Studies on Abraham

Abraham
by Guercino (1657)
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Abraham was the son of Terah and the brother of Nahor and Haran. His name means “Father of Multitude.” Abraham became, through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, the progenitor of the nation of Israel. His story is recorded in great detail in the book of Genesis.

The biblical story of Abraham is the story of the man who met God and in obedience to his word, left his country and his family to embark on a journey of faith. The book of Genesis presents several events of his life. His story is marked by demonstrations of faith and trust and by periods of doubts and failures.

The story of Abraham is divided into two main periods:

The first period in Abraham’s life is marked by Terah’s migration from Ur to Haran. The people who came with Terah included Abraham, his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. Abraham’s brother Haran died “in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans” (Genesis 11:28). His brother Nahor probably stayed in Ur and later moved to Aram-naharaim and lived in the city named after him “the city of Nahor” (Genesis 24:10).

The second period in the life of Abraham occurred when he left Haran to go to Canaan in obedience to a call of God. The call of Abraham came with promises. These promises were both temporal and spiritual blessings.

The temporal promise was that he would receive the land of Canaan as an inheritance and that he would become a great nation. The spiritual promise was that Abraham would become a blessing to many people and that in him and through him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

The book of Genesis is focused primarily on Abraham’s life in Canaan. The promises God made to Abraham, that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan and carry out God’s purpose in the world, required the birth of a son, a son who would inherit the promises God had made to Abraham.

But the fulfilment of the promise was in jeopardy because of Sarah’s condition, “Sarai was barren; she had no child” (Genesis 11:30). The quest for an heir preoccupied Abraham and Sarah greatly and this lack of an heir forced Abraham and Sarah to take matters into their own hands, thus failing to trust in God.

In a forthcoming series of studies on the life of Abraham, I will discuss Abraham’s five failures. Each failure was related to the quest for a son to carry out the promises God made to Abraham. This series of studies will be presented in the near future.

Below is a series of posts dealing with Abraham. Some of these posts deal with Abraham, his faith and his struggles. A few posts deal with Abraham indirectly. The purpose of this collection of studies on Abraham is to help you become better acquainted with a man who was willing to leave everything to follow God. May these studies help you know and appreciate the struggles of the man of faith whom God called “my friend” (Isaiah 41:8).

Studies on Abraham

Ur and Haran: Abraham’s Background

Ur and Abraham: A Rejoinder to Tim Bulkeley

The Covenant between God and Abraham

God’s Promise to Abraham

The Inheritance of Abraham

Abraham and His Altars

The Trial of Abraham

Abraham’s Sacrifice

Rereading Genesis 22:8: The Sacrifice of Isaac and the Preacher

Does God Wait On Us?

Understanding Genesis 14:14: “As Far as Dan”

I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation: A Book Review

The 5 Failures of Abraham (Forthcoming)

Enter to Win a Free Copy of my Book Divine Violence and the Character of God.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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If you are looking for other series of studies on the Old Testament, visit the Archive section and you will find many studies that deal with a variety of topics.

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