Book of Genesis

The Beginning of the Beginning

Take the Course

Book of Genesis

The Beginning of the Beginning


Take The Course

About the Course

This introductory course offers an overview of Genesis—the beginning of the beginning—focusing on the biblical narrative with its various twist and turns. We invite you to join Prof. N.T. Wright as he explores the early family history of God’s people that gives meaning and shape to the story of Israel. Rather than offering textual criticism or a look at various sources and strands of Old Testament theology, this course concentrates on the book as we have it. The lectures will trace the narrative about God, God’s Creation, and his people, and will also be useful for those who are interested how the New Testament draws from the story Genesis is telling. Along the way, you will learn why people like Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, and Joseph are not just characters to imitate as moral examples but are themselves deeply flawed and, like us, in need of God’s rescue.

The course material is organized in four sections that include:

  • God’s Purpose: What is God doing? Who is it for? Where is Creation headed?
  • God’s Promise: Why is God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob significant?
  • God’s Presence: Where will God continue to dwell with his people?
  • God’s Provision: How does God provide and ultimately rescue his people of the promise?

By the conclusion, you will have learned how the people of Israel understood how their own story was being foreshadowed and why it matters. This course will encourage you to discover new energy and meaning from what happened from, and in, the beginning.
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Who should take this course:

  • Anyone who is curious about ‘the beginning of the beginning’.
  • Anyone interested in learning important themes in God’s purposes for his people and his Creation.
  • Anyone looking for an overview of the narrative of Genesis, the story of the patriarchs, and how it all got started.
  • Bible study or small group leaders who are interested in an introductory course that will appeal to a wide range of learners.
  • Clergy, preachers, or teachers seeking resources that connect the story the Bible is telling to strands of rescue and redemption in the New Testament.

What you’ll learn:

  • Explore the story the Bible is telling and how it got started.
  • Learn why Genesis is not a ‘transcript’ of Creation, but a lavish description of the house God is making for himself.
  • Find out what it means to be made in the image of God and the purpose of the human vocation.
  • Examine how and why God’s project all went horribly wrong and how God put his creation project back on track through a new human pair.
  • Discover how God’s promise is the golden thread that weaves throughout the story, which goes on into the Pentateuch and eventually the New Testament.
  • Get to know Abraham and his family and why these characters are far from typological examples.
  • Trace the story of Jacob and his son, Joseph, and how the family of God ends up in Egypt.
  • Be encouraged by God’s provision and rescue in Egypt and why this is important foreshadowing for the rest of the story.

Registered 501c3 non-profit organization
Courses developed for N.T. Wright Online are made possible by the generous donations of people who support the Wisconsin Center for Christian Studies, Inc., a registered 501c3 non-profit organization. Tuition paid enables us to provide scholarships for those in need and allows us to fund new courses and translations of existing courses, and we are able to offer courses at significant discounts.

Part of The Old Testament Certification