Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Comprehensive outline of the book of Genesis

Comprehensive outline of the book of GenesisThe first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, was compiled from eleven older documents by Moses (Appendix A).

I like having titles on the paragraphs or sections of my Bible. This helps to indicate the context of a particular passage of scripture. A comprehensive outline (section headings) of the book of Genesis is given below.

The top two levels of headings in this post give a simple outline of the book of Genesis (Appendix B).

God’s perfect creation 1-2

The six days of creation 1:1 – 2:3
1:1-5 Day 1 Heavens, earth and light
1:6-8 Day 2 Earth’s atmosphere
1:9-13 Day 3 Land and seas and plants
1:14-19 Day 4 Sun, moon and stars
1:20-23 Day 5 Aquatic and aviary animals
1:24-31 Day 6 Land animals and mankind
2:1-3 Day 7 God “rested”

Additional details of creation: The creation of Adam and Eve 2:4-25
2:4-6 Before the creation of Adam
2:7 Creation of Adam
2:8-17 The Garden of Eden and its forbidden fruit
2:18-20 Adam was alone
2:21-25 Creation of Eve and institution of marriage

God’s judgment of sin 3-11

The original creation ruined by sin and judged by the flood 3:1 – 8:19

The first sin and its consequences
3:1-5 The serpent tempted Eve
3:6 The fall into sin – Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit
3:7 Adam and Eve made clothes of fig leaves
3:8-13 God confronted Adam and Eve
3:14-19 God sentenced Adam, Eve, Satan and the snake
– 3:14 Snakes cursed
– 3:15 Satan cursed
– 3:16 Eve cursed
– 3:17-19 Adam cursed
3:20-24 Other consequences, including expulsion from the Garden of Eden

Cain and Abel – more sin 4:1-24
4:1-2 Their birth
4:3-7 Their offerings to God
4:8 Cain murdered Abel
4:9-16 Cain cursed by God
4:17-24 Cain’s descendants (Lamech was the 7th generation on earth)

Godly offspring – Seth’s descendants – a chronogenealogy 4:25 – 5:32
4:25-26 Seth replaces Abel
5:1-5 Adam
5:6-8 Seth
5:9-11 Enosh
5:12-14 Kenan
5:15-17 Mahalalel
5:18-20 Jared
5:21-24 Enoch
5:25-27 Methuselah
5:28-31 Lamech
5:32 Noah, father of Shem (Noah was the 10th generation on earth)

Gross sin and its consequences 6:1-6
6:1-6 The wickedness of humanity
6:7 God decides to destroy His creation

The great flood – God’s judgment for the wickedness of humanity 6:9 – 9:29
6:8-12 Only Noah was godly
6:13-22 The ark (a barge) commissioned to save Noah’s family and living creatures
7:1-10 Boarding the ark
7:11-16 The flood begins
7:17-24 Rising flood water
8:1-14 Receding flood water
8:15-19 Noah’s family and living creatures leave the ark

The repopulation of the earth ruined by sin and judged by scattering 8:20 – 11:9

A new beginning 8:20 – 9:19
8:20-22 Noah worshiped God and God promised not to curse the ground nor destroy all life
9:1-7 New commands from God
9:8-17 God promised not to destroy the earth by flood, signified by the rainbow
9:18-19 Repopulation of the earth through Noah’s sons

The seeds of rebellion 9:20-29
9:20-23 Noah’s drunkenness
9:24-29 The consequences of Noah’s sin. Canaan and Ham cursed.

The table of nations 10:1-32
10:1 Introduction statement regarding the offspring of Noah’s three sons
10:2-5 Descendants of Japheth
10:6-20 Descendants of Ham
10:21-31 Descendants of Shem
10:32 Summary statement about repopulation of the earth through Noah’s sons

The tower of Babel – more rebellion against God 11:1-9
11:1-4 People congregate together rather than scatter across the earth
11:5-9 God’s judgment is to scatter them across the earth by the disunity between different languages

God’s unconditional covenant of blessing by election through faith 11:10 – 50:26

God’s elective blessing of Abraham 11:10 – 25:18

Shem’s descendants – a chronogenealogy
11:10-11 Shem
11:12-13 Arphaxad
11:14-15 Shelah
11:16-17 Eber
11:18-19 Peleg (earth divided through different languages)
11:20-21 Reu
11:22-23 Serug
11:24-25 Nahor
11:26 Terah
11:26 Abram (Abraham was the 20th generation on earth)

