Era 2: The Patriarchs

Introduction to the Patriarchs (with Jeff Cavins)

Introduction: This era covers Gen 12-50

  • Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

  • We will see how God works with Mankind

  • How God deals with Abram will come into play in Paul’s explanation in NT i.e Galatians and Faith

  • Abram’s name will change to Abraham and he is living in modern-day Iraq

  • “Toledot” in Hebrew is a literary tool that takes you from the wide angle view to a narrow view

  • The Bible will go from all of mankind to one man…..Abram

  • God will make an entire people from Abram

  • 3 key promises God makes to Abram that are essential to the reading plan:

    1. Land

    2. A Royal Dynasty

    3. Worldwide Blessing

  • The problem at first is that Abram has no children

  • God blesses Abram with his son, Isaac

  • Abram still struggles in trusting God at first (Gen Ch 15 he tells Sarai to say she is his sister instead of his wife and gives her to Pharaoh)

  • Abraham to Isaac to Essau and Jacob to THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL (sons of Jacob) to Egypt (and then things go south)

  • Despite our brokenness of humanity, the great patience and loving kindness God demonstrates how God brings us all back together into his family that culminates with Jesus Christ.

  • The Bible stories in Genesis echo where mankind is today.

  • God goes to great lengths to save us and bring us to Himself

  • This era is very rich in stories of God’s faithfulness and our brokenness

  • Genesis ends with Jacob blessing all of his sons.

  • One Tribe from Jacob’s sons will rise above all others as the tribe to pay attention to for the rest of the story.

  • Pay attention to how The Church reads Scripture:

    1. Read knowing that Christ FULFILLS all of the Old Testament

    2. Read asking “What does this mean to me?”

    3. Read asking how does Scripture find fulfillment in Heaven?

  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand it all right now

  • “Reading the Bible is like drinking from a fountain where you shouldn’t be discouraged by the fact that you can’t drain the fountain, but be encouraged by the fact that every time you return to it there is more and more and more…..” St. Ephrem of Syria

  • Fun fact: The longest portion of Genesis pertains to Joseph

  • Keep This in Mind: Faith is not simply believing. Faith is two things--->Mental acknowledgement (I believe God is calling me) and Personal entrusting of yourself to God (Trust His Plan)



  • The unknown author of Job was a well-educated Israelite familiar with the customs and traditions of the Jewish faith.

  • Rabbinical tradition suggests that the book was written in patriarchal times since Job’s sacrifices of atonement for his family would indicate there were not yet priests or a temple for such purposes.

  • Early Church Fathers speculated that it was written no earlier than the Tenth Century B.C., because Job’s meditation on the PROBLEM OF WHY THE RIGHTEOUS SUFFER along with the evildoers resonates with the time of the Babylonian Exile and its aftermath and because these were centuries when much of the wisdom literature was produced.


  • The fact that the sacred writer rarely used the name of God, YHWH, may indicate that he intended for this book to be read not only by the people of Israel but also by GENTILES who were interested likewise in the troubling universal questions about suffering.

  • This idea is supported by the fact that Job’s friends and questioners are NON-JEWS. The earliest manuscripts exist in a Hebrew version that may have been translated in part from Aramaic and from a shorter Greek version.


  • St. Thomas Aquinas argued that Job was about divine Providence, and he used it to refute those who pointed to the seemingly even handed distribution of good things and evil things among both the virtuous and the wicked as their evidence for denying God: “The whole intention of this book is directed to this: to show that human affairs are ruled by divine providence using probable arguments” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Book of Job, Prologue).

Wh does evil sometimes befall virtuous people? Job does not come up with a completely satisfactory response, but it does help to develop the theology of suffering. Scenes involving God and Satan and pain and tribulations are presented as a way of testing the righteous. In the thoughtful exchanges between Job and his friends, it is admitted (contrary to a recurring thought in Scripture) that human suffering is not necessarily a form of divine justice that results from sin, nor is good fortune a sign of God’s favor and blessing; rather, both the righteous and the wicked experience prosperity and misfortune alike. In the final section of the book, the Lord tells Job and his friends that they CANNOT BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND how suffering fits into his whole plan of creation. God’s ways TRANSCEND OUR COMPREHENSION. This, according to St. Gregory the Great, is what Job comes to realize in the end. (*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)



  • Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings collected into a volume by unknown sacred redactors.

  • Many of the maxims are attributed to King Solomon and may well be authentically his…


  • The repetition and the memorization of maxims of wisdom was a common teaching method in ancient Israel, and many of these proverbs may have been collected for the formation of the young…


  • Proverbs brings home the message that wisdom is written by God into the very order of creation; therefore, true wisdom comes to those who have faith in and reverence for God.

  • Armed with such wisdom, the faithful can conform their lives to the right order of things and to the will of God and in so doing can find true happiness.

  • The maxims contained in this book are extremely practical, making reference to situations and relationships common to the ordinary life of every person…

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)