4:1-26



  1. History of Adam 5:1-6:8
    Adam’s offspring 5:1-32
    2. The wickedness of Adam’s offspring 6:1-8


  1. History of Noah 6:9-9:29
  2. Noah and the Flood 6:9-8:19
    2. Noah following the Flood 8:20-9:29


E          History of Noah’s sons:   Shem, Ham, Japheth 10:1-11:19
1. Table of Nations 10:1-32
2. Tower of Babel 11:1-19



  1. History of Shem 11:10-26


  1. The History of the Patriarchs 11:27-50:26

    A. History of Abraham 11:27-25:11

  2. Before Isaac’s birth 11:27-20:18
    2. After Isaac’s birth 21:1-25:11


  1. History of Ishmael 25:12-18
  2. History of Isaac 25:19-35:29
  3. Before Jacob’s flight from Esau 25:19-27:40
    2. Jacob’s stay with Laban and return to Canaan 27:41-33:20


  1. History of Esau 36:1-43
  2. History of Jacob 37:1-50:26
  3. Before and during Joseph’s humbling circumstances in Egypt 37:1-40:23
    2. After Joseph’s exaltation 41:1-47:31
    3. The blessing of Jacob’s sons and his death 48:1-50:26

The Ten Natural Divisions of Genesis

Genesis is divided into 10 “toledoths” or groupings. The word “toledoth” means “account.”  (or “history”).  At ten different places scattered throughout the book we find ourselves reading:   “This is the account (toledoth) of…” These 10 accounts/histories are reports of what happened when certain people or things appeared on the scene.

            1. Heaven and earth 2:4-4:26                          6. Terah 11:27-25:11
2. Adam 5:1-6:8                                               7. Ishmael 25:12-18
3. Noah 6:9-9:29                                              8. Isaac 25:19-35:29
4. Sons of Noah 10:1-11:9                                9. Esau 36:1-43
5. Shem 11:10-26                                             10. Jacob 37:2-50:26

Ultimately, each toledoth is an account of an early development which took place within the framework of God’s plan of salvation for mankind!


Quotable Quotes about Genesis

“. . . one of the most remarkable books in the Bible and in all literature, a knowledge of which is essential to any full understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”    George Lillegard   (Author, From Eden to Egypt)

“. . . there was no more beautiful and more lovable book.”  Martin Luther

“If the Bible were somehow expurgated of the Book of Genesis (as many people today would prefer), the rest of the Bible would be incomprehensible. The books of the Old Testament, narrating God’s dealings with the people of Israel would be provincial and bigoted, were they not set in the context of God’s developing purposes for all mankind, as laid down in the early chapters of Genesis. The New Testament, describing the execution and implementation of God’s plan for man’s redemption, is redundant and anachronistic, except in the light of man’s desperate need for salvation, as established in the record of man’s primeval history, recorded only in Genesis.” Henry Morris (Co-author, The Genesis Flood )

The Importance of the Book of Genesis

A surveyor must always begin from a point of reference. So, too, history must start at some definite place of beginnings. The Bible is, through and through, a historical revelation. It is the account of God’’s activity in history. As such, it must have a beginning. The book of Genesis gives us our historical point of reference, from which all subsequent revelation proceeds.       In this book we find the “roots” of the inhabited world and the universe, of man and nations, of sin and redemption.   What’s more, Fritsch in The Layman’s Bible Commentary has referred to Genesis as “the starting point of all theology.”


Part 1: God’s Grace In Creation (Genesis 1,2)

1:1       This verse tells us that God created time, space and matter.   Now, if God created time itself, what does that tell us about the modern argument raised by theistic evolutionists that God needed millions – perhaps even billions – of years to bring order to the world that He created?    (See Psalm 90:2,4)

Can a person claim to accept the rest of the Bible and yet deny that God created the world by the power of His word as Genesis 1 & 2 and other places in Scripture (Hebrews 11:3) so clearly teach? What do the following passages tell us on this particular subject?

Nehemiah 9:6
Psalm 102:25
Isaiah 45:18
Matthew 19:4Colossians 1:16

If a theologian living in our 21st century had written the Genesis account , perhaps he would have started with a well-reasoned discourse on the fact that God DOES exist and IS real.    Why do you think Moses simply launched into the story of creation without laying the groundwork that God is real?

