Genesis Introduction

Written and compiled by Gary Kukis

Genesis Introduction

The Book of Beginnings; The History of God and Man

These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).

Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.

This is a collection of the weekly lessons of Genesis (HTML) (PDF) interspersed with the complete word-by-word exegesis of this chapter from the Hebrew with some information from Genesis (HTML) (PDF) thrown in. Furthermore, the examination of this chapter has been expanded with additional commentary as well. However, much of this material was thrown together without careful editing. Therefore, from time to time, there will be concepts and exegetical material which will be repeated, because there was no overall editing done once all of this material was combined. At some point in the future, I need to go back and edit this material and consider other source material as well. Links to the word-by-word, verse-by-verse studies of Genesis (HTML) (PDF).

Sometimes, an introduction is best read at the conclusion of the study of the entire book. Should I put together a Genesis addendum?


Genesis could be entitled The History of God and Man, from Creation to the Patriarchs. Or, The Great Historical Narrative, from God to Joseph.

It is said that there are 10 callings in Genesis and 10 genealogies. Gary Everett claims that the number 10 represents the concept of countless, many, or numerous. Footnote I may want to investigate this further. Everett also spoke of the chief men in Genesis, their names and their destinies, which would be worth a chart.

Everett: We can even examine the meanings of each of their names in order to determine their destiny, which was determined for them from a child. Adam’s name means “ruddy, i.e. a human being” (Strong), for it was his destiny to begin the human race. Noah’s name means, “rest” (Strong). His destiny was to build the ark and save a remnant of mankind so that God could restore peace and rest to the fallen human race. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning, “father of a multitude” (Strong), because his destiny was to live in the land of Canaan and believe God for a son of promise so that his seed would become fruitful and multiply and take dominion over the earth. Isaac’s name means, “laughter” (Strong) because he was the child of promise. His destiny was to father two nations, believing that the elder would serve the younger. Isaac overcame the obstacles that hindered the possession of the land, such as barrenness and the threat of his enemies in order to father two nations, Israel and Esau. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which means “he will rule as God” (Strong), because of his ability to prevail over his brother Esau and receive his father’s blessings, and because he prevailed over the angel in order to preserve his posterity, which was the procreation of twelve sons who later multiplied into the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, his ability to prevail against all odds and father twelve righteous seeds earned him his name as one who prevailed with God’s plan of being fruitful and multiplying seeds of righteousness. Footnote This should be a chart instead.



William Wiersbe: The Bible is the basic textbook in the home. It was once the basic textbook in the educational system, but even if that were still true, the Bible in the school can't replace the Bible in the home. I note that many modern parents sacrifice time and money to help their children excel in music, sports, and social activities; I trust they're even more concerned that their children excel in knowing and obeying the Word of God. Footnote


Genesis 3:15 [God is speaking to the woman about her seed, after the fall of man] “He [Satan] shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”


Genesis 12:3 [God is speaking to Abraham about Abraham and his descendants] “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”


Gary Kukis: What ought to peak your curiosity, as you go through Genesis chapter by chapter is, how did the writer of Genesis know about Jesus Christ?

This should be the most extensive examination of the book of Genesis available (bear in mind that this is just the introduction), where you will be able to examine in depth every word of the original text.

Outline of the Introduction to Genesis:




Progressive Revelation


Authorship of the Book of Genesis

The Patriarchs, Not Moses, Wrote Genesis

Some General Comments on Genesis

The Themes of Genesis

Summaries and Outlines of Genesis



Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:


         Preface               Quotations

         Introduction         The Principals of Genesis

         Introduction         The Principles of Genesis

         Introduction         A Synopsis of Genesis

         Introduction         Wordle Word Cloud of the Book of Genesis (a graphic)


         Comments          General Comments by Various Commentators


Authorship of the Book of Genesis

         Authorship           False Doctrines of Inspiration

         Authorship           Verbal Plenary Inspiration (the Accurate Understanding of Biblical Authorship)

         Authorship           Opinions as to the Author of Genesis

         Authorship           The Original Authors of Genesis

         Authorship           Original Authorship Chart for Genesis by Dr. Terry Mortenson and Bodie Hodge

         Authorship           Wiseman's Assessment of the Book of Genesis

         Authorship           False Theories About the Authorship of Genesis

         Authorship           Theopedia on the JEDP Theory of Authorship

         Authorship           Who Wrote Genesis—from the Internet


The Name of Genesis


Genesis, the Book of Beginnings

Great Themes of the Bible found in Genesis


Summaries and Outlines of Genesis

         Outlines               A Graphic Summary of Genesis (a graphic)

         Outlines               Brief Summary of Genesis

         Outlines               Genesis by Location

         Outlines               Genesis by the Form of Generation

         Outlines               Bible Summary Summarizes Each Chapter of Genesis in 140 Characters or Less

         Outlines               The Outline of the Book of Genesis

         Outlines               The Entire Jacobian Narrative in Chiastic Structure

         Outlines               Genealogical Outline by Gary Everett

         Outlines               These are the Generations of... (from Stack Exchange)

         Outlines               Paul R. Van Gorder Divides up Genesis into 3 Parts

         Outlines               Paul R. Van Gorder’s Chapter-by-Chapter Outline




Chapter Outline


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Beginning of Document

Definition of Terms

Introduction and Text

Chapter Summary


A Complete Translation


Exegetical Studies in Genesis

Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To









Chapters of the Bible Alluded To


Gen. 24

Deut. 1


Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter





Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter





Many who read and study this chapter are 1st or 2nd generation students of R. B. Thieme, Jr., so that much of this vocabulary is second nature. One of Bob’s contributions to theology is a fresh vocabulary along with a number of concepts which are theologically new or reworked, yet still orthodox. Therefore, if you are unfamiliar with his work, the definitions below will help you to fully understand all that is being said. In addition to this, I will use a number of other more traditional technical theological terms which will be used and therefore defined as well.

Definition of Terms

Angelic Conflict

The Creator God created a race of angels prior to human history. Some of these angels rebelled against God, and this struggle is known as the Angelic Conflict.

Antediluvian era

Human history before the flood.


A completely accurate copy of a book of the Bible. No such thing actually exists.


A contract or an agreement. In the covenants found throughout the Bible, God sets the terms of the covenants.

Higher critics

Those who believe in the JEPD theory, that several men, at different times, long past the time of Moses, wrote the source material for the Pentateuch, which was later woven together into the first 5 books of the Bible.


The verbal, plenary view of inspiration is, human authors wrote as moved by the Holy Spirit, so that, without waving their human intelligence, their vocabulary, their personal feelings, their literary style, their personality, their environmental influences or their individuality, they recorded God’s complete and connected message to man with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, the very words bearing the authority of divine authorship. Footnote

JEPD theory

More often called the JEDP theory or Documentary Hypothesis. Liberal theologians, for the most part, came up with the idea that there are 4 original authors for the Pentateuch: the Yawehist (J), who wrote the portions which primarily name God with the name Jehovah/Yaweh; the Elohimist (E), who usually speaks of God using the title Elohim; the Deuteronomist (D), who composed most of the book of Deuteronomy; and the Priest (s) (P) who wrote portions which favor the Levitical priesthood. Various editors in years to follow (R, for Redactor), intertwined these texts. The idea that there were several documents which were later woven together (long after the time of Moses) is a theory which is presented by scholars and intellectuals and is taught in many of our seminaries. Even the original source material is said to have been written long after the events actually occurred.

Line of promise

This is the genetic/family line that goes from Adam through Noah, through Abraham, through David and eventually to the humanity of Jesus. This is also called the line of redemption.


The first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Progressive revelation

Progressive revelation may be defined as the process of God's own disclosure of Himself and His plan given to man throughout history by means of nature (Rom. 1:18-21; Ps. 19), providential dealings (Rom. 8:28), preservation of the universe (Col. 1:17), miracles (John 2:11), direct communication (Acts 22:17-21), Christ Himself (John 1:14) and through the Bible (1 John 5:39).


Scribes copied manuscripts. This was their profession. We principally know scribes as those who copy manuscripts of the Bible.

Spiritual adultery

Man turning away from God or being unfaithful to God.

Some of these definitions are taken from


For the most part, much of this introduction is going to be taken from the Basic Exegesis series as well as from the first Genesis study that I did around 1995. There are many sources which I would like to include in the future, and it is likely that this introduction will be appended from time to time.

An Introduction to Genesis Introduction

I ntroduction: Even though this is an introduction to the book of Genesis, it will have an introduction as well, much of which will be taken from the Basic Exegesis study which is ongoing. Secondly, this introduction will probably not be complete until the last line of Gen. 50 is recorded. There is so much to cover in an introduction to a book, and much of it comes by way of retrospection.

Despite the fact that Genesis is the first book of the Bible, it is not necessarily the book that ought to be read first. In fact, the new believer gets very little out of reading a book in the Bible. They just do not have the background. And even with excellent commentaries available, such as those written by Barnes, Clarke and Gill, there is the problem that these men believe in covenant theology, so that, their interpretation of a passage might be solid, until they suddenly come upon some passage in the Old Testament, and they start talking about the Old Testament church (there is no such thing). And often, at that point, their interpretations go awry.

The Title: Γένεσις (transliterated, Genesis) is a Greek word which means origin, beginning, source, birth, or even of that which follows birth; life, existence. This word is found in Matt. 1:18 and James 1:23 3:6. It is not the first word of the book of Genesis in the Septuagint (the original Greek translation of the Old Testament), but it is found in Gen. 5:1 10:1 6:10 Footnote 40:20. It is an appropriate title for this book. However, this is not the word found in John 1:1 nor is it found in the Septuagint of Gen. 1:1. However, a related word from the Hebrew, sometimes referred to as synonymous to Genesis is berē̕shīth, which is the first word(s) of Gen. 1:1, properly translated In a beginning.

Author: Moses likely wrote the better portion of the next four books of the Bible, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Genesis is absolutely necessary as a foundation of these books. Moses possibly compiled and edited the records available to him and the final product was Genesis, but the more I have studied this book and the related material, the more that I doubt that Moses even acted as the editor for the book of Genesis. Although Moses is called the author of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) and although the Pentateuch is given status as inspired by our Lord, nowhere in the Bible is it said directly that Moses actually wrote Genesis (Josh. 8:31 2Kings 14:6 Ezra 6:18 Luke 16:31 24:44 John 5:45–47). This does not mean that he did not write it, but there are indications that these are records put together by other authors. There is some foolishness about how there are several authors of the Pentateuch itself because in some areas we have the predominant use of Elohim (a name for God in the plural) and Yahweh (the singular name for any member of the Godhead). These theologians also cite differences in vocabulary throughout the Pentateuch. This is superficial nonsense, not worth addressing at length, although several have done so (see Josh McDowell's Second Evidence Which Demands a Verdict). However, let me simply point out that differences in vocabulary are easily explained by (1) differences in subject matter, (2) differences in emphasis, and (3) the text of the source material for Genesis, which at times was probably recorded verbatim (this last point will be covered in more detail below). Authorship will be covered in much more detail further along in this introduction.

These folks who teach that Genesis and other portions of the Bible (chiefly the Pentateuch) were written by 4 principle authors and then woven together are call higher critics. This is not to be confused with textual criticism, which is the true Biblical science of determining the actual content of the autographs (the original manuscripts or a perfect copy of the original manuscripts). This involves the examination of possible scribal errors as well as added text (which may be intentional, as in the end of the gospel of Mark, or unintentional when a verse is copied down twice in the same vicinity).

Another problem that higher critics have with Genesis are the "contradictory" accounts of the creation of man (they believe that Gen. 1 does not jive with Gen. 2). Parallel accounts in near Eastern language are common. A second account is often added to provide more details. This will be found not just in the second account of the creation of man, but several times just in the first chapter of Genesis.

The real problem that these aforementioned theologians have is with the Bible being God's Word. That is what they do not like. A theory which promotes authors different from the Jewish tradition appeals to them. They do not like the idea that Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, et al., were actually written about the time that these events took place. That makes these documents too historical for them. Furthermore, the idea of calling words written down by men, God’s Word makes them even more hysterical. Or, at least it is an affront to their preformed intellectual theories. So, when Welhausen came along and said, Footnote “Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch; other unknown, unnamed authors did, and they wrote it long after Moses lived.” This false theory will be covered in more in the Authorship section.

Such men would like to make God in their own image so they would like to pick and choose from the Bible. If the Bible is not what it claims to be, the Word of God, then it is much easier for such men to select that things from it they like and reject the things that they do not. In a similar vein, I recall one Sunday school teacher (in Berkeley) emphasizing the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" one morning and pointing out that this commandment does not list any exceptions. Had he read a few other chapters ahead or behind, he would have found several "exceptions." If he knew a smattering of Hebrew, he would have known that there are ten words in the Hebrew all translated by the simple word kill; furthermore, all of these could occur in several different tenses, each tense actually modifying the meaning of the verb. God kills and God mandates man to kill under certain conditions. This Sunday school teacher's problem was that he had a mindset and he chose to make God in his own image. These higher critics are the same way. They do not want to be under God's authority and they do not acknowledge the God in the Bible, who is the only God.

For those who have doubts and are uncertain, there are a great many books and articles which help us to understand that the Bible is really God's Word and that to believe that, one does not have to suspend his intellect. These books come under the heading apologetics. For further information, see Old Testament Textual Criticism (HTML) (PDF) (WPD); the Doctrine of Canonicity (probably R. B. Thieme, Jr.) (Wenstrom) (Grace Notes—brief) (Theopedia) (John Stevenson) (Dr. Bruce Ware—brief) (Sid Litke on—brief); the Doctrine of Inspiration (HTML) (PDF) (WPD); a Study of Inspiration (HTML) (PDF) (WPD); Inspiration (Wenstrom); Doctrine of the Bible (probably R. B. Thieme, Jr.); Lucky Guesses Found in Genesis (HTML) (PDF) (WPD); Science and Faith (Arthur C. Custance); the Doctrine of The Authenticity of The Bible (Merritt); and Proof that the Bible is God's Word or similar studies (Can You Prove the Bible is True? From Answers in Genesis) (How Do You Know The Bible Is True? From Clarifying Christianity; Robert Velarde); Is the Bible Really the Word of God? (God and Science); and The Bible and Science (The Bible Today). On eof my favorite books on this is Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Footnote There have been many incarnations of this book over the decades since McDowell originally wrote it, and I highly recommend it to anyone who feels as if his faith is shaky.

