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Our Fathers' Faith, an Old Testament Survey

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,   Hebrews 1:1, NIV

The Bible is God's love letter to us.  It tells of His creation of man, of His desire to commune with him, but it also tells of the greatest tragedy of all history - man's fall into sin and his separation from God.  It is the aim of this series to tell of God's answer to man's sin - his separation from God.  The answer is God's wonderful plan of redemption and that men and women down throughout the ages have responded to that call to restored relationship with Him.  This is the grand story of our fathers' faith - a faith that is founded upon the Plan of Redemption that God initiated because He desired to once more walk in the garden[1] with his companion, man.

Come take this journey with Don and me as we explore the Old Testament.  It is the purpose of this class to present a simple outline of each book, an overall theme and to trace the thread of God's Redemptive Plan and man's response in faith in Jehovah, Eloheim's extended hand to man in the act of reconciliation.

A Basic Outline of the Old Testament.

Let's start off with a basic outline.

An Outline of the Old Testament

The Pentateuch

The Poetry

1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy
1. Job
2. Psalms
3. Proverbs
4. Ecclesiastes
5. Song of Songs

The History

1. Joshua
2. Judges
3. Ruth
4. 1 Samuel
5. 2 Samuel
6. 1 Kings
7.  2 Kings
8.  1 Chronicles
9.  2 Chronicles
10. Ezra
11. Nehemiah
12. Esther


Look up your favorite verse on
Gospel Com's Bible Gateway

The Major Prophets

The Minor Prophets

1. Isaiah
2. Jeremiah
3. Lamentations
1. Daniel
2. Hosea
3. Joel
4. Amos
5. Obadiah
6. Jonah
7. Micah
8.  Nahum
9.  Habakkuk
10. Zephaniah
11. Haggai
12. Zechariah
13. Malachi

There you have it.  The Bible picture is linked to Gospel Com's Bible Gateway where you may look up your favorite Bible verse or do a search on a word - a handy tool.   While you are in the neighborhood you should check out the excellent ministries that are represented there.

Let's Start with the book of Genesis.

Genesis starts us off with God.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1, KJV

The name Genesis [heb = bereshith] is derived from the LXX in translating the first Hebrew word - a word formed from the preposition be "in" and the noun reshith which comes from rosh meaning beginning, at the head of a thing or the originating thing or event.  reshith is used for the beginning of a year as in Deuteronomy 11:12.  It often refers to the first products of a harvest and may be translated firstfruits.  So in the beginning God... He is the first "event", "thing"  If I may use it that way.  God was the FIRST the BEGINNING He is at the HEAD of creation and history - not some big bang or some "singularity" that exploded in a chaotic explosion that resulted in what we know as the universe - No.  God.  He was the Beginning - and so right away every man who ever draws breath - should he look into the pages of God's Word - would discover right away that God. . . . .   God . . . created.

Next, we discover right away that God created the universe. 

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  Genesis 1:3, KJV

God created [heb = bara, to create something out of nothing].  Hebrews has an interesting reference to this event:

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.  Hebrews 11:3, NIV

Here, the writer is saying that what was created was created out of nothing.  The writer of Hebrews and Moses both say that It was from the word of His mouth that the universe came into existence.  Notice that light was the first of His creation - all the multiple "Bizillions" of stars came into existence by the word of His mouth.  Light - the Stuff of Space.   Man is still wrestling with the  so-called laws of relativity - but God was the inventor of space.  There's a interesting verse in the gospel of John that I think we should look at:

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.   John 1:3

This is a most interesting passage.  Actually, we must divide this verse in half for it encompasses such a grand thought.  The first half of the verse refers to all things that is the entire universe.  This would require the reader to back off from the universe at such a great distance that it would be quite mind boggling - for to view the entire universe we must actually leave space and look at the universe from God's point of view - Here John agrees with the writer of Genesis, Moses that God was the creator of the entire universe.  But then, we do not need such a space ship that would take us to the edges of space to give us that information - we have the Bible - more particularly these two passages which coexist in perfect harmony between the two covers of God's Word:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  

So then, we know that God created the entire universe, because the Bible tells us so.   But let's look at the second half of John 3:3:

...without him was not any thing made that was made. (my emphasis).

