The Book Of Genesis

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Who are the main characters in the book of Genesis?

We can easily find a good list of the main characters in the book of Genesis by turning to the great "faith" chapter of Hebrews 11. Hebrews is an epistle (or letter) written to Hebrews (author unknown) and the context of this book can be a way of worshiping God. Many of the main characters in the book of Genesis are listed in Hebrews 11. The men and the women listed in this chapter all are given as examples of faith, without which it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

  • In Hebrews 11 we find Abel, who offered a more excellent sacrifice than his brother Cain and was the first man murdered.
  • Enoch was a righteous man and God translated him and he was the first not to taste of physical death.
  • Noah believed God and by faith constructed an ark in spite of the fact of "things not seen." What was not seen? Rain! No wonder he was so berated and ridiculed by the men of his day who perished.
  • Abraham followed God's call and went out not knowing where he was heading and his wife Sarah bore the child of promise. Isaac is the child promised to Abraham and he is the line of the "seed" of Abraham in whom all of the earth will one day be blessed (Genesis 12:3).
  • Jacob is the father of the twelve tribes of Israel and Joseph was faithful through many trials to be the instrument of God's deliverance of Israel out of famine. All of these are listed in the litany of those who had faith in God's promises.


There are a few of the main characters in the book of Genesis who are not listed in Hebrews. Adam and Eve are the first characters introduced and without them we have no human race (Genesis 4:1). Cain was the first murderer. The sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth are the progenitors of all of the divisions of the human race and they must be included in our list of main characters. We have to include Ishmael in this list of main characters for it is out of Ishmael, the son of Abraham with Sarah's maid Hagar, that rises the other arm of Semites that to this day fight against the decedents of Isaac.

Without the narrative of Genesis -- which means beginning, or in the beginning -- and the main characters of this book, we would not know the reason man needs a Savior. We would not understand how the nation of Israel came to be and the background of the great conflicts in the Middle East. More importantly, we would not have the line through which the promised Redeemer would one day come.

The accounts of these main characters in the book of Genesis are recorded truthfully. We are given their failures and their triumphs without embellishment. It is a great comfort to the believer today to understand that one's failures do not disqualify us for God's gift of grace. Therefore, we can learn much from reading and studying these great characters and their lives. The Apostle Paul gave us a commentary on the purpose of the record in the Old Testament. "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come" (1 Corinthians 10:11). As our LORD has said, " If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear" (Mark 4:23).

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