In a similar vain, some critics attempt to "demythologize" Genesis. That is, they will claim that portions of Genesis that they do not like are myths and attempt to explain or replace these portions with the "lesson" or the "moral" that these passages were to teach. These critics, who are somewhat different from the ones above, have been intellectually overpowered by years of schooling and brainwashing. Having been personally taught evolution in a child development class, in a math class and in an education course (all in the same semester) when I was getting a BA in mathematics, I recognize that it is easy to believe that evolution is true because so many educated people believe it. These people, therefore, have problems with the Genesis account of creation. It is easier to believe the Genesis account of creation once one understands that evolution is not a science, it is a false theory to which unsaved man clings in order to avoid being answerable to God. See Evolution and the Bible (HTML) (BibleOne).

Concerning Moses' authorship of Genesis, a reasonable hypothesis by at least two theologians Footnote is that the various authors of the source material for Genesis always began with the phrase and these are the generations Footnote of...(Exodus generation, Gen. 6:9 24:44). I intend to explore that hypothesis later in this introduction as well as while I exegete this book. Writing from source material does not compromise the Divine authenticity of the Bible Footnote . The original records employed do not have to be inspired even though the resultant writing is inspired. God moves through men via the Holy Spirit, so that what results is completely God's Word, although the writer has not compromised his writing style, vocabulary or viewpoint. Just as the Lord Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God as the Living Word, so the Bible is completely inspired and yet still completely the individual work by the individual author.

Because Moses was brought up in the Pharaoh's court and was brought up to be Pharaoh, he would have had the necessary educational background to write what the Pentateuch and he would possibly have had access to Genesis (or the the source material for Genesis), both in the library of the Pharaoh and through the Jews that he lead through the desert. There is a reasonable possibility that his father-in-law provided him with some of the source material either through his training (the great oral tradition) or through written documents. However, I think that it is more likely that Moses learned Genesis from another source—perhaps from his mother or sister or even his father-in-law. I think that it is very possible that Moses learned the book of Genesis orally.

Authenticity: Jesus Christ quoted Genesis in Matt. 19:4–6 24:37–39 and the author of Hebrews alludes to it as accurate in Heb. 11:4–22, indicating that it is rightfully part of Scripture. The Old Testament also alludes to the books of Moses as being of vital spiritual importance in I1Chron. 34:14. Genesis is, in fact, quoted over sixty times in seventeen books. Further evidence of the authority of Genesis is that God speaks directly to man several times throughout this book. This is known as an internal claim of inspiration. That is, Genesis from the outset claims to be God's Word. Very few books in man's literature ever make such a claim.

Time of Writing: Moses did not seem to have a grasp of his direction in life until he was eighty and God came to him. Actually, it was probably not until the third or fourth plague when his destiny and calling in life really began to become clear to Moses. Therefore, it is unlikely that he wrote anything until the time of the exodus. Scofield estimates this to be 1450-1410 bc (as does Packer, Tenney and White in the Bible Almanac). Again, I believe that the book actually existed in the minds of many people prior to and during the time of Moses.

Progressive Revelation: God reveals His attributes and His plan and His relationship to us throughout Scripture. The God of Genesis is the God of Job is the God of Jeremiah is the God of Matthew is the God of Revelation. God is immutable—this means that He does not change; or, more accurately, His attributes do not change. His revealing of His attributes, our perception of His attributes, and the application of His attributes may vary from time to time, but His attributes do not change. What we find in the book of Genesis is what is often called the seed of every major doctrine in Scripture (this isn’t quite true, but it is close to being true). So, when we meet God in subsequent books, what we find is often an affirmation of His character and essence, and, just as often, an additional shade of meaning or an application of His perfect character to a slightly different situation. This is true of essentially every major doctrine of Scripture, apart from those which are specifically Church Age doctrines, which are going to be found in a more concentrated area of the Bible (specifically, the New Testament epistles). Now, it is still the same God, with the same character and attributes, but the application of His attributes change to some degree, as Church Age itself represents a different dispensation from the Age of Israel. However, despite these doctrines specific to the Church Age, the God of Genesis is the God of Paul, the Apostle. God’s essence remains in tact, perfect, and identical throughout every dispensation.

What God reveals of Himself, at any given time, is sufficient to those of that time period. A few generations into the post-diluvian period Footnote of time, men still knew about the flood, about Noah, and about Adam, as well as about the infiltration of the demons in Gen. 6. They knew about Cain and Abel’s very different offerings, and they knew that God sacrificed an innocent animal in order to clothe Adam and the woman after their fall. Personally, I believe that a lot of this was recorded, and very likely, by Noah. He recognized that the flood, which destroyed all that he could see, was an event unparalleled in human history, and that much would be lost from the era. So, he either kept alive the antediluvian era Footnote to his sons verbally or he recorded this information himself. Whether written records existed before Noah or not; we do not know. Whether he was the first to write these things down, we do not know. However, much of this history was common knowledge and what we know today was passed down, either in written or oral form. In these first few chapters of Genesis, we know a great deal about God and His character, about the Angelic Conflict, and about our relationship to God. There is enough there, in seed form, for us to read and be saved.

During roughly this same era (give or take a few centuries), Job lived, and we observe in the book of Job a theological discussion between Job and his friends. This gives us an idea as to how far some have drifted from the knowledge of God, and yet, at the same, how much about God was known. At the heart of the book of Job is a discussion of God’s character, His essence, and how He interacts with us, His creation. This gives us an idea what men knew prior to Abraham, who lived during a time of great spiritual adultery. Although there appears to be a general knowledge of God, and His interaction with man, there is no mention of the existence of Scripture at that point in time. Whether portions of Genesis existed at that time or not is one thing; and whether it was recognized as God’s Word is another thing entirely. However, what seems to be key to the theological discussions in Job is, none of them appear to take the Angelic Conflict into consideration, even though the book of Job is premised upon being a part of the Angelic Conflict.

Overview: Genesis gives us the only accurate view that we have of antediluvian civilization (what civilization was like prior to the flood). We do have some extra Biblical information about man's life on earth before the flood in Mythology. However, like most history, mythology is distorted a great deal; however, there is more truth to mythological stories than we realize. Genesis acts as a funnel and concentrates upon a particular family and follows this line through the flood, through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There are side trips to be certain, but the focus of Genesis continually narrows (as does much of the Bible), following again and again, the line of promise (or the line of redemption). This genealogical line is called the line of promise, because it began with a promise God made to Adam and the woman about the seed of the woman, and was continued as a promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and later made to David. This is called the line of redemption, because the man at the end of this genealogy—Jesus—would redeem man from sin.

God's grace, totally unmerited favor, is evident throughout Genesis. It is revealed to Adam and Eve, to Cain, to Noah, to Lot, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to the twelve sons of Jacob. We often have a very incorrect understanding of these Old Testament saints that they were good and wonderful men with few defects, men who earned God's respect and love. To the contrary, we find that many of the persons in Genesis were men with feet of clay, with many shortcomings; men who were given grace from God far beyond anything that they could ever deserve.

The Covenants of God: In Genesis, we are presented with God's covenants (contracts, agreements) to certain men. We will see the Edenic, Adamic, Noahic and Abrahamic covenants. This is where God makes certain promises to man, many of which we have seen fulfilled throughout history. One of the most amazing and most easily verified promise that God has made is the proliferation of the Jewish race. In the later books of Moses, we will see that God will scatter the Jews throughout the world and yet maintain their identity as a race. Today, every major ancient world nation has lost its national identity (or has been wiped out as a people), whether they be Assyrians, Chaldeans or Hittites. Even the Romans and the Greeks of today bear little or no resemblance to those of the ancient world, and there is a tenuous ancestral tie at best. Their only tie to their ancestors is one of geography. They now occupy roughly the same territory that the ancient Greeks and Romans occupied. As for being blood descendants; not hardly. However, the Jews, even in nations where physical characteristics are extremely similar, still are a race which stand apart from the rest of the national entity, even when they chose not to.

Additional Background Material: Allow me to quote from The New American Standard Bible in its introduction to Genesis: Another important feature of Genesis should not be overlooked, namely, the eminently satisfactory way in which it answers our questions about origins. Man will always want to know how the world as a whole came into being. He also will want to know how man originated. Moreover, he feels rather painfully that some major disorder has come upon the world and would like to know what its nature is; in short, man must know if a basic and sure hope of redemption exists for this world and its inhabitants, what that hope is, and how it came into the possession of man. Footnote

The scope of Genesis exceeds that of any other book in the Bible. It begins with the creation of the earth and the universe, which may be several billion years ago, and takes us to the Jews in Egypt several hundred years prior to the exodus. Human history begins anywhere from 5,000 b.c. (to even as far back as 10,000 b.c). Footnote Only Revelation rivals this scope by taking us from the beginning of the church age all the way to the creation of the new heavens and the new earth. It would be hard to imagine having the Bible, God's Word to us, without the inclusion of the book of Genesis. It would be like a Bible with no beginning, or a table without legs.

We need to know who the people are who populate this chapter.

The Principals of Genesis




The Triune God, in 3 Persons, revealed in the first chapter of Genesis.


The first man, created directly by the hand of God. He knowingly sinned against God.

The serpent

The serpent appears to have been indwelt by Satan or it was a manifestation of Satan. He misrepresented the consequences of sin and deceived the woman so that she sinned.


Also known as the woman; was cloned from Adam’s rib (but modified in structure). She was deceived by the serpent and sinned against God.

Cain and Abel

The first two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a farmer and Abel tended flocks. When they brought offerings to God, Cain’s was rejected, as it represented the work of his hands. Abel brought a slain animal, and God showed respect toward Abel’s sacrifice. Out of jealousy, Cain then killed Abel, and was banished by God.


Seth was the next male son of note of Adam and Eve to be born.


Noah was told by God to build an ark, when all of mankind had become corrupted. He and his sons brought representatives from every kind of animal into his ark, and then, after the Revealed Lord closed and pitched over the door, rain began and covered the earth in water.


Noah’s son, Shem, is the father of the Semitic races.


Noah’s son, Ham, is the father of all the Hamitic races, which probably includes Asians and Africans.


Noah’s son, Japheth, appears to be the father of the Caucasoid peoples.


Abraham is called by God and sent to the land of Canaan, away from his family.


Sarah is Abraham’s wife.


Nahor is Abraham’s brother, and God chose Abraham over Nahor.


Lot is Abraham’s nephew, one who had become blessed in association with Abraham, but who eventually separated from Abraham in order to protect his possessions. As a result, Lot led a fairly miserable life.

Hagar (whom R. B. Thieme, Jr. called Little Egypt)

When it appeared that Abraham and Sarah would not have any children, Sarah suggested that Abraham use her servant as a surrogate mother. From her came all of the Arab races.


The son of Abraham and Hagar is Ishmael, who had potential, but it took him nowhere.


Isaac is the son of Abraham, born to Abraham at age 100, when Sarah is 90. He is the son of promise (the son through whom the promises of God would be fulfilled).


Isaac had twin sons. Jacob, the second son, would be the son of promise, through whom the promises would be fulfilled.


Esau is Isaac’s twin brother, who appears to be a lot nicer than Jacob, but who is not the son of promise, as he does not value the birthright, which are the promises of God to Abraham.


Reuben is Jacob’s firstborn, and he is as unstable as water. He should have been the leader of his brothers, but, instead, he allowed himself to be too easily manipulated.


Joseph is Jacob’s son by Rachel (the woman whom he loved). He is a favorite son of Jacob’s, and sold into slavery by his brothers because of this favoritism. He becomes prime minister of Egypt, provides deliverance for his family, and a place for them during a great drought.

There are others in the book of Genesis, but these men stand out.

Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

We need to know who the people are who populate this chapter.

The Principles of Genesis












Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


A Synopsis of Genesis

Genesis begins with the restoration of the earth and possibly the creation of space and possibly a new set of physical laws. God then creates the man and the woman. They sin, and the Revealed Lord slaughters an animal to cover their sins. They receive a promise of redemption.

Two of their male children, Cain and Abel, offer up different sacrifices to God. Cain offers up the works of his hands and Abel offers up an animal sacrifice. Cain takes the sacrificial knife and cuts Abel’s throat; and then finds himself banished from society.

Seth becomes the line of redemption from Adam, but the world become corrupted by, many believe, an intermingling of fallen angels and mankind. The world becomes so filled with violence, that God chooses to start over. He tells Noah and his family to build an ark and to fill it with 2 each of every animals and more of the birds and clean animals. From the time that this order is issued to the first rainfall, 120 years have passed, and no one, apart from Noah’s family, sees any necessity to go to God or to Noah for mercy.

After the flood, Noah emerges to a new world. God gives this beginning family some moral direction. Something else appears to have changed—the age of man begins to decrease.

The line of redemption goes from Noah to Shem to, eventually, Abraham; whom God tells to move to Canaan, to a land that God would give to Abraham’s descendants. Abraham, at age 100, has his first son by Sarah, his wife, which birth represents the birth of Jesus Christ. A few years later, Abraham is told to sacrifice his son, his uniquely-born son, as a parallel to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is at this point where we, millennia later, begin to realize that, in many ways, the Bible is proceeding along on two tracks. To Abraham, to offer up his son was an act of obedience to and trust in God. However, to us, this was representative of our Lord’s sacrifice for our sins.

Isaac has twin sons, Esau and Jacob (also called Israel), and the line of redemption goes through Jacob. Jacob has 12 sons, and these sons will head the 12 tribes of Israel. Jacob has a favorite son, Joseph, by the wife whom he loves; and the other sons plot against Joseph, and sell him into slavery. However, as a result, Joseph ends up in Egypt—in a position of authority, no less—and he is able to deliver his family from famine.

The book of Genesis ends with the sons of Jacob in Egypt, along with their own sons, where Joseph asks that, when he dies, that his bones not be buried, but kept above ground so that they could be buried in the land of promise, the land which God originally promised to Joseph’s great grandfather, Abraham.

Herein was primarily covered the human events which took place. Their meanings would be further discussed in the chapters of Genesis which will follow.

Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Wordle Word Cloud of the Book of Genesis. Not sure of the translation used. Taken from e-sword graphics viewer. These word clouds give us a good idea who and what the entire book is all about.

The book of Genesis is truly an amazing book. Although the authorship and time of writing is disputed, it is clearly written before there was any idea in the mind of the author or authors that there would be a Bible, a collection of divinely-inspired books to form a unified whole. Furthermore, the book of Genesis is clearly the first book of the Bible, and intended to be the first book of the Bible, despite the fact that it was put into writing long before such a concept [the idea of a Bible] existed. In fact, Genesis probably preexisted writing. It was not that ancient man was too undeveloped to write, but that ancient man did not necessarily need to write anything down. If Adam’s body is able to survive for 900 years, then that would suggest that his brain was also better developed than the brains of man today. It is very likely that Adam was capable of remembering virtually every experience and every conversation in his life, as were all of his contemporaries (his descendants). Therefore, there was no reason to write anything down. There will be more discussion on this when we get to the authorship section of Genesis.

