Series: Best Book In the BibleEvery Christian knows the importance of reading their Bible, but many are overwhelmed with the task of devouring such a monstrous book! Often times, when Christians lose steam in their yearly reading plans, they can become frustrated and feel defeated. It is for this reason that individual book studies can be a lifesaver. In the Best Book in the Bible series, we will provide entry points into faithful study through “selling” you on why you should fall in love with the various books of the Bible.
Today, more than ever it seems, the questions pertaining to the foundation of life and humanity are at the forefront of discussion and debate. Our understanding of the beginnings of life on earth, government, marriage, sexuality, God, evil, and more, are all bound up in our understanding of origins. The book of Genesis deals directly with these, which is why no other book of the Bible is more viciously attacked. It is for this reason that every believer should endeavor to study it. But this study is a blessed one; the key to understanding the Old Testament, and even, the whole Bible itself!
Main themes: origins, promise
“Then [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6)
“But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Gen. 50:20)
Genesis is broken down into three basic sections (1—11, 12—36, and 37—50). Throughout the course of the book, the pace slows down, as we go from thousands of years (Adam to Abraham), to generations (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph), to one lifetime (Joseph).
Chapters 1—11 feel markedly different than the rest of the book. So much happens in a small amount of text as we are brought from the beginning of creation all the way through to the time of Abraham in 2165 B.C. However, these chapters are foundational to understanding the rest of Scripture: the Creation account (1—2), the Fall of humanity (ch. 3), Cain and Abel (ch. 4), the genealogies from Adam to Noah (ch. 5), Noah and the Flood (6—9), the descendants of Noah (ch. 10), and the tower of Babel (ch. 11).
Chapters 12—36 cover the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It’s important to note many things such as the origination of the Abrahamic Covenant (chapters 12, 13, 15, 17, 22)—the unconditional promise of God to bless the world through Abraham by bringing about a people for His own possession. We are introduced to the sign of circumcision (ch. 17), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (ch. 18-19), the offering of Isaac (ch. 22), and the troubled relationship between Jacob and Esau (chs. 25—33).
Chapters 37—50 covers the story of Joseph, who is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Eventually, while in Egypt, he gains favor with Pharaoh and becomes second-in-command. After a famine nearly wipes out the land, Jacob’s long-lost brothers come to him, not knowing that it is their younger brother, and they are ultimately faced with the haunting reality of their sins. After their reconciliation, the family of Jacob puts down roots in Egypt, where they will stay for the next 400 years… until the Exodus!
What Makes This Book So Great:
Genesis is the Rosetta Stone to understanding the Bible. Without it, we cannot understand Adam and the Fall, the story of Abraham and Isaac, the origination of the Abrahamic covenant, the creation of the nation of Israel, and the backstory of Israel in Egypt. In Genesis, we are exposed to a host of remarkable people, all woven together in the story of humanity, and ordained by the sovereign hand of God. When reading the remainder of the Bible, one cannot but pause and remember the amazing promises made to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph). Genesis truly is the springboard that catapults the whole Bible into action.
As with most large books of the Bible, it’s helpful to break the reading up into parts. Re-reading the same 6-10 chapters daily can prove helpful to nail down the people and the story. Over the course of a month, it is possible to read through this whole book several times and maintain a comfortable understanding as you move forward. Along with this, doing topical studies (creation, the birth of sin, covenant, etc.) can help anchor your mind to the foundational truths of this essential book.
- John J. Davis, From Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis. Sheffield Pub Co, 1998.
The work of a trusted scholar, filled with keen insights from a lifetime of study and experience.
- Allen P. Ross, Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997.
A helpful guide written for pastors and teachers, but edifying to careful students of Scripture.
- Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis 1-17. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990.
Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis 18-50. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.
A high-level scholarly work; more exhaustive than most commentaries today.
Note: Find the rest of the Best Book in the Bible series here: EntreatingFavor.com/BestBookSeries