Abraham and Sarah ~ Bible Study Questions

Abraham and Sarah (Abram and Sarai) Study One: The Covenant

Read Genesis 12:1-9

1. List everything God told Abram to leave. What would that have meant for Abram and Sarai?

2. What three things did God promise Abram?

3. When God promised blessing, what did He mean? (Hint – read ahead to Genesis 15:1)

Read Genesis 15

4. How does God clarify His promise to Abram? What further promises did He make?

5. What was the nature of Abram’s faith and his doubts?

6. In verses 13-16 God foretold the circumstances of Abram’s descendants taking possession of the Promised Land. Why couldn’t they take it now? What did this tell us about God’s character and plan?

7. God made a covenant with Abram, declaring an oath while passing between the halves of slaughtered animals. Read Jeremiah 34:18-20. What was the consequence of breaking such a covenant? What responsibility did God take on?

8. What do we learn about Abram, Sarai and their place in God’s plan?

Abraham and Sarah (Abram and Sarai) Study Two: Believing the Impossible Promise

1. From the previous study, what were Abram and Sarai’s concerns about God’s promise?

Read Genesis 16

2. What was Sarai’s proposed solution? Why?

3. Who was responsible for the tensions that result?

4. What were the consequences of Abram and Sarai’s lack of faith for:

a) Sarai

b) Abram

c) Hagar

Genesis 17:1-18:15

5. How did God again clarify His promise to Abram? What further promises did He make?

Read Genesis 21:1-6

6. How did Abraham and Sarah respond to God’s faithfulness to His promises concerning Isaac? Which of God’s promises do we find hard to believe?

Read Peter 3:3-6 and Hebrews 11:1-2 and 8-12

7. For what were Abraham and Sarah commended?

8. What can we learn from Abraham and Sarah’s example?

A Brief Prophetic History of Israel

by Deborah Horscroft

Below is a brief historical outline from Abraham to Jesus to help put our People of the Old Testament Bible studies into context.

The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the fathers of the nation that came to be known as Israel. Jacob (renamed Israel) had 12 sons and his descendents became the 12 tribes of Israel. They settled in Egypt around 1876 BC.

Moses and the Law: Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt around 1446BC. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the generation who had rebelled against God and worshipped the golden calf had all died (other than the faithful Joshua and Caleb). Moses gave the people God’s law but did not enter the Promised Land. Joshua led the people into Canaan.

The Judges: For 480 years God’s people were ruled by Judges. Samuel was the last.

The Golden Age of Israel: Kings Saul, David and Solomon reigned over the united kingdom of Israel from 1050-930BC. Psalms and Proverbs were written during this period.

The Divided Kingdom: The Kingdom split into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah), which maintained the dynastic line of David and contained the holy city of Jerusalem. Elijah, Jonah and Amos were prophets of this period.

The Fall of the Northern Kingdom 722BC: The Assyrians conquered Israel. Isaiah and Hosea were prophets during this period.

The Fall of Jerusalem 586BC: The people of Judah were taken into exile in Babylon. Jeremiah was the prophet of God’s judgement. Daniel and Ezekiel were written during the exile.

The Restoration 538BC: When Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon the Jewish exiles returned under Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Esther and Zechariah were also written during this period.

Between the Testaments 432BC-5BC: After the last group of exiles had returned under Nehemiah and the last prophet, Malachi, had spoken, there was a time of scriptural silence until…

The Birth of Jesus the Christ 5 BC: Now under the rule of the Great Roman Empire, Israel awaited the promised Messiah, born in Bethlehem in the line of Judah.

This very sketchy history, including all the dates, was gleaned from the very useful notes in the Zondervan NIV Study Bible, especially the historical timeline.

May Quiz answers: Quiz champions and eBook giveaway winners!

Congratulations to Mariah and Jayden who are our May 2012 Bible Quiz Champions!

Mariah and Jayden have won an eBook copy of People of the Old Testament: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah and they are the first winners to be included in our Bible Quiz Honour Roll.