If some religious group was going to sit down and put together this great religious book called the Bible, then the book of Genesis makes a great deal of sense. If you stand back from the Bible, and look at the book of Genesis, it makes perfect sense for this to be the first book of the Bible (just as Revelation is the most perfect book to end the Bible). If one had the intent, from the beginning, of a book of God’s Word to man, the book of Genesis would logically be the first book written. However, this book was in existence long before the rest of Scripture. It would have been absurd for someone to sit down and say, “Over the next 3000 years, the Bible will be composed, so we need to start with the first book where the seeds of all that will be written about will be found in an introductory book. So I am going to write this religious book which goes all the way back to the beginning of man and include such concepts in it like the Trinity, Satan, man’s fall, the judgment of man and the judgment of Satan, several remarkable shadows of the Messiah to come, and references to the Angelic Conflict.” Obviously, the idea that someone would consciously think those things and write the book of Genesis is ridiculous—unless that person knew the end from the beginning. However, someone (or, several men), somehow, wrote a book with all of the major themes of the Bible in it—sin, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, sanctification, and the Christ to come, Who is these things to us—and all of these themes are explained and developed over the next 3000 years. There are ties in the book of Genesis to almost every book of the Bible, Old and New Testaments; it is the perfect first book, and yet, when it was written, these other books did not exist. No other book of the Bible contains so much by way of introduction. If the Bible is the Word of God, God-breathed, and, at the same time, the word of man, then this makes sense. The Divine Author, God the Holy Spirit, knows the end from the beginning, so He knows what the first book of the Bible should contain.

A critic may say, without any real knowledge, that maybe someone just wrote the Bible down all at once, and in this way, we have a beginning and an end. Historically, this just does not hold water. The Jews, since the inception of Holy Writ, have held to a progressively produced Word of God, which writing stopped in 400 b.c., which writing was translated then into Greek circa 200 b.c., which translation was then used by the Apostles and by Jesus. The Old Testament was not a collection of all Jewish writings; there was the Mishna, the Talmud and the Apocrypha, none of which was ever given the same standing as the Old Testament (that is, these other writings were not ever seen by the Jews as the Word of God).

The Old Testament is a complete unit in itself, albeit unfulfilled; and the Jews, over thousands of years, have preserved the Old Testament by itself up until this day. Furthermore, they compiled historical writings substantiating that it is a separate literary unit from the New Testament). So, even if one held to the goofier and unsubstantiated theories of the unlearned (like the JPED theory of authorship or the idea that, in some way, all the Old Testament was composed at the same time), it is still remarkable that Genesis has within it the seeds of every important doctrine, which doctrines are fulfilled completely in the New Testament. The weirdest theories do not cancel out how remarkable it is that Genesis is what it is. If you understand that the Bible is the Word of God and that it is inspired by God, then all of this makes perfect sense. If you hold to the view that the Bible is just a collection of religious writings with a questionable history and authorship, then the idea of a very first book containing the seeds of almost every major theological concept and the perfect coalescence between the Old and New Testaments is beyond remarkable. It is supernatural.

Progressive Revelation

This leads us to the doctrines of progressive revelation and inspiration.

Progressive revelation: the Bible tells us everything we need to know about God; however, the Bible does not tell us everything that we need to know about God in the first chapter of Genesis. When we compare what God reveals of Himself, first in this verse, then in another, we eventually get a complete picture of Him (as complete as God wants us to have). God reveals enough of Himself and enough of the doctrines that we need in each period of time (in each dispensation).

Under progressive revelation, the book of Genesis introduces us to almost every single major doctrine and topic that God wants us to know. For instance, the concept of the Trinity is introduced in the very first chapter of Genesis, although this is not a doctrine which comes to fruition until we reach the New Testament, written 1500–3000 years later).

Revelation means that God has revealed Himself to man. This is the basis for the Bible. However, there are people today (and in the past 2000 years) who claim to have direct revelation from God. Mohammed was one of these men, and the result was Islam, which is a particularly violent and vile religion (and Mohammed himself was a violent man). Joseph Smith told others that he received direct revelation from God (if memory serves, he wore some special glasses which allowed him to read and translate the text of books written in reformed Egyptian, and his translation just happened to be in King James English rather than in the English which people spoke in those days). The end result was Mormonism, which teaches a host of false doctrines (e.g., salvation requires works, children are born without sin, and that the members of the Trinity are all physical beings as we are). However, the Bible claims that it is the final revelation: I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book (Rev. 22:18–19). So, there is the first book of the Bible and the last book, and we are not to add anything to these books of the Bible. That means, there will be no more new divine revelation. The more that you know about the Bible, the more clear it is that, new revelation is not required.

When people claim today to have revelation from God, in some form or another, there are two results: (1) their revelation adds absolutely nothing to the existing Word of God, the Bible. For instance, there are charlatans and self-deluded people who claim to speak in tongues and others who claim to be able to interpret what is said in tongues. Most of the time, when an interpreter of tongues speaks (which rarely happens when tongues are spoken), he says nothing new, so why bother? If someone starts speaking in tongues and then someone else stands up and interprets this, saying, for instance, the first few verses of Psalm 2, why not just go to Psalm 2 and read and exegete these verses? (2) What occurs most of the time is, those who claim to have direct revelation from God since the completion of the Bible (circa 96 a.d.), often introduce a whole host of doctrines which contradict the Bible, and the end result is, they form some sort of a cultic religion. They never come up with a set of doctrines which complete or complement orthodox Christianity. The two examples which I have given—Mormonism and Islam—neither complements nor completes orthodox Christianity, but are filled with doctrines in opposition to the Christian faith. Inevitably, these new doctrines will involve salvation by works. Mormonism or Islam may capture a few sheep here and there, but there will never be this great unification of, say, Islam and Christianity, where Christians en masse examine Islam and say, “Oh, now we understand and see the light. We are now going to hang with you guys.” When new and different revelation is alleged, those who allege this revelation and those who believe it move further away from Christianity rather than closer to it.


On occasion, prior to the entire Bible being written, God contacted man directly, either through dreams, by means of another man who acts as an intermediary, or as a theophany (God coming to man and revealing Himself in some way, e.g. presenting Himself as a burning bush). Once the Bible was completed, there was no reason for God to contact us in these same ways. The Bible was designed to be our contact with God. We do not need a bolt of lightning to strike us on the left shoulder in order to guide us to make a left turn at the stoplight ahead. The Bible is designed not only reveal to us why we are here, what our life is all about and Who God is, but to guide us day-by-day as well.

That God communicates to man by His Word is a part of the doctrine we know as inspiration. The term inspiration comes from the King James translation of 2Tim. 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. However, the word which is found there is God-breathed, so that this verse ought to read: All scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. I will cover the correct understanding of what it means for the Bible to be God-breathed, or the inspired Word of God; however, first let’s examine the false approaches to inspiration:

There are a lot of false views of inspiration, some of which are found below:

False Doctrines of Inspiration



The Bible becomes the Word of God

The Bible, in whatever form, is not the Word of God. However, there are times when we are reading or studying the Bible when portions of it become the Word of God to us. That is, inspiration is an occasional and subjective experience.

The Bible contains the Word of God

God did speak to man, but the entire Bible is not God’s Word. For instance, the 10 Commandments or the words of Jesus are the words of God, but some other things which are presented are not. Some teach that the Bible needs to be demythologized; that is, we need to throw out certain sections which are myths and legends, but keep other parts. For instance, Jesus teaching the Sermon on the Mount might be seen as accurate, and true and inspired; but Jesus feeding 5000 people with a basket of a couple fish and bread could not have happened.

The Bible is inspired like great literature is inspired.

There are a variety of books which have been written which inspire us as human beings, as this view simply suggests that is all that the Bible is.

The dictation theory

God dictated the Word of God to man. The problem here is, each book of the Bible has its own style and its own vocabulary. There are portions of the Bible which are clearly dictated to man; but the bulk of Scripture is not.

Under the first two systems, man is the ultimate authority, not the Bible. The third system means that the Bible is just like any other great work of literature. The fourth theory means that man was just a secretary. With regards to this 4th theory, there are portions of the Bible where this was true, and, in most cases, this is clearly noted by the author. For instance, Moses in the book of Exodus clearly distinguishes between what is happening historically (which he records) and what God says to him, which he records word for word. However, what should be clear to anyone with a superficial knowledge of Scripture, is that the writing styles of Moses, David, John and Paul are dramatically different. That would make the dictation theory, like the other 3, a false theory.

Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Verbal Plenary Inspiration means that God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture that, without waiving their intelligence, their individuality, their personal feelings, their literary style, or any other human factor of expression, His complete and coherent message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture (in the autographs), the very words bearing the Authority of Divine Authorship. Paul tells Timothy that the Bible is God-breathed (2Tim. 3:16). Because the Bible is inspired, God speaks to man through and in His Word.

Let’s examine the definition of inspiration and examine it phrase by phrase:

Verbal Plenary Inspiration

(the Accurate Understanding of Biblical Authorship)


Explanation of the Definition

God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture...

There is a human author and a divine Author of each book of the Bible. The Holy Spirit guided or directed the human author, but did not dictate Scripture to the human author.

...that, without waiving their intelligence, their individuality, their personal feelings, their literary style, or any other human factor of expression,...

Writers of Scripture did not turn into human secretaries nor did their minds go blank, and God filled their minds with His Words. All that the human authors possessed with regards to their literary skills (or lack thereof) was maintained. Their intelligence, their individual personalities, their personal feelings, their literary style, their vocabulary, their use of common literary devices were all retained and used in the writing of Scripture.

...His complete and coherent message to mankind was recorded...

All that we need to know in this life about God, Jesus Christ and our place in the world is found in the Bible. This message makes sense. God reveals Himself in His Word; He does not obscure divine truth.

...with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture (in the autographs),...

What God wanted to say is found written with exactly the way He wanted it to be written. The autographs are either the original writings or an exact copy of the original writings. As first written down, these are the words of God.

...the very words bearing the Authority of Divine Authorship.

Even though the Bible was written by man, subject to each man’s style of writing and his thinking at the time of writing, it is, at the same time, the Word of God. Just as Jesus is the Living Word of God, fully God and fully man (John 1:1–14), so the Bible is fully God-breathed and, at the same time, a product of man (as more than just a secretary).

We know this first: that no prophecy [divine utterance; i.e., the Words of the Bible] of Scripture came into being from someone’s personal application [interpretation or explanation of things]. For prophecy [divine utterance] was not carried along at any time by the will of [any] man, but set-apart men of God spoke being carried by [God] the Holy Spirit (2Peter 1:20–21).

All Scripture is God-breathed, and is beneficial [in the following areas]: for [the teaching of] doctrine, for testing, for correction [of error], for instruction [training and education] in integrity [righteousness and justice], so that the man of God may be prepared, thoroughly furnished [equipped] to every good [of divine quality] work (2Tim. 3:16–17).

Scripture is unable to be undone [annulled, declared unlawful, destroyed or subverted] (John 10:35b).

Every word of God is pure [refined, free from impurities]; It is a shield [protection] to those who take refuge in it. Do not add to His words, or He will correct you, and you will be shown to be a liar (Prov. 30:5–6).

And Jesus answered him, saying, “It stands written, Man will not live [be sustained] only by food, but [he will be sustained] by every word of God.” (Luke 4:4; Deut. 8:3).

To the contrary, we renounce any personal [and secret] agenda of shame [or disgrace], not habitually living our lives by means of specious [or false] wisdom; nor do we corrupt [dilute or adulterate] the Word of God, but rather, we exhibit [or manifest] the Truth, uniting ourselves face to face with every man’s conscience before God (2Cor. 4:2).

We continually thank God that, when you received the Word of hearing, [the Word] of God, you welcomed it as the Word of God, not as a word of men, because it is truly the Word of God, which also effectually works in you who believe (1Thess. 2:13).

For the Word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of the soul and spirit, as well as the joints and marrow, and is able to [accurately] judge [and evaluate] the thoughts and intents of the heart [i.e., our thinking] (Heb. 4:12).

Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

The Inspiration of Scripture is one of the more fascinating topics to me, and I have explored this topic at great length at:

Authorship of the Book of Genesis

There are several views on who actually wrote the book of Genesis. What appear to be the most popular view is, the book of Genesis existed in oral form, being passed down from generation to generation, as well as added to in each generation, and that Moses finally put these things in writing. Who the human author or authors of the book of Genesis is an interesting discussion, so let me give the basic theories below:

The authorship of Genesis is questioned, since it is one of the two oldest books of the Bible (Job is the other ancient book).

Opinions as to the Author of Genesis




Most attribute this book to Moses, which he wrote down as a result of getting this from the oral tradition. That is, men throughout the centuries kept repeating these specific events, sometimes adding to this history, and Moses finally committed them to writing. Although the Bible indicates that Moses is the author of the next 4 books of the Bible, the authorship of Genesis is never specifically attributed to him.

A group effort

There is a weird theory out there which is taught in many seminaries, that there were several groups of people involved in the writing of the books of Moses: one guy who used the name Jehovah a lot; and another who used the name God (that is, Elohim) a lot. A group of men later took the writings of these two men and wove them together. Then a priest, many years later, edited the final version. Somehow, in this, there was another writer who apparently wrote Deuteronomy. I may have some of these details wrong, but the general notion is the same: this first 5 books of the Bible were a team effort, written over a period of several hundred years. The foundation for this approach is, certain Biblical scholars decided that writing did not exist during the time of Moses; therefore, there must be someone who wrote these things down later. Even though the basis for this theory has been shown by archeology to be false, the theory continues. I call this the JEPD theory. Essentially, this theory says that many of the statements in the Mosaic Law are just outright lies or stuff that someone just made up. It is unequivocally a false theory.

Someone else

Someone else wrote Genesis and Moses copied it down, doing some editing.

Several successive authors

This is my theory: I believe that several men recorded the history found in the book of Genesis. This was passed down either orally and/or in writing (although men could clearly write during the time of Moses—Ex. 17:14 34:1, 27—we do not know at which point men developed a written language. I think that there is a formula in Genesis, that when you see the phrase and these are the generations of, you are looking at a new author. I base my theory entirely on internal evidence and on how personal some verses are (for instance, Gen. 29:20 describes how Jacob felt in working for Rachel’s father in order to marry her: So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her). This is very personal and subjective, and words we would expect Jacob to write, but not words we would ascribe to any later author. This means that there could have been as many as 10 authors of the book of Genesis, some of them writing as little as a chapter or two. The primary reason that this approach is not considered by many is, we do not know when man decided to begin writing things down. As already mentioned, for a long time, some archeologists believed that Moses was incapable of writing because they could find no other writings from that time period or before (archeology has since shown that writing pre-dated Moses).

Apart from the JEPD theory under a group effort, a false theory, Christians can certainly disagree as to the authorship of Genesis without breaking fellowship with one another.

