Genesis 1: In the Beginning
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The Bible begins with these famous words in Genesis 1, laying the foundation for the rest of the Bible. Genesis 1:1–2:4a is the first of two creation accounts in Genesis, and it focuses on God’s creation of the cosmos.
The Bible’s creation account is the source of a lot of debate. Some modern readers strip away the cultural and theological significance of Genesis, and instead mine it for scientific details about how God created the heavens and the earth. Others suggest it is simply one of many ancient accounts of creation—a myth.
To help us understand this ancient Scripture, we’re drawing from the expertise of Tremper Longman III, a renowned Old Testament scholar. In his online course on the book of Genesis, Longman reveals the cultural and theological implications…
Abraham and Isaac: A Test of Faith
In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham’s obedience by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son.
To modern readers, this passage and this test feels like a nightmare. Why would God ask Abraham to do that? And why would Abraham be willing to go through with it?
Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III explores this challenging passage in his online course on the book of Genesis. The following analysis is adapted from his course.
But first, let’s look at the passage itself.
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Who Wrote the Book of Genesis?
Moses is traditionally considered the author of Genesis. But for over two centuries, one of the most contested questions in biblical scholarship has been “Who wrote the Book of Genesis—and when?”
Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and one of the five books of the Pentateuch. Several other books of the Pentateuch include passages that mention Moses recording events and writing down what God says. The authors of the New Testament—and even Jesus himself—appear to credit Moses as the author of Genesis.
So why don’t scholars agree?
There are passages in Genesis that Moses could not have written, because they describe events that happened after his death, known as postmosaica passages. And there are others that would simply be awkward for Moses to write, which are referred to as amosaica (such as Numbers 12:4).…
Tremper Longman III Reflects on the Challenges of Studying Genesis
Genesis, like the rest of the Old Testament is a difficult book for us as twenty-first Christians to understand.
After all, we’re distant from this book in many ways. For one thing, it’s an ancient book. This is a book that was written three thousand five hundred years ago and has many strange and ancient customs.
The book of Genesis is also distant from us in terms of culture. It was written in an Ancient Near Eastern culture,…
Tremper Longman, III on Studying Genesis
We recently sat down with Tremper Longman to discuss some of the challenges in studying the book of Genesis. Take a look at what he had to say:
Genesis, like the rest of the Old Testament is a difficult book for us as twenty-first Christians to understand. After all, we’re distant from this book in many ways.
For one thing, it’s an ancient book. This is a book that was written three thousand five hundred years ago and has many strange and ancient customs.
The book of Genesis is also distant from us in terms of culture. It was…
The Faith of Abraham – An Excerpt From Genesis (The Story of God Bible Commentary Series)
The Story of God Bible Commentary explains and illuminates each passage of Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story. It aims to set each passage within the context of Scripture and leads the reader to (1) “Listen to the Story,” (2) “Interpret the Story,” and (3) “Live the Story.”
In his commentary on Genesis, Tremper Longman III examines each portion of scripture through this three-step process. This week’s excerpt is taken from the “Live the Story” section of Genesis 11:27-12:9, and encourages us to reflect on Abraham’s faith journey, as well as our own.
THE JOURNEY OF FAITH
Is Noah’s Flood Still Relevant? Longman Offers 6 Ways to Live the Story
A few weeks ago, another volume in the landmark The Story of God Bible Commentary series was released. And by none other than the venerable Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III.
Genesis offers pastors, students, and interested Christians a sturdy resource for hearing the voice of God in the text and finding an accessible explanation of its passages. But like all SGBC volumes, this one goes further than most Genesis commentaries: Not only does it help us hear and explore the Story, it helps us live it.
Reading the Bible is not just about discovering what it meant back then; the intent of The Story of God Bible Commentary is to probe how this text might be lived out today as that story continues to march on in…
Tremper Longman on Genesis’ Theological Message and the Story of God
In his new Genesis commentary in the ground-breaking Story of God Bible Commentary series Longman argues, “it provides a foundation for the knowledge of God and his human creatures’ relationship with him.” (13)
He goes on to reveal how “varied and profound” its theological teachings are. Each part contains a “unique focus” and makes an “important theological contribution.” Which is why we’ve provided commentary from Longman on Genesis’ theological message and its relationship to the Story of God.
It will help you grasp the significance of reading Genesis in its Old Testament context, from…
Devotional Advice for Gaining Wisdom & Living Purposefully in 2016
The Hebrew language.
Yes, you read that right. Not the Hebrew Scriptures, though ultimately that’s where the advice is found. The Hebrew language. A brilliant new devotional book offers advice for living using insights from biblical Hebrew. It’s called Devotions on the Hebrew Bible, by Milton Eng’s and Lee Fields’s book.
Their book demonstrates “that a knowledge of the original languages can and should be a spiritually rewarding exercise.” (13) Each of the 54 devotionals is designed to bring out some grammatical or lexical insight from the original Hebrew…
Reading the Wisdom Books Canonically — An Excerpt from “Canon and Biblical Interpretation”
Canon and Biblical Interpretation is a unique, landmark volume in the “Scripture and Hermeneutics Series.” It examines the canonical approach to interpreting the Bible and the various criticisms that have been leveled against such an approach.
Leading biblical scholars contribute explore a canonical interpretation in relation to different parts of the Bible, such as the Pentateuch, the Wisdom books, the Psalms, and the Gospels. Essays address such issues as canonical authority and the controversial relationship between canonical interpretation and general hermeneutics.
In our excerpt today, Tremper Longman III explores a canonical interpretation to the wisdom literature in the Old Testament. “While there is a place for studying these books in isolation from each other,” Longman writes, “it is important to ultimately read each wisdom book in the context of the others, and also to read…
Just in Time for Pentecost – the Acts Commentaries eBook Sale!
“The experience of Pentecost is the key that unlocks the book of Acts.” -Ajith Fernando, NIV Application Commentary: Acts
With the church's commemoration of Pentecost Sunday just around the corner (May 19, 2013), we're thinking about Pentecost and its significance. We're also excited to present a great deal on Acts eBook commentaries from Zondervan. For a limited time, get the eBook commentaries below for only $7.99 each!
You may know the Pentecost event in Acts 2 marks the fulfillment of Christ's promise of the Holy Spirit. As Fernando notes, the Pentecost event signals "that we as believers have a new power for ministry," and it signals "the breaking of barriers that have separated the human race since Babel." So, as Fernando notes, it's appropriate that the Acts 2 event takes place in Jerusalem during the Jewish harvest festival of Pentecost…