Questions to Consider
1. What facts can we glean about Sarah from this passage? What was her original name? (11:29) Who were her family members? (11:27-29, 31) Where was she originally from, and where did she move to? (11:28,31) What was her physical condition (11:30) and why is this “backstory” being given to us? (12:7) What was Sarah’s physical appearance like? (12:11,14)
2. We can learn more about Sarah from other passages of Scripture. What does the name Sarai (see footnote) mean? What was Sarah’s familial relationship to Abraham? How old did Sarah live to be? How does Paul use Sarah as an allegorical example in Galatians? How does Hebrews describe Sarah’s faith? How does Peter hold Sarah up as a godly example to Christian women? Overall, how does the Holy Spirit frame and describe Sarah’s character in the New Testament? Does this mean her thoughts and behavior were always flawless?
3. Consider that Sarah, though sinful and imperfect in many ways, is spoken of by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament as a woman of faith and godly character, and an example to be looked up to by Christian women. Does this bring you comfort and reassurance as a sinful and imperfect, yet faithful, follower of Christ? What are some ways you can set a godly example for other Christian women even though you sometimes stumble into sin? How will God speak of your faith and character at the end of your life?
4. While the events in Genesis 11-12 are told from Abraham’s perspective, Sarah, his wife was right there with him, experiencing those same events. Consider the following parts of the story from Sarah’s perspective:
Barrenness (11:30): In a patriarchal society in which women established status largely by bearing sons, what might Sarah have thought about being barren?
Traveling and relocating (12:1-9): Examine the map above. Strange lands she’d never been to before. Strange and possibly hostile people. How far would Sarah and her family have had to travel? What might have been some of Sarah’s concerns for her family?
God’s promises and instructions (12:1-3,7): What questions might Sarah have had about her role in God’s promises to Abraham, how her barrenness would affect God’s promise for offspring, and how it would all play out once God’s promises were fulfilled?
Trusting, obeying, and worshiping God (12:1-9): In instructing Abraham, God was also instructing Sarah, as his wife, to obey and follow Him. What were some ways Sarah would have had to obey God? How could she have served as a helper to her husband? How would she have needed to trust God? How would trusting and obeying God have led to worship for Sarah, right alongside her husband? (7,8) How might Sarah’s relationship with God have grown through this experience?
5. Examine 12:10-20. Summarize the story in your own words. What did Abraham ask Sarah to tell the Egyptians in verse 13? Why? Was this true? What can we learn from this story about honesty, deception, and half truths? How did Abraham’s deception put Sarah in danger? In what way did Abraham put his own needs ahead of Sarah’s well-being? How might Abraham’s actions have damaged his relationship with his wife?
6. Compare Abraham’s trust in God in 12:1-9 with his lack of trust in God in 12:10-20.
7. In what ways did Sarah have to trust God and trust her husband in 12:1-9? In what ways did she have to trust God and trust her husband in 12:10-20? Was Abraham acting in a trustworthy way in both of these instances? Why or why not?
8. Have you ever had to trust God through a situation in which your husband, parent, or someone else you depended on, wasn’t acting trustworthy? What did this teach you about God and His trustworthiness and dependability?
9. True or false: “In some ways and at some times Sarah may have had to trust God even more than Abraham did.”? Why?
How can trusting God through a difficult time lead you to worship Him? Describe a trial you’ve been through and how you trusted God in the midst of it. Take some time to worship God for the specific ways He carried you through that trial: how He provided for you, comforted you, strengthened you, and encouraged you.
Suggested Memory Verse
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.