            Psalm 14:1
Psalm 19:1
Romans 2:15


Creation and Evolution Compared……”Evolution” is the hypothesis (a “guess” based on some unverifiable assumptions) that all things came into being by random chance (or accident), developing from lower forms of life into to higher life-forms.   This theory, essentially, is atheistic (rejecting not only God’s involvement, but His very existence) in spirit.    Come what may, and regardless of how hard they try, the proponents of Evolution will never, ever find real “proof” that the universe and all this world’s occupants (human and otherwise) are the product a succession of random accidents.    That proof simply doesn’t exist.   God has placed the truth for them….and for us and all others… the opening chapters of Genesis as well as elsewhere in Scripture.


The Honest Differences between Creation and Evolution:

Time:               Creation (6 normal, 24 hour days)   vs    Evolution (millions/billions of years)

            Methods:         Divine Intelligent Design (by the power of His word)   vs   Random accident and survival of the fittest.

Materials         Nothing because there was nothing.   God used the “power of His word” (“And the Lord said, ‘Let there be…..’”) to bring everything into existence.  That, versus, Evolution’s view that a “Big Bang” explosion of unexplainable pre-existent matter….an explosion that scattered this matter throughout the universe.    Eventually it cooled and somehow collected together, with the origin of solar systems, gallexies, constellations, etc. as the result.

Man:                Whereas Creationism is clearly a religious belief, one must also believe in  evolution –  that is, take it as a fact by “faith” ….trusting in the authority of human beings who making guesses on the basis of assumptions.   In fact, the theory of evolution is a fatally flawed theory….one which requires more “faith” and/or hatred for God  to truly embrace it than does the Bible’s presentation of how everything came to exist.    When Evolution is put under the microscope of careful scientific scrutiny, the result is that even many non-believers opt for the concept “Intelligent Design” as a better explanation for our universe’s origin.    (And, as Paul might say, paraphrasing Acts 17, “Those men are close to knowing the Lord.”)


Which are the evidences of the Trinity in chapter 1 (also see John 1:1-14)


Regarding the Sabbath Day, see Exodus 2:8-11 and Colossians 2:16, 17


Possession of a living, eternal soul made Adam and Eve (and all humans) uniquely different from the animals   (Ecc 12:7).


What is “the image of God” (from 1:26)


Genesis 2:5-6:   The earth was watered without rain…….


If all you had was the information from Genesis 1 and 2, what would you point to as the God-ordained purposes for, and expectations of His institution of marriage?



Part 2:   The Fall into Sin and its Effects on mankind          (Genesis 3-4)  

Discuss some of the methods that Satan used to entice Eve to sin.


Does “Did God really say….” still work today?   If so, how and where?


How did Adam and Eve attempt to excuse their sinful behavior?   In what ways do people today frequently use the same excuses?


A key passage before us is Genesis 3:15.     Here we have the first Gospel promise (prophecy about the Savior).


Notice sins’s consequences – among others:   hard labor, problems in the male/female relationship, pain, and both physical and eternal death.


Where is God’s grace evident in the manner in which He exiled our first parents’ from Eden (3:21-24)?


Why did God reject Cain’s sacrifice?   (Hebrews 11:4)


What is meant by “my brother’s keeper”?    Are you and I supposed to be our brothers keepers?


In light of his response, do you believe that Cain did, or did not repent of his sin of murder?   (4:13-14)


Part 3:   The First Genealogy:   Adam to Noah   (Genesis 5)

What value does this (and do the Bible’s other) geneaology(-ies) provide to us and other students?


Note:   The word “Father” can also be properly interpreted as “Ancestor.”


What do we mean by “a son” in Adam’s “likeness” in 5:3?


What happened to Enoch?   (Hebrews 11:5)


How would you account for/explain the advanced ages to which these pre-flood notables lived?



Part 4:   The Great Flood (Genesis 6-8)


Compare Genesis 6:6 with I Samuel 15:28-29.


To what major, future event does the Great Flood point?


Visualize the Ark (6:15-16) – and compare it to a familiar object today.


What did Noah also do while he spent 100 years building the ark?    (Hebrews 11:7)


From where did the water for the flood come?


What is some of the  Biblical significance attached to the number 40?   (See Exodus 24:18;   Numbers 14:33;   II Samuel 5:4;   I Kings 19:8;   Jonah 3:4;   and Matthew 4:2)


How long did Noah and his family stay in the ark?   (7:11 and 8:13)


Be Noah for a moment.    As you are finally coming out of the ark….what emotions are you feeling and what thoughts might you have as you ponder the events of the past few months as well as survey the landscape before you?


What was the first thing Noah did upon exiting the ark….that is, after allowing the animals to go out?    What applications can we make of his example in our day-to-day lives?


