* The covenant is God's program of revelation.
* The focus of creation is the establishment and
maintenance of order and operation.
* The stories in the Bible are stories about God.
Cosmology-Study of how the world works.
Fall-The result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve that brought sin into the world and
alienated God from humankind.
Flood-God's judgment on the world due to the lawlessness and violence of humanity. Only
Noah, a righteous man, and his family were spared.
Tower of Babel-Building project that offended God and prompted him to confuse the language.
Covenant-God's agreement with Abraham and his descendants by which he would bring
blessing to the world.
Patriarchs-The founding ancestors of the nation of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Yahweh-The personal name for God.
Key Teachings about God
* God established and maintains order in the cosmos.
* God overcomes obstacles to carry out his purposes.
* God reveals himself to his people.
* God's grace exceeds all logic.
People to Know
Adam and Eve
Cain and Abel
The purpose of this first book of the
Bible is to begin the story of God
and his continuing relationship
with his creation, including his disappointments
and the actions he takes to overcome
obstacles. God shows his mastery as
he creates order in the cosmos and as he
brings order to his relationship with people
through the covenant. Though God created
everything just right, sin alienated
people from God so that they no longer
had an accurate idea of what he is like. This
is why God made a covenant with a chosen
people, Abraham and his family, a relationship
that gave God a means for giving
people an accurate picture of what he is
like. Genesis tells how, despite many obstacles,
the covenant was established.
Genesis 1-11 traces the blessing
recorded in Genesis 1:28-30. The genealogies
show people being fruitful and multiplying.
At the same time these chapters
depict the advance of sin, first in the disobedience
of Adam and Eve, then in Cain's
murder of his brother Abel, and finally in the
escalation of violence and corruption that
results in the flood. After the flood, the
people not only continue their movement
away from God but make a vain attempt to
reestablish his presence by building a stairway
for him to come down from heaven and
be worshiped on earth (the Tower of Babel).
Now in addition to the problem of
bringing people back to God (Eden problem),
there is the problem of restoring the
lost knowledge of what God is like (Babel
problem). Human initiative, first by Adam
and Eve, then by the builders of Babel, has
had devastating results. God's covenant
with Abraham represents God's initiative
to provide a means by which God can
reveal himself to the world through Abraham
and his family and how the entire
world could be blessed through them. The
covenant blessings that serve as benefits to
Abraham and his family are extensions of
the original blessings in Genesis 1. The
patriarchal narratives in Genesis 12-50
trace the advance of the covenant and its
blessings and, at the same time, show the
many obstacles. As these obstacles are
overcome, one by one, God demonstrates
fruitful and increase
peoples on earth will
be blessed through
intended to harm
me, but God
intended it for good
to accomplish .
the saving of many
* The law is part of God's revelation of himself;
giving it is an act of grace.
* God's presence comes on his terms and in his time.
* Deliverance is God's business.
* "Then you will know that I am the Lord your
Exodus-When God delivers the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt and brings them to the
land he promised them.
Plagues-Ten acts of judgment against Egypt to persuade the Egyptians to let the Israelites
Passover-The commemoration of the tenth plague when God punished the Egyptians with death
of their firstborn sons but spared the Israelites.
Decalogue-Another name for the Ten Commandments-the central laws that God gave to
Moses on stone tablets.
Election-God's choice of individuals or groups to serve as his people in relationship with him.
I AM-The name God gives himself at the burning bush. It is from the same verb ("to be") as the
name "Yahweh" and identifies God not only as the one who is but also as the one who "causes to be."
Burning Bush-The place where God revealed himself to Moses, identified himself, and
explained his plan and Moses's role in it.
Pharaoh-The title of the supreme ruler of Egypt. No name is given in Exodus, so we do not know
which pharaoh let the Israelites leave.
Tabernacle-The portable tent sanctuary constructed by Israel according to God's instructions.
Ark of the Covenant-A chest made of wood overlaid with gold that contained important signs of
God's favor, including the stone tablets of the covenant. It was the most sacred object of Israel, as it represented
the footstool of the invisible throne of the invisible God. The cherubim adorning the cover were guardians of the
throne of God.
Holy of Holies-The central area of the sanctuary where the ark was kept and where God's
presence dwelt. The only access was by the high priest once a year.
When Exodus opens, the Israelites
are near the end of their time
in Egypt. They had spent more
than four centuries in Egypt and had
become slaves in a foreign land. God is
nowhere in evidence. Their covenant with
God appears to be in disarray. They no
longer enjoy the benefits of having connections
in high places as when they first
arrived, and with no land of their own, their
survival is in jeopardy. When Pharaoh orders
their baby boys to be cast into the Nile
River, one mother creatively does so using
a basket of reeds to protect her son.
