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Jesu, Juva

Posts Tagged ‘Genesis


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It would be difficult to call a single book my best theological purchase ever, because of the different ways that books can come to us at just the right time and can interact with and build upon each other. Lewis was a particular help to me because I was in a season of doubt. If Van Til hadn’t taught me to be a conscious Calvinist, I would never have needed Carson to steer me out of the hyper-Calvinist ditch, nor would I have been willing to work hard enough at Vos to learn more. And Middle-earth and Narnia are clearly in the running. Plus, I just haven’t read enough to be making such lofty pronouncements.

But realizing this, and even though I’m only partway into it, in my own small way I think the James Jordan audio collection will stand as my best theological purchase ever. Jordan has really incredible insights into the Bible. There are many books worth of material here; five months in and I have only made it through his Genesis lectures and partway into Exodus. But I am hooked, and if nothing else, I feel much better prepared and much more excited for family Bible reading. Jordan has the ability to illuminate many of the “weird” parts of the Bible so that they begin to make sense, and I’m having to give up some patronizing attitudes toward parts of history. It’s exciting to see someone wrestling with why God gave us particular details or obscure passages, even if we don’t have yet have enough information to answer that in every case. Jordan is constantly drawing out vast connections throughout Scripture, including rich symbolism and typology. Here’s a small but surprising example: combining Genesis 39:1, 39:20-23, and 41:10, we see that Joseph never left Potiphar’s house in his imprisonment! It is not clear whether the “keeper of the prison” is Potiphar himself or another of Potiphar’s servants. Regardless, Potiphar seems to have recognized that God blessed him through Joseph, and perhaps even recognized Joseph’s innocence (which would heighten the injustice of Joseph’s imprisonment).

This week I am listening to Jordan’s comments on Exodus 21. While drawing connections to related passages elsewhere in the Pentateuch, he observes that Hebrew uses a single word, goel or ga’al, to convey both the idea of the kinsman redeemer and the avenger of blood. So the word conveys a person’s status as next-of-kin as much as it does these distinct responsibilities attached to it. Jordan has several valuable observations to make on the blood avenger; in particular, he distinguishes it from a mere family feud by showing it to be a real civil responsibility to guard against bloodguilt (Numbers 35:30-34). Otherwise the land itself will rise up to serve as avenger instead (as in Genesis 4:10-12, Leviticus 20:22, Leviticus 26:18-20). Considering the cities of refuge, Jordan points out that the death of the high priest’s cleansing the land (Numbers 35:28) is another type of Jesus.

Jordan also makes the fascinating offhand remark that this dual use for goel lends further support for the doctrine of particular redemption (or limited atonement). First, it is not possible to identify Jesus as redeemer in the abstract: he is the redeemer of particular individuals who share a kinship with him. Second, we cannot separate the office of redeemer from that of avenger: as a redeemer there are others estranged from him who will suffer his vengeance. Like so many other things, it comes back to adoption.

I’m not trying to prove the doctrine of particular redemption in offering this, and if I were I would take pains to guard against the hyper-Calvinist idea that there is simply no sense in which Jesus shows kindness to those who perish, or in which he died for the sins of the whole world. But as someone who holds to particular redemption, this is a neat confirmation, as well as a great example of the sort of depth that Jordan routinely offers even in passing comments.

Picture source: Rembrandt.

Watson on humility, gratitude, and deserving

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Thomas Watson draws out the connection between humility, gratitude, and a right awareness of our sins and our deserving: “A proud man complains that he has no more; a humble man wonders that he has so much: ‘I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies’ (Genesis 32:10).”

Written by Scott Moonen

November 12, 2006 at 4:54 pm


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Chapter summaries in Genesis.