The May Quiz questions and answers are:

1. Name the brother who Cain murdered?

Answer: Abel

2. Which one of Adam and Eve’s sons is an ancestor of King David and Jesus?

Answer: Seth

3. Which country did God ask Abraham to leave when He established their covenant?

Answer: Ur (We will also accept Haran as a correct answer).

4. How old was Abraham when Isaac was born?

Answer: 100 years old.

5. What happened to Lot’s wife’s body to cause her death?

Answer: Her body turned into a pillar of salt.

6. Who is the oldest man mentioned in the book of Genesis and how old was he when he died?

Answer: Methuselah, 969 years old.

Our next Bible Quiz will be held on Wednesday, June 20 (Aussie time) and each month we will vary the time the quiz post goes live on the blog. You can follow the blog via email, Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook Page to receive notifications when the quiz is posted.

May Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway!

****CONTEST DEADLINE extended until midnight on JUNE 5 AEST****

Narelle here. We’re holding our first monthly Bible Quiz today. The first person to correctly answer all six questions in a comment on this post before the deadline of midnight on Tuesday, June 5 (Australian Eastern Standard time) will win a copy of our May eBook Bible Study of the month People of the Old Testament: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah from Smashwords and they will be named our May 2012 Bible Quiz Champion.

The winner will be announced in our post on Thursday June 7 and their name will be listed in our new Honour Roll on the blog.

We are also giving away a second copy of our May eBook Bible Study of the month People of the Old Testament: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah from Smashwords to a reader who comments on this blog post and attempts to answer at least one question in our quiz before the deadline of midnight on Tuesday, June 5 (Australian Eastern Standard time). You don’t even have to provide a correct answer to enter the drawing!

And you can comment more than once to answer the quiz, although you must be the first person to include all six correct answers in the one comment to become our May 2012 Bible Quiz Champion. Only one entry per person will be included in the eBook drawing.

Please include your name with your comment and leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached or remember to check our Wednesday blog post. You can follow our blog by email, Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page to receive notifications of new blog posts. We will do a redraw if we are unable to contact the giveaway winner within the next week.

“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”

The May Bible Quiz Questions:

1. Name the brother who Cain murdered?

2. Which one of Adam and Eve’s sons is an ancestor of King David and Jesus?

3. Which country did God ask Abraham to leave when He established their covenant?

4. How old was Abraham when Isaac was born?

5. What happened to Lot’s wife’s body to cause her death?

6. Who is the oldest man mentioned in the book of Genesis and how old was he when he died?

Good luck!

Book Recommendation: Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith

Back cover blurb:

He promised her his heart. She promised him a son. But how long must they wait?

When Abram finally requests the hand of his beautiful half sister Sarai, she asks one thing–that he promise never to take another wife as long as she lives. Even Sarai’s father thinks the demand is restrictive and agrees to the union only if she makes a promise in return–to give Abram a son and heir. Certain she can easily do that, Sarai agrees.

But as the years stretch on and Sarai’s womb remains empty, she becomes desperate to fulfill her end of the bargain, lest Abram decide that he will not fulfill his. To what lengths will Sarai go in her quest to bear a son? And how long will Abram’s patience last?

Combining in-depth research and vivid storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the beautiful and inscrutable Sarai in this remarkable story of love, jealousy, and undaunted faith.

Narelle: I found this fictional story fascinating for a number of reasons. In the book of Hebrews Sarai (later known as Sarah) was commended for her faith. If we take a closer look at her life circumstances we realise she struggled in her faith, especially in believing God’s promise that she would provide her husband with an heir.

Sarai was a woman who shared a deep love with her husband. She was known for her beauty and appeared to have it all. Her beauty even attracted the attention of a Pharoah, with disastrous consequences. I recommend this book to those who like Biblical fiction and want to gain a greater insight into the lives of Abraham and Sarah.

Read first chapter FREE at Amazon.com

Isaac: Abraham and Sarah’s promised son

by Narelle Atkins

Abraham was seventy-five years old when God first promised him that his descendants would become a great nation. Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn son from Hagar, was born when Abraham was eighty-six years old.