I think that if we are alert in examining the book of Genesis, we are going to come across passages which imply that man had a written language (for instance, we may come across a treaty or a binding agreement).

This authorship of Genesis is discussed in Deut. 1 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). When God told Moses, this is where you Jews are going to go and settle, he knew Footnote this general area already. He had studied it as a young man and he knew it from the study of the book of Genesis. We don’t know when he encountered the book of Genesis. I would suggest that it was in the library of the pharaoh, and Moses picked it up to read; and he was probably exposed to it during the 40 years when Moses was not in Egypt.


There are a number of theories concerning the authorship of Genesis, most of them centering upon Moses being the author. I do not believe that the personal nature of those passages would suggest a Mosaic authorship; or an authorship of anyone other than the people of the book of Genesis. Furthermore, there are dramatic changes of style in the book of Genesis—Gen. 24 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD) stands out in particular to me—which would preclude the idea that God dictated the book of Genesis to Moses (or that Moses took some materials, gathered them together, and edited it into the book of Genesis). The difference of styles is just far too stark to suggest any sort of common authorship. However, it is certainly possible that Moses edited the book of Genesis, allowing previous historians the bulk of their contributions to remain intact.

Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

When first writing Footnote about Genesis 39, I posited the authorship chart below:

The Original Authors of Genesis

Portion of Genesis

Original Author

Gen. 1–4


Gen. 5–9

Noah (except for the last couple verses)

Gen. 10–23

Abraham (much of Gen. 10 & 11 came from historical records)

Gen. 24–26


Gen. 27–35


Gen. 36

Esau, or from records provided by Esau

Gen. 37

Reuben (possibly Judah)

Gen. 38


Gen. 39–50

Joseph (except for the final couple verses)

Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Interestingly enough, I came across a very similar chart in Answers in Genesis) Footnote

Breakdown of the toledoth sections from Genesis 1–11

Original Authorship Chart for Genesis

by Dr. Terry Mortenson and Bodie Hodge



Probable author of original work from which Moses drew

Genesis 1:1

Genesis 2:4a

Adam by direct divine revelation, so not connected with Adam's name

Genesis 2:4b

Genesis 5:1a


Genesis 5:1b

Genesis 6:9a


Genesis 6:9b

Genesis 10:1

Shem, Ham, and Japheth

Genesis 10:2

Genesis 11:10a


Genesis 11:10b

Genesis 11:27a


Genesis 11:27b

Genesis 25:12a


Genesis 25:12b

Genesis 25:19a


Genesis 25:19b

Genesis 36:1a


Genesis 36:1b

Genesis 36:9a


Genesis 36:9b

Genesis 37:2


Genesis 37:2b

Genesis 50:26


1 The record of Esau's descendants contains a toledoth before and after it, which is problematic for either view of the connection of the toledoth to the text. Perhaps it signifies that the account of Esau (Genesis 36:1-9) was inserted into the account written by Jacob (Genesis 25:19-37:2), since Jacob (not Esau) was the son of promise in the Messianic line from Adam.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

There have been, apparently, over many decades, a number of people who have come to this conclusion.

In 1936, P.J. Wiseman wrote a book entitled New Discoveries About Genesis. Wiseman seems to have found the key that unlocks the details of authorship of Genesis. His thesis is that there are several internal clues in Genesis that reveals how it was written; and that the actual authors of Genesis were Adam, Noah, the sons of Noah, Shem, Ishamel, Isaac, Esau, Jacob and Joseph; That the authors other than Joseph, probably wrote in cuneiform on clay tablets; and that Moses, utilizing these records, with the "wisdom of the Egyptians" that he learned in Egypt, was the redactor or EDITOR OF GENESIS RATHER THAN ITS AUTHOR!

Wiseman says that every time we see the phrase "This is the book of the generations of...", that the NAME in that phrase is most likely the AUTHOR AS WELL!

Wiseman by internal evidence suggests that Genesis was written on a series of clay tablets as follows:

Wiseman's Assessment of the Book of Genesis

Genesis 1:1-2:4

Origins of Heaven and Earth. No author is given. Wiseman suggests that it was God himself, who wrote as he wrote the Ten Commandments, on clay tablets. According to the Text it was written after creation itself, then he must of taught Adam to write. Garrett's explanation is more feasible looking at the historical evidence.

Gen. 2:5-5:2

Tablet written by or belonging to Adam

Gen. 5:3-6:9a

Tablet written or belonging to Noah

Gen. 6:9b-10:1

Tablet written by or belonging to the sons of Noah

Gen. 10:2-11:10a

Tablet written by or belonging to Shem


Tablet written by or belonging to Terah

Gen. 11:27b-25:19a

Tablet written by or belonging to Isaac and Ishmael

Gen. 25:19b-37:2 a

Tablet written by or belonging to Esau and Jacob

Gen. 37b

It is significant that the last colophon (meaning the phrase "generations") is at Genesis 37:2a. From Genesis 1 to 11, the Mesopotamian setting and local color are obvious. From Genesis 12-37a, that influence persists. However, from Genesis 37b to the end, the setting and local color change dramatically. We are now in Egypt. This section has a strong Egyptian flavor and was probably written by Joseph on Papyrus or leather; hence without colophons (colophons are only associated with clay tablets).

This chart is from: accessed January 14, 2013.

So, interestingly enough, over at least the past few decades, more people have been considering the idea that Moses did not write Genesis. It is very possible that Moses learned the books of Genesis and Job from memory and simply wrote them down (or they may have existed in written form in his day).

The Patriarchs, Not Moses, Wrote Genesis

Let’s take a brief look at the verse Gen. 19:38:

Gen 19:38 The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

The final sentence is a gloss (that is, added to the text after the original text was recorded). Since we are so far removed from the time period that this was written, we can only speculate as to when these things were added. Did Moses write these things down while in the desert? What sorts of documents did he have? Did he essentially have the book of Genesis in his possession? Did he have several manuscripts that he combined to make the book of Genesis already? We don’t know. But, phrases like this indicate that, at least 100 years later, these additional words were written and added. Someone had to tell us that here is the origin of the Ammonite people today. Whether they were added to the text or whether this represents the text written in the first draft, I don’t know. As I have already said, I believe that the book of Genesis, and probably the book of Job, were passed along verbally for many years. Quite obviously, if you have the ability to remember something, then you do not need to write it down.

Before we carefully examine the authorship of Genesis, let me give you the false theories: (1) Moses wrote the book of Genesis or (2) 4 person or groups of people were involved in the authorship of the Pentateuch.

False Theories About the Authorship of Genesis

Moses is the Author:

From the NIV Study Bible: Historically, Jews and Christians alike have held that Moses was the author/compiler of the first five books of the OT.1

The Open Bible writes: Although Genesis does not directly name its author, and although Genesis ends some three centuries before Moses was born, the whole of Scripture and church history are unified in their adherence to the Mosaic authorship of Genesis...The early church openly held to the Mosaic authorship, as does the first-century Jewish historian Josephus. As would be expected, the Jerusalem Talmud supports Moses as author.2

The NASB: No man can claim to know with absolute assurance who wrote the Book of Genesis. Since Genesis is a necessary foundation for Exodus to Deuteronomy, and since the available evidence indicates that Moses wrote these four books, Moses is likely the author of Genesis itself. The New Testament evidence points in the same direction (cf. Especially John 5:46, 47 Luke 16:31 24:44).3

The Pentateuch is a Compilation of Authors:

Liberal theologians, for the most part, came up with the idea that there are 4 influences on the final compilation of the Pentateuch: the Yawehist (J), who wrote the portions which primarily name God with the name Jehovah/Yaweh; the Elohimist (E), who usually speaks of God using the title Elohim; the Deuteronomist (D), who composed most of the book of Deuteronomy; and the Priest (s) (P) who wrote portions which favor the Levitical priesthood. Various editors in years to follow (R, for Redactor), intertwined these texts. This is called Documentary Hypothesis or the JEPD (JEDP) theory. The idea that there were several documents which were later woven together (long after the time of Moses) is a theory which is presented by scholars and intellectuals and is taught in many of our seminaries. Even the original source material is said to have been written long after the events actually occurred.

This theory contradicts common sense, what the Bible says about itself, and what Jesus says about the Mosaic authorship. So, if you hold to this theory (if you have heard about it before), many scholars will agree with you, but Jesus does not.

I do not want to spend any serious time with a false theory of authorship, but if you believe this, or if you are intrigued by this notion, let me recommend Josh McDowell, More Evidence That Demands a Verdict, ©1975 by Campus Crusade for Christ, pp. 117–292. I am quite sure that this has been reprinted in other compilations which McDowell has put together more recently. McDowell very methodically destroys this false view of authorship.

1 The NIV Study Bible; ©1995 by The Zondervan Corporation; p. 2.

2 The Open Bible; the New Living Translation; Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN; ©1996, p. 1.

3 New American Standard Bible, Study Edition; A. J. Holman Company, ©1975 by The Lockman Foundation, p. 2.

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It probably would not hurt if I quoted a better source on the false JEPD theory.

Theopedia on the JEDP Theory of Authorship

The JEDP theory seeks to understand the authorship of the Pentateuch in light of the Documentary Hypothesis. This view believes that the Pentateuch represents the conflation of four different sources rather than the work of primarily one author, traditionally Moses. The results of Source Criticism first proposed two authors (or sources) for the Pentateuch supposedly distinguishable by the use of the terms Yahweh and Elohim. Two additional sources were later proposed as P for Priestly, and D for Deuteronomic resulting in the JEDP theory of authorship, most notably associated with German scholar Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918).

JEDP are initials representing the four hypothetical sources as follows:


       Jawist (or Yahwist, from Yahweh) - describes God as Yahweh, starting in Gen 2:4, it includes much of Genesis and parts of Exodus and Numbers. It is dated around 850 B.C.

       Elohist (from Elohim) - primarily describes God as El or Elohim. Starting with Gen 15, it covers material similar to "J". It is dated around 750 B.C. (J and E are said to be difficult to distinguish).

       Deuteronomy - a different source (or author) is associated with Deuteronomy alone, and is usually dated around 621 B.C.

       Priestly - this encompasses writings scattered from Gen 1 through the notice of Moses' death at the end of Deuteronomy. It is supposedly dated around 500 B.C.

Traditionally, Moses is viewed as the author of the Pentateuch, and this has caused proponents of the JEDP theory to question: what role did Moses play? Some have suggested that his role was minimal, with the majority of the Pentateuch having been written after his death. On the other hand, it has been put forth that Moses developed the core of the Pentateuch, or in other words, the basis for which all other material would follow. There are examples in the Pentateuch of other known sources, for instance, "the Book of the Wars of the LORD" (Num 21:14) that may have been used. So although a different writing style or varying language-use may be found, scholars still believe that Moses composed the more essential and theological portions of the Pentateuch.

From accessed January 16, 2013.

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After writing most of this lesson, I did an internet search on what people seem to believe today on the authorship of Genesis. Much to my pleasant surprise, many people have taken the view that Genesis was originally written by several authors, and that Genesis pretty much existed in its completed form by the time of Moses or that Moses may possibly have been the final editor of these documents.

Who Wrote Genesis—from the Internet


Abbreviated Opinion of Website on Authorship of Genesis

Answers in Genesis

They dismantle the JEDP theory, and they take a position sort of halfway between the Mosaic authorship of Genesis and multiple historical authors of Genesis. I have a chart listing the possible authors of the book of Genesis (which would have been written in the mid to late 1990's). There is a very similar chart on this page.

Biblical Hermeneutics

This is a mishmash of ideas and opinions, not necessarily from scholars, but some from people who just had a thought and decided to share it (like the guy who thinks Genesis was written during the exile). However, on this page we have the interesting thought P.J. Wiseman posits the theory that the 'toledoth' indicates authors who were eyewitnesses to the events mentioned in Genesis. This is based on the pattern of writing found on ancient Babylonian tablets predating Abraham where the word translated 'generations of' is used to indicate the ownership or authorship of the clay tablet. Footnote This is essentially what I believe, but with some modifications.

Lay evangelism

Teaches that Moses is the author of Genesis.

Russell Grigg

Documentary Hypothesis is false; Moses probably compiled the book of Genesis from existing records. This short piece covers the JEPD theory in more depth than I do; and his opinion of the possible Mosaic authorship of Genesis is not far from mine (I certainly allow for the possibility that Moses compiled Genesis from existing documents; however, I lean more towards Genesis to already existing in completed form by the time Moses comes along).

Dr. David Livingston

Moses wrote the book of Genesis, possibly from a direct dictation from God on Mount Sinai.

Peter Salemi

Salemi appears to build upon the 1936 work of P. J. Wiseman, which attributes authorship of Genesis to several eyewitnesses.

Don Stewart

Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, with some slight wiggle room when it comes to Genesis.


As one would expect, the weirdest and most liberal theories of the authorship of Genesis are offered up, almost uncritically. The day that I checked, Footnote Mosaic authorship or the toledoth theory were not even mentioned. This being Wikipedia, that could change tomorrow.

Hundreds of articles can be found on this subject. These are just a representative few.

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I am of the opinion that the original narratives were written (or, more likely, memorized) by the people who experienced them. For many years, I thought was mostly alone in this theory, but the internet has revealed a number of people who believe roughly the same thing. What I have not seen is the theory proven from the Scriptures.

Moses is clearly called the author of the books of the Pentateuch other than Genesis. Moses is called the author of the book of the Law of Moses in Joshua 8:31 2Kings 14:6. Moses is called the author of Leviticus in Ezra 6:18. The Old Testament is referred to as Moses and the Prophets in Luke 16:29, 31 and as the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms in Luke 24:44. Jesus told His audience that they do not really believe Moses’ writings because they do not believe Jesus’ words (John 5:45–47). Furthermore, Moses is called by Jesus the author of Exodus (Mark 7:10 12:26 John 6:32), the author of Leviticus (Matt. 8:4 Mark 1:44 Luke 2:22 5:14), the author of Numbers (John 3:14) and the author of Deuteronomy (Matt. 19:7–8 22:24 Mark 7:10 12:19)—or, at the very least, his authorship is clearly implied in these passages (in each of those passages, a quote from that book is attributed to Moses).

Interestingly enough, Jesus spoke on several occasions about marriage, and referred back to Adam and Eve, but did not reference Moses as the author on those occasions. In fact, this is how it went down:

Matt. 19:3 (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible) And the Pharisees came near to Him, tempting Him, and saying to Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every reason?

As occurred on many occasions, the pharisees came to our Lord and attempted to trap Him. The idea was to put Him into a theological hole from which he could not dig Himself.

Matt. 19:4 But answering, He said to them, Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning "created them male and female"?

Jesus quotes from Gen. 1:27, but does not cite Moses as the author.