Genesis 1 – God creates all from nothing, by His spoken word, and all very good; man as image-bearer; man’s mandate.
Genesis 2 – God rests; formation of Adam and Eve; Eden; covenant of life.
Genesis 3 – Man’s temptation, sin, fall, curse, judgment, banishment, and hope.
Genesis 4 – Abel’s offering accepted; Abel’s murder; Cain’s judgment; Cain’s offspring; Seth’s birth.
Genesis 5 – The line of Adam through Seth to Noah and his sons; Enoch translated.
Genesis 6 – Wickedness multiplies; God is grieved and plans to destroy and to save; Noah obeys.
Genesis 7 – The ark is entered and the earth is flooded; every living thing is blotted out.
Genesis 8 – The water subsides, the earth dries, and the ark is exited; Noah worships God; God’s promise.
Genesis 9 – God blesses Noah and establishes covenant with all living creatures; Ham’s sin and Noah’s curse on Canaan.
Genesis 10 – Genealogies of Noah’s sons.
Genesis 11 – Tower built; God confuses language; genealogy from Shem to Abram; Terah journeys from Ur to Canaan but settles in Haran.
Genesis 12 – God’s promise to Abram; journey to Canaan; deceit in Egypt over Sarai.
Genesis 13 – Abram and Lot separate; God promises land to Abram forever.
Genesis 14 – Abram recues Lot, tithes to Melchizedek, and refuses reward from Sodom.
Genesis 15 – God promises innumerable offspring; Abram believes; prophecy of captivity in Egypt; Abram sacrifices.
Genesis 16 – Offspring through Hagar, who flees but returns after God’s instruction and blessing.
Genesis 17 – Covenant to bless and multiply ”Abraham” and ”Sarah”; promise of land; circumcision as sign of covenant.
Genesis 18 – Three men visit; Sarah laughs at prophecy; Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis 19 – Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed; Lot rescued; Lot’s incest.
Genesis 20 – Deceit in Negev over Sarah.
Genesis 21 – Isaac is born and circumcised; Hagar is sent out; Abraham covenants with Abimelech.
Genesis 22 – God tests Abraham, provides a sacrificial ram, and promises to bless Abraham.
Genesis 23 – Sarah dies in Hebron; Abraham buys a field and buries her in a cave.
Genesis 24 – God guides Abraham’s servant to find Rebekah as a wife for Isaac.
Genesis 25 – Abraham dies; Ishmael’s offspring; Jacob and Esau born; Esau sells birthright.
Genesis 26 – God blesses and prospers Isaac; deceit over Rebekah; conflict over wells; Esau grieves parents.
Genesis 27 – Jacob steals Esau’s blessing.
Genesis 28 – Jacob journeys to Haran, is blessed by God in a dream, and builds an altar.
Genesis 29 – Jacob serves Laban for Rachel and Leah. Leah is fruitful but Rachel barren.
Genesis 30 – Jacob’s children; Rachel conceives; Jacob schemes for the best of Laban’s flocks.
Genesis 31 – Jacob flees toward Canaan; Laban pursues, searches for idols Rachel stole; Jacob and Laban covenant together.
Genesis 32 – Jacob seeks to appease Esau, and wrestles with God for a blessing; Jacob called Israel.
Genesis 33 – Jacob and Esau meet; Jacob builds an altar in Shechem.
Genesis 34 – Shechem rapes Jacob’s daughter Dinah; Simon and Levi deceive and kill every man in the city.
Genesis 35 – Jacob builds altar at Bethel; Jacob blessed and called Israel; Rachel dies in labor; Isaac dies.
Genesis 36 – The line of Esau; Esau journeys to Edom.
Genesis 37 – Joseph is favored; Joseph’s dreams; Joseph sold into Egyptian slavery.
Genesis 38 – Judah’s sons killed by God; Judah commits adultery.
Genesis 39 – Joseph finds favor with Potiphar, is tested by Potiphar’s wife, is imprisoned, and finds favor with jailer.
Genesis 40 – Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s servants’ dreams.
Genesis 41 – Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams; Joseph exalted and given authority to prepare for famine.
Genesis 42 – Joseph’s brothers visit him; he imprisons Simeon so they will bring Benjamin.
Genesis 43 – Joseph’s brothers bring Benjamin and dine with Joseph.
Genesis 44 – Joseph makes it appear Benjamin stole a cup; Judah pleads to be held as surety.
Genesis 45 – Joseph reveals himself; Pharaoh invites Jacob to Egypt.
Genesis 46 – Jacob and his family travel to Goshen.
Genesis 47 – Pharaoh greets Jacob; Pharaoh accrues money, livestock, and wealth during famine; Jacob to be buried in Canaan.
Genesis 48 – Jacob blesses Manasseh and Ephraim; Ephraim to be greater than his brother.
Genesis 49 – Jacob blesses his sons; Jacob dies and is to be buried with his fathers.
Genesis 50 – Egypt mourns; Joseph buries Jacob; Joseph’s bones to be carried to Canaan; Joseph dies.

Written by Scott Moonen

February 27, 2004 at 3:55 am

Posted in Bible Chapter Summaries

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