What, especially, makes any sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to the Lord?


Comment on Genesis 8:21 and Psalm 51:5.


Rumors abound about the existence and possible discovery of Noah’s ark.    If the ark ever were discovered, what would that mean to you and for your faith?



Part 5:   Noah and the Post-Flood World              (Genesis 9-11)


What do Genesis 9:6 and Romans 13:4 have in common?


Comment on the significance of the Rainbow, particularly the promise it holds for humanity?


What covenants has God made with you?


What useful knowledge does the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 offer to the student of Scripture?


What wrong motivations existed in men’s hearts that led them to attempt  to build the Tower in Genesis 11?   Where are those motivations still evident today in the hearts and lives of earth’s 21st century residents?

Was God actually “threatened” by their building of the tower?


What was God’s primary purpose in scattering the human race and confusing their languages?

What, if any, other purposes might He have had?


Note:   In the genealogy of chapter 11, Abraham was born 292 years after the end of the flood.    Shem would live 502 years after the flood.    That means that Abraham might have had personal contact with one of the survivors of the flood, Shem……who was Abraham’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather !  


Part 6:   The story of Abraham before Isaac’s birth               (Genesis 12-20)


Why did God choose and call Abram?


What promises does God make to Abram in chapter 12:2-3?


Note Abram’s age (12:4) upon leaving Haran.   What does his call to service “later in life” say to us?


What negative example does Lot give us in 12:10-13?


Was it wrong for Lot to dwell in Sodom?


What subtle, but slippery slope of sin do you see in Lot’s heart – and later in his lifestyle?     (For added background, see Luke 12:15 and I Corinthians 15:33.)    Please comment also – and give some examples – regarding the insidious nature of progressively incremental sin.    


What addition to His earlier promise (chapter 12) does the LORD make to Abram in 13:14-17?


In chapter 14, in an almost David vs Goliath sense, Abram’s little household army of 318 trained servants defeats an obviously much larger army of 4 allied kings…..and recaptures Lot, his family and possessions, as well as the other captives.   Certainly it teaches us that with God behind us, amazing – even seemingly impossible – things can be done.


Abram refuses any gift from the king of Sodom (14:21-24).   Why?    When it comes to donations that our church receives, can we receive them from anyone/any organization?     Should we?    Are there any “cautions” that we should consider and respect?


What do you know about Melchizedek (14:18-20).    Our theologians say that he serves as an Old Testament “Type of Christ.”   What does that term mean?     How, specifically, was Melchizedek a “Type of Christ”?     (See Hebrews, chapter 7)


Unafraid to fight in battle, Abram shows a fear in 15:2-3.   Of what is he afraid?


Ishmael means “God hears.”   The Arab peoples point to him as their ancestor.    This is one of the fulfillments of 15:15, and – given the friction that would develop between Isaac and Ishmael and their mothers – it also explains both 16:12 and quite a bit of the on-going ethnic hostilities that exist in today’s Middle East.


Genesis 15:6 is a very significant Bible passage in connection with the doctrine of justification.   Why?


Genesis 15:9-19…….In the world in which Abram lived, when persons or nations made covenants with each other they typically slaughtered animals, and then both parties to the covenant would walk down the middle of two rows of pieces of those slaughtered animals.    This “custom” was intended to symbolize what would happen to the offending party if he/they were to break the covenant:   he/they would end up being cursed and ought to suffer the same fate as the animals.   In light of this, how could God use this same method to confirm His covenant of Grace with Abram?


From Genesis 2 onward, God’s intent is clearly expressed that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.   In Genesis 16, Abram takes a second wife (some of his descendants, notably Jacob, David, and Solomon, would to the same in the extreme…..   What were some of the consequences that Abram and the others faced from having multiple spouses?


In chapter 17 we find two more signs/symbols of God’s covenant with Abram.   One is the changing of his and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah.    The other is the initiation of the practice of circumcision.


At what age was a Hebrew boy circumcised?    Did the child have a choice?    How does circumcision compare to Baptism (see Colossians 2:11-12).


Isaac means “he laughs.”   Why did the LORD wait until Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 years old before giving them this special son?


In chapter 18, three visitors meet Abraham.   Who were those three visitors?   (18:16, 22;   19:1)


Abraham shows considerable hospitality here.   (18:6-8).     What are some ways in which we as a church can better show our hospitality toward not only guests/visitors, but also each other?