Pharaoh's daughter finds him afloat, names
him Moses, and raises him as her own.
We are not told the extent to which
Moses was aware of the plight of his
people as he was growing up. But when he
saw an Egyptian beating one of the
Israelite slaves, he killed the Egyptian. Fleeing
for his life, he took refuge in the
wilderness among the people of Midian,
where he met a tribal chieftain (Jethro),
met the woman who would become his
wife (Jethro's daughter Zipporah), and met
his God. Seeing a bush ablaze but not consumed,
Moses went to investigate and
received the commission God had been
preparing him to take up all his life-as
the deliverer of Israel.
The purpose of Exodus is to explain
how God revealed his presence and his
power to his chosen people through the
plagues and in their deliverance from
Egypt. Just as in Genesis God overcame
obstacles in establishing Abraham's family
as his chosen people, in Exodus he overcomes
obstacles that prevented him from
dwelling in the midst of his people.
God guided and protected the
Israelites through the wilderness and provided
for them. At Sinai he told them how
they needed to live so that his presence
could dwell among them. Through the law,
they learned how they were to honor and
imitate his holiness. He told them how to
build the tabernacle and how the priesthood
was to prepare so that God could
take up residence with them. God had
chosen the Israelites to be his people and
he intended to reveal himself to them and
to the world by living in their midst.
People to Know
Ex. 3:14:"I AM
WHO I AM."
Israelites saw the
great power the
you obey me fully
and keep my
out of all the
nations you will
be my treasured
Ex. 40:34-35:"The glory of the
Lord filled the
* Ritual impurity is not the same as sin, but either
can restrict access to God's presence.
* Holiness distinguishes God from people and
distinguishes God's people from other people.
* Sacred space must be defined and preserved (the
job of priests).
* Sacrifice is a mechanism to allow people to pray
to God, thank God, preserve sacred space for
God, and be in relationship with God.
Holiness-The sum total of godly traits.
Sacrifice-Giving something of value to God (usually an animal or grain during Bible times).
Some involved a blood rite intended to eliminate the effects of sin.
Sacred Space-An area established by God's presence, which had strict rules of behavior and
access. If sanctity was not preserved, the benefit of God's presence could be lost. Several zones of increasing
sanctity surrounded the Holy of Holies.
Feasts-Days given special meaning because of God's work among his people. These were
considered sacred times and were highly regulated.
Sabbath-The seventh day set aside each week to acknowledge God's control and provision by
relinquishing for the day one's own attempts to control and provide for oneself.
Key Teachings about God
* God is holy.
* God expects his people to be holy.
* God desires to live among his people but has high
standards that must be maintained.
* God is serious about holiness.
People to Know
Leviticus contains information given to the Israelites
while they were camped in the wilderness by
Mount Sinai: instructions regarding management
of sacred space (the tabernacle), sacred status (as God's
people), and sacred time (in the festivals). These were
considered important for maintaining holiness for God's
presence, which was at the center of their lives. Sacred
times must be identified, maintained by the priests, and
observed. Sacred space must be guarded and
its holiness preserved. The status of priests
and people must be regulated by specific
guidelines so they don't desecrate God's
presence. God is holy, and Israel is expected
to be holy so his presence can remain in
Sacrifice is treated in terms of the
materials and procedures that will render
it acceptable. These sacrifices constitute
gifts to God or serve to purify the sacred
things from the contamination of sin and
uncleanness. It was more important for
sacrifices to remove the effects of sin from
God's presence than it was to remove sin
from the people.
Priests are given their role. Though
priests were responsible for teaching the
people and making decisions as leaders, their
primary role concerned performance of
duties in the sanctuary. Instead of thinking
of them as clergy, similar to pastors or priests,
consider them to be the ritual experts of
Israel. Their job was to do whatever was necessary
to preserve the sanctity of God's tabernacle.
This meant guarding access to sacred
space, maintaining the pure status of the
people, and overseeing observances connected
to sacred times, the festivals of Israel.
Holiness is the most important theme
in Leviticus. God's holiness is not a separate
attribute but the result of the sum total
of all of his attributes-including but not
limited to his sovereignty, omniscience,
love, and righteousness. Holiness is a term
that implies comparison. God is holy in
relation to the people he created.
When God asks his people to be holy
as he is holy, he means we are to maintain
distinctions between ourselves and the
world around us by imitating God himself.
The distance between ourselves and the
world will be defined by the attributes of
God that we are able to imitate. As we
become more godlike in attributes such as
love, grace, faithfulness, and mercy, we are
becoming holy by distinguishing ourselves
from the fallen world.
Lev. 10:3:"I will
show myself holy."
holy, because I am
my decrees and