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Author: Conservative Jewish and Christian tradition holds that Moses was the author of the first five books of the Old Testament, including Genesis. Jesus Himself and the early church all confirm Moses gave the “Law.” Some allowances are made for the possibility of earlier fragment sources from which Moses wrote, along with later elaborations (examples: Deuteronomy 34, Numbers 12:3 - He unlikely wrote about his own death or humility!).

Date: Written possibly during the wilderness wanderings of Israel, 1450-1410 B.C. It covers from creation to the bondage of Israel in Egypt about 1860 B.C.

Audience/Purpose: Primary audience was the people of Israel to know God, His work of creation, the origin and nature of sin and evil, but God’s plan to redeem the world through a covenant relationship with Himself where He works out His purposes in the world through them and on their behalf.


Chapters 1-11 - Beginning of the World and History

  • Chs 1-2 - Creation of the world and the first humans

  • 1:1-2 - God created the world

  • 1:26-27 - God created man from dust

  • 2:1-4 - God rested on the seventh day

  • 2:16-17 - God’s command to Adam to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil

  • 2:21-24 -God created woman out of man

  • Chs 3-5 - Fall and corruption of humankind

  • 3:1-7 - First humans sinned against God and fell from their Edenic state

  • 3:14-15 (ProtoEvangelium, “first gospel”) - God cursed the serpent (Satan) and prophesied of Eve’s Seed (Christ) who will crush his head

  • Chs 6-11 - Destruction of the world and preservation of a remnant

  • 6:13,17-18 - God vowed to destroy the world due to humanity’s sin

  • 9:1-11 - God made covenant with Noah to fill and never destroy the earth again

Chapters 12-50 - Beginning of God’s Covenant Family

  • Chs 12-14 - God’s call and promise to Abraham

  • 11:27-12:3 - God will bless the nations of the earth through Abraham’s descendents

  • 14:18-20 - Abraham encounters the King-Priest Melchizedek, foreshadow of Christ

  • Chs 15-18:14 - God’s covenant with Abraham

  • 15:1-6 - God promised Abraham a son and Abraham believed

  • 17:9-14 - God established the covenant of circumcision with Abraham

  • Chs 18:15-20:18 - Sin and fall of Sodom and Gomorrah

  • 19:23-29 - God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah due to their great sexual sin