18:16-33 is the story of one believer’s audacious, yet confident, behavior before the LORD.     Notice God’s openness and patience with Abraham.   What applications can we make of this story to our lives of faith?


In chapter 19 we see that Lot was a man well-known and, evidently, respected in Sodom.  Given what we know about the city’s inhabitants, what does that tell us about what’s happened to his character in the time he dwelt near Sodom?   That Lot would offer his virgin daughters (19:8) as sexual tools to the men of the city also says something about him……what?    What does this teach us about the danger of “living” too closely among the children of this world…….????


(19:9)   The accusation that God’s people are “judgmental” is as old as the hills.     How are we to respond to such charges/accusations?


Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction is symbolic of……..?


Despite our society’s tolerance (even approval) of homosexuality, God’s Word defines it as sin.     It is condemned in places like Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13,and also in Romans 1:21-27.   God promises consequences for impenitent pursuit and promotion of sins such as this.   What are those consequences?


 (19:30-38) What was worse: drunkenness or incest?


Abraham, in chapter 20, moves near Philistine territory.     What do you know about the Philistines?


Here we have a situation almost identical to Abraham’s earlier visit to Egypt, right down to the half-truth about Sarah.   Obviously Abraham didn’t learn his lesson te first time.  This is a problem for God’s children today, too.   Why don’t we “learn our lessons” about sin the first time?   Why does it seem we so often repeat – over and over – the same failings?



Part 7:   The story of Abraham from Isaac’s birth through the Patriarch’s death 

                  (Genesis 21-25)


In chapter 21, how did Abram’s firstborn (Ishmael) react to the presence of his younger brother Isaac?   What do you think about the remedy that God provided Abraham?      (Do you see any similarity here between God’s dealing with Ishmael/Hagar and Matthew 7:15 as well as Romans 16:17?)


Chapter 22 – God calls Isaac, Abraham’s “Son, your only son…..whom you love.”   Why does this sound familiar?   (See Luke 3:21-22)


Abraham was spared the horror of sacrificing his son to prove his love for God.    What does Romans 8:31-32 say about the Lord in this respect, and His commitment to us?


Look at Abraham’s message to his servants and then read Hebrews 11:17-19.   In what did Abraham obviously believe (something we regularly confess in both the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds….)?


Abraham tells Isaac that God will provide a lamb for the sacrifice.   In this case he is demonstrating his faith in God to provide, and is prophesying (see John 1:29, 35-36;   and   I Peter 1:18-19).


When we face trails and tribulations, we typically try to “make sense” out of why they are happening to us, but usually we cannot do so.  When God ordered Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, it’s quite likely that Abraham didn’t see it as a test of his faith (as it is labeled in chapter headings in most Bibles…..).     Ponder the last crisis you faced.   Looking back, could it have been a testing of your faith?     From the way you handled yourself in that crisis, did you demonstrate faithfulness or the opposite?


Who were the Hittites?   (23:3)   See Genesis 10:6,15


According to the “best” tradition (which is no guarantee of authenticity….), the cave of Machpelah is found today under the Mosque of Abraham, an Islamic holy place in Hebron.     The story of Sarah’s burial plot becomes more interesting when we learn a bit about Hittite law.    When a landowner sold only part of his property to someone, Hittite law required the original landowner to still pay all the taxes on the land.   Only if the land was sold (or given away) in its entirety, would the new landowner be responsible for all taxes.   What does this suggest about Abraham’s intentions (verses 7-9)?    What does his selling price of four hundred sheckels tell us about tell us about Ephron (verses 14-16)?


Abraham went “back home” to find a wife for his son (24:4).   Why?     Can/Should we make any applications of that practice into our dating/engagement/marriage practices today?


Abraham was insistent about Isaac living in Canaan after he was married (24:6).   Why?

What are some of the attractive aspects of Rebekah’s character that we see in her dealings with Eliezer?


Was it wrong for Abraham to remarry after Sarah’s death (25:1)?   (see Mt 22:23 and following)


“Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac” (25:5).   Though Ishmael was born first, Isaac was Abraham’s firstborn in the sight of God’s Law.    Therefore, the law of primogeniture applied to him.  (Where the first born gets a double portion of the estate upon a father’s death;   see Dt 21:15-17.)     Was Abraham being unfair to his other sons?


Why would God give us both the low points as well as the  high points of Abraham’s life?   (Be sure to read Hebrews 11:8-19 before you answer.)


(25:16-17)   Which family of nations developed from the descendants of Ishmael?



