Although the historical setting of these 3 patriarchs (or Hebrew forefathers) is found in the Book of Genesis (chapters 12-36) – – Abraham (chapters 12-25); Isaac (chapters 25-26); Jacob (chapters 27-36) – – their mention is spread throughout the Scriptures:
The phrase “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” is found no less than 12 times in both Testaments: Exodus 3:6, 15, 16; 4:5; I Kings 18:26; I Chronicles 29:18; II Chronicles 30:6; Matthew 22:32; Mark 12: 26; Luke 20:37; Acts 3:13; 7:32.
The name “Abraham” (also earlier known as “Abram”) occurs 313 times, the name “Isaac” occurs 132 times, and the name “Jacob” occurs 377 times in the Bible. This amounts to a total of 822 separate mentions of these 3 individuals.
However, as a side-note, Jacob’s name-change to “Israel” in Genesis 32:28 would add many more occurrences! (“Israel” has reference not only to Jacob as an individual, but also to his descendants, the children of Israel, or the Jewish people, and is used 2573 times in the Bible)!
For a closer study, let’s investigate the chief characterization of these 3 chosen men of God:
I. ABRAHAM – – THE LIFE OF PERSUASION
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. (Hebrews 11:8–19)
II. ISAAC – – THE LINEAGE OF PROMISE
Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. (Genesis 17:19)
But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. (Genesis 21:12)
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” (Hebrews 11:17–18)
III. JACOB – – THE LEARNER OF PROVIDENCE
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. (Hebrews 11:21)
For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death. (Psalm 48:14)