Matt. 19:5 And He said, "For this reason a man shall leave father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

Jesus cites Gen. 2:24, and the reference is to God speaking. Moses could be called the author here by our Lord, but he is not.

Matt. 19:6 So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.

God, not Moses, speaks of a husband being joined soulishly and physically, and what God has joined, man is not to separate with divorce laws.

Matt. 19:7 They said to Him, Why then did Moses command to "give a bill of divorce," "and to put her away"?

Here the pharisees quote Deut. 24:1 and attribute this to Moses (which is proper, as Moses was teaching).

Matt. 19:8 He said to them, In view of your hardheartedness, Moses allowed you to put away your wives. But from the beginning it was not so.

Jesus agrees that Moses said this, but that was not God’s original intention, for men and women to marry and divorce. This is well and proper, to say that Moses said this, because Deuteronomy is Moses speaking in several sermons to the generation of promise.

Matt. 19:9 And I say to you, Whoever shall put away his wife, if not for fornication, and shall marry another, that one commits adultery. And the one who marries her who was put away commits adultery.

And Jesus has given the only reason to allow a divorce by Moses: fornication.

So, you notice in this passage that Jesus very carefully attributes to some portions of the Pentateuch to Moses, but not that which came out of Genesis.

We have a similarly parsing of authorship in John 7:19–24:

John 7:19 [Jesus is speaking] “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet not one of you does the Law? Why do you desire to kill Me?”

The Law, which begins in Exodus and is concluded in Deuteronomy, is given to the Jews by Moses. God spoke the Law to him (which Moses very carefully isolates from his own writing of narrative in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers); but Deuteronomy is several sermons by Moses to the people of Israel in the final days outside the Land of Promise.

John 7:20 [Some in] the crowd answered and said, “You have a demon [that is, you are nuts]. Who seeks to kill You?”

People in the crowd are making fun of Jesus here. They claim that Jesus must have a demon to make Him think that they want to kill Him (despite the fact that this was in their hearts).

John 7:21 Jesus answered, saying to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel [at it].

Jesus healed on the Sabbath. They could not stop talking about it and trying to determine if it violated the Sabbath.

John 7:22 Because of this, Moses has given you circumcision; (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers); and on a Sabbath, you circumcise a man.

They circumcise on the Sabbath, and they do not consider that a work. But notice how carefully Jesus speaks of Moses—circumcision is not of Moses but it is of the fathers. The fathers (also called the patriarchs) are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and perhaps Jacob’s sons). So, circumcision did not originally come from Moses, but from the fathers. If you will recall when we studied circumcision, God told Abraham to be circumcised, along with all of his household prior to the conception of Isaac. Later, God told Abraham to circumcise Isaac. So, if you want to be a stickler, this came from God, and not from man. However, Jesus tells them “Not that circumcision is of Moses, but it is of the fathers.” So we are referring not that God told Abraham to be circumcised but that this was recorded (in some fashion) by the fathers originally (and not by Moses). My contention is, this was recorded in their memory and passed down.

So there is no misunderstanding this point, Jesus could have said, “Not that circumcision is of Moses; it came from God” (or, “It was given to Abraham by God”). Jesus says, instead, “It is of the fathers;” who are the patriarchs. So He refers here back to authorship not to the ultimate source (the same is true many times when Moses is cited, even when Moses is quoting the Revealed Lord). In other words, Jesus is attributing the recording of the tradition of circumcision to the patriarchs.

John 7:23 If a man receives circumcision on a Sabbath, that the Law of Moses is not broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man whole and healthy on a Sabbath?”

Note the reference to the Law of Moses; Moses wrote down the Law as given to him by God, but the Law was commonly called the Law of Moses because he wrote it down and taught it to the Jews. So, again, we are not speaking of the ultimate origin, Who is God, but to the one who recorded this information—the patriarchs and not Moses in v. 22 and Moses in v. 23. Jesus did not have to speak so carefully if Moses wrote Genesis, even if God simply dictated Genesis to Moses (as God dictated much of the middle Pentateuch books to Moses). But if Moses was not the original author of Genesis, then Jesus could not attribute the recording of the first circumcision to Moses.

I realize that this is splitting hairs, but in two situations, where Jesus could have easily spoken of Moses as the source for the information in Genesis, He clearly did not. However, elsewhere, where God dictated portions of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers to Moses, Jesus still referred to the human author, Moses as the source. The One carefully splitting hairs is, in truth, the Lord.

Similarly the Apostles referred to Moses as author of the Law (Acts 13:39 15:5 28:23 1Cor. 9:9 Heb. 9:19 10:28), of Exodus (Rom. 9:15—where God is said to have spoken to Moses 2Cor. 3:13–15), of Leviticus (Rom. 10:5 Heb. 9:19), of Deuteronomy (Acts 3:22 7:37 Rom. 10:19 1Cor. 9:9 Heb. 10:28 12:21); and Moses is associated with the book of Numbers in Heb. 3:2, 5. However, when given the chance to call him the author of Genesis, the Apostles did not in Acts 3:25 7:1–16 Rom. 4:1–3, 9–23 9:6–12 Footnote 1Cor. 6:16 Gal. 3:5–9, 15–18 4:22–26 Eph. 5:31 Heb. 6:13–15 7:1–6 11:8–21 James 2:21–23 1Peter 3:5–6. Footnote In most of those passages, a direct reference to Genesis often reads something along the lines of: And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham: "All the nations will be blessed" "in you." (Gal 3:8 quoting from Gen. 12:3; Green’s literal translation). When the source for Genesis is mentioned, it is always it stands written or the Scripture says; in every instance referring back to Genesis, it is never, and Moses wrote or and Moses commanded (said).

There are two verses in Genesis that are so personal, that only the person who was there would have written these lines (actually, there are many more than just these). When Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, is speaking of working for his uncle in order to secure the hand of Rachel, the woman he loved, he had to work for 7 years. Gen. 29:20 (ESV) reads: So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. But to him, it seemed only like a day. This is written by a man who loved Rachel, not by someone who recorded this hundreds of years later from reading historical documents. This is a man who looked back, remembered how strongly he felt about her, how much he thought about her; and how every day that he worked, his mind was on Rachel. So those 7 years just zoomed by. Jacob would have said or written that; anyone coming along a few hundred years later would not.

There are incidents with Joseph, Abraham’s great grandson (and Rachel’s son) where his feelings are described when he meets his full brother Benjamin again after many years, and how he teared up to meet Benjamin (Gen. 43:16–34). These things were not written by some dispassionate historian hundreds of years later; but they were recorded by the men who actually experienced these things.

So, in my opinion, if Moses assembled or edited together the manuscripts of Genesis, he may have simply added a few extra phrases like, and Ben-Ammi became the father of the sons of Ammon today. Or, someone in a later generation, like Joseph, memorized the words of Genesis, as they were given to him, and he (or someone else) added the phrase, He is the father of the Ammonites to this day. It is possible that the books of Genesis and Job were passed along to Moses verbally—perhaps even by his mother or his sister.

One more thing: it is clear that the people of Moses, the Exodus generation, knew God and knew about God. When suffering under the slave masters of Egypt, they called out to God. This suggests some familiarity with their personal history and Abraham’s interaction with God. If you personally are in some terrible, hopeless jam, then, most likely, you are going to call out to God for help. This does not come from out of the blue; you have to have a reason that you turn toward God. You might say, “Well, I’m saved and the Bible says God loves me.” You have reasons, based upon what you know about the Bible, why you can turn to God for help. The Exodus generation, who were under terrible slavery to the Egyptians, called out to God for help. This had to be based upon something. They will not just call out to God without believing that He will answer if they did not know something about Him. I would suggest that the basis of their faith in God was based upon the book of Genesis. I am not saying that they knew this book well, but that they knew enough to call out to the God of Abraham (Ex. 2:23–24), with Whom they had a relationship both by faith and by birth.

Moses had great authority before the Jewish people, but this came from God’s signs and wonders done by the hand of Moses. Moses could not have written the book of Genesis prior to this and then somehow distributed it among the Jews. Time-wise, this would make no sense. They are under slavery calling upon God for His help; Moses is in the palace being trained to become the next pharaoh—how does he write these Scriptures while in training and then what does he do? Take them and give copies to all of the slaves? It just does not make any sense. The Jews looked to God for their deliverance from slavery; how do they know about their God apart from being told about Him?

In any case, Genesis (And possibly Job) would have certainly been an end to whatever oral transmission there was, because in the 4 books of the Pentateuch, Moses will be told on several occasions to write things down (Ex. 17:14 34:1, 27). This information would have to be disseminated to an entire nation.

The Name of Genesis


Jeremy Thomas: The Jews organized the OT books into three divisions. You better know this because the Lord Jesus Christ knew and recognized this division. The OT divisions are known as the Tanakh which is an acronym for the three divisions. The first division is the Torah (or Law) composed of the five books of Moses. The second division is the Navi’im (or Prophets) which is further divided into two sub-divisions; the Former Prophets and the Latter Prophets. The third division is the Kethuvim (or Writings) and is composed of eleven books and has one sub-division known as the Megilloth (or Scrolls)...These three traditional divisions (Torah, Navi’im, and Kethuvim) make up the acronym, Ta na kh. Footnote

Some General Comments on Genesis

The book of Genesis begins with the creation of the earth, which is both majestic and very matter-of-fact. There is no fight between gods, with the creation of 11 monsters in order to carry out vengeance. No god feels a terrible pain in his stomach and vomits up the sun, stars and moon. There is no huge serpent whose movement along the ground creates the valleys and the rivers. A bear and a tiger do not wish to become human. No one is shooting arrows at the two suns. Now, that is not to say that there are not striking similarities between the various creation myths and the first few chapters of Genesis, but, very few people today would point to any other creation story and suggest that it is accurate and worthy of note.

There are aspects of the Genesis account of creation and restoration that people will scoff at. For instance, there is light before there is a discernable sun; God takes a rib from Adam and from it makes Eve. These same people who scoff will believe that matter suddenly appeared (the Big Bang theory Footnote ) and that, in a mixture of some kind of goo, non-living matter became living matter, and that living matter evolved to what we see today. For instance, a fish washed up on shore, hung out on the beach for awhile, decided, hey, I like it out here; and, after millions of years, sprouted legs and a set of lungs, so that it could hang out on the beach rather than in the sea. At some point in time, one of those reptilian creatures looked at the air and said, hell, I’d like to fly too; and so, after millions of years, it sprouted wings, its body became a mass of feathers, and it flew. To the evolutionist, this makes perfect sense, because they always throw in the phrase after millions of years; because, if there is enough intervening time, anything can happen. Time is a magic wand to the evolutionist, and when you wave that magic wand, whatever you want to happen can happen. Often, it is this same evolutionist does not believe that man and animals can adapt to pollution in the air and water, but that is a whole different discussion.

In the book of Genesis, man begins in a perfect environment and man begins in a sinless state. Man is given only one way in which he may disobey God, and he chooses to disobey God, changing human history dramatically. God both judges man and offers him redemption in Gen. 3. Mankind’s redemption involves child-bearing, something which apparently was not a part of perfect environment. Having personally witnessed on film 2 or 3 births and having changed a diaper in my past, child-bearing reasonably appears to me to fall outside the concept of perfect environment.

Man’s redemption also involves the killing of an innocent animal, and it is at this point when the Bible’s subtlety becomes known. God clothes Adam and Eve with animal skins, which, quite obviously, involved the death of one or more animals (however, the Bible does not make a big deal out of this). From this point on, it will be clear that man must be redeemed by the death of an innocent; and in the Old Testament, this is illustrated with animals. The Bible tends not to clobber you over the head with its doctrines and precepts. The death of an animal is involved here, but no details are given. Later, their sons, Cain and Abel, will offer up sacrifices to God, and Cain will bring God vegetables that he has worked hard to grow and Abel will bring an animal which he kills as a sacrifice to God. Again, there is no heavy-handed approach; God respects the sacrifice of the animal but not the one of fresh produce. I mentioned progressive revelation. Adam and Eve are covered with animal skins, but no details are given beyond that. God respects the animal sacrifice of Abel, but the Bible does not say why. As we move further into the Bible, it is clear that God requires the sacrifice of an innocent lamb in order to pay for our sins, but we have to go all the way to the book of Hebrews to read, Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness [or, release from bondage] (Heb. 9:22b).

With each chapter of the Bible, we understand a little more and a little more; and finally, the idea of being redeemed by the blood of an innocent finds its fruition in the person of Jesus Christ, Who dies for our sins. The approach the Bible takes is subtle and progressive, but leading to a clear doctrine, with unmistakable clear roots.

What is amazing about Genesis is, it presents all of the seeds of the fundamentals of the faith; and that, throughout the Bible, these seeds grow until they become a full-blown doctrines. In a good novel, the first chapter sets the tone and lays the foundation for what is to come. The author of a good novel plants many seeds in the first chapter, primarily because he knows where he wants to take his novel. The same thing is true of the book of Genesis, even though the actually writing of this book is separated from the New Testament by at least 1500 years. It is as if the author of Genesis knows where all of this is going, and so he sets the foundation and the tone.

There are 3 male children which are mentioned in Genesis: Cain, Abel and Seth. Cain murders Abel, and what follows is a theme which resonates throughout the Bible: the fallen line (Cain’s) and the line of redemption (Seth’s).

There is a threadbare history which takes us to the time of Noah, who was born about 100 years after the death of Adam. Even though very little information is given about this time, man apparently genetically superior then than now, many of them living for nearly a millennium.

However, at the time of Noah, there is a corruption of mankind. Many theologians simply believe that man just became more and more degenerate until God finally decided that He needed to wipe most of mankind out. Others believe that there was an intermixing of angelic creation (the fallen angels) with man, and that, God allowed for that sort of corruption to take place. However, when all of mankind, apart from Noah and his family, became corrupted, God brought a great flood upon the earth, yet saved Noah and his family in an Ark (built by Noah) in which was a representative pairing of all the animals.

I should point out that, there are many cultures who have traditions similar ot what we find in the Bible. Many cultures have stories of half-man/half-gods living on this earth; many cultures speak of a great flood; many speak of a creation event; and many confound these events as one. This could be what is occurring in Genesis 6, but, unlike mythology, it is a very subtle approach.

Because the narrative of Genesis is sometimes fantastic, some believe these stories to be allegorical rather than factual. I am not one of those. These are elements of doctrinal information which we are to gain from our understanding of the history presented in Genesis, but there is nothing in the Bible which suggests that these stories are simply fanciful imaginings. We have a large segment of our society that looks around and concludes that this is the way things have always been. Because they have never witnessed a miracle, they categorically state that a miracle cannot be true (the very same people, who have never witnessed any event approximating evolution believe in evolution). Since they have never seen an angel or a demon, they conclude that such things cannot exist. Some will take this further to proclaim that, since no one has seen a soul, that no one really has a soul, and all that is going on in our lives and rattling around in our heads are a combination of neurons randomly firing and a variety of chemicals sloshing around in our cerebral cortex. These same naturalists have fooled themselves into thinking that man is no different from animals and that our thinking, our norms and standards, and our emotions are nothing special. These are just chemical and electrical impulses and nothing else. Such people see God as simply a creation of human thought, which, strictly speaking, does not really exist.