Part 8:   The story of Isaac up to Jacob’s flight    (Genesis 25:19 to 27:46)

Twenty years after they were married (25:20-28), Rebekah gave birth to twin boys.    Esau means “hairy one” and Jacob means “deceiver.”    Why where these very appropriate names for these two boys?     From what else you know about them due to your study of God’s Word over the years, how would you describe (and contrast) Esau and Jacob?


The law of primogeniture required that the firstborn son receive a double honor/portion of his father’s inheritance (see discussion earlier).    Esau was the firstborn.   But in Isaac’s household, something additional would normally be conveyed to the firstborn – something of infinitely greater significance that silver and gold:   the family blessing about both the Savior and the nation to be known as Israel which had earlier been given to Abraham and Isaac by the LORD.     Would you (as Esau did 25:29-34) trade this away for a pot of stew?


Notice that the Lord affirms for Isaac (as He will repeated do for Jacob, and as He did for Abram/Abraham) the family “promise” (26:4-6)

Was there any difference between what Abraham said (back in Genesis 20) and what Isaac says to Abimelech in 26:7 ff?


(26:10) What did Abimelech know that millions apparently can’t figure out today?

(26:25) Here, as in many other places in the OT, the Hebrew has been translated “called upon the name of the LORD.”    A better rendering than the NIV’s would be “proclaimed the name of the LORD” or something similar. Perhaps you are unsure of this alternate translation.   This exact phrase can be found in Genesis 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 21:33; and here in 26:25.  The word translated “called” here is the same word that the NIV translates as “read” or “proclaim” or “preach” in other passages.   The word can mean all of these.    There are at least 33 cases where the NIV translates it “read” (see Exodus 24:7; Deuteronomy 31:11 etc.).     This is what a pastor does when he reads the Scripture lessons aloud on Sunday, or in Bible Class.    At least 40 times the NIV translates this word “proclaim” (See Exodus 33:19; 34:5; Leviticus 23:2,4,21,37; 25:10; Deuteronomy 15:2 etc).    In 2 Kings 7:11, it is translated “shouted the news” in NIV.   And in Jonah 1:2, this very word is translated “preach” in the NIV.


So, it must be granted that a very valid and possible translation of this Hebrew term is “preach” or “proclaim.” In the five cases listed above (Gen 4:26 etc), there are three good alternate translations:

  1. “proclaimed the name of the LORD” (Gen 4:26)
    b. “preached in the name of the LORD”c. “preached on (about) the name of the LORD.”

What a comfort it is to know this! God’s people have always preached and heard the Word of God. For “faith comes from hearing the message” (Romans 10:17).      It is quite probable that Abraham and Isaac both preached and prayed, just like we see it done in our worship and Bible classes services.     


(26:26-29)…..Question…….”Do people ever approach you and, commenting on the evidences of your faith and God’s blessing that faith, seek to cultivate your friendship and favor in the hope that it might bring them blessings from the Lord?      How could this be a positive element in our lives of Christian witnessing and evangelism?

(26:34-35)   Would you agree or disagree:    Mixed marriages are almost always a source of grief.

What roles did Rebekah and Isaac play in furthering the division between their twin boys?

If there was every any doubt regarding young Jacob’s integrity, this chapter lays open his heart and shows us why the Lord subsequently had to put Jacob through a succession of personal challenges to change his character (albeit slowly) for the better.     What do Jacob’s actions in this chapter reveal about his trust in the Lord?     What parallels/illustrations can you find in the behaviors of people in general, and Christians in specific today?


In your view, who (Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, Jacob) was most in the wrong in the midst of these schemes and conflicts?  And why do you feel this way?


How do you account for Isaac falling “victim” to Jacob’s rather obvious trick?


How could this story be reset in today’s world?      What would take the place of the birthright?   The blessing?  



Part 9:       The Evidences of God’s Grace in His Dealings  with Jacob and His

                  Family (Genesis 28-36)


When (and over what) have you ever held a long-term grudge?   How as that grudge affected you and others?


Considering all that’s transpired to this point, it is amazing that God meets Jacob at Bethel. encouraging him in this special dream, without the slightest reproach.     Why would God thus deal with Jacob at this point in his life?  


Does God still speak to His children through dreams?   What are the inherent dangers of relying on ones dreams for guidance?


Do you believe in love at first sight?    Even though Jacob’s love for Rachel apparently bloomed instantly, he still had to wait and work for her for seven years.    In light of this, what do you feel is an appropriate length of time for a person to be engaged to be married…..and why do you feel that period is more appropriate than a shorter or longer time frame?