Life of Abraham 12:1 – 25:11
11:27-32 Terah’s family
12:1-9 Abram follows the call to move from Mesopotamia to Canaan. God’s promises to Abram
12:10-20 Abram’s lapse of faith. He deceives Pharaoh in Egypt
13:1-13 Abraham and Lot separate – Lot moves to Sodom
13:14-18 God renews His promise to Abram of the land of Canaan and numerous descendants
14:1-12 The capture of Sodom and Lot by a four-king Persian confederation
14:13-16 Abram rescues Lot and the Sodomites
14:17-20 Melchizedek’s priestly blessing of God and Abram
14:20 Abram’s tithe to God through Melchizedek
14:21-24 Abram’s refusal of remuneration from the king of Sodom
15:1-6 God promised Abram numerous descendants
15:7-20 God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants unconditionally via a covenant
16:1-6 The conception of Ishmael
16:7-16 Hagar fled from Sarai but an angel gave her a promise and told her to go back.
17:1-8 God confirmed that His promises to Abraham (name changed) were conditional on obedience
17:9-14  Male circumcision was the sign of God’s covenant
17:15-22 Abraham and Sarah (name changed) were promised a son named Isaac
17:23-27 All the males in Abraham’s household was circumcised promptly
18:1-8 Abraham’s hospitality to three visitors
18:9-15 God promised Sarah a son within 12 months
18:16-21 God tells Abraham that He intends to judge Sodom for their wickedness
16:22-33 Abraham pleaded for Sodom
19:1-3 Lot is hospitable to two angels
19:4-11 Lot’s confrontation with the men of Sodom
19:12-22 The angels rescue Lot’s family from Sodom
19:23-29 God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah
19:30-38 Lot’s tragic incest
20:1-7 Abraham deceives the king of the Philistines about Sarah and he takes Sarah as a wife
20:8-18 Abimelech’s divinely-motivated restoration of Sarah to Abraham

Isaac and further tests of faith 21:1 – 25:11
21:1-7 The birth of Isaac
21:8-14 The expulsion of Ishmael and Hagan from Abraham’s family
21:15-21 God protects Ishmael in the desert
21:22-34 Abraham’s treaty with the Philistines
22:1-2 God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (as a test)
22:3-10 Abraham attempts to sacrifice Isaac
22:11-14 God provides a substitutionary sacrifice
22:15-19 God renews His promises to Abraham – he passed the test
22:20-24 The 12 children of Nahor
23:1-2 Sarah dies
23:3-20 Abraham purchases a family burial site – Sarah’s burial
24:1-9 Abraham seeks a godly wife for Isaac
24:10-14 Guidance requested through a sign
24:15-27 Rebekah fulfils the sign
24:28-49 Bethuel and Laban hear the reason for the visit
24:50-61 Rebekah leaves her family
24:62-67 Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
25:1-11 Abraham’s death

Ishmael’s descendants 25:12-18
25:12-18 Ishmael’s descendants

God’s elective blessing of Isaac and Jacob 25:19 – 28:9

Isaac’s family 25:19 – 26:35
25:19-26 Birth of Esau and Jacob
25:27-34 Esau foolishly sells his birthright to Jacob
26:1-6 God renews His promises to Isaac
26:7-11 Isaac deceives the king of the Philistines about Sarah (like Abraham)
26:12-17 Isaac expelled by the Philistines who envied his success
26:18-22 Disputes over water rights
26:23-25 God’s promises repeated to Isaac
26:26-33 Peace treaty between Isaac and the Philistines
26:34-35 Esau’s Hittite wives

Jacob and the emergence of Israel 27:1 – 28:9
27:1-4 Isaac planned to give his blessing to Esau
27:5-17 Rebekah plans for Jacob to receive the blessing instead
27:18-29 Isaac is deceived to give the blessing to Jacob
27:30-41 Isaac gives a secondary blessing to the enraged Esau
27:42-45 Rebekah’s plan to protect Jacob from Esau by fleeing to Mesopotamia
27:46 – 28:5 Isaac sends Jacob to Mesopotamia to seek a godly wife
28:6-9 Esau’s belated attempt to secure a wife with relative integrity

