Summary: The starting point for truly knowing God is through God’s self-revelation; and the foundation and starting point for learning what God has revealed about Himself is the study of Genesis
In the Beginning God GE 1:1
By Dr. R. Bruce Montgomery
I enjoy and have benefited from learning stories of Jesus and the apostles, studying the theological teachings of Paul and practical day-to-day instructions of James. But why GENESIS?
Because it is a key to understanding Bible. Will never really understand how the Bible fits together unless you start at the beginning. Cf. NEW TRIBES approach, the Firm Foundations course we taught to both children and adults, in English and Spanish over a two year period.
Missionaries had discovered that often there were great movements of people coming to Christ from animistic or Buddhist backgrounds. But often not lasting - after a period of time they reverted to practicing their former religion.
Realized that they needed to build a foundation for understanding the gospel instead of just rushing to give the "answer" to man’s most pressing need out of their eagerness to share the gospel.
They had tried various approaches and means before, but now it occurred to them to teach the same way God revealed his nature, character and program in Scripture - progressively.
And so they developed a set of lesson plans called "Firm Foundations. This chronological, panoramic approach has proven to be an effective means of bringing people to salvation and grounding believers - not just in jungles, in the towns and cities of the West.
Their curriculum to reach non-Christians with the message of salvation begins where we are starting today. At the beginning. Genesis 1:1.
When God wrote the Bible, he didn’t give us a theology book divided into sections labeled "God," "Creation," "Man," "Sin," "Salvation," "Sanctification," etc.
Instead, He gave us a story, a narrative that begins in eternity past and ends in eternity future. As we read these narratives, we learn a great deal about God, ourselves, and our world.
This ancient book, written approximately 3500 years ago, has a wealth of benefit to us living in the 21st century.
As we unwrap and enjoy delving into the chapters and verses of Genesis we will discover themes and life applications that are VERY relevant for life today. Its themes are significant: in these pages we find unconditional love, forgiveness, redemption, healing, purpose. Reveals who we are and why we’re here.
You will find it helpful in your personal relationships, in your marriage and family, on your job. Will gives you tools for handling catastrophic illness, financial crises, the death of loved one. Will help you with wounds you may be carrying from abandonment or betrayal or belittlement by others. Will address the restlessness in your soul; your fears and your hopes for a brighter future. But there is MORE – though there is great personal benefit from studying Genesis, that is not the main reason to do so.
Like the works of all good authors, this book we call the Bible was designed by its author for a purpose. We assume that the author is not simply cutting and pasting a jumbled combination of random thoughts or unrelated sources. Rather, he is writing with a specific purpose in mind, and each segment of text is intentionally chosen and placed in its proper place to contribute to that purpose. It has a plot. It has progression. It has movement.
BIBLE’s authorship: written at two levels. Many human authors put pen to its words over many centuries, covering millennia of history. But at a higher level that author of the entire work is God, who through a process we call "inspiration" was overseeing and directing the whole project, from beginning to end.
While we attribute the authorship of Genesis to Moses, the REAL author was God himself.
While early and reliable tradition ascribed the authorship of the first five books of the Bible to Moses, and Jesus and the NT writers believed Moses was their author, should not lose sight of the fact that the Pentateuch itself comes to us as an anonymous work and was apparently intended to be read as such. It is GOD’S story, and is to be read as such, and so the human authors are not even mentioned in the pages of Genesis
We tend to put man center stage. But Bible has God as the chief subject. He is center stage. Need to approach it as God’s story of his work, his planned encounter with man, instead of the other way around. Normally have approached it as people and their encounter with God - can miss the story if we aren’t looking at the main character.
It all starts with God
When we hear the word "God," our minds typically jump immediately to what God can do for us. If we are Christians, we remember that God saves us, and we are truly grateful. But is this self-centered perspective really the proper place to start?