How long (in years) would you work in order to have your husband/wife as your spouse?


How could Jacob have mistaken Leah for Rachel on his wedding night?

(29:23)   Agree or Disagree:    Uncle Laban would make a great father-in-law.


When (and over what) in your life have you had to endure delays – like Jacob does here – in getting what you want?


Regarding Jacob’s polygamy: there are three important points which we need to consider:


  1. Scripture makes no attempt to hide the sins of God’s ancient people.
    2. God does not approve of everything He tolerates.
    3. God can overrule the evil intent of people and bend their wicked deeds to serve His good purposes.


(Gen 30:39)     Prof. John Jeske writes in the People’s Bible on Genesis, “To induce solid-colored animals to bear spotted young, Jacob cut branches and peeled off the bark to expose spots or stripes of white wood underneath. At breeding time he would put these branches into the animals’ drinking troughs. Whether this trick actually had prenatal influence on the female sheep and goats and actually resulted in the birth of larger numbers of ‘irregulars’ is really beside the point. Whether this technique is scientifically accurate or just country superstition doesn’t matter here. The point is that Jacob, the ‘heel-grabber,’ listened to the whispering of his evil nature, which urged him: ‘Don’t get angry; get even!'” (p.254). Likewise, Werner Franzmann comments in his Old Testament Bible History, “The devices Jacob used have been the subject of heated controversy. Most biologists deny that Jacob could have used such prenatal influences to alter the coloring of animals. Accordingly, they assert that Jacob was acting on a superstitious belief… Bible- believing scholars have answered that there are some prenatal influences which biologists have not probed, as some of them admit. But the whole argument is beside the point… Perhaps Jacob believed at first that his clever devices accounted for the increase. But the Lord soon made it plain that He, not Jacob, had brought about the gratifying results.” (p.160)


Rachel and Leah each give a maidservant to Jacob for illicit relations and praise God for the results.   – “There’s a certain irony in the fact that Rachel sidestepped God’s will in ordering her husband into an illicit sexual union and then praised God for blessing her disobedience with a child.”    And Leah said, “‘God is rewarding me for giving my maid to my husband,'” (30:18).    “The fact that she said this does not mean that the opinion she expressed about God was true.” (Jeske, p.248,250).

On “mandrakes”:   If you buy a real ginger root at the store it will somewhat resemble a mandrake. Some Bible versions translate this as “love apples” which is almost certainly an incorrect translation, but it essentially gives the correct sense. Mandrakes are members of the potato order.   In antiquity mandrakes were thought to either have aphrodisiac qualities or have properties which aided fertility.     Like with Jacob’s use of the sticks, we most likely are discussing superstition.    Today’s “superstition-parallels” might include:    If I wash the car, it will rain.     Or, don’t let a black cat cross your path.    Or, Beware of the dangers of Friday the 13th.

Without a doubt, materially God abundantly blessed Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham.    Today, many people believe that Christians have the right (and calling) to expect God to materially bless them according to their wishes/desires.   In fact, it is suggested that God wants to enrich His children, materially-speaking, and that it is only our unfaithfulness and/or failure to request these material blessings that keeps many Christians from being rich and successful in the things of this world.     Sometimes this way of thinking is referred to as either “the name-it-and-claim-it Gospel” or as “the Gospel of wealth and prosperity.”     Could what they teach be true?    And where does II Corinthians 11:22-29 fit into this discussion?


Recent archaeological discoveries suggest that in Jacob’s day whoever possessed the family household “gods” was entitled to receive the family inheritance.     


Why do you think Esau brought 400 men with him to meet Jacob (32:6)?                   


When you’ve wronged someone and want to be forgiven, how do you demonstrate your sincerity?


With Whom does Jacob wrestle (32:24)?     


Jacob’s hip problem (32:5) would be a “thorn in the flesh” and painful reminder to trust in God for the rest of his earthly days.


Read 34:7 – focusing on the final words of that verse.    What commentary does this provide on our culture’s fascination with and permissiveness toward all manner of sexual behavior?


Consider verses 9 and 10.    Is Hamor’s offer reasonable?     Is it beneficial for Jacob and his descendants?   Why, or why not?


Does your anger occasionally get the better of you, similar to the way in which Jacob’s sons (particularly Simeon and Levi) let their anger lead them to attack Hamor’s subjects?      Was there any “substance” to their justification to Jacob of their actions (34:31)?


In connection with the story of Dinah and its aftermath (ch 34), why would this sordid story even be in the Bible?


