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Recent studies in Genesis from Craig Keener

Recent short studies in Genesis from Craig S. Keener with excerpts and links. 

Craig Keener: “Saving a Lot: Abram fights slave traders—Genesis 14” (March 22, 2016).

While Christian theologians today debate whether God demands pacifism or allows just war, at least in the Old Testament we see one just war that is not explicitly noted to have been carried out at God’s command. This was a war to liberate slaves.

Craig Keener: “Abram’s Growing Faith—Genesis 15-16” (March 29, 2016).

We rightly think of Abraham as our ancestor in faith, but his faith began small, just like all of ours. The faith necessary for God to count him righteous (Gen 15:6) was much less than the extraordinary faith demonstrated when he offered up Isaac years later (22:3). Abraham’s faith, like ours grew over the years. It was not something that he worked up by the strength of his will or by fertile imagination; it grew in response to witnessing God’s faithfulness over the years. He learned increasingly more deeply that God can be trusted, and he learned this because he had a relationship with God, where God spoke clearly and Abraham obeyed fully.

Craig Keener: “God heard her cry: God and Hagar in Genesis 16” (April 5, 2016).

God uses weak and fallible people—the only kind of people there are.

Craig Keener: “The deceiver gets deceived—Genesis 29” (February 8, 2016).

What Jacob did to others, Jacob now endures from others—though in the long run—sometimes the very long run—God will bless Jacob and more than make up for his suffering.

Craig Keener: “God’s favor matters most—Genesis 29” (February 15, 2016).

Have you ever felt discriminated against for matters outside your control? As Jacob’s parents showed favoritism toward particular sons, so Jacob showed favoritism toward a particular wife (29:30-31). Jacob was the younger brother of two and favored the younger sister of two, but God’s reversal of the birthright in some cases shows that God himself does not show favoritism based on birth order.

Craig Keener: “Jacob’s wives agree with his plan—Genesis 31:14-16” (February 29, 2016).

In Jacob’s culture, husbands held the final say. Further, God has spoken, and since Jacob has heard him, Jacob must do what God has commanded. Nevertheless, Jacob carefully presents the case to his wives. Jacob’s wives then weigh in as if he is consulting them in 31:14-16.

Craig Keener: “Different perspectives—Genesis 31:42-43” (March 15, 2016).

What we see sometimes depends on the lens through which we view reality. What is right in our eyes may be wrong; what matters is how things appear in God’s eyes, for his standard is truth.

Craig Keener: “Be careful whom you trust—Genesis 34:1-3” (March 7, 2016).

The narrator of Genesis tells the story of Jacob and the Shechemites partly to remind Israel that they had a history earlier in the land than the conquest, and partly to warn them against trusting Canaanite morality.

Craig Keener: “Rachel’s death in childbirth—Genesis 35:16-20” (February 22, 2016).

In 35:16-20, Rachel dies in childbirth. This person who dies in childbirth is the same person who earlier demanded of her husband, “Give me children or I will die!” (30:1).

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Category: Biblical Studies, Spring 2016

About the Author: Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. (Duke University), is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is author of many books, including Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (Baker Academic, 2011), the bestselling IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Gift and Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today, and commentaries on Acts, Matthew, John, Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, and Revelation. In addition to having written more than seventy academic articles, several booklets and more than 150 popular-level articles, Craig is is the New Testament editor (and author of most New Testament notes) for the The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. He is married to Dr. Médine Moussounga Keener, who is from the Republic of Congo, and together they have worked for ethnic reconciliation in North America and Africa. Craig and Médine wrote Impossible Love: The True Story of an African Civil War, Miracles and Hope against All Odds (Chosen, 2016) to share their story. Twitter: @keener_craig

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