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The Plitvice Falls in Croatia;

photo credit: WallpapersB  

Small Group Leader Notes

on the Book of Genesis


Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 God, Humanity, and the Original Creation
Genesis 2:4 - 25 Human Beings Bearing the Image of God
Genesis 2:8 - 17 The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Genesis 3:1 - 7 Temptation and the Fall into Corruption
Genesis 3:8 - 19 The Fall's Consequences; God's Redemption Begins
Genesis 3:20 - 24 God Covers Adam and Eve's Shame
Genesis 4:1 - 25 The Beginning of Hell on Earth
Genesis 4:1 - 16 Human Nature Can Be Corrupted Further
Genesis 4:16 - 25 Walling Yourself Off and Taking Others With You
Genesis 2:4 - 4:25 From Garden to City: Before and After the Fall
Genesis 5:1 - 6:8 Human Beings Bearing the Tarnished Image
Genesis 6:9 - 9:29

God, the Author, Judge, and Renewer of His Creation

Genesis 10:1 - 11:26 Humanity's Second Great Fall and the Second City
Genesis 1:1 - 11:26 Genesis in the Midst of Other Stories: The Character of God and the Value of Human Life
Genesis 11:27 - 13:4 God's Invites an Old Humanity to a New Eden
Genesis 13:5 - 14:24 God Helps Undo Our Jealousy and Be a True Brother
Genesis 13:5 - 18 God Helps Undo Our Jealousy
Genesis 14:1 - 24 God Helps Me Be My Brother's Keeper
Genesis 15:1 - 21 God Promises Life Out of Death in Abram's Body
Genesis 16:1 - 16 The Family's Next Fall into Sin; God's Redemption
Genesis 17:1 - 27 The Sign of God's Cleansing and Transforming Work
Genesis 18:1 - 15 God Brings Life Out of Death in Sarah's Body
Genesis 18:16 - 33 God Teaches His People to Pray
Genesis 19:1 - 38 The Result of Abraham's Prayer:  God Rescues Lot
Genesis 20:1 - 18 God Redeems Abraham's Sin Again
Genesis 21:1 - 34 Is God Really the God of Life?
Genesis 22:1 - 24 The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son
Genesis 23:1 - 20 Sarah's Death and Abraham's Witness to Hope
Genesis 24:1 - 67 Rebekah, the Bride to Match Isaac
Genesis 25:1 - 26:35 God Extends His Blessing to the New Couple
Genesis 27:1 - 28:9 When We Prioritize Our Appetites Over God's Word
Genesis 28:10 - 22 God Turns Jacob's Flight into Holy Adventure
Genesis 29:1 - 30 The Holy Familiar and the Painful Reversal
Genesis 29:31 - 30:24 God Heals the Jealousy Between Two Sisters
Genesis 30:25 - 31:16 Jacob Learns to Let God Defend Him
Genesis 31:17 - 55 God Calls His People Back to the Garden Land and Back to Proper Boundaries
Genesis 32:1 - 32 God Wounds Jacob's Sin to Heal Him
Genesis 33:1 - 17 God Reconciles the Two Brothers
Genesis 33:18 - 34:31 Not a Happy Ending Yet: Jacob Endangers Dinah
Genesis 35:1 - 20 Not a Happy Ending Yet: Jacob's Homecoming
Genesis 37:1 - 36 God Begins to Undo the Favoritism in Jacob's Family - By Favoring the Favored
Genesis 38:1 - 30 Judah Tries to Exclude Tamar from God's Blessing

Genesis 39:1 - 23

God Develops a Partner for Blessing in Exile
Genesis 40:1 - 23 God Develops a Partner for Blessing in Prison
Genesis 41:1 - 57 God Develops a Partner for Blessing the World
Genesis 42:1 - 38 Joseph Incognito Provides for His Brothers
Genesis 43:1 - 34 A Brother's Keeper Sees the Face of God
Genesis 44:1 - 45:15 Joseph Discloses Himself to His Family
Genesis 45:16 - 47:26 Joseph Provides for the Whole World
Genesis 47:27 - 49:33 Jacob Prophecies Over His Children
Genesis 50:1 - 26 Joseph's Theology: God Redeems Evil and Brings Good Out of It

Messages on the Book of Genesis


Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 God, Humanity, and the Original Creation
Genesis 1:1 - 2:25 Your Choices Shape Your Desires
Genesis 2:4 - 4:25 Human Beings Bearing the Image of God
Genesis 1:1 - 11:26

What Does God Value More? The Individual or the Social Order?

