GENESIS, THE BOOK OF BEGINNINGS
The name “Genesis” comes from the Greek and means “beginning,” “origin,” or “source.” The name was used in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Jews called the book “B’reshith.” “B’reshith” is the first word of the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew language. It means “in the beginning” The Jews commonly named the books of the Old Testament after the first word or words of the books.
GOD’S BOOK OF BEGINNINGS
Genesis is a good name for the book because it is not only the book with which the Bible begins; it also tells us of many beginnings. Genesis records nine beginnings in its 50 chapters:
- The beginning of the earth (1:1-2:3)
- The beginning of the human race (2:4-25)
- The beginning of sin (3:1-7)
- The beginning of the Gospel promises (3:15)
- The beginning of the human family (4:1-15)
- The beginning of godless civilization (4:16-9:29)
- The beginning of nations (10:1-32)
- The beginning of languages (11:1-9)
- The beginning of the Hebrew or Jewish race, God’s covenant people. (11:10-50:26)
TWO MAIN DIVISIONS
We can think of the Book of Genesis as being divided into two main parts. The first division is chapters 1-11. The second division is chapters 12-50. Chapters 1-11 give us a general history of man over some thousands of years. Chapters 12-50 give us the history of Abraham and his descendants, the people to whom God gave the great promise and with whom He established His covenant.
HIGHLIGHTING THE BIG EVENTS AND CHARACTERS OF GENESIS
- CREATION: (Chapters 1 and 2) It is clear from the account of creation that the origin of the world and of life was no accident. Creation is the work of the great Creator God. Everything that God made was perfect. The high point of all of God’s creating work was the making of man. Man is different from all other creatures in that he alone is made in God’s own image, and he is in charge over all the rest of creation.
- MAN’S FALL AND THE FIRST PROMISE: (Chapter 3) Man disobeys God by eating of the forbidden fruit after being tempted by the devil. Because of man’s sin, he deserves eternal death; all of creation is also affected by man’s sin. But God does not leave man hopeless. He promises a Savior for man soon after man’s sin. In Genesis 3:15 God is speaking to the devil and gives the words of the Protevangelium (“first Gospel”) for man. God promises: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”
- THE FLOOD: (Chapters. 6-9) Because of man’s unbelief and wickedness, God sends a universal flood. All but Noah and his family are destroyed. God promises that He will never again send such a flood.
- BABEL: (Chapter 11) God confused the language of the wicked people who were building the Tower of Babel. This is the beginning of the world’s many languages.
- ABRAHAM: (Chaps. 12-25:10) God calls Abraham and promises him: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (12:3). In these chapters are also included the accounts of Abraham and Lot, Hagar and Ishmael, the Covenant of Circumcision, Sodom and Gomorrah, the birth of Isaac, and the testing of Abraham.
- ISAAC: (Chapter 25:11-26)
- JACOB: (Chapters 27-36)
- JOSEPH: (Chapter 37-50)
IMPORTANT VERSES FROM GENESIS
Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 22:18 “And through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed” (God’s promise to Abraham).
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