The Seeker writes Genesis 15:17-18 on a white board / butcher paper in a manner that might be helpful for thought
and discussion. Here is an example of how one might parse the passage:
It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and
behold, there appeared a
smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram,
saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river,
the river Euphrates: (Gen 15:17-18)
This passage is an example of a historical narrative; however, in contrast to ancient fictional accounts, the details
are historically accurate for the period and believable. As a contrast, the account of the Epic of Gilgamesh or
Atra-hasis is not realistic and therefore not believable.
Using a resource like a commentary, the Author presents that God Himself chose Moses to author the Pentateuch. It's
worthwhile to show some evidence for this such as:
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua,
that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven." (Ex 17:14)
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have
made a covenant with you and with Israel." So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did not eat
bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. (Ex 34:27-28)
For those who do more research, they might present how Moses indicated that he used written sources in writing about
early Hebrew history. Using the tôledôt formula in Genesis, Moses refers to sources as: Accounts, Generations, or
Histories (Gen 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19; 36:1; 37:2)
Using a lexicon, the Geek might study the Hebrew word from which "covenant" is translated from. Covenant (Hebrew:
berit) means a pledge / contract / guarantee. God's covenant with Abraham makes promises a) to Abraham personally, b)
to Abraham's descendants Israel, and c) indirectly to humanity (Gentiles).
A Geek might go further and present that this covenant forms the basis from which other covenants expand upon. The
Land Covenant (also known as Deuteronomic) expands upon the promise of land to Israel. The Davidic Covenant expands
upon the issue of kingship and inheritance through Israel. The New Covenant expands on the promise of blessing to
When men made covenants with each other during the time of Abraham, they would arrange the sacrificed animals, and
each would walk between the animal halves. This was symbolic of the agreement that each would uphold their part of the
covenant. In this case, only God, symbolized by the fire pot, walked between the animal halves. This means that this
covenant all depended upon God and did not require anything of Abraham. Only God, by Himself, made and was bound by
His own covenant!
Using a Bible atlas, the Historian might present that Abraham was from Ur of the Chaldeans (Gen 11:26-28) and was
in Haran when God called him to the Promised Land (Gen 12:1-9).
Using Bible dictionary, the Historian might share that Sarah was Abraham's half-sister (Gen 20:12), because both
shared the same father Terah.
God's covenant with Abraham extended to his descendants. Abraham had 2 wives and 1 concubine.
Hagar bore Ishmael (Gen 16:4-15), Sarah bore Isaac (Gen 18:11-15), and Keturah bore Zimram, Joshkan,
Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Gen 25:1-2)
The Pagan might need to dig about to discover the religious background of Abraham's family: Abraham came from pagan
family (Josh 24:2).
While each is presenting their findings, each should feel free to write on the Bible passage on the white board /
butcher paper. If anyone has a question, save it for the end of the presentation. With the Seeker moderating, each
question can be discussed. This may lead to further study in the following weeks, and everyone changes roles. Some
sample questions may include:
What comprises the Abrahamic Covenant?
When does God completely this covenant of land from the Nile River to the Euphrates River?
How do we know that Moses really authored the first 5 books of the Old Testament?
With this form of study, you'll be building blocks of knowledge. In time, you'll be able to integrate these blocks
and build a more thorough understanding of theology. You'll also learn how each book of the Bible is related to each
other and its relationship to ancient history!