God’s Covenant with Abraham

God’s gracious promise made to Abraham, and repeated to his descendants, to bless both them and, through them, the whole world. In response God calls for faithful obedience, expressed particularly in the outward sign of circumcision.

Features of the Abrahamic covenant
The covenant is based upon God’s gracious promise Gal 3:18 See also Ge 15:4-7; 17:4-8; 18:10,14; Heb 6:13-15

The covenant was confirmed by sacrifice Ge 15:9-18

The covenant was given in perpetuity Ge 17:7 See also Ge 17:13,19; 1Ch 16:15-17 pp Ps 105:8-10; Jer 33:23-25

God’s promises to Abraham
Ge 12:2-3

God promised the land of Canaan Ge 17:8 See also Ge 12:7; 15:18-21; Ex 6:4; Jos 1:3; Ne 9:8; Ac 7:5

God promised that Abraham would be the father of a nation Ge 15:5 See also Ge 12:2; 17:4-6 The change of name from Abram to Abraham is a sign of God’s covenant with him; Ge 17:16; 22:17; Heb 11:11-12

God promised a relationship with himself Ge 17:8 See also Ge 26:24; Dt 29:13; Mt 22:32 pp Mk 12:26; Ex 3:6; Ac 7:32

The requirements of the covenant
Obedience Ge 17:9-14 Circumcision is the sign of Abraham’s commitment to God’s covenant with him; Ge 22:18 See also Ge 26:5; Nu 32:11 by contrast, the consequences of disobedience; Heb 11:8,17-19

Faith Ge 15:6; Ne 9:8 See also Ro 4:3,11-12,18; Gal 3:6-7; Heb 11:8-12; Jas 2:23

God’s faithfulness to the covenant
God remembers his promise Ps 105:42 See also Ge 21:2; 50:24; Ex 33:1; Ac 7:17; Heb 6:15

God shows compassion for his people 2Ki 13:23 See also Ex 2:24-25; 32:13-14; Dt 9:27; Lk 1:72-73

The scope of the covenant
The covenant continued through Isaac, not Ishmael Ge 17:19-21 See also Ge 21:12; Ro 9:7-8; Gal 4:28

The covenant confirmed through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Lev 26:42 See also Ge 26:24 Isaac
Jacob: Ge 28:13-14; 32:12
Ex 3:6; Dt 1:8; Ac 7:8

The people of Israel are heirs to the covenant Dt 29:12-13 See also Ac 3:25

All nations will be blessed through Abraham Ge 18:18 See also Ge 26:4; Ac 3:25; Gal 3:8-9,14,29

See also

Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies (London: Martin Manser, 2009).

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