National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series

The man named Abram, later named Abraham, from the Bible:

The biblical account of Abraham, originally named Abram, is found primarily in the Book of Genesis. Abraham is a central figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, considered the father of the Hebrew people and a model of faith.

Abram was born in Ur of the Chaldeans (Genesis 11:27), an ancient city in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). and was married to Sarai (Genesis 11:29). According to Genesis 12:1-3, God called Abram to leave his country, his relatives, and his father’s house and go to a land that God would show him. Abram obeyed and set out for the land of Canaan with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot (Genesis 12:4-5).  Along the way, they faced various challenges and traveled through different regions, including a period of time in Egypt.

As Abram settled in Canaan, God made a covenant with him, promising to give him descendants as numerous as the stars, to bless him, and to give his descendants the land of Canaan as an inheritance.

In Genesis 12:7, God appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” God promised to make Abram’s descendants into a great nation. However, Sarai was barren, and they had no children (Genesis 11:30). Despite this, Abram continued to trust in God’s promises.

In Genesis 15:5, God took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed in the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).

In Genesis 17:5, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many nations.” God made a covenant with Abraham, promising to make him the father of many nations and to give him and his descendants the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:7-8).

However, Abram and Sarai faced infertility, and as they grew older without a child, Sarai suggested that Abram have a child with her maidservant, Hagar. Ishmael was born from this union.

Abraham had a son, Ishmael, through his wife’s maidservant, Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4). However, God also promised that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, would bear a son in her old age. When Abraham was 100 years old, Isaac was born to him and Sarah, fulfilling God’s promise (Genesis 21:1-7).

When Abram was 99 years old, God appeared to him again, reaffirming His covenant and changing Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many nations.” God promised that Abraham would have a son with Sarah and that through him, all nations would be blessed. At the age of 100, Abraham and Sarah miraculously had their son, Isaac.

Abraham’s faith was tested when God commanded him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-2). Abraham demonstrated his obedience and trust in God by preparing to carry out the command. However, just as Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God intervened and provided a ram as a substitute, reaffirming His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 22:9-18).

Abraham lived a long life and had other children with his second wife, Keturah (Genesis 25:1-4). Through Isaac, Abraham’s son, the covenant and promises of God continued. Isaac had twin sons, Jacob and Esau, and the covenant was passed down to Jacob, who later became known as Israel (Genesis 25:19-26).

Abraham’s story is recorded in the book of Genesis, primarily in chapters 11-25. These passages provide a detailed account of his life, his interactions with God, and the fulfillment of God’s promises to him.

Note: Bible citations are based on the New International Version (NIV) translation.