Commentary of the Old and New Testaments


By Joseph Benson


The Name means beginning, origin, or creation. The leading thought, therefore, is creation and we should study it with a view to finding out everything, the beginning of which is recorded in it. Certainly we have the record of: (1) The beginning of the world which God created. (2) The beginning of man as the creature of God. (3) The beginning of sin, which entered the world through the disobedience of man. (4) The beginning of redemption, seen alike in the promises and types of the book and in the chosen family. (5) The beginning of condemnation, seen in the destruction and punishment of individuals, cities and the world.

The Purpose. The chief purpose of the book is to write a religious history, showing how, after man had fallen into sin, God began to give him a religion and to unfold to him a plan of salvation. In doing this God is revealed as Creator, Preserver, Law-Giver, Judge and Merciful Sovereign.

The Importance of Genesis to Science. While the book does not attempt to explain many matters which are left to investigation, it does set out several facts which indicate the general plan of the universe and furnish a basis for scientific research. Among the more important things indicated are that: (1) There was a beginning of things. (2) Things did not come by chance. (3) There is a Creator who continues to take interest in and control the universe. (4) There was orderly progress in creation from the less and more simple to the greater and more complex. (5) Everything else was brought into existence for man who is the crowning work of creation.

The Religious Importance of the Book. The germ of all truth which is unfolded in the scripture is found in Genesis and to know well this book is to know God's plan for the blessing of man. Above all we learn about the nature and work of God.


Note. In an ordinary academy class I would not tax the students with the memory of more than the general divisions indicated by the Roman notation, I, etc. But, in this, and all other outlines, drill the class till these divisions, with the scripture included, are known perfectly. I would also try to fix some event mentioned in each section.

I. Creation, Chs. 1-2.

  1. Creation in general, Ch. 1.
  2. Creation of man in particular, Ch. 2.

II. Fall. Ch. 3.

  1. Temptation, 1-5.
  2. Fall, 6-8.
  3. Lord's appearance, 9-13.
  4. Curse, 14-21.
  5. Exclusion from the garden, 22-24.

III. Flood, Chs. 4-9.

  1. Growth of sin through Cain, 4:1-24.
  2. Genealogy of Noah, 4: 25-5 end.
  3. Building of the Ark, Ch. 6.
  4. Occupying the Ark, Ch. 7.
  5. Departure from the Ark, Ch. 8.
  6. Covenant with Noah, Ch. 9.

IV. Nations, 10:1-11:9.

  1. Basis of Nations, Noah's sons, Ch. 10. How?
  2. Occasion of forming the nations, 11:1-9. Why?

V. Abraham, 11:10-25:18.

  1. Genealogy of Abram from Shem, 11:10 end.
  2. Call and promise, Ch. 12.
  3. Abraham and Lot, Chs. 13-14.
  4. Covenant, 15: 1-18: 15.
  5. Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, 18:16-19 end.
  6. Lives at Gerar, Ch. 20.
  7. Birth of Isaac, Ch. 21.
  8. Sacrifice of Isaac, Ch. 22.
  9. Death of Sarah, Ch. 23.
  10. Marriage of Isaac, Ch. 24.
  11. Death of Abraham and Ishmael, 25:1-18.

VI. Isaac. 26:19-36 end.

  1. His two sons, 25:19 end.
  2. Divine covenant. Ch. 26.
  3. Jacob's deception, Ch. 27.
  4. Jacob's flight into Haran, Ch. 28.
  5. Jacob's marriage and prosperity, Chs. 20-30.
  6. Jacob's return to Canaan. Chs, 31-35.
  7. Generations of Esau, Ch. 36.

VII. Jacob, including Joseph, Chs. 37-50.

  1. Jacob and Joseph, Chs. 37-45.
  2. Sojourn in Egypt, Chs. 46-48.
  3. Death of Jacob and Joseph, Chs. 49-50.

For Study and Discussion.

(1) All that we may learn from this book concerning the nature and work of God. (2) The different things the origin of which this book tells: (a) Inanimate things, (b) Plant life, (c) Animal life, (d) Human life, (e) Devices for comfort and safety, (f) Sin and its varied effects, (g) Various trades and manners of life, (h) Redemption, (i) Condemnation. (3) Worship as it appears in Genesis, its form and development. (4) The principal men of the book and the elements of weakness and strength in the character of each. The teacher may make a list and assign them for study to different pupils. (5) List the disappointments, family troubles and sorrows of Jacob, and study them in the light of his early deception and fraud. (6) The over-ruling divine providence seen in the career of Joseph, with the present day lessons from the incidents of his life. (7) The fundamental value of faith in the life and destiny of men. (8) The Messianic promises, types and symbols of the entire book. List and classify them.