Close this search box.

The Most Underrated Chapter of the Bible

the most underrated chapter in the Bible

Civil war in Sudan.

Israel and Palestine.

Russia and Ukraine.

The US Congress. 

The world seems to be blowing up with violence. And if you are like me, you feel powerless to do anything about it.

But we aren’t powerless. We do have agency. And we have the power to make the world a better place.

And I believe that the most underrated passage in the Bible helps us make the world a better place. This chapter has the power to liberate humanity from violence so we can live in mutual justice, peace, and prosperity.

My vote for the most underrated passage in the Bible is Genesis 12:1-3.

Genesis 12 – Be a Blessing to all the Families of the Earth

Jews, Christians, and Muslims trace our lineage back to Abraham. If you grew up in a church, you might remember the very patriarchal song, “Father Abraham, had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them. And so are you. So let’s all praise the Lord.” If you don’t know the song, here’s a cheesy, yet adorable, version of it on YouTube.

Abraham didn’t have children on his own, of course. His wife Sarah and Sarah’s maidservant Hagar were both essential to God’s new mission in Genesis 12 – the most underrated chapter of the Bible.

Genesis 12 marks the beginning of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar’s story. This chapter narrates the story of God “choosing” Abraham and his descendants. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim that we are in some way a chosen people and our lineage goes back to Abraham. For some in each of these religions, this chosenness leads to a posture of arrogant hostility and exclusion of others. But that’s to miss the fundamental importance of our chosenness.

Genesis 12 begins with the calling of Abram. It states, “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”

Creating A New Identity

This chapter is a major click forward for humanity. For most of our history, we have divided ourselves into families, tribes, clans, and nations. We have created an identity of “Us and Them.” Or maybe “Us against Them” is more precise.

We still create our identity like this today. It’s everywhere in our world. Christian and Muslim. Democrat and Republican. Gay and straight. Israeli and Palestinian. Russian and Ukrainian. The ways we divide ourselves into hostile groups is endless.

But Genesis 12 subverts that way of creating identity. Instead of creating an identity in hostility toward another, God calls Abraham to a new identity – one of blessing. God blessed Abraham and his descendents, not so that they would keep the blessing to themselves, but so that in them “all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

All the families means just that. If you consider yourself to be a child of Abraham, you are chosen to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. That includes Israeli families and Palestinian families and Republican families and Democratic families and gay families and transgender families and poor families and undocumented families.

I know what you might be thinking – but the Bible is full of violence. And you are correct. Tragically, the Bible tells the ugly truth that Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar’s descendants did not always a “blessing to all the families of the earth.” In fact, we have often been a curse to our own families and to other families.

But that’s because we so easily go against God’s call in Genesis 12. We fall back into the trap of creating our identity against another. Unfortunately, that way of creating our identity seems to be in our social DNA.

Yet Genesis 12, the most underrated chapter in the Bible, is there to invite us back to our fundamental calling. Before Genesis 12, God tried to make the world better on God’s own. But by Genesis 12, God realized that God couldn’t do it on God’s own. Rather, God needed a people to make the world better. And so God called Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, and their descendants to stop the cycle of cursing one another and start a new cycle of blessing everyone. 

I’m not sure what this might look like for you. It might look like holding your tongue during a family gathering. Or you might provide a meal to a neighbor in need. Or you might advocate for universal healthcare or housing. You might learn more about the horrific history of Israel and Palestine. Or during these tumultuous times, you might take a deep breath and remind yourself that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others.

Because the news of the day can be so depressing. It can make us feel hopeless. But don’t fall for it. That hopelessness is a distraction from our mission. That mission is found in the most underrated chapter of the Bible, Genesis 12, and that mission is to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. 

Picture of Adam Ericksen

Adam Ericksen

Get a Free copy of "Unlearn the Bible"

Subscribe to receive thought provoking updates and a free copy of “Unlearn the Bible” by Pastor Adam Ericksen in your inbox.

You might also like...

Overcoming Narcissistic Christianity

Overcoming Narcissistic Christianity

Eastern and Western Christians depict the Resurrection very differently. Pastor Adam thinks the Western approach leads to a narcissism.

how to see the face of god

How To See the Face of God

Using the example of the rivalrous brothers Jacob and Esau, Pastor Adam explains how to see the face of God.