These two chapters, as well as some (now several millennia later) boring stuff about wells, contain some of the heights and depths of human experience. A birth to a childless couple, well well after normal childbearing years, and nasty vindictive selfishness. But also an outrageous demand from God, blind obedience and a few hints of something greater to come…Read More →

Don’t look for happy families in the tales of the ancestors, matriarchs and patriarchs, of God’s chosen people.  Genesis 27-28 carry the story into the next two generations but present a thoroughly dysfunctional family. Yet Genesis 28 tells also of one of the most dramatic revelations of God and renewal of God’s promises to this chosen people. These chapters present a powerful reminder that humans are full of and ruled by sin, but that God’s grace is not thwarted so easily.  Read More →

Genesis 12 marks the beginning of the real story of the Bible. Chapters 1-11 are a prologue both to Genesis and to the Bible as a whole. They introduced us to “characters” (not least God – singular and with a capital G) and to the central issue that the Bible addresses. In chapter 12 we are introduced to Abraham, the first of the ancestors of the people God chose. Their story will fill the rest of the Old Testament. But also in Gen 12 we have to recognise what an odd choice God made. The people later on known as the Jews were neither moreRead More →

The first week’s readings covered the prologue to Genesis, the second week covers the Ancestors of Faith, the Matriarchs and Patriarchs of Israel. Here we begin to see the first outlines of God’s plan to restore a world warped and twisted by human sin. We also begin to discover what it means to be “people of faith”. The picture caption included this: ABRAHAM – PROMISE The first vertical window from the entrance on the north side represents Abraham and promise. Abraham believed God. The winding path of light blue that leads upward is symbolic of the faith of Abraham as he heard the call ofRead More →

If this was a merely human story you’d expect God’s bold attempt at drastic punishment to have an equally bold result. Either humanity reformed, or the rebellion gets deeper 😉 But of course neither is possible. humanity is unreformable, just try making a few worthwhile New Year’s resolutions to prove that 😉 nor is rebellion any deeper possible. So what we get instead is a second old-fashioned word, to add to the collection of outmoded terms we began with “sin” earlier. Here’s the story Genesis 8:1-9:17.Read More →

I think I’ve avoided really looking at this passage, and I notice that my teaching has focused too much on the signs of two source texts being edited together, and noticed too little how the story works, because like the genocide texts it offends my sense of right. The story looks different when one hears it as an exploration of the theme of sin and righteousness, as I’ll try to here. The reading is here Genesis 6:5-7:24.Read More →

All, speech requires prior knowledge to be understood. Usually this is largely shared within a culture. So if I say “the cat” I do not usually have to tell you first what a cat is. (Even if in the context of a novel about old-time sailors it might be a whip.) Some courses of study have organised “prerequisites” courses you must take before them. Many books have a preface or prologue that cointains material the author thinks you need to know before tackling the body of the work. Genesis 1-11 is the prologue to the Bible, The “characters” and themes it introduces will help usRead More →