Week 2

Week 1 covered a very broad expanse of time from creation through right before the time of Abraham.  Regardless of your view of when creation took place, those few chapters covered a time period of at least thousands of years.

This week is going to cover a whole lot more Bible and a lot less time.  Although it’s not a bad idea to read all of the chapters, you won’t be required to read all of Genesis 12-50.  Instead we will focus on the patriarchs.  Traditionally, if you were a Jew, the patriarchs refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  That’s because all of the Jews were descended from these three men.  However, we will also focus on Joseph because he is also a crucial player in Genesis as well as serving as a bridge between the Jews as a family of wanderers to a nation   of hundreds of thousands by the time of Exodus.

Obviously we won’t look at every story in these chapters in Genesis because of a matter of time.  The required reading focuses on the patriarchs as the men whom God has made a covenant.  It doesn’t cover all of their deeds.  For instance, we won’t cover the story of Sodom and Gomorrah even though it affects Abraham in that his nephew Lot is there.  This doesn’t mean that this is an unimportant story or that we are skirting the issue of homosexuality.  Rather it is just a matter of fact that we can’t cover every story and need to have some sort of focus.

Required reading

Genesis 12-17, 21-22, 24-25, 27-30, 32, 37, 39-45

Corresponding articles and videos on this site

We have written on topics covered in this lesson.  You can either read the article or watch the video, both cover the same material.  These provide good supplemental thoughts to go with your Bible reading and may help you answer some of the questions below.

Optional reading 

A History of Israel: From the Bronze Age Through the Jewish Wars – chapters 4-5

An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch – The Beginnings of the Nation of Israel – pages 108-124

An Historical Survey of the Old Testament – The Founding Fathers – chapter 3

Discussion questions

The first question is required.  You may choose any of the remaining two questions to answer.  Answers should be 100 words or more. You are welcome to use resources that you may have or search the internet for help.

1) What are the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?  Does God make different promises to each man?

Answer two of the following:

2) Discuss the parallels between Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

3) Jacob’s name literally means deceiver.  Discuss instances where he deceived people.

4) Difficulty having children is recurring theme in the Bible and Genesis in particular.  (Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel all have difficulty getting pregnant.)  Why do you believe God uses so many people who have this problem?

5) Do you think that Joseph is arrogant in telling his brothers his dreams?  Why or why not?

6) Joseph’s family and all of Egypt were saved because of the hardships that Joseph endured.  Write about an instance in your life where God used a bad situation and brought good out of it.


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