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The Old Testament > Genesis

Subpages: Genesis 1-11, Genesis 11-25, Genesis 25-35, Genesis 36-50

                                                                 Next page: Genesis 1-11

This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


This heading should be brief and may include an outline of the book. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

The book of Genesis breaks down into four major "cycles" or collections of stories as follows. A complete outline appears further down on this page.

Adam-Noah Cycle (1-11)
Abraham Cycle (12-25a)
Jacob Cycle (25b-35)
Joseph Cycle (36-50)

The phrase "These are the generations of ______" is used to break up Genesis into its major constituent parts, as shown on the complete outline below. This phrase can be understood as "These are the descendants of ______," or "This is what followed after ______." This phrase introduces separate sections in the book of Genesis for Abraham and Jacob, but not for Isaac. Thus, while the phrase "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" appears frequently in the scriptures, including inGenesis, the book of Genesis does not include a separate cycle for Isaac.

Genesis tells the story of the origin of the world including God's covenants with all of mankind through Adam and Noah (chapters 1-11), the origin of God's special covenant with Abraham (chapters 11-25), how this covenant passed twice from father to favored sons Isaac and Jacob (chapters 11-25, chapters 25-35), and how Joseph's sharing of this blessing with his brothers gave rise to the House of Israel (chapters 36-50).

Historical setting

This heading should be brief and explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the book. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Genesis recounts the history of the world beginning with the creation through the establishment of the House of Israel, or until about 1500 BC.


This heading is for more detailed discussions of all or part of a passage. Discussion may include the meaning of a particular word, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout the passage, insights to be developed in the future, and other items. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Points to ponder

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which all or part of this passage can influence a person's life. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

I have a question

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Relation to other scriptures

This heading is for notes about the relationship of this book to other sections and passages. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Related scriptures

  • The relationship of Genesis to other books of the Old Testament, including to the rest of the five books of Moses, is addressed at Old Testament: Organization.
  • The Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price is the Joseph Smith translation of Genesis 1:1-6:13.

Parallel passages

Text transmission

Joseph Smith Translation

The Joseph Smith Translation made changes to ___, or more than ___, of the 1,533 verses in Genesis. With so many changes, readers just have to constantly consult the Joseph Smith Translation. Most significant changes are incorporated into the LDS edition of the Bible. All changes are noted in Wayment's Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.[1]

Complete outline and page map

This heading contains an outline for the entire book. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →


I. Adam-Noah Cycle (Genesis 1-11)

Book 1: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth ..." (1:1)
A. The creation (Chapter 1)
• Day 1: sun (1:1-5)
• Day 2: firmament (1:6-8)
• Day 3: dry land and plant life (1:9-13)
• Day 4: lights in the sky: sun, moon, and stars (1:14-19)
• Day 5: fish and birds (1:20-23)
• Day 6: land animals and mankind (1:24-31)
• Day 7: Sabbath rest (2:1-3)
Book 2: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth ..." (2:4)
B. The fall (Chapter 2-3)
a. Adam, placed in Garden, commanded not to eat tree of knowledge (2:4-17)
b. Lord says not good to be alone, Eve, unaware naked (2:18-25)
c. serpent induces Eve to transgress by eating fruit (3:1-5)
d. Adam & Eve eat and discover nakedness (3:6-7)
c. where art thou? Adam & Eve admit eating fruit (3:8-13)
b. Lord pronounces curses, ground cursed for man’s sake, coats (3:14-21)
a. Adam and Eve know good from evil, driven from Garden, prevented from eating of tree of life (3:22-24)
C. Non-birthright line: Cain and Lamech (Chapter 4)
1. Cain and Abel born (4:1-2)
2. Cain kills Abel (4:3-16)
a. Lord accepts Abel’s offering of sheep, but not Cain’s of produce (4:3-5)
c. Lord warns Cain not to sin (4:6-7)
d. Cain kills Abel (4:8)
c. where is Abel? Cain denies knowledge of his brother (4:9)
b. Cain cursed as a fugitive, ground cursed against him (4:10-12)
a. Cain driven from God and man, mark to prevent vengeance (4:13-16)
2. Lamech's genealogy, kills Irad (4:17-24)
• genealogical list of Lamech’s ancestors (4:17-18)
• genealogical list of Lamech’s descendants (4:19-22)
• Lamech kills and will be avenged even as Cain (4:23-24)
1. Seth as a son in place of Abel, and Seth’s son (4:25-26)
Book 3: "This is the book of the generations of Adam ..." (5:1)
D. Birthright genealogy: Adam to Noah's three sons (Chapter 5-6a)
genealogical list for generations 1-10 (5:1-32)
universal wickedness, plan for un-creation (6:1-8)
Book 4: "These are the generations of Noah ..." (6:9)
A-B. Re-creation through the flood (Chapter 6b-9)
a. earth corrupt, Lord repents of creation and plans destruction (6:9-13)
b. told to build ark, covenant to be established with Noah (6:14-22)
c. enter ark, flood begins, waters rise, 7 + 40 + 150 days (7:1-24)
c. waters recede, flood ends, leave ark, 150 + 40 + 7 + 7 days (8:1-19)
b. ground no longer cursed, told to multiply and replenish earth, covenant of rainbow to not again flood (8:20-9:17)
a. Noah unaware naked, curses son Ham (and his son Canaan) (9:18-29)
Book 5: "Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth ..." (10:1)
C. Non-birthright line: Nimrod and Babel (Chapter 10-11a)
genealogical list, especially Nimrod king of Babel (10:1-32)
Tower of Babel (11:1-9)
Book 6: "These are the generations of Shem [Noah's son] ..." (11:10)
D. Birthright genealogy: Shem to Terah's three sons (Chapter 11b)
genealogical list for generations 11-20 (11:10-26)

