I love the way the personalities of the characters shine through as the story unfolds! For example, in chapter 19 verses 17-19, Lot is being led away from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by two angels of the Lord. They have told him to flee to the mountains, but here Lot begins negotiating with them.
18 And Lot said unto them, “Oh, not so, my LORD”
19 “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:”
20 “Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”
“Is it not a little one?” Lot mentions for the second time. You can see that Lot is afraid of the wilderness (which probably contributed to his staying so close to the wicked cities) and he is pleading and persuading the angels of the Lord. This brings Lot alive in our minds, makes him truly ‘human’ and interesting.
2) Use of Dialog
Genesis is mainly composed of dialog between characters with as little narration as possible. I prefer this style as I think it is more interesting and gives more of a feel for the characters. Here is an example from Genesis 22:1-8.
1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, “Abraham” and he said, “Behold, here I am.”
2 And he said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
5 And Abraham said unto his young men, “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, “My father” and he said, “Here am I, my son.” And he said, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” so they went both of them together.
3) Use of Dialog to convey emotions.
Also in the verses above, notice that Isaac calls Abraham “My Father” to which Abraham replies “Here am I, my son.” With phrases like this we can see how close Abraham and Isaac are. These types of terms of endearment and emotion tug at the heart strings as Abraham is about to sacrifice his only, beloved son. It makes for a beautiful story.
My favorite thing about the Bible is that it holds great stories that are absolutely true. Not just “based on a true story” but the real thing put together in a fascinating, beautiful narrative.
Genesis holds some of the greatest stories in all of history, from the beginning of time, to the beloved story of Joseph and his Brothers. There is much we can learn from the studying of God’s Word.
I hope that this has encouraged you, to look at the Bible in a new light. It’s so much more than just a story, history or even spiritual guidance.
Next week we’ll talk about Exodus, also a book of Moses.