(Introduction) – Abraham’s backstory

When we think about the Bible from a high level, we generally organize it as Old and New Testament.  What if this way of thinking about the scriptures hinders a fuller understanding. Have you considered that the early chapters of Genesis answer questions about why the world is in the state it is? I begin this study of Abraham with the backstory to his life. My assumption is that that the first eleven chapters of Genesis point us to the origins of evil, pain and suffering in the earth. From that state of the earth, God called a man (Abram) from Mesopotamia to begin unfolding the magnificent story of redemption for the human family.  

“Lullaby affect”
Many of us have heard these stories (Garden of Eden, The Great Flood, etc.) so many times we almost yawn with apathy; “oh yeah, I’ve heard this all before.”  But do we understand the nuances of these stories and how they inform major biblical themes? It’s easy to get caught in doctrinal arguments that we may not see the forest for the tress; but the subtlety in these original stories effortlessly cuts throw the rhetoric exposing God’s heart and our condition.  Beneath the surface in these stories lurks the divine heart and human pain shedding light on what it means to be human in a world that has forgotten our creator. 

Perspectives
We each approach the scriptures from a specific perspective. That perspective may be influenced by denominational affiliation, creedal statements, or family background. Some might even read it as historical fiction, mythology, or teachings of moral philosophy. While it may not be possible to completely remove those viewpoints, we should at least be aware they exist.  We can then step away from those preconceptions and imagine these stories in their ancient context and understand them as the early reader did.  This is what I invite you to do as we begin this study in Genesis. 

Questions
Who is God? Who am I? Why is the world such a mess? Is there any hope?  Are there any more existential questions than these? These are some of the questions we will explore together in the following sections.  I invite you to bring to bring your heart, emotions, and your mind as you consider the implications of what we review.  Wrestle with the thoughts and ideas that are presented, and I believe you will find great joy and peace at the end.

But first, why as a Christian should I study the Old Testament – isn’t that just for the Jews?
The Old Testament provides the foundation for the New Testament. Without a grasp of the old it is difficult to comprehend the context, history, prophetic fulfillments, types and shadows and much more as you read the new. Here is a sampling of scriptures that reference the value of the Old Testament scriptures.

  • And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself……Luke 24:27
  • And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”……Mathew 13:52
  • Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God……Romans 3:1-2

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