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The Book of Genesis

The original Hebrew title of Genesis is bereshit (BEHR-uh-shith) which means, “in beginning”.  This was later translated to Greek and given the title “Genesis”, which means beginning or origin, which is the translation we use today.

Genesis is the first book in the Pentateuch (PEN-tuh-tyook) and although the author of Genesis is unknown, it is believed the same person wrote all five books of the Pentateuch. Jewish and Christian traditions attribute the Pentateuch to Moses who plays a key part in the narrative.  The source of the narrative is unknown too.  It could have been compiled by the author from various sources or passed down verbally through many generations.

The book overs a longer time span than any other book in the Bible.  In fact, it covers a longer timespan than the remaining 65 books together.  The first section spans about 2,000 years, the middle about 200 years, and the last another couple hundred years.  In short, the book explains how man’s sin is considered by God – and how God provides for redemption.

  1. Creation (1:1—2:3)
  2. Primeval History (2:4—11:26)
    1. Adam and Eve in Eden (2:4–25)
    2. The Fall and Its Consequences (ch. 3)
    3. Sin’s Progression (4:1–16)
    4. The Genealogy of Cain (4:17–26)
    5. The Genealogy of Seth (ch. 5)
    6. God’s Response to Human Depravity (6:1–8)
    7. The Great Flood (6:9—9:29)
      1. Preparing for the flood (6:9—7:10)
      2. Judgment and redemption (7:11—8:19)
        1. The rising of the waters (7:11–24)
        2. The receding of the waters (8:1–19)
      3. The flood’s aftermath (8:20—9:29)
        1. A new promise (8:20–22)
        2. Renewed benediction and new ordinances (9:1–7)
        3. A new relationship (9:8–17)
        4. A new temptation (9:18–23)
        5. A final word (9:24–29)
    8. The Spread of the Nations (10:1—11:26)
      1. The diffusion of nations (ch. 10)
      2. The confusion of languages (11:1–11:9)
      3. The first Semitic genealogy (11:10–26)
  3. Patriarchal History (11:27—50:26)
    1. The Life of Abraham (11:27—25:11)
      1. Abraham’s background (11:27–32)
      2. Abraham’s call and response (chs. 12–14)
        1. Abraham’s journey to the land of Canaan (11:27 – 12:9)
        2. Abraham’s journey to Egypt (12:10 – 13:2)
        3. The separation of Abraham and Lot (13:1 – 14:24)
      3. Abraham’s faith and God’s covenant (chs. 15–22)
        1. God’s covenant with Abraham (15:1 – 15:21)
        2. Hagar and Ishmael (16:1 – 16:16)
        3. Abraham gets a new name (17:1 – 17:27)
        4. God tells Sarah she will have a son (18:1 – 18:15)
        5. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (18:16 – 19:29)
        6. Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughters (19;30 – 19:38)
        7. Abraham tells king Abimelech that Sarah is his sister (20:1 – 20:18)
        8. The birth of Isaac, Hagar sent away (21:1 – 21:21)
        9. Abraham signs a treaty with Abimelech (21:22 – 21:34)
        10. Abraham is tested by God (22:1 – 22:19)
      4. Abraham’s final acts (23:1—25:11)
        1. The death and burial of Sarah (23:1 – 23:20)
        2. A wife for Isaac (24:1 – 24:67)
        3. The death of Abraham (25:1 – 25:11)
    2. The Descendants of Ishmael (25:12–18).
    3. The Life of Jacob (25:19—35:29)
      1. Jacob at home (25:19—27:46)
        1. The birth of Jacob and Esau (25:19 – 25;26)
        2. Esau gives up his birthright to Jacob (25:27 – 25:34)
        3. Isaac tells men Rebekah is his sister (26:1 – 26:11)
        4. Isaac’s wealth and power threaten others (26:12 – 26:25)
        5. Abimelek makes peace with Isaac (26:26 – 26:33)
        6. Jacob tricks Isaac and cheats Esau out of his blessing (26:34 – 27:45)
        7. Isaac blesses Jacob (again) (27:46 – 28:9)
      2. Jacob abroad (chs. 28–30)
        1. Jacob’s dream at Bethel (28:10 – 28;22)
        2. Jacob reaches his destination (Haran) and meets Rachel and Laban (29:1 – 29:14)
        3. Laban’s trickery, Jacob marries Leah… and Rachel (29:14 – 29:30)
        4. Rachel is jealous of Leah (29:31 – 30:24)
        5. Jacob increases his flocks, wealth, and status (30:25 – 30:43)
      3. Jacob at home again (chs. 31–35)
        1. Jacob and his family flee from Laban to Land of Canaan (31:1 – 31:21)
        2. Laban pursues Jacob and his family (31:22 – 31:55)
        3. Jacob prepares to meet his estranged brother Esau (32:1 – 32:21)
        4. Jacob wrestles with God (32:22 – 32:32)
        5. Jacob reunites with Esau (33:1 – 33:20)
        6. The rape of Dinah (34:1 – 34:31)
        7. God sends Jacob and his people to Bethel (35:1 – 35:15)
        8. Rachel and Isaac die leaving Jacob to carry out God’s plan (35;15 – 35:29)
    4. The Descendants of Esau (36:1—36:43)
    5. The Life of Joseph (37:1—)
      1. Joseph shares his prophetic dreams (37:1 – 37:11)
      2. Joseph thrown into a well and sold into slavery (37:12 – 37:36)
    6. Joseph’s career (41:1 – 41:57)
    7. Jacob’s migration (chs. 42–47)
    8. Jacob’s final days (48:1—50:14)
    9. Joseph’s final days (50:15–26)
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