I believe that, through human history, there have been different environments and relationships, although man, in his essence, has always been the same (with the exception of going from a perfect state to a fallen state of being).

After the flood in Noah’s time, he and his family emerge from the Ark and begin civilization. There are several changes: God allows man to eat meat, life is shortened dramatically, and fermentation occurs.

The Bible throughout focuses on a particular line. In fact, this is a fascinating aspect of the Bible—it follows the line of Adam all the way to Jesus Christ. It is not all found in one place (apart from Luke 3), but this genealogy is found in several parts of the Bible.

The line which Genesis follows next in the book of Genesis is the line of Abram, who is later renamed Abraham. Today, he is known as the father of the Jewish race because he is the first Jew. God promises Abraham a son by his wife Sarai (later renamed Sarah). God makes additional promises to Abraham which are to be fulfilled through the line of this promised son. Abram, like all figures of the Bible, has some missteps, but he comes to age 100 and finally fathers his son Isaac by Sarah. After many years pass and this son, Isaac, grows to be a young man, and God tells Abram to sacrifice his son. This is one of the more unusual stories from the Bible because, throughout later portions of Israel’s history, they will be told to slaughter various peoples who sacrifice their own children, and here is God telling Abraham to sacrifice the son whom he loves.

Many try to pass this off as God merely just seeing how far would Abraham go in his faithfulness to Him; but it should be clear that, what we find here is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins, told 2000 of years before the fact. If this sort of thing happened once or twice, we might easily pass it off as an interesting coincidence; but over and over and over again, throughout the Old Testament, we find what are known as types which are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the antitype. A type is a person or an incident or something which stands out as being somewhat unusual—such as, God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son—and this type does not make a lot of sense until we get to the New Testament, where it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. I primarily study the Old Testament, and I find this to be a phenomenal thing. The person who studies about types becomes more and more convinced of the accuracy and the divinity of the Bible.

We follow Abraham’s line through Isaac and then to Jacob, and Jacob is a man which gives a lot of believers pause. He has a twin brother and, by all accounts, his twin brother seems to be a much better person than Jacob. Jacob is self-centered and selfish, but, he has apparently believed in Jehovah Elohim and it is not as clear about his brother Esau. So the line is continued through Jacob.

Jacob has 12 sons who make up the patriarchs (fathers) of all Israel, by 2 wives and their 2 personal assistants (maids), and, again, we are struck by the fact that these guys are not nice, kind or religious. They sell their own brother, Joseph, into slavery, simply our of jealousy, as their father played favorites.

In all of this, God has a plan. God has chosen to keep this family alive, and their land is about to go into a drought. Joseph ends up in Egypt as a slave, but rises to a position of great power, and not only saves his family from starvation, but is reunited with them, as they all move to Egypt.

The history of the Bible in general and Genesis in particular is quite incomplete. Hundreds of years will pass with barely a word; important events will be left out. God has information which is important to pass along to us, but it is not the complete history of man nor is it the complete history of Israel.


General Comments by Various Commentators

Hamilton: More than any other book in the OT, Genesis emphasizes the east (see Gen. 3:24; Gen. 4:16; Gen. 10:30; Gen. 11:2; Gen. 13:11; Gen. 25:6 [and Gen. 29:1]) as a direction of some significance. Footnote

Wenham: The ancient oriental background to Genesis 1-11 shows it to be concerned with rather different issues from those that tend to preoccupy modern readers. It is affirming the unity of God in the face of polytheism, his justice rather than his caprice, his power as opposed to his impotence, his concern for mankind rather than his exploitation. And whereas Mesopotamia clung to the wisdom of primeval man, Genesis records his sinful disobedience. Because as Christians we tend to assume these points in our theology, we often fail to recognize the striking originality of the message of Genesis 1-11 and concentrate on subsidiary points that may well be of less moment. Footnote



Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

The Themes of Genesis

Allow me to quote from The New American Standard Bible in its introduction to Genesis: Another important feature of Genesis should not be overlooked, namely, the eminently satisfactory way in which it answers our questions about origins. Man will always want to know how the world as a whole came into being. He also will want to know how man originated. Moreover, he feels rather painfully that some major disorder has come upon the world and would like to know what its nature is; in short, man must know if a basic and sure hope of redemption exists for this world and its inhabitants, what that hope is, and how it came into the possession of man. Footnote

The scope of Genesis exceeds that of any other book in the Bible. It begins with the creation of the earth and the universe, which may be several billion years ago, and takes us to the Jews in Egypt several hundred years prior to the exodus. Human history begins anywhere from 6,000 b.c. to even as far back as 10,000 b.c. Only Revelation rivals this scope by taking us from the beginning of the church age all the way to the creation of the new heavens and the new earth. It would be hard to imagine having the Bible, God's Word to us, without the inclusion of the book of Genesis.

Genesis is a book of origins or beginnings.

Genesis, the Book of Beginnings

■ The origin of the universe

■ The origin of man

■ The first sin of man

■ The first animal sacrifice

■ God's first promise to man

■ The first murder

■ The first United Nations

■ The origin of the various languages of man

■ The origin of the Jewish race

■ God's first promise to the Jewish race

Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

The book of Genesis introduces us to the great themes of the Bible. The idea that anyone could have put together a book like Genesis, with all of these fundamental themes, is quite mind-boggling.

Even the most liberal theologian if he has taken a history course knows that, no matter how you slice it, the book of Genesis was completed long before the gospels. What ought to peak your curiosity, as you go through Genesis chapter by chapter is, how did the writer of Genesis know about Jesus Christ?

Great Themes of the Bible found in Genesis

       God, the creator and provider (Gen. 1:1-2 3).

       The Trinity (Gen. 1:1, 5, 26–27):

                God the Father (Gen. 1:16).

                God the Son (the revealed member of the Trinity, the Creator). Gen. 2:4, 7 3:8

                God the Holy Spirit (the power of God). Gen. 1:2

       Sin and its results (Gen. 3:6,16-17,24 6:5-7 13:13 19:1-29).

       Categories of Sin:

                Original sin (Gen. 3:1–7).

                Sin nature (Gen. 4:4–5 5:4–5).

                Personal sin (Gen. 4:4–5, 23).

                Corporate sin (Gen.  15:17 18:20).

       The Divine institutions:

                Human volition (Gen. 2:16–17).

                Work (Gen. 2:5, 15 Gen. 3:17–19)

                Marriage (Gen. 2:18–23.

                Family (Gen. 2:24).

                Human government (Gen. 11).

       God's grace (Gen 1:28 2:18-24 4:15 37:8-28 45:1-15 50:15-21).

       Sanctification (Gen. 2:3).

       Satan (Gen. 3:1-6).

       Angels as a part of man’s existence; however, they play an ever decreasing roll in the life of man (except for the Angel of the Lord). Gen. 3:1–6 6 19:1–29 21:16–21

       God's judgement (Gen. 3:14-19 7:17-24 19:15-29).

       Redemption through the blood of an innocent sacrifice (Gen. 3:21 4:3-4 22:1-14).

       The coming Messiah (Gen. 3:15).

       The eventual fall of Satan (Gen. 3:14-15).

       God interacting with man (Gen. 3 17 50:20).

       The concept of a covenant relationship between God and His people (Gen. 6:18 9:8–17 15:18 17:1–22).

       God’s people, the Jews (Gen. 12–50).

       The other nations of the world. Gen. 11

       God's promises to the Jews (Gen. 15:4-5 17:5-8 28:13-15).

       The Angel of the Lord (a Theophany; the Revealed Member of the Trinity). This is God interacting with His creation. Gen. 16:7–14 28:12 31:11 48:16

       God offering up His only Son to be sacrificed for us (Gen. 22).

       The genealogy which will eventually lead to Jesus Christ. Gen. 5:1–32 11:10–32 46:5–27

       The rule of Judah over Israel until Shiloh comes. Gen. 49:10

In looking at my own list above, I am not sure if there are any significant doctrines which are not found in Genesis. Quite obviously, the mystery doctrines of the Church Age are not to be found, but they are not found in the Old Testament, since they are mystery doctrines.

Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Summaries and Outlines of Genesis

Genesis can be summarized in many ways, which will include the standard outline.

A Graphic Summary of Genesis (a graphic); from Reason and Hope Jesus; accessed September 16, 2017.


This gives us a good overview of what is covered in the book of Genesis.

Brief Summary of Genesis


Subject Matter

Gen. 1–2


Gen. 3–5

The Fall and the Line of Adam

Gen. 6–10

Noah and the Flood

Gen. 11

The Tower of Babel

Gen. 12–23


Gen. 24–26


Gen. 27–35


Gen. 36


Gen. 37

The Sons of Jacob

Gen. 38


Gen. 39–50


This is where most of the action takes place in these passages.

Genesis by Location



Genesis 1–12


Genesis 13–36


Genesis 37–50


Hamilton; from Dr. John Constable The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable; ©2012; from e-sword, Gen. 11:27-50:26.

Chapter Outline

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Another way to divide up these chapters:

Genesis by the Form of Generation



Genesis 1–2


Genesis 3–11


Genesis 12–50


Hamilton; from Dr. John Constable The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable; ©2012; from e-sword, Gen. 11:27-50:26.

Chapter Outline

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Bible Summary Summarizes Each Chapter of Genesis in 140 Characters or Less




God created the heavens, the earth and everything that lives. He made humankind in his image, and gave them charge over the earth.


God formed a man and gave him the garden in Eden, except the tree of good and evil. Adam was alone so God made a woman as his partner.


The serpent deceived the woman. She and Adam ate from the tree. The ground was cursed, and God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden.


Eve's sons made offerings to the LORD. Only Abel's was acceptable, so Cain killed him. Abel's blood cried out and God sent Cain away.


Adam's line was: Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. Noah's sons were Shem, Ham and Japheth.


Humankind corrupted the earth with evil. God decided to destroy them. He told Noah to build an ark to be saved from the flood.


Noah and his family went into the ark with two of each creature. It rained for forty days and forty nights and the earth was covered.


The flood abated. Noah sent out a raven and two doves. When the earth was dry God called them all out of the ark. Noah built an altar.


God blessed Noah and set the rainbow as a sign that he would never flood the earth again. Noah got drunk and cursed Ham's son Canaan.


Japheth's line lived in the coastlands; Ham's included Nimrod and the Canaanites; Shem's lived in the East. These formed the nations.


They began building a great tower for themselves, but the Lord confused their language. Shem's line included Abram who married Sarai.


God told Abram, "Go, I will make you a great nation. You will be a blessing." In Egypt Abram lied about Sarai and Pharaoh was cursed.


Abram journeyed with his nephew Lot. Their servants argued, so Lot went to Sodom, Abram to Canaan. The LORD promised Abram the land.


The kings went to war and took Lot captive. Abram rescued Lot. Melchizedek blessed Abram and Abram gave him a tenth of everything.


The Lord promised Abram an heir and many descendants. Abram believed. He was told that they would be enslaved but would then return.


Sarai told Abram to have children with Hagar. Hagar conceived, then ran away, but an angel sent her back. Hagar's son was Ishmael.


God made a covenant with Abram and renamed him Abraham. He renamed Sarai Sarah and promised them a son. The men were circumcised.


Three visitors came and said that Sarah would have a son next year. Sodom was very evil; Abraham pleaded with the LORD for the city.


Angels took Lot out of Sodom. The city was destroyed by fire and Lot's wife was turned to salt. His daughters had children for him.


In Gerar Abraham said, "Sarah is my sister." King Abimelech took her but God warned him in a dream. He restored Sarah to Abraham.


As promised, Sarah had a son: Isaac. She had Hagar and Ishmael sent away but God preserved them. Abraham and Abimelech made a treaty.


God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. As Abraham obeyed, an angel stopped him. The LORD provided a ram instead and blessed Abraham.


Sarah died in Kiriath-arba. Abraham asked the Hittites for a burial site. He bought a cave from Ephron and buried Sarah there.


Abraham's servant went to Nahor to find a wife for Isaac. He met Rebekah by the well. She went back with him and married Isaac.


Abraham died and was buried with Sarah. Isaac and Rebekah had twins: Esau and Jacob. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal.


In Gerar Isaac lied about Rebekah. He grew so rich that Abimelech sent him away. He dug wells, and at Beersheba the LORD blessed him.


Rebekah and Jacob tricked Isaac into giving Jacob his blessing. Esau vowed revenge so Rebekah told Jacob to go to her brother Laban.


Isaac sent Jacob to marry one of Laban's daughters. On the way Jacob dreamed of a ladder reaching to heaven and the LORD blessed him.


Jacob worked for Laban seven years to marry Rachel, but Laban gave him Leah and made him work seven more for Rachel. Leah had sons.


Rachel's maid had sons for Jacob, then Leah's maid, then Leah. Finally Rachel had a son. Laban allowed Jacob flocks as wages to stay.


The Lord told Jacob to return home. Jacob left in secret and Rachel took Laban's idols. Laban chased Jacob but they made a treaty.


Jacob heard that Esau was coming to meet him. He was afraid and sent gifts. That night he wrestled with a man who renamed him Israel.


Esau and his men arrived. Jacob bowed down but Esau ran to embrace him. Jacob settled near Shechem and built an altar.


Shechem raped Jacob's daughter and asked to marry her. Jacob's sons told him to circumcise his men, then Simeon and Levi killed them.


Jacob went to Bethel and God renamed him Israel. They journeyed on. Rachel died having Israel's twelfth son. Isaac died in Hebron.


Esau's sons were Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam and Korah. Esau and his family moved away to Seir. They became the Edomites.


Joseph was Israel's favourite son. He had dreams and his brothers were jealous so they sold him. He was bought by Potiphar in Egypt.


Judah's sons Er and Onan died, leaving Tamar a widow. Judah sent her away but she put on a veil and he slept with her. She had twins.


Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his house. His wife tried to seduce Joseph, then lied about it, so Potiphar put Joseph in prison.


Pharaoh put his cupbearer and baker in prison. Joseph interpreted their dreams. The cupbearer was restored but the baker was hanged.


Pharaoh had a dream and called for Joseph to interpret it. The dream predicted a famine. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt.


Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy grain but didn't recognise him. He kept Simeon in prison and sent the rest to fetch Benjamin.


When the grain ran out, Joseph's brothers went back to Egypt with Benjamin. Joseph invited them to his house and gave them a feast.


