Summary: Genesis verse-by-verse
Here are some opening lines to books or poems. See if you recognize them.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" -A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
"Call me Ishmael" -Moby Dick – Herman Melville
"Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy." - The Oddesy – Homer
"Two households, both alike in dignity" - Romeo & Juliet – Shakespeare
Writers know the importance of opening lines. An opening line sets the tone for the entire book. It tells the reader to pay attention because this is what we’re going to be talking about. It’s the thesis statement upon which everything else is built.
God’s opening line was, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
There’s no mistaking what this book, the book of Genesis, is all about. It’s all about beginnings – beginnings caused by God.
The Hebrew title for the book was actually the first word of the writing which meant “in the beginning.” We get the English title “Genesis” by way of the Greek translation which uses the word for creation or origin. And that’s exactly what we have here. We have a book of creation; A book of origins; A book of beginnings.
I believe that the book of Genesis is a God-inspired, historical book that chronicles actual events that tell of the beginnings of everything. Genesis tells of the beginnings of:
- the world
- the redemption of mankind
This is going to be an exciting, informative study that will take us to a deeper
understanding of the rest of the Scriptures. After all, the ending has so much more meaning when you know the beginning.
[Arrival at mission site with pizza after running out of gas story.]
Knowing the beginning helps us better understand the ending. So let’s start at the beginning shall we? First of all let’s look at who actually wrote these events down and when. I don’t think there was anyone taking notes while the earth was being created.
The book of Genesis is actually part the larger literary work called the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch is the first five books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Each book picks up where the previous one ends historically. But each book has it’s own emphasis. Genesis – beginnings, Exodus – redemption, Leviticus – worship, and so on.
These five books were written by Moses around 1450 B.C. in order for Israel to better understand God, life and what God expected from them. He gathered oral and written history together and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote down the first five books of the Bible.
Now in the book of Genesis, it doesn’t mention Moses as it’s author. But no less than 9 Old Testament books and 4 New Testament books attest to the fact that Moses is the author.
So we have Moses, a man used by God in incredible ways, who wrote this book called Genesis so that all of mankind could know how it all got started. Where did life originate?
Now that’s the million dollar question isn’t it? Where did life begin? People have been trying to answer that question for centuries. And things got really messed up when Darwin came on the scene and proposed his “Origin of the Species” that espoused the theory of evolution. That life just accidentally happened and evolved over millions of years.
But I don’t think that there was a lot of questioning the origin of life in Moses’ day. I mean, when he wrote the book of Genesis around 1450 B.C., creation had happened maybe 600-1000 years before that. When you follow the genealogies in the Bible back in time it causes us to think the earth is between 4-5 thousand years old. So it wasn’t all that long before the writings that it actually happened. And as we’re going to see in this book, people lived a long, long time back then. Moses lived to be 120 years old himself! So it didn’t take as many generations to span time like it does today. So I’ll bet not many people doubted that the One True God was the author of life.
And that’s where Moses starts his writings – with the One True God.
[Read Genesis 1:1a.]
In the beginning of time, human time – there was God. He was in existence before our time began. As a matter of fact, there was no time before God began it with us. God always has been and always will be. Eternity has no beginning and no end. So when Moses says, “In the beginning” he’s referring to our beginning.