I’m so excited you’ve decided to join me in this study through the book of Genesis. Everything we know and believe about Scripture hangs on the first four words written in the book of Genesis:
“In the Beginning God.”
Those four words state an emphatic truth: In the beginning, God was and is. God’s existence was not an assumption needing to be proved. God was and always has been and will be; forever. Genesis is the foundation of the Bible, both Old and New. It lays the groundwork upon which all truth builds. From the beginning, God’s hand was on Creation, on Mankind, and the plan to save Man from sin’s death grip was set in place before Creation’s story.
In Hebrew (בְּרֵאשִׁית) Bereshith literally means “in the beginning.” In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible we are brought into the Creation account as God forms the earth and the heavenly bodies, and as He creates both man and animals of the land and sea. The origin of sin, the consequences of God’s judgement of sin, and the beautiful promise of redemption through Jesus Christ are all revealed in this book of beginnings. The history of man is unveiled as God reveals Himself to His creation.
In Genesis, God is Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign, Almighty, Holy, Most High, All Sufficient, the Self-Existent One, and much more. Concepts such as the Trinity, salvation, justification by faith, and obedience are laid out before us in the accounts given to us of Earth’s early history. As we study through the book of Genesis, we will study the names of God as they are presented and the Doctrinal truths that are revealed in the Word. Some of the doctrines we will study are: Creation, God, Christology (yes, even in Genesis we will study Christ), Man, Sin, Salvation, and Angelology; just to name a few.
In our study of beginnings, we will make application to our own lives as we read and study the Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the Table of Nations, the Tower of Babel, and the vivid accounts of the *Four Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. (*Some do not include Joseph as a Patriarch, but I’m including him because of the significance of his story to the overall history of the Israelites.) There is much richness of truth in the book of Genesis upon which we can use as the basis for a further study of God’s Word through the Old and New Testaments.
Here is a general breakdown of this 4-part study:
Part 1: Genesis Chapters 1-11 (12 weeks)
Part 2: Genesis Chapters 12- 25:18 (approx. 12 weeks)
Part 3: Genesis Chapters 25:19-36 (approx. 12 weeks)
Part 4: Genesis Chapters 37-50 (approx. 13/14 weeks)
We’ll study Genesis verse by verse, chapter by chapter, with breaks in between each of the four parts. I’ll post weekly studies here on my blog, and I will also post short videos on my Grace Beyond Measure Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/GraceBeyondMeasureMinistry/). There will be homework, but nothing like the normal video-driven studies common in most Women’s ministries at church. Those can be quite overwhelming and intimidating. I don’t want you overwhelmed or intimidated. My desire is that you learn not only how to study God’s Word, but that God’s Word will be a treasure to you.
One of the most important things to do when you study Scripture is to know the background of the book you are studying, or studying a portion of. Have you heard that context is key? Knowing the background helps bring the correct meaning and understanding as you study. It’s not about us reading ourselves, or our presuppositions, into the Word of God, but about learning what God desires us to know about Him, and about ourselves.
I introduced the Hebrew meaning of Genesis above, but we can also know the Greek meaning of Genesis. In Greek, Genesis means origin or source. How fitting the meaning is, since Genesis gives us a view into the origin of earth’s beginnings, as well as, the beginnings of everything on and above the earth.
Ultimately, God is the Author of Scripture, the Holy Bible, but He used men to pen His words as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17). With every book in the Bible, it’s important to know the author. The accepted author of Genesis is Moses, although he is not directly named in Genesis as the author. There is Scriptural proof of Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, of which, Genesis is included. Some of the Scriptures which point to Mosaic authorship include: Exodus 17:14, Leviticus 1:1-2, Deuteronomy 1:1, 1 Kings 2:3, Nehemiah 13:1, Malachi 4:4, Matthew 8:4, Mark 12:26, Romans 10:19, 1 Corinthians 9:9, plus more that are not listed. The Early Church Fathers, Josephus the First Century Jewish Historian, and the Jewish Talmud (Jewish civil and ceremonial law) all support the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.
An amazing fact about the book of Genesis is the issue of time. The time span in Genesis is more than the other 65 books of the Bible combined. Most scholars attribute a span of 2,000 years or more to Genesis Chapters 1-11, and then a period of 286 years to the remainder of the book (Chapters 12-50). This fact struck me. Although, I probably have read about the time span before, I guess with the approach of my fiftieth birthday, and the knowledge, in all likelihood, I’ve lived most of my life already, the time span stood out to me like a beacon. Our life here on earth IS truly like a vapor as it is described in James 4:14 (…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.) Thinking about life as a vapor can put things into perspective. We simply do not have much time here. For me, it makes me think about all the time I’ve wasted on unimportant things, for the important things are what makes this life worthwhile.
Retrospective: What makes your life worthwhile? How will you live for Christ? (I’ll throw in retrospective questions along the way just for serious personal thought. It’s your choice to answer this in your notebook or not.)
As we study the book of Genesis, we will also study about the type of Christs located within the book as we get to each one. The first will be Adam. I’m not saying he is Christ, he is NOT, but there are historical truths that point to spiritual truths which are very important for us to understand as we study Scripture.
Are you ready to begin?
Now that you have background information we can start this journey through the book of Genesis.
Your Homework for this week is:
Scripture Reading: Genesis 1- Genesis 2:3
Suggested Scripture memorization:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” *Genesis 1:1-2
<I use the New King James Version, but if you prefer, you are free to choose another version. I would recommend staying away from The Message, a paraphrase version and The Passion “Bible,” an awful translation from the cultic New Apostolic Reformation.>
1.What was created on each of the six days of Creation? List the day and what was made.
2.What is a repeated phrase in the account of Creation?
3.What pronouns are used in verse 26 about God?
4.What was man to have over Creation?
5.What command did God give to the male and female who were made in His image? See verse 28.
6.What was God’s conclusion about His creation?
7.What did God do on the seventh day?
8.What was God establishing through the six days and the seventh day?
9.What one thing struck you as meaningful in the account of Creation?
10.What one question do you have about the Creation account?
“Genesis Study Notes.” The New Open Bible: Study Edition. (New King James Version.) Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990.
All Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
About The Message Bible: http://www.gotquestions.org/The-Message-MSG.html
About The Passion “Bible”: http://www.gotquestions.org/Passion-Translation.html