II. Abraham Cycle (Genesis 12-25a)

Book 7: "Now these are the generations of Terah [Abraham’s father] ..." (11:27)
• Abraham travels to Haran, Canaan, and Egypt (Chapters 11c-12)
• Haran: descendants and death of Terah (11:27-32)
• Canaan: promises to Abraham of posterity and land (12:1-9)
• Egypt: Pharoah misled and takes Sarah into his house (12:10-20)
• Abraham and Lot in Canaan (Chapter 13-14)
• Abraham and Lot separate (13:1-18)
• Abraham and Lot travel from Egypt to Canaan (13:1-6)
• Lot chooses the plain of Jordan (13:7-13)
• Abraham promised the land of Canaan (13:14-18)
• Abraham rescues Lot (14:1-24)
• Sodom's failed rebellion (14:1-12)
• Abraham rescues Lot (14:13-16)
• Abraham blessed by Melchizedek (14:17-20)
• Abraham refuses reward from Sodom (14:21-24)
Abrahamic covenant renewed (Chapter 15)
• descendants (15:1-6)
• land (15:7-21)
Birth of Ishmael (Chapter 16)
• Hagar given to Abraham, conceives, despises Sarah, and flees from Sarah (16:1-6)
• angel tells Hagar to return, promise re: Ishmael (16:7-14)
• birth of Ishmael (16:15-16)
Covenant of circumcision (Chapter 17)
• promise of descendants and land (17:1-8)
• sign of circumcision (17:9-14)
• Sarah promised a covenant son, Isaac (17:15-22)
• Abraham circumcised (17:23-27)
• Destruction of Sodom (Chapter 18-19)
• Abraham and the destruction of Sodom (18:1-33)
• Abraham entertains visitors (18:1-8)
• Sarah promised a son (18:9-15)
• destruction of Sodom foretold (18:16-22)
• Abraham pleads for Sodom (18:23-33)
• Lot and the destruction of Sodom (19:1-38)
• Lot entertains visitors (19:1-3)
• men of Sodom seek to abuse visitors (19:4-11)
• visitors warn Lot to flee destruction of Sodom (19:12-16)
• Lot pleads for Zoar (19:17-23)
• destruction of Sodom (19:24-29)
• birth of Lot's two sons Moab and Ammon (19:30-38)
• Abraham and Abimelech reconciled (Chapter 20)
• Abimelech misled and takes Sarah into his house (20:1-7)
• Abimelech confronts Abraham (20:8-13)
• Abimelech and Abraham reconciled (20:14-18)
• Birth of Isaac (Chapter 21a)
• birth of Isaac (21:1-8)
• Ishmael mocks, Sarah says to cast out Hagar and Ishmael (21:9-11)
• God tells Abraham to allow, promise re: Ishmael (21:12-13)
• angel helps Hagar to find water (21:14-21)
• Treaty of peace with Abimelech, dispute over wells resolved (Chapter 21b)
• Abraham offers Isaac in sacrifice (Chapter 22a)
• Birth of Rebekah (Chapter 22b)
• Sarah dies, Abraham purchases cave for burial (Chapter 23)
• Abraham obtains a covenant wife for his son Isaac (Chapter 24)
• Abraham commissions his servant (24:1-9)
• the servant's prayer at the well (24:10-14)
• Rebekah at the well (24:15-28)
• Laban provides for the servant (24:29-32)
• the servant's account (24:33-49)
• Rebekah returns with the servant (24:50-61)
• Isaac and Rebekah marry (24:62-67)
• Abraham's other children and death (Chapter 25a)
• Abraham's children by Keturah (25:1-6)
• Abraham dies (25:7-11)