Joseph hid his cup in Benjamin's sack, then sent a steward after his brothers. Judah offered himself as a slave instead of Benjamin.


Joseph told his brothers who he was. They were afraid, but he told them, "God sent me here." His brothers went to fetch their father.


So Israel set out with all his household. God told him not to be afraid. Israel and all his family came to Egypt and Joseph met him.


Pharaoh allowed Joseph's family to settle in Goshen. The famine continued and the Egyptians sold all they had to Pharaoh for food.


Jacob became ill, so Joseph took his sons to see him. Jacob blessed Joseph's sons as his own, putting Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.


Jacob gathered his sons and blessed each of them. He charged them to bury him with Abraham in the cave in Canaan, and then he died.


Pharaoh allowed Joseph to go and bury Jacob. Before Joseph died, he said that God would lead his people back to the promised land.

From accessed September 11, 2017.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Having been a teacher, I realize that the idea of outlining a book may show my age, as such an approach to literary works and to organizational thinking are taught less and less in school today. However, I believe that with an outline, a person can get a much better overall view of what is to come. However, what I will do differently in this outline is, under the sub-points, speak of things which stand out in my mind as significant from each particular section.

Genesis can be even more generally summarized (or outlined) with regards to place. Chapters 1-11 are set in Babylonia; chs. 12-36 are set in Palestine; chs. 37-50 are set in Egypt. Footnote


Hamilton: In chs. 1-11 we read of individuals who had land, but are either losing it or being expelled from it. In chs. 12-50 the emphasis is on individuals who do not have land, but are on the way toward it. One group is losing; another group is expecting.


Hamilton then adds: Genesis is moving us progressively from generation (chs. 1-2), to degeneration (chs. 3-11), to regeneration (chs. 12-50). Footnote

The Outline of the Book of Genesis


I.       The Creation of Man, the Earth and the Universe. Gen. 1–2

         A.      Much of Gen. 1 seems to be involved with the restoration of the earth, rather than the creation of it.

         B.      Although an incredible story, there seems to be nothing here by way of myth. That is, we do not have the earth beginning on the back of a turtle, we do not have some god belching out mankind (or making man in some other odd way).

         C.     We have an approach which, in retrospect, seems almost scientific. For instance, an atmosphere for the earth is created, which we recognize as being absolutely necessary, but something ancient man may not have fully appreciated. We have man being created out of the dust (chemicals) of the earth—again, a touch which we would not expect to be handed down generation after generation as some caveman myth.

         D.     We have the faint suggestion of God being more than One, as He says, “Let Us make man according to Our image.”

         E.      The concept of what our image is, is more fully developed throughout the Bible as we find out more and more about Who God is.

II.      The Fall of Man. Gen. 3

         A.      Satan is introduced with very little fanfare in the form of a serpent (snake).

         B.      The sins of Adam and the woman are quite different, and the judgment which God pronounces upon them reflects this difference.

         C.     Amazingly enough, from this, the 3rd chapter of the Bible, we have the promise of a Savior (the Seed of the Woman) with suggestions of the cross and the final judgment.

III.     Cain and Abel. Gen. 4

         A.      There is a great distinction established between the offerings of Cain and Abel, which distinction becomes more clearly defined over the next 1000 years or so. However, it is clear that, God requires a blood sacrifice as opposed to the works of man’s hands (the vegetables which Cain had worked so hard to produce).

         B.      The actual murder of Abel and the learning curve of Cain is also quite fascinating to me. Cain observes how Abel kills the sacrificial animal (probably a lamb), and then kills Abel in the same way. Like much of Genesis, that this occurs in this manner is clear, but subtle. You might read this chapter of Genesis a dozen times and never realize that this is what happened.

IV.     The Descendants of Adam. Gen. 5

         A.      With this chapter, we introduce the dreaded genealogical lines. When most people read, When Adam lived 130 years, he sired a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. Adam lived 800 years after fathering Seth... and our brain typically turns off until we come across the next section of narrative. These genealogies are quite fascinating, and will, by the time we get to the New Testament, provide a straight line genealogy from Adam to Jesus. That man, somehow over the period of about 3000 years, would not only record certain genealogies, but make certain that, generation after generation, that one particular genealogy is preserved—that from Adam to Jesus—is quite amazing.

         B.      There is a very specific timeline which is introduced which essentially tells us the number of years exactly between the fall of man and the great flood (I am assuming that Adam began to age after the fall).

         C.     When I chose to exegete the first few chapters of 1Chronicles, which are almost complete genealogies, I thought I would be bored to death. I wasn’t. Now, whether or not I can engender the same enthusiasm in you for genealogies is yet to be seen.

V.      The corruption of mankind. Gen. 6

         A.      This is probably the most fantastic section of Genesis, next to the creation. Theologians even today still argue about what is actually happening here, and how literally this chapter should be taken.

         B.      What appears to be the case is, there are these gods who are somehow able to fornicate with mankind, and a new super race is created. We find this in almost all cultures, the most well-known of which is Greek and Roman mythology. Greek and Roman mythologies go into great detail on the stories of these gods, their interaction with women, and the super race which results. The Bible does not go into this sort of detail.

         C.     There are a number of things in the Bible (the creation, the super race, the flood) which are found in almost every other culture. The Bible approaches these things in a fairly no-nonsense, matter-of-fact way. The way these things are played out in other literature is always more fantastic and, in many cases, more salacious. Furthermore, the way these stories sound as written in other cultures seem to be more myth-filled. However, if you look at creation myths or the great flood (deluge) in Wikipedia, for instance, you will notice that there are a number of striking similarities between these myths and the Biblical account. The most normal-sounding parts of this or that national/cultural myth is often very similar to the Bible’s approach.

VI.     The Great Flood. Gen. 7–8

         A.      All men and all land creatures who are not in the Ark die.

         B.      There is a continued importance placed upon having animals to sacrifice to God, even during the great flood.

VII.    Noah’s Family after the Flood; God Covenant with Man. Gen. 9

         A.      The concept of a covenant (or a contract) between man and God is introduced. These covenants can be one-sided (God promising just exactly what He will do) or there can be some requirements placed upon man.

         B.      Fermentation is introduced into the environment.

         C.     The cursing and blessing of a patriarch is introduced, and has some prophetic significance.

VIII.   Noah’s Genealogy. Gen. 10

         A.      Essentially, these are the great nations, cultures and peoples of the earth; those who would dominate world history for the next several thousand years.

IX.     The Tower of Babel and the Confusion of Languages. Gen. 11:1–9

         A.      The building of the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages is covered in a fairly short section, even though these are world-changing events. I don’t know that the meaning of the Tower of Babel is fully understood or appreciated even to this day.

X.      Shem’s Genealogy. Gen. 11:10–32

         A.      Like many of the genealogies found in Scripture, this is a very specific genealogy with goes in a very specific direction (it will tie Shem one of Noah’s sons, to Abraham, who will dominate the next several chapters of Genesis).

         B.      In Shem’s genealogy, we are introduced to Abraham, and it would not be unreasonable to entitle the next section of Genesis, Abraham (Gen. 12–23) or the Family of Abraham (Gen. 12–50). However, there are so many subsections to either approach, that I will look at the various events in Abraham’s life separately.

         C.     The ages of man decrease from generation to generation. No real explanation is ever given for this, although we do understand, to some extent, the affects of bacteria and inbreeding, both factors found in previous chapters of Genesis, which seem to limit long life.

XI.     Abram (Abraham). Gen. 12–23

         A.      Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the Patriarchs of Israel; since they are father, son and grandson, their lives (and, therefore, the chapters of Genesis) will overlap somewhat.

         B.      That God speaks to Abram is presented matter-of-fact-ly, but without any mechanics or specifics.

         C.     Abram will interact with kings, with his nephew Lot, with Sarai his wife, and he is not portrayed as always doing the right thing. Like everyone else mentioned in Scripture, Abram has feet of clay.

         D.     One of the most significant events of his life is, God promises Abram a son, even though he and his wife are past childbearing years, and Abram is promised that his seed (descendants) will be like the sand of the sea and like the stars in the sky. As Abram gets older, he tries to make God’s promises come true.

         E.      God introduces the mark of circumcision, which was to indicate that Abraham (and those who were circumcised) belonged to God. As any male can tell you, the idea of removing any amount of flesh from that portion of a male’s anatomy is something which would give any man pause.

         F.      God again promises the birth of Isaac.

         G.     Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed, although Lot is saved.

         H.     Isaac is born, but there is quite a dispute which arises between Sarai (Abraham’s wife) and her Egyptian servant woman, Hagar (who bore a child for Abraham at Sarai’s request).

         I.       Gen. 22 is one of the most amazing chapters out of the Bible. Isaac has been born to Abraham; Abraham loves his son; and then God tells Aram to sacrifice his son, as an animal would be sacrificed. This involves several days travel (I believe that Isaac was offered up on Mount Golgotha) where Abraham is given time to ponder this request that God has made. The end result is, we have a type of Christ here—Isaac, Abraham’s only son whom he loves, is offered up as a sacrifice to God. At the last moment, a substitute is provided by God. This is a wonderful foreshadowing of the cross, that God would offer up His only Son as a substitute for us all.

XII.    Isaac. Gen. 24–26

         A.      The section on Isaac is relatively short. A servant is sent out to find a wife for him, his father dies, and Isaac moves to Gerar.

         B.      Isaac also has some disputes with the Philistines, who live in that general area as well.

XIII.   Jacob (and Esau). Gen. 27–36

         A.      Jacob is presented as the line of Christ, and Esau, his twin brother is not. Esau’s line will be followed to a dead end.

         B.      Although many would expect Jacob to be shown to be the better man, that is not actually the case. Over and over again, Esau seems to be a nicer guy, more level-headed, and more honest. Jacob recognizes the importance of the birthright and of being the firstborn (he trailed Esau by a few minutes in this regard) and Jacob does not. Apart from this, there is really nothing to recommend Jacob over his twin brother Esau.

         C.     As I have mentioned before, there is verbiage associated with Jacob being in love with Rachel and working for her father in order to marry her, which suggests that Jacob wrote or narrated this portion of the Bible.

         D.     Jacob will have 12 sons and 1 daughter by multiple wives (2 wives and their servant girls).

         E.      Jacob, who is presented as quite hard-headed, will also wrestle with the Lord Jesus Christ (as a theophany—a form of God before Jesus was incarnated) and he will walk with a limp for the rest of his life, always recognizing that he ought not to fight God when it came to God’s will.

         F.      Not only is Jacob a poor human being, in many respects, he is also a poor father, showing clear favoritism, which becomes problematic as his sons begin to grow up and recognize Jacob’s favoritism. They will sell their father’s favorite son, Joseph, into slavery.

         G.     Throughout this section, Jacob (a believer in Jehovah Elohim) interacts with his twin brother Esau, who apparently is not a believer in Jehovah Elohim.

XIV.  Joseph and the other sons of Jacob. Gen. 37–50

         A.      The story of Joseph is quite amazing. His brothers sell him into slavery and he eventually ends up in Egypt.

         B.      Joseph is promoted to a very high position in Egypt, but not after making some very serious mistakes (he trusts in man when he should be trusting in God).

         C.     Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jacob’s family is floundering, making many practical mistakes.

         D.     Joseph in Egypt recognizes, through a dream of Pharaoh, that there would be 7 good years (economic prosperity) followed by 7 lean years (economic depression), and Joseph prepares Egypt for this by setting aside huge amounts of grain which would be doled out during the 7 bad years.

         E.      Jacob’s family, who had no clue as to Jacob’s whereabouts or life, were forced to come to Egypt to buy grain.

         F.      Joseph is thereby reunited with his family.

         G.     His father Jacob (also called Israel) speaks to each of his sons, telling them how they would end up in life as a tribe.

         H.     Jacob dies and, eventually, Joseph dies, which ends the book of Genesis.


Dr. Thomas Constable on the great change that takes place in Genesis: Some notable changes take place in the second part of Genesis, though both parts begin with a creation initiated by the word of God (Gen. 1:1; Gen. 12:1). Instead of the genealogies being prominent and the stories secondary, as in chapters 1–11, the reverse becomes true now. God retreats farther into the background of the events recorded than was the case earlier, and there is corresponding emphasis on the personalities of the patriarchs. The promises to the patriarchs form the central theme of this section, especially those concerning descendants, land, and divine blessing. There also seems to be increasing depth in the moral awareness of the patriarchs as generation follows generation from Abram to Joseph. Footnote

I may want to place this in the Jacob narrative as well.

The Entire Jacobian Narrative in Chiastic Structure

A       Oracle sought; Rebekah struggles in childbirth; bekorah birthright; birth; themes of strife, deception, fertility (Gen. 25:19–34).

         B       Interlude: strife; deception; berakah blessing; covenant with foreigner (26).

                  C      Deception; berakah stolen; fear of Esau; flight from land (Gen. 27:1 to Gen. 28:9).

                            D      Encounter (<paga') with the divine at sacred site near border; berakah (Gen. 28:10–22).

                                     E       Internal cycle opens: arrival; Laban at border; deception; wages; Rachel barren; Leah fertile (Gen. 29:1 to Gen. 30:21).

                                               F       Rachel fertile; Jacob increases the herds (Gen. 30:22–43).

                                     E'      Internal cycle closes: departure; Laban at border; deception; wages (31).

                            D'      Encounters (<paga') with divine beings at sacred sites near border; berakah (32).

                  C'      Deception planned; fear of Esau; berakah gift returned; return to land (33).

         B'      Interlude: strife; deception; covenant with foreigner (34).

A'      Oracle fulfilled; Rachel struggles in childbirth; berakah; death resolutions (Gen. 35:1–22).

From Dr. John Constable The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable; ©2012; from e-sword, Genesis 25:19-35:29 (Constable cites several sources at this point).

Chapter Outline

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Wenham on the genealogies: [T]he author of Genesis has deliberately split the Jacob–Joseph story into two parts by putting the family history of Esau Gen. 36:1 to Gen. 37:1 in the middle. This allows him to alternate the genealogies of the non–elect lines of Ishmael (Gen. 25:12–18) and Esau (Gen. 36:1 to Gen. 37:1) with the fuller family histories of the chosen lines of Terah (Abraham) (Gen. 11:27 to Gen. 25:11), Isaac (Jacob) (Gen. 25:19 to Gen. 35:29), and Jacob (Joseph) (Gen. 37:2 to Gen. 50:26) to produce a total of five patriarchal family histories. This matches the five family histories of pre–patriarchal times. Footnote


Genealogical Outline by Gary Everett

1.     The Generation of the Heavens and the Earth — Gen. 2:4 to Gen. 4:26

         a)     The Creation of Man — Gen. 2:4–25

         b)     The Fall — Gen. 3:1–24

         c)     Cain and Abel — Gen. 4:1–26

2.    The Generation of Adam — Gen. 5:1 to Gen. 6:8

3.    The Generation of Noah — Gen. 6:9 to Gen. 9:29

4.    The Generation of the Sons of Noah — Gen. 10:1 to Gen. 11:9

5.    The Generation of Shem — Gen. 11:10–26

6.    The Generation of Terah (& Abraham) — Gen. 11:27 to Gen. 25:11

7.    The Generation Ishmael — Gen. 25:12–18

8.    The Generation of Isaac — Gen. 25:19 to Gen. 35:29

9.    The Generation of Esau — Gen. 36:1–43

10.   The Generation of Jacob — Gen. 37:1 to Gen. 50:26

Gary H. Everett Gary Everett’s Bible Commentary; ©1981-2013; from e-sword, Genesis 2:4-50:26.