When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God confirmed His covenant with Abraham. God said all males must being circumcised as a sign of the covenant, including foreigners living in Abraham’s household. Although Sarah was ninety years old, God promised she would bear a son for Abraham within a year and they were to name him Isaac. God said He would establish an everlasting covenant with Isaac and his descendants.

Abraham held a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. At Sarah’s urging, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away. The Lord had promised Abraham that Ishmael’s descendants would become a nation.

Isaac married Rebekah not long after his mother died. Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor.

After Sarah died, Abraham took another wife who bore him sons. When Abraham died at the age of one hundred and seventy-five, he left everything he owned to Isaac. Before his death Abraham had given gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from Isaac to live in the eastern lands. Isaac and Ishmael buried their father in the cave where Sarah was laid to rest.

Hagar: The mother of Abraham’s firstborn son

by Deborah Horscroft

Hagar the handmaiden of Sarah was a profound theologian. Taken as a slave from her homeland of Egypt, given as an object to Abraham for the purpose of bearing a surrogate child for Sarah, abused and abandoned by a jealous mistress, lost in the wilderness, heavily pregnant and without hope: Hagar encounters the Living God.

God sends the pregnant Hagar back to her mistress, but not without promises. “You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.” (Genesis 16:11) God names Hagar’s son Ishmael, which means “God hears”.

Known throughout the Old Testament as “The God of Abraham”, Hagar now dares to give God a new name, “El Roi”, which means “the God who sees me.” To all who feel invisible, or to those who wish to hide their injustice from God, He is El Roi, the God who sees.

When Hagar and Ishmael are sent away by Abraham a final time the LORD speaks again and promises Hagar that Ishmael will also be the father of a great nation, the Arab peoples. He provides them with water in the desert and “God was with the boy as he grew up”. (Genesis 21:20)

It can be tempting to think the God of the Old Testament is so very different to the God of the New. Yet the God who was known to Hagar is also strikingly familiar to us. The God who hears, sees and speaks. The God who cares for us, who is with us and who keeps his promises. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:2), God made flesh.

God’s Covenant with Abraham

by Narelle Atkins

In Genesis 12, God made a covenant with Abraham. This covenant was an important part of God’s plan of salvation for the world. A covenant can be defined as a formal agreement between two parties.

Genesis 12:1-3 outlined the three key promises in God’s covenant with Abraham.

God commanded Abram (later known as Abraham) to leave his homeland and father’s household for a new land. God promised to give Abraham and his descendents the land of Canaan.

God promised to make Abraham and his descendents into a great nation. Abraham’s name would be great and his descendents would be more numerous than the stars in the sky.

God promised to bless Abraham. God told Abraham He would bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse Abraham. And all the people on earth, every nation, would be blessed through Abraham.

As Abraham’s story unfolds in Genesis 12, we learn why Abraham questions how God will fulfill His covenant promises. Abraham and his wife Sarah (previously called Sarai) are very old and childless, and the land of Canaan is already inhabited by other people.

Ultimately, Jesus’ death and resurrection is the fulfilment of God’s covenant promises to Abraham. In Luke 22:19-20, Jesus shares His Last Supper with his disciples. Jesus tells His disciples that the cup He’s holding is the new covenant in His blood, poured out for them. Jesus establishes a new covenant to replace the old covenant, and He brings salvation and blessing to the world.

May Featured Bible Studies of the Month

Narelle here. We’re excited to announce that we will be featuring four Bible studies in May. We decided to start at the beginning and look at our two studies on Adam and Eve. In mid-May we will look at our two studies on Abraham and Sarah.

The questions for all four Bible studies are currently available on the Studies page on our website. We have packaged these studies together and the leader’s guide (including suggested answers for each question) is available for purchase at Smashwords for US1.99. The eBook includes a leader’s guide that can help your Bible study group explore and discuss answers to each Bible study question.

The studies are available in multiple electronic formats for download, including Kindle, Epub and pdf.

If you’re planning to use our study questions with your group, we hope you will consider investing a few dollars to help your group members get more value out of the studies.

Each month we plan to release a new featured Bible study series on Smashwords and include additional information relating to the studies in our Monday and Wednesday posts. We hope you will find these additional resources helpful.