The Biblical Tell of Abraham

Abraham in the Bible looks at the story of Abraham from a biblical perspective but it is not all Christianity, Abraham is mentioned in the Qu’ran as well. The history of the Holy Land tells us about the Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and in that context, you can say that Abraham is the Father of Faith.

Abraham In The Bible

The Abraham narratives run from Genesis 12 to the middle of Genesis 25 in a series of individual events that are often only vaguely linked to one another by the editors. See, for example, the change between Genesis 12:9 and Genesis 12:10.

“Abraham went on and traveled toward the Negev, and there came a famine in the land.”

There is no indication whether the famine began immediately or years later, or even if it was the next incident in order. Below is an outline of the major incidents with the blessings emphasized by being placed to the left in italics.

Abraham In The Bible: Old Testament

  • 12:1-9 God calls and blesses Abraham and he moves west into Canaan.
  • 12:10-20Abraham risks his blessing in Egypt by giving up Sarah.
  • 13:1-18Abraham and Lot divide their territory and Abraham receives Palestine.
  • 14:1-24Abraham shows himself a hero and blessed in warfare.
  • 15:1-20God renews his promises and makes a covenant with Abraham.
  • 16:1-16Abraham risks the promise of a son by taking Hagar to bear Ishmael.
  • 17:1-27 God renews his covenant and promise of a son but commands Abraham to take on the sign of circumcision.
  • 18:1-15  God renews his promise to give a son to Sarah and Abraham.
  • 18:16-33 Abraham shows his blessing by interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • 19:1-38 Lot proves to be the only faithful person in Sodom: it is destroyed.
  • 20:1-18 Abraham risks the blessing to Sarah with the king of Gerar.
  • 21:1-21 God gives the blessing of a son, Isaac, and sends Ishmael away.
  • 21:22-34  Abraham makes a treaty with Abimelech and his people.
  • 22:1-24 Abraham sacrifices Isaac in obedience to God.
  • 23:1-20 Abraham lays claim to possession of the land by buying the cave of Macphelah to bury Sarah and himself.
  • 24:1-67 Abraham arranges a wife for Isaac to continue the blessing.
  • 25:1-18 Abraham’s death and burial; Ishmael’s descendants; the blessing passes to Isaac.

The person of Abraham emerges suddenly and dramatically from the long list of persons in Genesis 11 when God addresses him out of nowhere in Genesis 12:1:

“Go out from your land and your clan and your father’s house to a land that I will show you.”

This marks the start of new development in God’s plan. The world as a whole is no longer the stage of action, but one small corner of it.

The picture of Abraham in the Bible is told as a journey – Abraham moves through Canaan, stopping at major places in the mountain country, Shechem, Hebron, and Beer-sheba, moving down into the southern Negev desert area, traveling even to Egypt.

He appears with a large number of followers and many flocks and herds and he occasionally does trade (Genesis 15:2), but we learn very little about any business dealings or even about his relationships with his Canaanite neighbors.

The whole story of Abraham is presented to us in a way that stresses two major themes: (1) God made a promise to Abraham which will control all the events narrated in the Pentateuch, but which already begins to unfold in Abraham’s own life-time; (2) God blessed Abraham and made him his specially chosen friend because Abraham was faithful to God.

These two themes are found mixed together throughout the story.

Abraham in the Bible: New Testament

Abraham is not only mentioned in the Old Testament but there are several books where he is mentioned as well.

  • John 8:56  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
  • John 3:8  The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
  • John 4:1  Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
  • James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
  • James 4:11  Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
  • James 3:7  For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
  • Luke 1:73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
  • Acts 3:25  It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
  • Acts 4:22  for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
  • Acts 7:9  “The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him,
  • Acts 3:5  And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
  • Luke 16:19 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
  • Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
  • Matthew 1:1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
  • Galatians 3:8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.”
  • Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?
  • Matthew 8:11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;
  • Romans 4:11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them,
  • Galatians 3:7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
  • Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman.
  • Hebrews 7:9 And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes,
  • 1 Peter 3:5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;


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