The book of Genesis is the story of beginnings: the beginning of the world, the beginning of man, the beginning of God’s plan for man, and the beginning of God’s people through His calling of Abraham.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” is probably the most famous sentence in all of literature. Genesis is a book of stories, and like people themselves, it’s full of drama, from a father told to murder his son to a brother being through down a well by his own brothers. It’s the first book of the Torah, which is the foundation of the Old Testament. It’s full of the story of Israel, and a great tale it is.
The Second Longest Book in the Bible
Being the second longest book in the Bible, there is a lot in here. Who we will meet:
- God (Yahweh) — the creator of the heavens and the earth. Humans rebel against God, which ushers sin into the world, which is man’s downfall to this day.
- Abraham (Abram) — God’s chosen patriarch of His people. He is called out of Canaan by God, beginning the story of God’s people.
- Jacob (Israel) — Jacob receives the blessing of his father, Isaac, and founds the 12 Tribes of Israel through his sons.
- Joseph — Jacob’s favorite son who is sold into slavery, but God uses this to save His people when famine strikes.
Genesis — A Prologue
Genesis is a long prologue to the rest of the books of the Torah (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), which reveals God’s promises to His people. God establishes His covenant (a fancy word for promise) with Abraham that he will be a father of nations. God blesses Abraham and promises him the land of Canaan to establish this nation upon.
The book of Genesis ends with hope, with God’s people as guests of Egypt. However, the next book in the Bible, Exodus, God’s people have been enslaved.
Themes of Genesis
- God’s authority. God is sovereign over all things, and what He says is law.
- Man’s rebellion. With Adam and Eve disobeying God, evil and sin has been introduced to the world, and man rebels against God.
- God’s judgement. God punishes justly for being disobeyed.
- God’s preservation of life. God saves Noah and preserves Joseph. God’s will, once again, is sovereign.
- Atonement. Blood must be used to atone for sin until Jesus arrives. At this time, Jesus’s coming is a long ways away.