The Pentateuch: Genesis through Numbers

I remember fifty years ago when my father took my sisters and me to the movies. He didn’t check when the movie started. We just went to the theater and started watching. Quite often that meant we began watching in the middle or at the very end of the story. Sure, we would stay and watch the beginning of the movie when the next showing started, but I have to say (and I think most will agree) that the middle and the end of a movie make a lot more sense when you start at the beginning!

The same is true for the Bible. For good reasons, we are attracted to the end of the story—the New Testament—because there we learn about Jesus, the object of our faith. But when we start in the New Testament, it is like going to the movies toward the end of the show.

I don’t mean to suggest that we can only read the New Testament after we read through the Old Testament. We rightly tell new readers of the Bible that they ought to go right to the New Testament, perhaps starting with the gospel of John where they come face-to-face with Jesus. We can certainly come to know Jesus and have a personal relationship with him without reading the Old Testament. But, of course, like all our most important relationships, we want to know as much as we can about Jesus. We understand Jesus much more clearly if we know the whole story, and that story starts with Genesis.

This series of booklets helps us understand the first three-quarters of the story, the Old Testament, and encourages us to become lifelong readers and students of the first part of God’s Word.

In this booklet, we begin with the beginning of the beginning, the Old Testament Law.

Tremper Longman