35:2……. Consider the significance of Jacob’s “order” – after all these years, how in all the world could members of Jacob’s household still be holding on to idols/household gods?


35:5      Why might the “terror of God” have fallen upon the towns around which Jacob and his family were living?


How significant is the event in verses 9 & 10 (of chapter 35)?


What “additional information” does the Lord provide in His blessing to Jacob in verses 11& 12?


In the history of God’s plan of salvation, why is the place where Rachel died notable?


No doubt you have lost, through death, someone that you loved dearly.    What effect did that person’s death have on you personally, and especially on your faith-relationship with God?


Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn.    His sin (described briefly in verse 22) costs him the rights of the firstborn (rights that, eventually, will be transferred to Judah when the other two brothers [Simeon and Levi] who preceded him also displeased their father and forfeited their rights of succession).


Notice in the listing of Jacob’s sons in 35:23-26 that the order of succession is different from their chronological birth order.   How?   Why?


What “telling” statement about Esau do we find in 36:2?


Does the Lord permit or prohibit His children to marry non-believers?


Agree or Disagree:   The words (36:31) “before any Israelite king reigned” must mean this was written after there were kings in Israel, since no other explanation is possible. (see also Gen 17:6)

Part 10:      The Evidences of God’s Grace in His Dealings  with Joseph and the Family of Israel in Egypt                   (Genesis 37-50)


Give two reasons why Reuben might want to save Joseph (37:21).


(37:28) Modern “scholars” try to make much of that fact that Midianites are called Ishmaelites here.   These Bible critics claim that this proves two different writers had contributed to this story, and that they wrote at different times.   (The “goal” here is to undermine the traditional, and Biblically-conservative teaching that the Lord inspired Moses to write the first five books of the Bible.)    Simply put, however, they are all wrong.  For proof, let’s look at Judges 8:22,24.


Chapter 38 …… Why is the story of Tamar included in the Biblical record?  

Exactly what was Onan’s sin?      (See Deuteronomy 25:5-10)


Notice Judah’s double-standard for Tamar in verse 24 (compare with vv 15-16).

Was it right that Joseph, in Genesis 39:10, wouldn’t “even be with her” [Potiphar’s wife] – after all, he did work for her as a servant/slave?      Let’s look at what Proverbs 5:8 and 2 Timothy 2:22 add to this discussion.


These days, the argument of many goes something like this:   “As long as two adults are consenting, they should be allowed to do whatever they want.”    But Joseph (and the Lord) has a different view of this, as evidenced by his declaration in verse 9.

When things start to “go wrong” in our lives, it is good to know that God has a plan, even if we don’t understand what that plan is.  How can we apply this lesson from chapter 39 to our lives?     In connection with this, consider also the words of “God Moves in a Mysterious Way:”


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,     But trust Him for His grace.

Behind a frowning providence,    He hides a smiling face.

Blind unbelief is sure to err     And scan His works in vain.

God is His own interpreter     And He will make it plain.

A couple of indications that Potiphar probably didn’t exactly “buy” his wife’s story:   1) the penalty for such behavior was the slave’s death;   that doesn’t happen in Joseph’s case;   and 2) Joseph ends up in a prison for former officials of the Egyptian government – not exactly the typical destination for a disobedient, dishonorable slave.


Does God still speak to us today through dreams?   (40:4)

Compare Joseph’s tax to the taxes that our governments require of us today – proportionately speaking, was it more  or less?   (41:34)

Look at what Joseph does in chapter 42 in dealing with his brothers…..from pretending to be stranger and speaking harshly with them (v 7) to accusing them of being spies (v 14) and secreting money into their sacks (v 25)… his behavior justifiable?


(ch.42) The brothers hadn’t told “the whole truth” about Joseph to their father.    Is “not telling the whole truth”  always the same as lying?


Compare the “offers” of Reuben (41:37) and Judah (42:8-9)….both made to Jacob asking for Benjamin to accompany the brothers on another trip for grain to Egypt.

Define “repentance.”     Should true repentance be judged on its intention, its emotion, its result, or a combination of the preceding?


If someone has deeply wronged you, are you more likely to desire revenge or reconciliation (be honest….)?


Like Joseph’s brothers, are you still “paying the price” or “reaping the harvest” of some transgression you made in the past?  


Looking at 43:1-14, what do you think ultimately “tipped the scales” for Jacob as he made his decision regarding the return of his sons to Egypt for more food?  


Why does Benjamin receive so much more (43:34) than his brothers?


