Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survery - Genesis
Hebrew Name - Bereshith "in the beginning"
Greek Name - Genesis "origination"
Author - Moses
Date - From 4004 to 1635 BC Approximately
Theme - The Founding of the Hebrew Nation
Types and Shadows - In Genesis Jesus is the seed of the woman

Summary of The Book of Genesis

Quick Survey of Genesis. – –1-2 – –The creation of the universe, the world, all living things, and man. The conditions of man in paradise. – –3 – –The original sin of Adam and Eve, and God casting them out of paradise. – –4-5 – – The history of Adam and his descendents all the way to the time of Noah and the flood. – –6-7 – – The exceeding wickedness of all mankind, the destruction of the world by the flood, and Gods preservation of Noah and his family. – –8-9 – – The restoration of the world, God's covenant to Noah for all mankind and the rainbow, the prophecy of Noah. – –10 – – The repopulation of the world and the table of Nations by the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth and their descendents. – –11 – – The building of the Tower of Babel, Nimrod, the confusion of tongues, and God scattering mankind throughout the world. – –12-25 – – The history and migration of Abraham and his family as pilgrims in the land of Canaan. – –26-27 – – The history of Isaac and his family. – –28-36 – – The history of Jacob and his family. – –37- 40 – – The history of Joseph and his brothers. – –41-50– – The history of Joseph's exaltation by God in the land of Egypt and God's incredible plan for the Hebrews.

Genesis is the title given to the first book of Moses by its Greek translators. The word Genesis means "origin" or "beginning"; and Genesis truly is a book of origins, or beginnings. Genesis describes the beginning of man and the universe which he lives in and has been given dominion over, the beginning of sin, the beginning of God's plan of redemption, and the beginning of the Hebrew nation through whom God's redemption through the Messiah was to come.

The book of Genesis, together with the first few chapters of Exodus, describes the events which led to the God's establishment of His theocracy with the people of Israel.

There are two main themes in this book... the people of God and the promised land.

Genesis has a clear message which is both special to Israel and universal to all mankind. It embraces all of mankind in every nation as it speaks of God as the Lord of all men in the whole human race. Yet, the Book of Genesis is also an introduction to Jewish history, and it makes the universal interest less important to the special message about the Jewish people. The design of Genesis is to show how God first revealed himself to the patriarchs of the Hebrew race in order to make of them a people who would serve as his witnesses to the rest of the world. He led Abraham to the promised land which happened to be located in the exact center of the ancient world. These two essential points are the inner principles of unity which pervade the entire book.

The contents of Genesis may be conveniently outlined in the following manner:

Outline of the Book of Genesis

I. The Beginnings of History (1-11)

1) The creation of the universe (1:1-2:3).
2) Description of the garden of Eden (2:4-17).
3) The creation of woman (2:18-25 ).
4) The Fall of man (ch. 3).
5) Cain and Abel (ch. 4).
6) The generations from Adam to Noah (ch. 5). This section is characterized by the extreme longevity of the persons noted.
7) A description of the wickedness which moved God to commission Noah to build and enter the ark, together with the details concerning the ark, the flood, and the post-deluvian events of Noah's life (6-9).
8 ) The ancient families of mankind, as they descended from Noah (ch. 10).

II. The Story of Abraham (12-25)

1 ) God's call of Abram and the covenant with him in which he was promised that his descendants should inherit the land of Canaan, that they should become a great nation and that through them all nations of the earth would be blessed (12-17). Abram's name is changed to Abraham and Ishmael is born to Abraham and Hagar, Sarah's handmaid.
2 ) The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, with an account of Lot's deliverance (18-19).
3 ) Abraham deceives Abimelech concerning Sarah (ch. 20).
4 ) The early years of Isaac (21-25:18). This section contains the birth of Isaac (21:1-8); the departure of Hagar and Ishmael (21:9-21) ; Abraham's faith, as demonstrated by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac (ch. 22); the death of Sarah and the purchase of the family burial ground from the Hittites (ch. 23); and the betrothal of Isaac and Rebekah (ch. 24). At the end of this section, Abraham's death is recorded (25:1-11) and the generations of Ishmael are given (25:12-18).

III. The Story of Isaac ( 25: 19-26; 35)

The main events in connection with Isaac's life are the birth of his twin sons, Jacob and Esau ( 25 : 19-34) and his sojourn among the Philistines (ch. 26).

IV. The Story of Jacob and Esau (27:1-37:1)

1) Jacob leaves home, after receiving his father's blessing by deceit ( 27:1-28:9 ). It was on this journey that he experienced the vision of the
ladder at Bethel (28:10-15).
2 ) Jacob's family and his return from Haran to Canaan ( 29-33 ). This section gives an account of Jacob's marriages, the birth of most of his children, the shrewd dealings between Laban and Jacob and the departure of Jacob from Haran. After leaving Haran and wrestling with the angel, Jacob came into contact with Esau, but without the conflict which had been feared.
3 ) The last years of Jacob's life (34-36).

V. The Story of Joseph ( 37-50 )
1 ) Joseph, because of the jealousy of his brothers, is sold into Egypt where, after a series of events, he becomes a ruler of Egypt, ranking
just under Pharaoh ( 37-41 ).
2 ) Joseph's brothers come to Egypt to buy food during a time of great famine. After a time, Joseph reveals his identity to his brethren (42-
3 ) At the insistence of Joseph, Jacob and his family settle in Egypt (46-47).
4 ) Jacob's blessing of Joseph's two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and his prophecy concerning the twelve tribes (48-49).
5 ) The death of Jacob and Joseph (ch. 50).

More About the Book of Genesis
Genesis in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
Back to the Old Testament
Back to Bible History Online

The Story of the Bible - Part One - The Old Testament