The first 5 words of the Bible are a very critical: “In the beginning God created”.
IF by faith ~ if you believe these 5 words ~ the rest of the Bible will make sense as you ~ as you view it through the lens of faith.
However ~ if you struggle to accept the 1st five words on faith ~ the rest of the Bible will be viewed through the lens of skepticism.
The 1st 5 words establishes the foundation that
(a) God was here before the beginning ~ he created the beginning;
(b) there is an all powerful God;
(c) the all powerful self sustaining God is not reliant of man for anything;
(d) the all powerful God created ~ and as the creator and sustainer of all ~ God holds the “pink slip” to everyone and everything in the universe
“God created” ~ This was the first moment of time ~ and the universe coming into being ~ at a mere WORD from the Almighty
God Himself had NO beginning ~ He existed from eternity to eternity ~ the eternal spirit created the physical temporary
The opening subject of Genesis is a CLUE to what we can expect from the whole book.
Genesis is a book of beginnings ~ a revealing ~ written by the only ONE qualified to write it ~ GOD. There was not a lot of witnesses around during the moment that “God created” ~ just God Himself.
Genesis introduces us to man in the Garden with a right relationship with God ~ the Bible documents the journey God put in place to bring man back into a right relationship with Him ~ that is completed in the book of Revelation.
(grab your Bible ~ notebook ~ pen)
#1: How many chapters are there in Genesis?
#2: Scan the whole book by reading the 1st verse of each chapter
#3: What persons and events are the key parts?
#4: Compare the first chapter of Genesis with the last paragraph
#5: The story of Israel begins with Abraham ~ God called him to
leave his country and go “to the land which I will show you”
#6: How was sin involved in the 3 stories (the Fall, the Flood,
Tower of Babel)
#7: How does this setting introduce the story that begins with
Abraham’s call from God?
#8: In chapters 1-11 there are many “firsts” ~ list in your notebook
the prominent firsts from these chapters
#9: A key phrase of Genesis is “these are the generations of” ~
the phrase is always the heading for whatever follows
(example: “the generations of Shem ~ 11:10-12 ~ introduces
the section dealing with the descendants of Shem)
#10: The interval time from Adam to Abraham (chapters 1-11)
was over 2,000 years. However, it was only 300 years from
Abraham to Joseph’s death (chapters 12-50). 1/5 of Genesis
is devoted to such vital subjects as creation and the fall ~
and 4/5 is devoted to the four patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, and Joseph). Why do you think this is?
“Who” is the principal person in this passage?
God created over a 7 day period ~ LIST the order things were created
- . light
- . firmament ~ division of waters
- . dry land ~ vegetation
- . light bearers
- . birds ~ fish
- . animals ~ man
- . rest
Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and its name comes from the Greek word for “origins” or “beginnings”.
Genesis is famous for its A-list Bible stories. It’s packed with more famous Bible stories than any other book.
There’s Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah’s ark, Abraham and Isaac, Joseph’s famous jacket—they’re all here ~ and more.
The stories themselves are not what the book of Genesis is primarily about. The book of Genesis has two major purposes:
#1. It sets the stage for relationships between God and man
#2. It introduces God’s relationship with the Israelites
The first eleven chapters focus on the unraveling of the God ~ man relationship
The following 39 chapters are about God’s covenant with Abraham—the first of the major covenants in the Bible.
Genesis Chapter 1-11
Genesis opens with God creating the universe and giving humans a special position in the world.
They were made “in the image of God,” sharing some of God’s attributes that animals, rocks, and plants just don’t have.
God gives humans the responsibility to care for the earth he created, and places them in a garden where they can commune with him.
The whole world is good, so there’s no need for a temple for God to meet with man because ~ humans and God have a perfect relationship ~ and walk together in the Garden.
But things go awry. (4:1) A creature known only as “the serpent” lures the humans into breaking one of the rules God gave them: they eat a piece of forbidden fruit that God told them not to eat.
This results in humans being expelled from the temple garden with both a new understanding of good and evil ~ and a very damaged relationship with God Almighty.
Things unravel quickly. One generation later, a man named Cain murders his brother Abel.
Eventually there is only one decent human being left: Noah. God sends a flood (6:1-9:29) to destroy life on earth and start over again with Noah—but Noah and his children don’t get it right.
Time goes on, and some of Noah’ descendants build a city. They accumulate power and wealth (more violence), eventually attempting to build a tower (chapter 11) that reaches into heaven itself—the epitome of humans’ arrogant quest for power.
This tower is called Babel (later, Babylon).
God confuses humanity’s languages and scattering them into the various nations of the ancient world.
In just a few short chapters, humanity falls from living in God’s garden as the trusted caretakers of earth ~ to being a violent, oppressive, discordant mess devoid of any healthy relationship with God.
Something changes in chapter 12: God makes some promises to a man named Abraham ~ to create from his descendants a great nation ~ Israel.
KEY: the Bible is NOT the history of man ~ the Bible IS the history of God redeeming man
Genesis then follows Abraham’s family as they work through their relationships with God and with each other.
NOTE: How many times God tested Abraham’s character ~ these tests had a purifying & strengthening affect
12:1 Test of Obedience
13:5-18 Test of Values
14:1-24 Test of Love
15:1-21:34 Test of Faith
22:1-19 The most severe test
22:20-25:18 Test of Final Years
READ: 12:1-3 ~ What does the last line of that call reveal about God’s ultimate purpose for making Israel His people?
Isaac ~ the Child of Promise
21:2-3 Isaac’s birth
35:29 Isaac’s death
26:24-25 God’s promise to Abraham renewed
Jacob ~ the Transformed Brother
Jacob is the story of how God can take a selfish, willful, deceitful man ~ determined by his own efforts to gain material wealth ~ and transform HIM ~ so that at the end of his life ~ his character is noble and focused on pleasing God
Jacob had 4 wives: Leah, Zilpah, Bilhah, Rachel ~ and they bore him 12 sons ~ which would later become the names of the 12 tribes of Israel
READ: 29:32-30:24; 35:18-26
3 times Jacob had an experience with God:
READ: Genesis 49:10 ~ one of the clear verses on the promised Messiah
The book covers the story of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son.
Joseph is disowned by his jealous brothers, sold into slavery, and ends up in an Egyptian prison for a crime he didn’t commit. But when Pharaoh has two disturbing dreams, Joseph’s God given wisdom gains him an audience with the king of Egypt.
Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams as signs that a terrible famine is coming, and advises Pharaoh on how to prepare.
Joseph’s has a plan on how to feed everyone during the upcoming famine and Egypt becomes a source of food for everyone— including the brothers who betrayed Joseph in the first place.
In his old age, Jacob moves his whole family down to Egypt to be with Joseph (who is a big deal in Egypt now).
Joseph forgives his brothers, pointing out that while they intended evil and harm, God used their schemes for the good of many. Genesis concludes with the fledgling Hebrew nation sojourning in Egypt, with the hope of one day returning to the land God promised to Abraham.
NEXT Wednesday EXODUS: a first hand report of God delivering Israel ~ as HE promised to Abraham ~ Exodus is a sequel to Genesis