Chapter Outline

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The additional generation is that of the heavens and the earth.

These are the Generations of... (from Stack Exchange)

Primeval History (1:1–11:26)


         2:4           These are the generations of the heavens and the earth

         5:1           This is the book of the generations of Adam

         6:9           These are the generations of Noah

         10:1           These are the generations of the sons of Noah

         11:10         These are the generations of Shem

Patriarchal History (11:27–50:26)


         11:27         These are the generations of Terah

         25:12         These are the generations of Ishmael

         25:19         These are the generations of Isaac

         36:1          These are the generations of Esau (that is, Edom)

         36:9          These are the generations of Esau

         37:2          These are the generations of Jacob

And Beyond...


         Num 3:1   These are the generations of Aaron and Moses

         Ruth 4:18   These are the generations of Perez

From Stack Exchange; accessed June 29, 2016. A great deal more was said about the meaning of toledot there.

Chapter Outline

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Van Gorder: Genesis is the seedplot of the Bible. Called by the Jews bereshith [meaning, ''in the beginning''] and by the translators of the Septuagint version ''generation,'' the book gives us the only true history of the origin and early life of man. In it are the seed-principles of all subsequent revelation. Genesis centers around seven prominent persons in pairs. First, Adam and Eve; second, Cain and Abel; third, Enoch and Noah; fourth, Abraham and Lot; fifth, Ishmael and Isaac; sixth Esau and Jacob; and seventh, Joseph and his brethren.

The book of Genesis can be outlined according to persons, divisions, dispensations, and covenants. I will use a very simple outline based upon the following words:


         1.      Generation

         2.      Degeneration, and

         3.      Regeneration.

Paul R. Van Gorder Divides up Genesis into 3 Parts

GENERATION (chapters 1 and 2) --

This book written by Moses has scriptural proof of its authenticity in the corroborating words of our Lord. Repeatedly Christ quoted from Genesis with the words, ''Moses wrote of Me,'' ''Have ye not read in the book of Moses,'' or ''For Moses said.''


It is interesting to note that Genesis contains the basic truth of five great sciences:


         1.      Theology, the science of God. ''In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'' (1:1). ''And God said, let Us make man in Our image'' (v.26). Elohim, the name used for God in Genesis 1:1, is a uni-plural noun. The plural pronoun ''us'' is followed by the verbs ''created'' and ''said'' in the singular. This term expresses both the person and the eternality of God.

         2.      Cosmogony, the science of the universe. ''God created the heaven and the earth.'' Genesis declares that the whole universe came into being by the will and act of God.

         3.      Anthropology, the science of man. The book of Genesis teaches that man was made by the creative act of God. He did not evolve, as modern theory proposes.

         4.      Sociology, the science of society. Genesis tells of the formation of the first societal unit, the family, based upon the marriage relationship. Genesis records the enlarging of the circle of sociology into nations.

         5.      Ethnology, the science of the races. The book of beginnings gives a record of the origin, division, and development of the races of man.


A number of other cardinal doctrines have their roots in the book of Genesis. This leads to the second division of the book.

DEGENERATION (chapters 3-11) --

The germ truth of the doctrine of sin, called hamartiology, is found in Genesis. Here we are introduced to Satan, the one who first rebelled. His entire character is infiltrated with subtlety and deceit, and he successfully tempted our first parents. Adam's sin resulted in the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, and the rivulet of iniquity soon became a torrent. The climax of man's sin and rebellion was reached at Calvary, for the biblical record tells us, ''For of a truth against thy holy child, Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the nations, and the people of Israel, were gathered together'' (Acts 4:27).

REGENERATION (chapters 12-50) --

In the seedplot of the Scriptures, Genesis, is found the beginning of soteriology, the doctrine of salvation. In fact, Genesis introduces us to this subject, which is found in all 66 books. The scenario opens in Genesis with the story of sin and death entering God's world; it closes in the last book, Revelation, with the portrayal of the new heavens and new earth in which no trace of evil can be found.

         1.      Prophecy -- The first prophetic utterance of time is Genesis 3:15, and it foretells the coming of Christ the Redeemer and His victory over Satan. The writer to the Hebrews said, ''Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil'' (Hebrews 2:14).


Jehovah made this promise to Abraham: ''In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed'' (Genesis 12:3). To Jacob, God said, ''And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed'' (Genesis 26:4). And in a prophetic blessing to Judah, Jacob predicted, ''The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be'' (Genesis 49:10). The fulfillment of these prophecies is recorded in Luke 1:32 and Revelation 5.


         2.      Types -- ['Types' are pictures or illustrations of spiritual truth.] In his first epistle, Simon Peter declared that the prophets, who spoke of the grace that should come, searched ''what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify, when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow'' (1Peter 1:11). And where in Genesis do we find the Lord Jesus Christ pictured, both His sufferings and His glory? With your Bible opened and notebook and pen in hand, I suggest to you the following possibilities, and urge that you study the Scripture passages carefully.


                         Christ, the Sun of righteousness (Gen 1:16). The Lord Jesus said, ''I am the light of the world'' (John 8:12). The prophet Malachi spoke about the ''Sun of righteousness'' that shall arise (Mal 4:2). So, Christ is represented by the sun; the church is the lesser light reflecting the light of the sun.

                         Christ, the last Adam, the second man. He is typified by the first man, Adam, in contrast. Adam was the head of the old creation; Christ is the head of the new. (See 1Corinthians 15:22,45-47; Romans 5:12-19.)

                         Christ, the bridegroom of the church (see Gen 2:18-24). God's provision of a helper suitable for Adam is a picture of what was accomplished at Calvary. When the deep sleep of death came upon our Lord, and from His riven side poured forth blood and water, the picture was complete. Christ ''loved the church, and gave Himself for it'' (Ephesians 5:25).

                         Christ, the righteousness of God (Gen 3:21). In the Bible, a garment is often the symbol of righteousness. We read in Isaiah 61:10, ''For He hath clothed Me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered Me with the robe of righteousness...'' First Corinthians 1:30 states, ''But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.'' In Eden, an innocent animal had to be sacrificed before the ''coats of skins'' were provided.

                         Christ, the Lamb of God (Gen 4:4). Abel's offering of a slain lamb stands in direct contrast with Cain's bloodless offering. ''Without shedding of blood is no remission'' (Heb 9:22). That lamb, the firstling of the flock, portrayed the innocence and harmlessness of an obedient Christ (read Isaiah 53:7 [and John 1:29] ).

                         Christ, our refuge from judgment. Look at Genesis 7:1 and 8:1, then read the New Testament commentary in Hebrews 11:7. The picture of Christ as our protector is especially applicable to the remnant of Israel during the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21,22). Enoch is a type of the church, for he had already been taken out of the world prior to the flood of judgment [Gen 5:24; 1The 4:16-18]. Noah and his family are types of Israel, for they were preserved through the flood. The word ''pitch'' of Genesis 6:14 is the word translated ''atonement'' in Leviticus 17:11.

                         Christ, the high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Gen 14:18-20). The words ''after the order of Melchizedek'' refer to the unending priesthood of our Savior (read [Psa 110:4 and] Hebrews 7).

                         Christ, the obedient Son and willing sacrifice (Gen 22). How beautifully this truth is typified by Isaac! Isaac's life was ordered by his father. Similarly, the Lord Jesus said, ''I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father who hath sent Me'' (John 5:30). Christ was portrayed by Isaac in the following elements:

                            1.      Isaac was the promised seed (Gen 15:4) [Luke 1:35].

                            2.      He became obedient unto death (Gen 22:9) [Php 2:8].

                            3.      He was raised from the dead in a figure [ie., figuratively] (Gen 22:12,13) [Heb 11:17-19; 1Cor 15:3,4]

                            4.      He received a Gentile bride (Gen 24).

                         Christ, typified by Joseph. Ada Habershon, in the book The Study of the Types, actually lists over 100 foreshadowings of Christ as seen in Joseph. Here are a few for your personal study:

                            1.      Beloved of his father (Gen 37:3) [Mat 3:17; 17:5].

                            2.      Hated and rejected by his brethren (Gen 37:4) [Joh 15:25].

                            3.      Brothers plot to slay him, and figuratively they do so (Gen 37:20-27) [Acts 2:23].

                            4.      Lifted out of the pit (Gen 37:28) [Acts 2:24].

                            5.      Went to the Gentile; received and favored (Gen 39:1-6) [Acts 13:46-48].

                            6.      Received a Gentile bride during his rejection (Gen 41:45) [Eph 5:23-32].

                            7.      Reconciled to his brethren; and they are blessed through him (Gen 45:1-8) [Rom 11:25,26]


Who can plumb the depths of the great types and analogies given to us in the book of Genesis? For your personal study, I would suggest similar possibilities in Eve, Enoch, Rebekah, and the theophanies (the pre-incarnate appearings of the Lord Jesus) such as occurred on the plains of Mamre in Genesis 18.

The book of Genesis begins with the creation by God: ''In the beginning God...'' It ends with a coffin in Egypt (50:26). At the very beginning of the human race, we see the sad failure of man and the gracious provision of God. The first great promise of a coming Redeemer is found in Genesis 3:15. That promise leaps the centuries and finds its fulfillment in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman.

Genesis is indeed the seedplot of the entire Bible!

From accessed August 6, 2016.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Van Gorder also provides a chapter-by-chapter outline, which is quite good.

Paul R. Van Gorder’s Chapter-by-Chapter Outline

I.       Creation to Abraham, 2000 years (ch. 1-11)

         A.      Creation

                  1.      From nothing to man. Gen 1

                  2.      Man & woman in Eden. Gen 2

         B.      The Fall

                  1.      Adam & Eve. Gen 3

                  2.      Cain & Abel. Gen 4

         C.     The Flood

                  1.      The reign of death. Gen 5

                  2.      Noah found grace... Gen 6

                  3.      'Come into the Ark'. Gen 7

                  4.      'Go forth from the Ark'. Gen 8

                  5.      The Noahic Covenant. Gen 9

         D.     The Tower of Babel

                  1.      Origins of the Nations. Gen 10

                  2.      The Confusion of Tongues. Gen 11


II.      Abraham to Joseph, 350 years (ch. 12-50)

         A.      Abraham: father of faith, friend of God-

                  1.      Abram's Call & Covenant. Gen 12

                  2.      Lot's choice & Abram's portion. Gen 13

                  3.      Lot's rescue & Melchizedek. Gen 14

                  4.      Abram's Shield, Reward & Surety. Gen 15

                  5.      Ishmael born via Hagar. Gen 16

                  6.      A new Name, a Token & Laughter. Gen 17

                  7.      Abraham, the Friend of God. Gen 18

                  8.      Lot's life & loss at Sodom. Gen 19

                  9.      Abraham's lapse of faith. Gen 20

                  10.    Isaac born; Ishmael cast out. Gen 21

                  11.    Abraham's Isaac on an altar. Gen 22

                  12.    Abraham buries Sarah. Gen 23

         B.      Isaac: beloved son, son of promise-

                  1.      A bride sought. Gen 24

                  2.      Esau & Jacob born.

                  3.      Esau sells his birthright. Gen 25

                  4.      The Covenant confirmed. Gen 26

         C.     Jacob: chosen son, chastened son-

                  1.      The stolen blessing. Gen 27

                  2.      The Covenant confirmed. Gen 28

                  3.      Laban: Leah & Rachel. Gen 29

                  4.      Increase: sons & cattle. Gen 30

                  5.      Jacob flees from Laban. Gen 31

                  6.      Jacob becomes 'Israel'. Gen 32

                  7.      Jacob and Esau meet. Gen 33

                  8.      The Reproach re: Dinah. Gen 34

                  9.      At Bethel & Bethlehem. Gen 35

                  10.    The generations of Esau. Gen 36

         D.     Joseph: son of suffering, son of glory-

                  1.      Joseph hated, rejected, sold. Gen 37

                  2.      Judah's shame; God's grace. Gen 38

                  3.      Joseph accused, imprisoned. Gen 39

                  4.      Joseph ministers in prison. Gen 40

                  5.      Joseph elevated to power. Gen 41

                  6.      Joseph tests his brothers. Gen 42

                  7.      Jacob surrenders Benjamin. Gen 43

                  8.      Judah stands as the surety. Gen 44

                  9.      Joseph revealed to brothers. Gen 45

                  10.    Israel journeys to Egypt. Gen 46

                  11.    Jacob blesses Pharaoh. Gen 47

                  12.    Israel blesses Joseph's sons. Gen 48

                  13.    Israel blesses his twelve sons. Gen 49

                  14.    The bones of Jacob & Joseph. Gen 50

From (slightly edited); accessed August 6, 2016. On this page are links to his exegesis of the book of Genesis.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Gary Everett: After Gen. 1:1 to Gen. 9:29 takes us through the origin of the heavens and the earth as we know them today, and Gen. 10:1 to Gen. 11:26 explains the origin of the seventy nations (Gen. 10:1 to Gen. 11:26), we see that the rest of the book of Genesis focuses upon the origin of the nation of Israel (Gen. 11:27 to Gen. 50:26). Thus, each of these major divisions serves as a foundation upon which the next division is built. Footnote


Gary Everett: [T]he book of Genesis concludes with the origin of the nation of Israel while its first eleven chapters reveal that the God of Israel is in fact that God of all nations and all creation. Footnote

Introduction Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Having a general idea of what is to happen, you should be now ready to examine the book of Genesis verse by verse (which will be the next set of lessons).


Chapter Outline


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Beginning of Document

Definition of Terms

Introduction and Text

Chapter Summary


A Complete Translation


Exegetical Studies in Genesis



This introduction to the book of Genesis should fully prepare us for the book that is to follow.

Psalms and parallel passages will be suggested as we go chapter by chapter though the book of Genesis.

Chapter Outline


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Beginning of Document

Definition of Terms

Introduction and Text

Chapter Summary


A Complete Translation


Exegetical Studies in Genesis