III. Jacob Cycle (Genesis 25b-35)

Book 8: "Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son ..." (25:12)
Descendants of Ishmael (Chapter 25b)
genealogical list (25:12-18)
Book 9: "And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son ..." (25:19)
A. Father Isaac in Canaan (Chapter 25c-26)
Rebekah struggles in childbirth of Esau and Jacob (25:19-26)
Jacob purchases Esau’s birthright (25:27-34)
Isaac's covenants with God and king (26:1-33)
a. Abrahamic covenant given to Isaac (26:1-5)
b. Rebekah taken as wife by king Abimelech (26:6-11)
b. Philistines ask Isaac to depart (26:12-17)
c. Disputes with Philistines over wells (26:18-22)
a. Abrahamic covenant renewed with Isaac (26:23-25)
b. Covenant of peace with king Abimelech (26:26-31)
c. Well at Beersheba (26:32-33)
B. Jacob and Esau in conflict (Chapter 27-28)
Jacob obtains Isaac’s favored blessing by trick, flees (26:34-28:9)
a. Esau’s non-covenant marriages (26:34-35)
b. Isaac plans to bless Esau (27:1-5)
c. Rebekah arranges for Isaac to bless Jacob (27:6-17)
d. Isaac unwittingly blesses Jacob (27:18-29)
d. Isaac confirms Jacob’s blessing, then blesses Esau (27:30-40)
c. Rebekah arranges for Isaac to send Jacob to Haran (27:41-46)
b. Isaac sends Jacob to Haran for a covenant wife (28:1-5)
a. Esau's covenant marriage (28:6-9)
Abrahamic covenant given to Jacob (Jacob's ladder) (28:10-22)
C. Jacob and Laban (Chapter 29-31)
a. Laban tricks Jacob re wife (29:1-30)
b. Jacob blessed with children (29:31-30:24)
b. Jacob blessed with flocks (30:25-43)
a. Jacob flees Laban and is reconciled (31:1-55)
B. Jacob and Esau reconciled (Chapter 32-33)
Jacob gives gifts to Esau (32:1-23)
Jacob's name changed to Israel (Jacob wrestles) (32:24-32)
Jacob reconciled with Esau (33:1-20)
A. Father Jacob in Canaan (Chapter 34-35)
Dina to marry king's son, brothers break covenant with king and kill city (34:1-31)
Abrahamic covenant renewed at Bethel (35:1-15)
Births, Rachel and Jacob die (35:16-29)
• Rachel dies in childbirth (35:16-20)
• Reuben's adultery (35:21-22a)
• Jacob's sons (35:22b-26)
• Jacob dies (35:27-29)

IV. Joseph Cycle (Genesis 36-50)

Book 10: "Now these are the generations of Esau ..." (36:1)
Book 11: "And these are the generations of Esau ..." (36:9)
Descendants of Esau (Chapter 36)
genealogical lists (36:1-43)
Book 12: "These are the generations of Jacob ..." (37:2)
A. Joseph's worthiness and suffering (Chapters 37-41a)
a. Joseph's two dreams that brothers will serve him (37:1-11)
a. Brothers' three plans to be rid of Joseph (37:12-36)
b. Judah poor steward, Tamar (38:1-30)
b. Joseph good steward, Potiphar's wife (39:1-23)
c. Joseph interprets two prisoner dreams (40:1-23)
c. Joseph interprets two pharoah dreams (41:1-45)
B. Joseph saves Israel with the resources of Egypt (Chapters 41b-47a)
a. Egyptians pay all their gold for grain in 1st year (41:46-57)
b. brothers pay for grain 1st year, Simeon unwilling hostage (42:1-38)
c. brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin in 2nd year (43:1-14)
d. brothers eat with Joseph (43:15-34)
e. Joseph’s cup in Benjamin’s sack, brothers agree to serve Joseph (44:1-17)
d. Judah a willing ransom, Joseph revealed (44:18-34)
c. Jacob’s family invited to Egypt (45:1-28)
b. Jacob’s family given resources in Egypt in 2nd year (46:1-47:12)
a. Egyptians pay herds, lands, and themselves for grain in 2nd year (47:13-26)
A. Blessings and burials (Chapters 47b-50)
Jacob blesses his posterity (47:27-49:33)
a. Jacob desires to be buried in Canaan (47:27-31)
b. Jacob blesses Joseph's sons (48:1-22)
b. Jacob blesses his own sons (49:1-28)
a. Jacob desires to be buried in Canaan (49:29-32)
Jacob and Joseph Die (50:1-26)
a. Jacob is buried in Canaan (50:1-14)
b. brothers fear retribution, again agree to serve Joseph (50:15-21)
a. Joseph desires to be buried in Canaan and dies (50:22-26)


This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those cited in the notes. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →


  • Amplified • The Amplified Bible, 1987 update
  • NASB • New American Standard Bible, 1995 update
  • NIV • New International Version
  • RSV • Revised Standard Version

Cited references

  • Wayment, Thomas A., ed. The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament, p. ___. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2009. (ISBN 1606411314) BX8630.A2 2009

Other resources


Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.

  1. Wayment, The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament, p. 1-113.

                                                                 Next page: Genesis 1-11