God’s elective blessing of Jacob more than Esau 28:10 – 36:43

28:10-15 Jacob’s dream – God’s promises are repeated
28:16-22 Jacob’s conditional vow to serve God and to tithe
29:1-12 Jacob meets Rachel at Paddan Aram
29:13-20 Jacob agrees to serve Laban for seven years to marry Rachel
29:21-30 Jacob deceived into marrying Leah and works another seven years for Rachel
Jacob’s children:
– 29:31-35 Leah has Reuben, Simeon and Levi. Rachel was unable to conceive.
– 30:1-8 Bilhah (Rachel’s servant) has Dan and Naphtali
– 30:9-13 Zilpah (Leah’s servant) has Gad and Asher
– 30:14-21 Leah has Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah
– 30:22-24 Rachel has Joseph
30:25-36 Jacob desired to return to his homeland. Laban allows Jacob to build up his own herds
30:37-43 Jacob prospers and outdoes Laban when his flocks increase
31:1-16 Jacob prepares to flee to Canaan from Laban
31:17-21 Jacob flees from Laban towards Canaan
31:22-24 Laban’s pursuit
31:25-30 Laban’s accusations
31:31-35 The search for Laban’s household gods
31:36-42 Jacob’s angry protest of innocence
31:43-55 Treaty between Jacob and Laban
32:1-2 Jacob meets angels
32:3-8 Jacob fears Esau after sending messengers to him
32:9-12 Jacob prays for protection from Esau
32:13-21 Jacob selects gifts for Esau
32:22-32 Jacob wrestles with God. His name is changed to Israel.
33:1-17 Jacob (Israel) meets Esau
33:18-20 Jacob (Israel) settles near Shechem and sets up an altar

Massacre at Shechem by Simeon and Levi 34:1-31
34:1-7 Dinah raped by Shechem
34:4:8-12 Intermarriage proposed by Shechem’s father Hamor
34:13-17 Male circumcision proposed by Jacob’s (Israel’s) sons
34:18-24 The men of Shechem agreed to be circumcised
34:25-31 Simeon and Levi kill all the men of Shechem in revenge

God’s covenant renewed with Jacob at Bethel 35:1-15
35:1-5 Jacob (Israel) ) buried their idols and leaves Shechem
35:6-8 Jacob (Israel) settles in Bethel and builds an altar to God
35:9-15 God renews His promises to Jacob (Israel) at Bethel

Milestones in Jacob’s family 35:16-29
35:16-20 Birth of Benjamin and death of Rachel
35:21-22a Reuben’s incest with Bilhah (Rachel’s servant)
35:22b-26 The 12 sons of Jacob (Israel)
35:27-29 The death of Isaac

Esau’s descendants 36:1-43
36:1-14 Esau’s descendants
36:15-19 Esau’s descendants repeated
36:20-29 Descendants of Seir the Horite
36:31-39 Kings of Edom
36:40-43 Chiefs descended from Esau

God’s elective blessing of Joseph above his brothers 37-50

Joseph’s destiny and disowning 37:1-36
37:1 Introduction
37:2-4 Jacob’s (Israel’s) favoritism toward Joseph; Joseph hated by his jealous brothers
37:5-11 Joseph’s dreams of his destiny of superiority among his own family
37:12-17 Joseph visits his brothers
37:18-24 The brothers’ plot to kill Joseph
37:25-28 Joseph sold into Egypt
37:29-36 The brothers deceive Jacob regarding the supposed death of Joseph

Judah’s moral failure 38:1-30
38:1-5 Judah married a Canaanite
38:6-10 Judah’s evil sons
38:11 Judah deceives Tamar
38:12-19 Judah’s immorality – Tamar deceives Jacob
38:20-30 The consequences of Judah’s immorality

Joseph passes the test 39:1-23
39:1-6a Joseph manages Potiphar’s household
39:6b-10 Joseph tempted by Potiphar’s wife
39:11-12 Joseph tested by Potiphar’s wife
39:13-18 False accusations against Joseph by Potiphar’s wife
39:19-23 Jacob imprisoned unjustly. Made prison manager

Joseph interprets dreams 40:1 – 41:36
40:1-8 Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker have dreams
40:9-15 Joseph’s favorable interpretation of the cupbearer’s dream
40:16-19 Joseph’s unfavorable interpretation of the baker’s dream
40:20-23 The two dreams are fulfilled
41:1-8 Pharoah has two dreams
41: 9-13 The cupbearer remembers Joseph
41:14-24 Pharaoh tells the dreams to Joseph
41:25-32 Joseph’s interpretation – seven good years and seven bad years
41:33-36 Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh

Joseph’s promotion to power in Egypt 41:37-57
41:37-45 Joseph made second in command and given a wife
41:46-49 Joseph stored huge quantities of grain
41:50-52 Joseph has two sons – Manasseh and Ephraim
41:53-57 Seven years of famine. But there was grain in Egypt

Joseph’s brothers first trip to Egypt for grain 42:1-38
42:1-7 Jacob (Israel) sends his sons to Egypt for grain
42:8-17 Joseph accuses them of spying
42:18-24 Joseph keeps Simeon until Benjamin comes to Egypt
42:25-28 Joseph’s return of money to each brother
42:29-34 Their report to Jacob
42:35-38 Jacob (Israel) refuses to let Benjamin go to Egypt

