If one is to be a true Bible student he/she must understand the Bible ages.   The first is the Patriarchal Age.  This is the time from the beginning of man (Gen. 1:27; 2:7) and extending to the receiving of the Law by Moses in Exodus 20.  It was a time characterized by God speaking to the fathers (Heb. 1:1).  Job is also believed to be a man out of the Patriarchy because (for one) no other references are given by Job to a governing law of God (law of Moses, etc.) in the book of Job.

The Patriarchal Age was a time of beginnings.  It was the beginning and development of the world, man and the building of societies.  Thus, it would appear to be a time of preparing, and that is exactly what is indicated in some of the references from the time (Gen. 2:24; 3:15; 12:1-3; 45:5; 50:20).  It was a time to prepare for the coming Law of Moses, a time of beginning preparation for the coming Christ and time of promise.  Who were some of the great patriarchs?  Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses.  Moses, of course, was a transitional man from one age to the next.
There is great misuse and misunderstanding of the Bible and its application to today.  Many will go to the prophets of old and cite incorrectly supposed end of time prophecy.  Much of this is heard today.  Many go to the Old Testament to try to establish the use of instrumental music in worship, but it is improper and wrong to do such (Heb. 8:13; 9:1f; 10:9). As to the patriarchs, some do misuse and abuse the writings of the patriarchy but not seemingly as much as others parts of the Old Testament.  Perhaps the greatest misuse in today’s time is the attempt by some to justify and condone the Muslim religion as descending from Abraham through Ishmael (Gen. 17:20) just as Christianity descended through Isaac.  God said through the apostle Paul, if you are “Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise,” (Gal. 3:29).  God’s promise was to Abraham’s seed through Isaac (Gen. 17:19) not through Ishmael (Gen. 16:12).  And Ishmael’s race, the Arab people, are still basically the same as prophesied (Gen. 16:12).  The only thing that will change them is obedience to the Gospel of Christ, which will make them heirs to God’s promise.  In the first century it has been reported that a lot of Christian activity took place in the country now known as Iraq.  That would mean that the Lord’s church had a presence there at one time.  It’s too bad that the teaching failed to be passed to future generations.

A fellow once said to me, “We don’t believe the old Bible, do we?”   And the man was a Sunday school teacher!  Yes, I believe every word of the Old Testament (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:20-21).  The fact is the laws are no longer applicable because we are under a new and better law (Heb. 8:6).  I do believe this is what the man meant but spoke it all wrong.  God no longer speaks to and through the fathers directly (Heb. 1:2), but speaks to us through His son Jesus Christ and His New Testament.  The Bible is complete and able to furnish us unto every good work (II Tim. 3:15-17).
One important feature of the Patriarchal Age is that one can study and learn much about the mind of God as is revealed in His direct dealings with His people (Rom. 15:4).  It reveals that God has always been very serious about His worship (Gen. 4:1-13), and He has always demanded that mankind worship His (God’s) way.  Another important revelation is the institution of the home (Gen. 2:24).  Jesus further revealed that God’s plan was to have been just as in the beginning (Matt. 19:8), which was and is now to be one man for one woman for a lifetime.  Any perversion of this plan was and is unacceptable (Gen. 19; Rom. 1:25-28).  God expected honest, fair dealings from His people. The life of the honored man of faith, Abraham, reveals this.  God’s providence can be seen in the life of Joseph and Job.  There are so many great lessons to be learned from this historical age.
Keep studying from the “old Bible.”  There is much to be learned and gleaned from this historic section of Scriptures.

-David Hill