Genesis 1:1 - 22:18 Can We Trust This God?
Genesis 25 - 35 Three Types of Pain from the Story of Jacob

Notes and Essays

on the Book of Genesis


The Creation Account in Genesis and Tolkien's Silmarillion


Literary Structures in Genesis


The Genesis Account and the Documentary Hypothesis


The Creation Account and the Narrative of Science


God, Omnipotence, and Evil: God in Genesis


Jesus in Genesis?


Whose Family? Which Union? 

Reflections on Scripture, Human Sexuality and God's Purposes


Why Did God Choose a "Chosen People"? 

Why Not Just Skip Right to Jesus?


The Troubling Acts of God: 

Noah's Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah,

the Egyptian Firstborn, and the Canaanites

Helpful Books and Articles on

the Book of Genesis


John W. Welch, Chiasmus in Ancient Greek and Latin Literatures

excellent resource demonstrating the prevalence of chiastic literary structures in Greek and Latin literature


Gordon Hugenberger, The Historicity of the Bible (ppts to his class lecture, Theology of the Pentateuch)


Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, The Literary Guide to the Bible (Amazon book, Sep 1, 1990) has very helpful insights


Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Literature (Amazon book, 1981)


Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry (Amazon book, 1985)


Meir Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading (Amazon book, Aug 22, 1987)


Isaac M. Kikawada and Arthur Quinn, Before Abraham Was:

The Unity of Genesis 1 - 11 (Amazon book, Mar 1989)


Jon D. Levenson, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity (Amazon book, Mar 1989)


Robert Alter, The World of Biblical Literature (Amazon book, Mar 17, 1992)


John H. Sailhamer, The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary (Amazon book, Feb 21, 1995)


John H. Sailhamer, Introduction to Old Testament Theology: A Canonical Approach (Amazon book, Oct 14, 1999)


Duane Garrett, Rethinking Genesis: The Source and Authorship of the First Book of the Pentateuch (Amazon book, Jan 1, 2001)


Paul Borgman, Genesis: The Story We Haven't Heard (Amazon book, Aug 25, 2001)


J.P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis: Specimens of Stylistic and Structural Analysis (Amazon book, May 14, 2004)


Rikk Watts, Making Sense of Genesis 1 (Stimulus journal, Nov 2004) excellent comparison between Genesis 1 and the creation myths of other Ancient Near Eastern cultures


John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch:

Revelation, Composition and Interpretation (Amazon book, Nov 15, 2009) 


N.T. Wright, If Creation is Through Christ, Evolution is What You'd Expect (BioLogos, Apr 24, 2017) short, excellent 4 minute reflection on Colossians 1 and Genesis 1

Helpful Practical Tools on

the Book of Genesis


Alastair Roberts, 40 Days of Exoduses  (blog)


Damon Young, The Wisdom of Gardens (Aeon, Jun 14, 2013) gardens expand our thinking, console us in times of crisis, school us in emotional generosity, and show us that life goes on


The Bible Project, The Book of Genesis, Overview Part 1 (The Bible Project, May 19, 2014) covers Genesis 1 - 11; a good explanation of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as the choice to trust God to define good/evil or not trust God


The Bible Project, The Book of Genesis, Overview Part 2 (The Bible Project, Jul 24, 2014) covers Genesis 12 - 50

Fresco of Adam and Eve in the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, in Rome.  The fresco dates to 400 AD or earlier.  Photo credit: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons.