This Lent we are learning the Bible, Bible 100 style. In other words, we’re developing an overview of the entire collection of 66 books. Here’s a summary of what we covered this week. If any of this sparks your curiosity, I hope you will watch the short videos I recorded through Facebook Live. Of course, you can always turn to the Bible to learn even more!
- The Bible was written by more than forty people over the course of two millennia.
- The Bible is a collection of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
- “The Apocrypha” is a collection of books that are included in the official scriptures of the Roman Catholic, Greek, and Slavonic churches, but are not included in the Jewish Tanakh or Protestant Bible.
- The places and people depicted in the Old Testament are all located in the Middle East. The New Testament expands to Greece and Southern Europe. (Click here to see a satellite image of the area.)
- The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35 (KJV), “Jesus Wept.” The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, and its neighbor Psalm 119 is the longest.
- In Genesis 1, there are six distinct acts of creation and then God rests. (Or, as I like to see it, God created rest on the 7th Day.)
- God saw everything he made and deemed it very good.
- Genesis 2 offers a second creation story. Some people read this as creation from a different perspective. Genesis 1 is God’s perspective. Genesis 2 is told from the perspective of Adam. Bible 100 won’t settle this for you, but it will encourage you to learn the Bible one question at a time.
- When Creation is done, we have two humans living in perfect harmony with one another and with God.
- Perfection is short-lived.
- The serpent tempts Eve using subtlety, suggesting that God is keeping something from her and Adam.
- Eve and Adam eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they realize they are separate from God.
- Sin is the condition of separation from God.
- Once sin is introduced, it escalates quickly.
- Adam and Eve know they are naked and they hide. Cain kills his brother Abel but doesn’t hide. In chapter 4, we meet Lamech who loudly declares his sin saying, “I have killed a young man for insulting me.”
- Sin continues to escalate quickly. By only the sixth chapter of the Bible, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
- God’s response to this escalation of sin is to flood the earth, but spare Noah, giving humanity another chance.
- When the flood ends, Noah and God have a wonderful conversation under a beautiful rainbow, but then Noah restarts the cycle of sin by getting drunk and cursing the descendants of his son Ham.
- In Genesis 11 we meet Abram and in Genesis 12 we start to learn his story.
- Abram is called by God to leave his homeland and go on faith.
- God bestows an unconditional gift to Abram, promising to make a great nation of him and make his name great so “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” through Abram. (Genesis 12:2-3)
- In order for Abram to be a “great nation,” he needs to have descendants. He and his wife, Sarai, are older and have no children.
- God makes good on the promise to bless Abram and Sarai with a child, but four important things happen first:
1. Abram has a son, Ishmael, with an Egyptian slave named Hagar.
2. God changes their names from Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah and reiterates that the covenant will pass through Sarah.
3. God tells Abraham to mark their covenant through circumcision. Abraham is circumcised at age 99, Ishmael is 13. (Genesis 17:24-25)
4. Sodom, where Abraham’s nephew Lot lives, is destroyed.
- Isaac is born but nearly doesn’t make it to adulthood. In Genesis 22, Abraham’s faith is tested when he’s told to sacrifice Isaac. At the last minute, God provides a sacrifice and Isaac is spared.
- Sarah dies when Isaac is about 35 or 36 years old. Abraham wants Isaac to marry, but he does not want Isaac to marry a local girl.
- Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac.
- Isaac marries Rebekah when he is forty years old. (Genesis 25:20)
- Rebekah has a difficult pregnancy with twin boys. God tells her “two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)
- The first twin to emerge is Esau, but his brother Jacob is born grasping his brother’s heel. Today we might say “stop pulling my leg” if we think someone is deceiving us. Jacob is the original leg-puller.
- Jacob manages to get Esau’s birthright and his blessing.
– Esau trades his birthright for a bowl of stew. (Genesis 25:29-34)
– Rebekah and Jacob conspire to trick Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob. (Genesis 27)
- Esau is unhappy about his brother’s deceit. Jacob flees.
Want to sum up these 6 lessons in just a handful of verses? Try these:
- Genesis 1:3 (Lights come on)
- Genesis 1:31 (Everything is perfect)
- Genesis 3:7 (Sin enters the world)
- Genesis 4:6 (Sin escalates)
- Genesis 6:5 (Sin takes over)
- Genesis 9:12-15 (Noah & God talk under a rainbow)
- Genesis 9:20-22, 24-25 (Noah restarts the cycle of sin)
- Genesis 12:1-4 (Abrahamic Covenant)
- Genesis 21:1-3 (Isaac born)
- Genesis 22:17-18 (Abrahamic Covenant Reiterated)
- Genesis 32:24, 27-28 (Jacob becomes Israel)