Later this month we will be releasing Prof. Wright’s course on Genesis. The course focuses on reading the text as a narrative and fitting that narrative into the larger narrative of Scripture.

As a New Testament expert, Prof. Wright relies on the work of other scholars to help inform his own understanding of Old Testament texts. One important voice in understanding Genesis is Wheaton University’s Dr. John Walton. 

Dr. Walton is the author of multiple books on Genesis, including The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate.

Material vs. Function

I recently had the chance to interview Dr. Walton about how he suggests reading Genesis. Key to his understanding of the first two chapters is the idea of ‘Material vs. Function’ or as Dr. Walton describes it, ‘House or Home.’

Dr. Walton also details three reasons for believing Genesis 1-2 is a ‘home’ story in an article published on Biologos. His reasons are:

  1. The text does not clearly support a “both/and” interpretation across all six days.
  2. We should not think of the text as material as well as order/function oriented because in the ancient world they were inclined to focus their understanding of origins on order and function rather than on material origins.
  3. The origins account of Genesis 1 should be understood in terms of order/function because the Hebrew verbs easily give space for that interpretation—they are not inherently material in nature.

You can read all the details in Material or Function in Genesis 1? John Walton Responds.

Genesis as Narrative

No matter how you interpret Genesis, we believe that reading the stories of the first book of the Bible as part of a larger narrative is central to understanding the trajectory of Scripture.

Dr. Wright’s course launches in May 2021! If you enjoyed this clip from Dr. Walton you can watch the entire interview in this course.

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David P. Seemuth

David Seemuth is the Founder and President of the Wisconsin Center for Christian Study which exists to bring transformation to Christian believers through the renewal of the mind. He and Prof. N.T. Wright collaborate in online course development and launched N.T. Wright Online in 2015. David has been an Adjunct Professor at Trinity International University for over 35 years and teaches in the area of Biblical Studies, specializing in the New Testament. He also served as an Associate Pastor at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI, for 30 years.

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