Key Verses and Themes in Genesis 12-50

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project

Genesis 12:1-4a Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…

God’s blessing is not limited to one’s own benefit. Its purpose is to enable his people to be a blessing to others.

Robust biblical faith is not a mere feeling; it is an active response to the divine word.

Genesis 13:2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.

Wealth is not necessarily proof of God’s favor or a reward for our moral behavior, but when God gives wealth we ought to consider how it may be used to bless others.

Genesis 13:8-9 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”

Generosity may extend beyond giving away some of our things. Giving others an active role in decision-making displays our respect for them as well as our confidence in God’s care for us.

Genesis 14:22-23 Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the Lord, God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, so that you might not say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’”

In order to nullify a claim that others may think they have on us, believers may voluntarily relinquish what is rightfully theirs for the sake of God’s purposes.

Genesis 15:1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (NIV)

Trust in God’s covenantal commitment to us is a powerful antidote to fear and uncertainty.

Genesis 18:3-5 He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.”

Hospitality may be personally costly, but it provides a context for cultivating relationships and welcomes God’s presence.

Genesis 18:19 I [the Lord] have chosen him [Abraham], that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.

Following God’s way demands a public faith whereby believers actively work for what is right and just both now and for future generations.

Genesis 23:16 Abraham agreed with Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.

Believers may choose to honor God by doing business in a way that is contrary to the accepted custom (in this case, staged bargaining.)

Genesis 24:12 He said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.”

Believers with fiduciary responsibilities serve those who commission them by depending on God’s power and working for God’s glory.

Genesis 32:26 Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”

In contrast to using desperate means to grasp what we want for ourselves, believers recognize that God’s blessings are gifts of grace to be received.

Genesis 33:10 Jacob said, “No, please; if I find favor with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—now that you have received me favorably.”

The work of reconciliation may be the hardest with those we are closest to, but because Christ is our peace, we can promote reconciliation around the entire world.

Genesis 37:5 Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more.

Jealousy, envy, and false accusations are formidable obstacles, but God calls his people to patient and active trust in what God said he would do.

Genesis 39:3-4 His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him; he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.

Genesis 41:39-40 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”

Knowing that God has placed believers where he wants them to be enables them to serve faithfully, regardless of the prominence and fame that may come with the job.

Genesis 39:8-9 But he [Joseph] refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

The people of God are doubly accountable, working immediately for human employers and ultimately for God himself.

Personal godliness does not necessarily guarantee that believers will always escape unjust treatment.

Genesis 41:16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not I; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

Believers should give God credit for their skills yet be mindful of what attitudes are appropriate in the workplace where people do not share the same faith.

Genesis 44:32 Your servant became surety for the boy to my father, saying, “If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame in the sight of my father all my life.”

In extreme circumstances, a godly leader may need to make costly personal sacrifices in order to honor one’s promises and to protect the weak.

Genesis 50:20 [Joseph said to his brothers,] “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.”

When forgiveness becomes a way of life, it is much easier to look beyond personal offenses and appreciate what God is doing in the long term.