Disciple Lessons from
the Faith of Abraham

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
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Dr. Ralph F. Wilson I hope you'll join me in this Bible study. I've been a pastor for the last 30 years, and since 1996 I've been conducting Internet Bible studies. Today I find great joy in teaching people all over the world from every denomination and faith tradition -- even those with no faith background at all. You're welcome to learn more about me and what I believe, if you like. -- Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, Director
His father was a moon-worshipper in Ur of the Chaldeans. But God began to speak and Abraham listened. He struck out from his home and his people to obey God's call to "go to the land I will show you." His wife was barren and old, but God promised Abram a son. "He believed the Lord," Scripture tells us, "and he credited it to him as righteousness" and he became known as "the friend of God."

Abraham was a flawed man who followed a perfect God. What changed him was a constant belief that this God who spoke to him would keep his amazing promises. And God did.

Abraham is rightly called "the father of faith," for he blazed the trail for us. You and I walk that same trail of faith today. We have vital lessons to learn from the faith of Abraham.

I invite you take a 11-week trek with me -- to go back nearly 4,000 years, cross deserts, ride camels, dwell in tents, acquire wealth, suffer childlessness, sacrifice much, receive promises, and catch a glimpse of the glory of God. You, too, will grow as you understand how God taught and formed Abraham to be like him.


Available in PDF and Kindle formats.

Here's how we'll study together.

  • Each Saturday I'll e-mail you the lesson for the week. Then you'll read the Bible passage and use my notes to help you understand it better.
  • On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and maybe Thursday, you'll receive a question from that week's lesson to think about and answer. This is designed as a "total immersion" approach to Bible study, since I believe God wants to use it to work real and permanent change in your life. (You can opt out of the daily questions if you like, however, and just receive the weekly lessons.) You'll be thinking about these passages constantly for over these 11 weeks -- long enough for God to work his Word into your life and lifestyle.
  • You can respond to the questions using the Joyful Heart Bible Study Forum -- and read others' answers to reinforce your own understanding.
  • On Fridays I'll e-mail you the link to a 20- to 30-minute audio teaching that sums up the passage you've been studying that week. Some who learn better from hearing than from reading really appreciate this.
  • Then on Saturday, I'll send you the next week's lesson.

Here's the outline:

  1. The Call of Abraham (11:27-12:9). Abraham moves from being a moon-worshipper to following the Lord. He learns to hear, believe, and act on God's voice.
  2. Sarah's Abduction (Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18). Famine strikes and they move to Egypt, where Sarah is abducted and Abraham deceives to save his own live. But God delivers Sarah and honors Abraham.
  3. Abraham Rescues His Nephew Lot (chapters 13-14). Abraham's promise to Abraham is renewed, even though he doesn't get choice land like Lot. Lot is enslaved but he is rescued by uncle Abraham's private army. Abraham tithes to Melchizedek, one of his allies in the battle -- and a type of Christ.
  4. God's Covenant with Abraham (chapter 15). Abraham has a vision from God in which his call is renewed and the promise spelled out more clearly. Abraham's belief in the Lord is reckoned to him as righteousness.
  5. God Speaks to Hagar, Abraham's Other Wife (chapter 16). Abraham has a son by Sarah's servant Hagar. When Ishmael is born, Hagar receives promises of God's blessing on Ishmael, patriarch of the Arab tribes and Islam's tie to Ibrahim (17:19-20).
  6. The Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham (chapter 17). Abraham's and Sarah's names are changed and God's promises to them confirmed and Abraham circumcises those in his household.
  7. Abraham Intercedes for Sodom (chapter 18). Three visitors make promises to Abraham of a son to be born to Sarah next year about this time -- though Sarah overhears it and laughs. Abraham intercedes with one of the angels for the deliverance of Sodom and Gomorrah where his nephew Lot is living.
  8. The Destruction of Sodom (chapter 20). Here are important lessons for disciples trying to live to close to the line between righteousness and unrighteousness.
  9. Isaac Born, Ishmael Banished (chapter 21). Isaac is born as promised. Though Hagar and Ishmael are sent away, God provides for them and renews his promise to Ishmael. Abraham moves to Beersheba and calls on the name of the Lord.
  10. Abraham Offers Isaac on Mt. Moriah (chapter 22). Abraham takes Isaac to sacrifice him to the Lord on Mt. Moriah. God provides a sacrifice and Abraham calls him Jehovah-Jireh, the God Who Provides. God renews his promise to Abraham once again.
  11. Death of Sarah and Abraham (22:20-25:11). Sarah dies at the age of 127 in Hebron. Abraham purchases a burial plot from Hittites at Machpelah, the only property he owns in the land God has promised to his descendents. Abraham takes another wife, Keturah, who bears him six more sons. Abraham dies at age 175 years and is buried by Isaac and Ishmael at Machpelah.

We'll probably have people from a variety of faith's participating in this study, including Jews and Muslims who revere Abraham (Ibrahim) as a spiritual ancestor. That's great! This is clearly a Christian approach to Abraham and his faith, but it's not our goal to try to convert each other in this setting. Nor do we allow anyone to bash someone's beliefs that they don't agree with. We can disagree in a loving way, of course, based on what the specific Scripture passage that we are studying says. Ultimately, we believe that the Scripture is able to speak by the Spirit of God to our hearts and spirits and build the "faith of Abraham" in each of us.

Sign up now!

To sign up, start by clicking on your e-mail frequency preference:

You'll receive your first lesson the Friday after you sign up. There is no cost to participate in the study, though donations are encouraged so we can create more studies and reach more people.

We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.

Please don't sign up for more than one of my Bible studies at one time. There's no penalty, but each of them is pretty intensive. If you try to do too many studies at the same time without adequate reflection, you'll miss out on God speaking to you.

Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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