Most of Christendom is unaware that the events of the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis chronicle approximately one-third of human HIStory. Moses is credited with writing Genesis, but he most definitely was not an eyewitness to those events. This begs an important question. Where did Moses get such detailed information about the people, places, and events covered in the book of beginnings? The spoken story of God is the answer.
What Ever Became Of… ?
Genesis 5:1-3 begins with, “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” After Cain killed Abel, the Bible tells us that Adam and Eve had another son. Adam had lived 130 years when Seth was born. He lived another 800 years after Seth was born, for a total of 930 years. By looking at the family record of Adam and doing some simple math, students of the Bible discover that Adam was still alive when Lamech, Noah’s father, was fifty-six years old. Genesis 5 tells us that there was a continuous first-person record of the story of Adam’s family from the day he was created until just before Noah was born to Lamech.
Eleven different times some variation of “these are the generations of” is repeated throughout the fifty chapters of Genesis. There are slight variations. Every time it is seen it starts with a different name. In all of these instances the meaning is the same. This phrase is used to give readers of the Bible a signal. The accounts of family events were passed from father to son, generation after generation, one person at a time. Each family record is known in Hebrew as a toldot. In essence, the word toldot signals the beginning of a family story that tells us what became of that person.
Can you imagine the family reunions in those days and the re-telling of the family’s story year after year. Adam was the first to tell the story of the beginning of all things and he made sure those that came after him told it right!
Genesis 6:9 informs us that the next man entrusted with the incredible story of God was Noah. His sons… Shem, Ham, and Japheth were next. Through Shem’s line, Terah would be born (Genesis 11:27). Terah was the father of Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. Abraham fathered both Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac, the son of God’s promise became the father of Jacob. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. He was the father of 12 sons. The descendants of those 12 sons became the nation known today as Israel.
Entrusted With God’s Story
Throughout their 4,000 years of family HIStory, the Jewish people have demonstrated a gift for telling stories of all kinds. Many of the authors who have received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction are Jewish. Herman Wouk (The Caine Mutiny), Bernard Malamud (The Fixer), and Norman Mailer (The Executioner’s Song) are the best known of this elite group. Think about this. The world’s population exceeded 12 billion in 2012. Worldwide the number of Jewish people is approximately 12.5 million. That means that 1 out of every 514 people in the world is Jewish (0.2%). And yet, 14% of the Pulitzer Prize winners for novels have been Jewish. It seems as if the Pulitzer Prize awards committee recognizes that God has uniquely gifted the Jewish people to tell great stories.
Unlike fiction, the Bible records factual accounts told as a historical narrative. The most important true story of all time was entrusted to the Jewish people. Through them, the story of God has spread throughout the entire world. There is a whole field of biblical study known as Jewish roots. Studying the Bible in the context of Jewish history, culture, and geography is vitally important to interpreting and applying what the Bible teaches as God intended. In a way, the Bible’s storytellers have re-opened the door to biblical storytelling to the people of every nation and tribe. But, not all of the biblical storytellers were Jewish. Adam, Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and Terah were not Jews. They were storytellers too!
You Can Tell It!
Eighty percent of the world’s population either cannot read at all or does not read well enough to understand the simplest of concepts. After almost 6,000 years of human HIStory, the vast majority of communication in the world still occurs when people talk to each other face to face. Maximizing the impact of the spoken word remains one of the most important skill sets disciple makers must develop if they are to participate in the Great Commission. Nothing is more important for the non-professional followers of Messiah Jesus than to learn to tell the story of God from Genesis to Revelation in a way that is completely true to the written Word of God and communicates its eternal truth.
You may be thinking right now that you could never prepare yourself for this type of ministry. Peter, Andrew, James and John were probably thinking the same thing when Jesus told them to drop what they were doing and follow Him. He made them “fishers of men.” He also taught them how to teach others. Every one of Jesus’ disciples can learn to tell the story of God in ways that engage those that do not know God that are living out their lives where you live, work, worship, and play. It is not as hard as you might think. So, where would you start if you were to decide to actively participate in telling the story of God to the people you know?
Training people for this work is why Disciple Daily exists. We teach people to consume the Scriptures in the same way one would eat an elephant. We’ll teach you how to eat God’s Word… one bite at a time. Then we’ll show you how to feed it to others, making an eternal difference in their lives… and in yours.
Not at All! The first thing you need to do is build a foundation for the all of the stories of the Bible to rest on. If you have not already done so, take a few minutes right now and watch the video above. Memorize the 5 key words and hand-signs. Once you have done that, go teach it to someone else. Have some serious fun. Teaching others the story of God is what Jesus’ disciples do!