Why would the brothers make such an “absolute” offer/pledge in 44:9?


As Judah tries to negotiate with Joseph for Benjamin’s release, what proofs does he give that show his heart has changed (and matured) since the events and attitudes expressed in chapter 37?


(ch. 45) Suppose you lost a loved one 22 years ago (1983). You were told that loved one died in an airplane crash in a very remote place, and that his/her body couldn’t be found.   Now someone comes to you and says that person is very much alive after all those years.   Would you believe it?    If you need proof, what kind of proof would you seek?    What proof does Joseph offer his brothers (3-13)?    His father (9-11; 21-23)?

How could Joseph embrace his brothers so warmly after what they’d done to him and after all the trials that he’d had to endure as a result of their selling him into slavery?     


Why do the brothers doubt the genuineness of Joseph’s forgiveness?     Do you doubt the genuineness of others when they tell you they’ve forgiven you?    Why?


Why would Joseph add (in verse 24) the instruction:   “Don’t quarrel on the way”?

Put yourself in Jacob’s shoes as chapter 45 ends.    You’ve received the amazing news that Joseph is very much alive.    Suddenly it dawns on you that the story about his death which your sons had told you years earlier (and which you’d believed, with great grief, all those years) was a lie.     What would your feelings be toward your sons?    How would you treat them in the future?    

What frame of mind you suppose Jacob is in as chapter 46 opens?


How does God speak to him as Jacob is about to head into a foreign land, with all its uncertainties?


Approximately how large is “Israel” as Jacob prepares to enter Egypt?


How did the Egyptians view shepherds?     How might this attitude have guided Joseph and Pharaoh in selecting the location with Jacob’s family would live?


If God were calling you, rather than Jacob, what might He be asking you to leave behind?


Jacob had one wish… see Joseph before he died.    What one wish would you like to see fulfilled before you die?     What would you be willing to sacrifice toward that end?


In Chapter 47, notice in the encounter between Jacob and Pharaoh…..who does the “blessing”?


What does Pharoah’s treatment of Jacob’s family suggest about his relationship with Joseph?


What do you think of the “pay your way” approach that Joseph and Pharaoh took in dispensing food?    Compare the welfare system Jospeh employed to the system in our land today.  


Comment on how “saving” the people also ended up “enslaving” the people of Egypt.


Of the three things the Egyptian people relinquished to Pharaoh (money, property, and independence), which would be the hardest for you to surrender?


Chapter 48 contains an example of  the “succession rule” that was common in ancient times…..where the first-born received the greater share of the inheritance and blessing……   Now, consider how that approach was not followed earlier in the book of Genesis when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob each dispensed their inheritances to their offspring.

What does the above tell you about the way in which God deals with His children when it comes to dispensing His blessings?


Where else have you seen the laying on of hands?     What “significance” does this practice hold?

The blessing of Jacob’s sons in chapter 49 is actually a long poem.    Which two sons received the longest – and most favorable – of blessings?


As we look over chapter 49, with Jacob’s prediction-blessings for each of his sons, what is the chief thing (pro or con) does Jacob say to each son?

            Reuben                                                                        Dan


            Simeon                                                                        Gad


            Levi                                                                             Asher


            Judah                                                                          Naphthali


            Zebulun                                                                      Joseph


            Issachar                                                                       Benjamin

What would the first readers of this account know about the general fulfillment of these prophecies?


Let’s look closer at the prophecy in verse 10.     What dual prediction do you see here about the tribe of Judah, in general, and about a specific descendant of Judah in particular?


Jacob’s burial showed his faith.   What are some of the ways that we, as Christians, can give a demonstration ofour faith by the funeral/burial procedures we employ?

Finally, in the closing chapter (50), what impact does Jacob’s death have on Joseph?   On Jacob’s family?


What uniquely Egyptian practice was incorporated into Jacob’s burial?


What do you think about the brothers’ fear – was there any validity in it?     With what argument did Joseph try to calm their fears?


How does the story of Joseph’s life affirm the truth of verses 19-21?


What information do verses 24-25 give us about Jacob’s sons (this is a deliberately vague question….)?


Of all the characters/persons we’ve examined in the course of studying through Genesis, which person most interested you, and why?


As we now complete our study, what do you feel is the main theme of the book of Genesis?

1   “Doublets” are duplicate accounts (supposedly) of the same event.   One such example that the critics cite is the “two different creation accounts” in Genesis 1 and 2.    They also claim that the account of Hagar’s two departures from home (Genesis 16, 21) constitute a doublet.