Now we must put our space ship into warp drive (as Spock or Captain Kirk would have us do) and plunge into the center of the universe - down - into - deeper - until we reduce ourselves in such a minute size that we can observe the smallest particle of matter - is it the neutrino? - I don't know I'm not a scientist - perhaps the best scientist hasn't discovered the smallest particle of matter.  Notice my emphasis - "any thing."  Now this is biblical "singularity"  if we could some how with 23rd or 24 century instrumentation look at the "innards" of the smallest particle we would discover that God created it!  We cannot do this empirically but we can by faith understand it.  We can know that God is the Beginning of things - by faith.  This what the Bible is for - that we might learn His "things" by faith:

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.    Hebrews 11:3, NAS

God in His wisdom has made it possible to know Him by one means of thinking - faith.   The purpose of His revealed word is to provide the means by which we, by faith may understand His wonderful plan of Redemption and receive it from Him for our own.

But, as my favorite Bible prof in Bible School would say, I digress.

The Basic Outline of Genesis.

The basic outline for Genesis is really easy - It can be divided by the five major Patriarchs.


The Outline of Genesis
1.  Adam (1:1-4:26) 3.  Abraham (11:27 - 25:18) 5.  Joseph (37:2 - 50:26)
2.  Noah (5:1 - 11:26) 4.  Jacob (25:19 - 37:1)

The Creation of Man.

The book of Genesis - the book of beginnings - is about where we came from.  Not some primordial soupy, slimy, pond in the past, but that we came from the loving hands of God, Himself.  Read on:

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, ...    Genesis 2:7a, NAS.

It may not be obvious in the English translation but the Bible describes man as a three part being here.  First, we have the physical - man was created from the "dust" [heb = aphar, red clay]  "from the ground"  [heb prep min = from + adhamah = red, tillable soil].  It may dawn on us that there is a close relationship between the "man" and dirt but let us never denigrate the nobility of God's creation for anything His Hands form is, indeed, noble.  I want to skip to the last part of this verse and then go back to the middle.

"...and man became a living being."   Gen 2:7c.

Man has a soul.  It is with the soul that he has self-consciousness, he thinks, he has emotions.  It is with the soul that he can rationalize.  It is with the soul that he can believe that something that is revealed to him by his Creator is true without empirically proving it.

Next we have a most curious phrase:

"...and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;..."  Why curious?  Because  if we look at the original for "life"  we discover that it is in the plural [heb = masc, plural of chayyin].   So, I might be tempted to translate this phrase "..and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives."  So far we have the body of man created from red, tillable soil.  We have his soul with which he thinks.  Now, we look at the part of man most curious.  Man is created to have the breath of lives.  I believe this is speaking of the spirit of man and the Holy Spirit = "lives." 

Let's break from here and go to another verse:

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."   Genesis 1:26, NAS.

We must not forget another important fact.  We were created in the image / likeness of the Triune God (the "Us" of this passage).  Image [heb = tselem, model]  Mankind exerts authority over creation because he is the image / model of his creator (Gen 1:26).  Likeness = [heb = demuth, to be like]. Let's look at a related passage:

When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.    Genesis 5:3, NAS.

Adam sired a son who was a "chip of the old block" as we New Englanders would say.  Seth was like Adam in more than appearance = he was like his father emotionally, in personality and most importantly, morally.

Let's go back to our original verse in 1:26.  I am not teaching that Adam looked like God but that Adam was like God - as a moral being.  He was self-conscious - he knew right from wrong - he could choose - he could love - and most importantly, he could fellowship with God.  When God said "Let Us make man in our image / likeness"  the sense was the same as in Genesis 5:3 that there would be a family resemblance and family relationship and family responsibility - that's important to understand when it comes to the thought of man being in the image / likeness of God.  We were created to be like God,  to be in relationship with Him, and to be responsible to Him as a member of His family.


1.  Genesis 3:8-9  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. [9] But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"  What poignancy we have here as the LORD God   -  Jehovah Eloheim  - called out for His companions.  It was His custom to walk and talk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening after they had finished their vocation of tending the garden for the day, (although He did not confine His fellowship with them to the evening).  He also participated in Adam's vocation as recorded in Gen. 2:19, 20.  Sin had separated them from their LORD but the ultimate plan of God is that He will have that interrupted fellowship restored [Rev 22:3-5].  This is the Redemptive Plan of God.   We will be studying that during this survey.  [ Back ]