The Study: Update

Over the past many months I’ve been reading and posting on the introduction to Genesis 1-11, based on the New American Commentary, volume 1A. There are over 100 pages of information on various academic fields on the background of Genesis and how we got the version we have now.

This coming month this study will be looking at the various types of context that we looked at last summer. The format of “In God’s Holy Word: The Study” will look different than what it has been so far. Questions will be posted with the idea being that anyone should be able to use any commentary series and/or and study Bible to find the contextual answers. Applying the Scriptures to a personal level will be based on the contexts and personal conviction.



Part 5a: Intro to Genesis

Interpreting Genesis

(The New American Commentary, vol. 1a, Genesis 1:1-11:26, pages 63-68)

There are many ways we can read the book of Genesis. Whether as fables, myths or stories of morality, we all see the tales differently if we approach Genesis with our preconceived notions. Genesis is a story of people interacting with the created world and its Creator. Interpreting any ancient text has its difficulty and the Old Testament is not exempt from this. Today we will look at several methods of interpretation. This includes how Jews and Christians have looked at it in the past and how scholars look at it today.

Many times we hear a story and we take its perceived understanding for granted, or we tend to disagree with it. Looking at Genesis 1-11 (creation to the flood and to Abraham’s father, Terah) we may not all agree on the deeper meaning of the text. Let this not hinder us from going In God’s Holy Word together. Let the Holy Spirit open our eyes and minds as we study “Interpreting Genesis”.

Next time we will be looking at the “Pentateuchal Criticism”.

Questions on the readings are coming soon.

Back to the Study

These past months have been busy with Christmas, New Year’s Day and work. With so much going on I have fallen behind in writing the study questions for “In God’s Holy Word” based on Genesis 1-11:26, vol. 1a of the New American Commentary series. But that is all about to change.

As of this weekend (January 20-23) the plan is to get back into reading the commentary and taking notes. Where did we leave off? November 2, 2016 (click here for post) part 4a of the Intro to Genesis (click here for the study questions) was completed. Part 4b will be posted before the end of this month, which means most of my free time, as in days not working, will be spent on this endeavour and my other writing projects.

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Part 4: Intro to Genesis

Theology of Genesis

(The New American Commentary, vol. 1a, Genesis 1:1-11:26, pages 54-63)

Theology – the study of Theos, God. Many people look at Genesis as a book of early human history, or myth of how the world began. In reality, Genesis is a text filled with the story of God’s interactions with the beginning of His creation. When we read the Bible with the understanding that it is primarily about God, it can change our view of ourselves and our world. We are God’s creations. Sin is a result of our disobeying God’s commands. Blessing and salvation comes from God, and not through anything we have done or can do. Today we will look at the promissory promises to the patriarchs: blessing, seed, and land. In the latter half we will touch on other aspects of theology that we find in Genesis: creation, life, sin, civilization and covenant.

Click here for the questions on the readings.

Part 3: Intro to Genesis

Genesis and Canon

(The New American Commentary, vol. 1a, Genesis 1:1-11:26, pages 41-54) [Edited: I fixed the page numbers.]

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.

Click here to go to the questions on the readings.

Part 2: Intro to Genesis

Literary Genesis

(The New American Commentary, vol. 1a, Genesis 1:1-11:26, pages 25-41)

When we break it down, the literary composition of Genesis is interesting . Like the name “Genesis” suggests, it is all about genealogies. (We will look more at the name of Genesis in part 3). The importance of these genealogies (tōlĕdōt) is at the core of the purpose of the book.

With a simple overview we can see it can be broken down with the use of genealogies and accounts. The use of the Hebrew phrase tōlĕdōt (transliterated) divides Genesis into twelve distinct units that “form an unmistakably coherent, unified story line.”

Click here to go to the questions on the readings.

Part 1: Intro to Genesis

We begin our study “In God’s Holy Word” looking at the “Introduction” to The New American Commentary on (vol 1a) Genesis 1-11:26, by Kenneth Mathews.

With nearly 100 pages of material (pages 21-112), divided into seven sections, we will look at the reasons and methods used by the commenters in compiling the commentary. After we read and work through the introduction we will dive into Genesis 1 through Genesis 11.

I encourage you to borrow a copy (from a library) or buy your own copy of this commentary, so you can follow along and work through the commentary with us.

Introduction & Commenting on Genesis

(The New American Commentary, vol. 1a, Genesis 1:1-11:26, pages 22-24)

The Book of Genesis is filled with all sorts of stories: from creation of the world to the annihilation of civilizations—from the destruction of two cities to saving the ancient Middle East from famine. We read not only of early mankind and their struggles and triumphs but, more importantly, we read of how God has worked throughout history and His plan for our future.

These stories are amongst the most well known from the entire Old Testament. They seem to be so far removed from us today that most of us do not give them a second thought. They are good or interesting to read, but they also have theological, philosophical and moral truths.

Click here to go to the questions on the readings.