Bible Study Movement – Joseph

Now on to Joseph’s story in Genesis chapter 37 and chapters 39-50, the end of the book of Genesis. What follows is mostly a personal story. 20 years ago a magazine, DisciplesWorld began publishing; a magazine published by members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for those interested in the denomination. They had a feature they called Browsing the Bible that appeared in the centerfold. It would take a part of the Bible, usually one book and have three articles, one a background of the portion being looked at, and two short devotional type columns. Genesis was divided into three parts, with the third part covering chapters 37-50. The background piece explained that the Joseph story that inspired “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is here. Then the editor wrote “don’t go looking for a coat of many colors in the Bible, that it was described only as a long robe”.

I immediately started composing a letter to the editor in my mind saying that if you look at the King James Version of the Bible you would indeed find a coat of many colors. And that the phrase in the English language comes from there. I then looked in all the various Bibles in our house (7 translations and 1 paraphrase) and found 7 different descriptions of Joseph’s garment (coat, robe, or tunic). Another thing I noticed was that those Bibles with footnotes all had the same footnote for Joseph’s garment, “the meaning of the Hebrew phrase is uncertain”. I think that is the footnote that appears most in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Instead of seeing my letter in a future issue, a couple of weeks after mailing it I received a letter from the editor giving me an opportunity to write a short devotional for an upcoming issue.

Mark Phillips