Joseph’s brothers second trip to Egypt for grain 43:1 – 45:20
43:1-10 Family discussion about taking Benjamin to Egypt
43:11-15 Jacob (Israel) reluctantly lets Benjamin go to Egypt
43:16-25 Joseph invites them to a meal
43:26-34 Joseph’s meal with his brothers – they were seated in the order of their ages
44:1-5 Silver cup put in Benjamin’s sack
44:6-13 Benjamin arrested for stealing the silver cup
44:14-17 Judah admits their guilt
44:18-34 Judah’s offers to be detained instead of Benjamin
45:1-8 Joseph makes himself known to his brothers. They were terrified. Joseph acknowledges that God sent him to Egypt to save lives.
45:9-15 Joseph invites his family to move Egypt
45:16-20 Pharaoh invites Joseph’s family to move to Egypt

Jacob’s move to Egypt 45:21 – 47:12
45:21-28 Jacob (Israel) agrees to move to Egypt
46:1-7 The Hebrews move to Egypt with God’s blessing
46:8-27 The register of Jacob’s family of seventy who moved to Egypt
46:28-34 Joseph and his father reunited
47:1-12 Joseph’s family meet Pharoah

Joseph’s administration of the Egyptian grain exchange 47:13-26
47:13-17 Grain sold in exchange for money and livestock
47:18-26 Grain sold in exchange for land

The final days of Jacob 47:27 – 48:22
47:27-31 Jacob’s (Israel’s) request to be buried in Canaan
48:1-7 Jacob (Israel) says that Ephraim and Manasseh will be considered to be his sons
48:8-22 Jacob (Israel) blesses Ephraim above Manasseh (younger over the older)

Jacob’s prophecies about his sons 49:1-28
49:1-2 Introduction
49:3-4 Reuben demoted because of his incest
49:5-7 Simeon and Levi’s will be dispersed in Israel because of their violence
49:8-12 Judah will rule over the others like a lion
49:13 Zebulun will live by the seashore near Lebanon
49:14-15 Issachar will be a hard worker
49:16-18 Dan will provide justice and be an expert in guerilla warfare
49:19 Gad will be a raider
49:20 Asher will have fertile land
49:21 Naphtali will have an independent spirit
49:22-26 Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) will be blessed with water and progeny and would gain supremacy amongst the northern tribes
49:27 Benjamin would be a fierce warrior

Jacob’s death 49:29 – 50:14
49:29-33 The death of Jacob (Israel)
50:1-3 Jacob (Israel) embalmed for 40 days and mourned for 70 days
50:4-14 Jacob’s (Israel’s) burial in Canaan

Joseph reassures his brothers 50:15-21
50:15-21 Joseph reassures his brothers that he would not pay them back for their wrongs done to him

The death of Joseph 50:22-26
50:22-26 Joseph asked the Hebrews to take his bones to Canaan when they leave Egypt.
The death of Joseph

Appendix A: Literary outline of Genesis

After the account of the creation of the universe, Genesis is divided into ten main sections, each beginning with the phrase “the account of”.

The eleven documents that Moses used to compile the book of Genesis are listed below.

1:1 – 2:3 Creation of the universe in six days

2:4 – 4:26 What followed from creation

5:1 – 6:8 What followed from Adam

6:9 – 9:29 What followed from Noah

10:1 – 11:9 What followed from Shem, Ham and Japheth

11:10-26 The expansion of what became from Shem

11:27 – 25:11 What followed from Terah (i. e. Abraham)

25:12-18 What followed from Ishmael

25:19 – 35:29 What followed from Isaac

36:1 – 37:1 What followed from Esau

37:2– 50:26 What followed from Jacob

Appendix B: Simple outline of Genesis

The top two levels of headings in this post give a simple outline of the book of Genesis.

1-2 God’s perfect creation

3-11 God’s judgment of sin

3:1 – 8:19 The original creation ruined by sin and judged by the flood

8:20 – 11:9 The repopulation of the earth ruined by sin and judged by scattering

11:10 – 50:26 God’s unconditional covenant of blessing by election through faith

11:10 – 25:18 God’s elective blessing of Abraham

25:19 – 28:9 God’s elective blessing of Isaac and Jacob

28:10 – 36:43 God’s elective blessing of Jacob more than Esau

37-50 God’s elective blessing of Joseph above his brothers


Sarfati J 2015, “The Genesis Account. A theological, historical and scientific commentary on Genesis 1-11”, Creation Book Publishers

Bartsch T J “Analytical outline of Genesis


This post is based on the work of James T Bartsch.

Written, January 2023

One response

  1. Lesley

    Thank you, George, for this helpful outline of Genesis. A great aid to my study.


    January 15, 2023 at 8:59 am

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