Introduction to Genesis 1-11 (Part 3)

This material is an UNOFFICIAL study guide to Kenneth A. Mathews, The New American Commentary, vol. 1a, Genesis 1:1-11:26 (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 1996). ISBN 978-0-8054-0101-1.


PART 3 – Genesis and Canon 

Genesis 1-11 is the first truly universal book. It tells the story not only of the beginnings of the world and the human race, but also contains eschatological promises for the reconciliation of God and the entirety of humanity, not only the Israelites.

Being the first book is both the Jewish and Christian Bibles, it holds a significant place in our theology and understanding of God and sin. (We will more at the theology of Genesis in our next session.) As a community of believers, and in light of the Gospel message, we can take away a lot of interesting information from these first eleven chapters.


Opening Discussion

I. Which translation did you read from this week and why?

II. What stood out to you in your daily devotions this week?

III. What stood out to you in the commentary reading?

IV. What similarities and differences are there between the Mosaic community and the New Testament church?

V. Let us discuss the assigned reading, use the following questions and/or open to questions and comments.


Points to Consider – From today’s readings (pages 41-54) answer the following:

A. Title (pages 41-42)

I. Where do we get the English word “Genesis” from? What does it mean?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. What is the Hebrew title for Genesis? What does it mean?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

III. “That the Hebrew name also reflects the content of Genesis as a book of beginnings is therefore coincidental.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


B. Genesis and Pentateuch (pages 42-51)

I. What term does the Hebrew Bible use for the Pentateuch and what does it mean?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. Which early accounts indicate the Pentateuch was “one book”?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

III. Who are the earliest writers to speak of the “five books of Moses”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

IV. Where do we get the word “Pentateuch”, and what does it mean?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

V. “Interdependence of the Pentateuch” – Which of the five books are “the most interdependent”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

VI. What are “the most independent”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

VII. “The __________ of the Pentateuch is __________ most clearly by the narrative framework that focuses on the __________ in terms of space allocation… The core of Exodus-Deuteronomy in the __________ and the __________ designed to order the life of the newly formed __________ as the people of God.”

VIII. How does Genesis introduce the Sinai account?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

IX. Apart from God, who is the focal character in the Pentateuch?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

X. What four characters in Genesis is Moses “like”?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________
d. ______________________

XI. “Structure of the Pentateuch” – What are the three “seams” that J. Sailhamer has identified?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

XII. These “seams” or “rhetorical patterns” have three recurring elements. What are they?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

XIII. What “common language and motif” do we find these “three major junctures”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XIV. Outside of Genesis, where else does the term tōlĕdōt occur?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XV. What is critical to D. T. Olson’s thesis concerning “the tōlĕdōt formula in Genesis”?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

XVI. “Theme of the Pentateuch” – According to D. J. A. Clines, what is the themes of the Pentateuch?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XVII. What is the “promissory blessing to Abraham”? Where are the promises emphasized?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________

XVIII. According to scholars, why is the book of Joshua excluded from the Pentateuch?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XIX. How does Moses explain the “gathering of the Pentateuch as a distinctive unit”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XX. Why is the Pentateuch authoritative?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXI. What goal does the Pentateuch accomplish?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXII. What is the “eschatological perspective of the Pentateuch”?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

XXIII. What is the fivefold ‘cursing”?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________
c. ______________________
d. ______________________
e. ______________________


C. Genesis and the Mosaic Community (pages 51-53)

I. For the Mosaic community, how does Genesis fit in with the eschatological realization (see part B, XXII)?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. “Genesis was cast so that the Mosaic community could __________ the inferential __________ between the __________ and their __________.”

III. How is the above statement illustrated in Genesis?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________

IV. Give examples from the text and Scripture (page 52).
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


D. Genesis and the Christian Proclamation (pages 53-54)

I. How does the eschatological perspective of Genesis speak to Christians and the church?
____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

II. How are the promises of blessing filled up?
a. ______________________
b. ______________________

III. “For the New Testament church, __________ and __________ in early Genesis served as paradigm for Christian __________ and __________.”

IV. “But more than symbols and shadows as __________, early Genesis in its entirety concerns __________. It is __________ in scope as is the church and therefore addresses the antecedent history shared by __________ groups in every __________.”


FOR NEXT WEEK

Please have “Theology of Genesis” (pages 54-63) read and answer the questions. We will go through this together. Second reading of Genesis 1-11: please read in a different translation you are not too familiar with. Take notes on any new insights, a fresh understanding or questions you have.

CLOSE WITH PRAYER

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