It took me nine months, an entire college-ruled notebook full of questions, two packages of markers, countless nights on the phone with my mother-n-law, and a gazillion hours of prayer and research. But I finally finished my study on the book of Genesis.
I always let my mother-in-law point me in the direction of which book I should study after I finish each one. When she suggested Genesis, I straight-up cringed. Before then, I had only studied two books, and they were both New Testament. Philippians and John. Short, sweet little books. Perfect for the Bible study beginner. I didn’t know if I was ready to study a book that was as important (and confusing) as the book of Genesis. But I prayed about it, and dove in anyway.
And ya know what? With the right guidance, it’s really not so bad. Some of the stories are not only incredible, they also show us who God really is. Stories of floods, and betrayal, and love, and jealousy. Entire species being created, and then wiped out. Stories of unwavering Faith.
It’s filled with some really good stuff, you guys.
Genesis is known as “The Book of Beginnings”. I have just finished my study and it is a new year, new decade, and new month. I figured there was no better way to start off this “new beginning” than by sharing what I learned with all of you.
Please take note I am, by no means, an expert on the Bible. I do have a mother-in-law I trust with all my heart (and faith) when it comes to my spiritual guidance. She attended Denver Seminary and is currently head of Women’s Ministry at a mega church in Denver. Most of the information I post will come from her and the questions I have asked. But even with all of that aside, I do know how scary opening your Bible can be. Not only opening it, but trying to understand it? It’s terrifying. Especially when it comes to the Old Testament. The first book. Where it all began.
It’s. A lot.
I’m going to break this blog post down into a series of several parts. There is so much information that I don’t feel as though lumping it all into one, long-drawn-out post would give the stories the attention they deserve. I will deliver the things I’ve learned in the best, most basic way I know how…simply because that’s how it had to be broken down for me to understand it. Seriously. I’m talking like…elementary level. I know some of my questions had to blow poor Janet’s mind. Bless her soul for having patience with me.
With all that being said, let’s get started…
One thing you should know about the book of Genesis is that was written by Moses and was originally written in Hebrew. (The entire Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. The New Testament was originally written in Greek.) We already know that the theme is “The Book of Beginnings” because this where we see the first everything. Creation. First marriage. First man. First sin. Like I said, first everything. With Janet’s help, I’ve managed to break the book of Genesis down into nine categories:
Chapters 1-2: Creation
Chapters 3-4: The Fall Of Mankind
Chapter 5: Geneology From Adam To Noah
Chapters 6-9: Noah And The Flood
Chapters 10-11: Table of Nations (Tower of Babel)
Chapters 12-25: Abraham
Chapters 21-26: Isaac
Chapters 27-37: Jacob
Chapters 37-50: Joseph
Today, Part One, we will cover the first category: Creation- Chapters 1-2. Grab some coffee or tea, and a snack, and open your Bible. I promise I’m going to try to make this fun. But my ultimate goal is that (maybe…hopefully), you know more than you did when you got here.
Chapter One: Creation.
Chapter one of Genesis covers the first six days of creation. It begins by saying “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (1:1). I wouldn’t have singled out this verse right off the bat if there wasn’t a special meaning to it. I think it’s important to know that in this first verse where it says “God”, the original Hebrew version of this particular word in this particular verse was “Elohim”. In Hebrew, “El” means God and “ohim” is plural. That ending, that “ohim” means more than one. This lets us know that in the beginning there was the trinity: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.
It describes the earth as formless, void, and dark.
The first thing created was light and God separated the light from the dark. He called the light “day” and the dark “night”. There was evening and there was morning. (This phrase is used at the end of every day, indicating the end of each day.). That was day one. (1:1-5)
On day two, God separated the waters above from the waters below and created an “expanse”. He called the expanse Heaven. (1:6-8).
Day three, He gathered all of the water into one place, letting dry land appear. He called the dry land earth and he called the gathering of the water the seas. He saw that it was good and allowed the earth to sprout vegetation: plants yielding seeds with fruit bearing seeds in them. (1:9-13)
Next, he separated day from night and created signs for the seasons, days, and years. He created the sun, moon, and stars. Referred to as “two great lights” in my Bible, the greater light to govern the day (sun), and the lesser light to govern the night (moon). This was day four. (1:14-19).
On day five, He put living creatures in the ocean and birds in the sky. He created “great sea monsters” (still not sure what those are), and every living creature that moves. He blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply. (1:20-23).
Day six was a really big day. God put animals on land. “Cattle, and creeping things, and beasts” is how Moses describes it. He also created man on day six and, again, I’m going to single out that verse for a specific reason.
Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; … (1:26)
Notice the “Us”, “Our”, and “Our” in that verse? Again, this emphasizes the Trinity.
So on day six, God created all of the land animals. He created man in His own image. He gave rule to man over every other living thing. He gave mankind seeds, and trees, and beasts, and birds and plants. He gave man everything he needed. And He blessed all of His creations, telling them to “be fruitful and multiply”. He looked around at everything He had made, and saw that it was good. (1:24-31)
And now you, my friend, know the basics of the first chapter of the Bible.
Moving right along.
Chapter 2: Creation- A More Detailed Account
Every thing was complete, so on the seventh day, God rested, blessed the day, and sanctified it. (2:1-4) God formed man from dust from the ground and “breathed in his nostrils the breath of life”. He had planted a garden toward the east, the Garden of Eden, and that is where He put the man He had created. In the garden, the Lord had caused every tree to grow and bear fruit. The way these trees and their fruit are described makes them sound so beautiful and appealing in every way. In the middle of the garden, God grew the tree of life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The forbidden fruit tree. Yeah...that tree. (2:5-9).
There was a river that flowed to water the garden and where it flowed out, it divided and became four rivers. The Pishon, which flowed around the land of Havilah, where there is gold. The Gihon, which flowed around the land of Cush. The Tigris River, which flows east of Assyria, and the Euphrates. (2:10-14).
(If you look these up on a map, it will give you a very vague idea of where the Garden of Eden was located.)
So God placed man in this gorgeous garden to cultivate it and take care of it. And then He gave man some very specific, seemingly easy instructions: Eat from any tree in the garden freely…except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. You know that tree in the middle? Yeah…don’t eat from that one or else you will surely die. (2:15-17).
After God gave man these instructions, He decided it was not good for him to be alone. He brought forth every living thing and let the man give them all names. But for Adam, none of these creatures were suitable enough to be a mate. (2:18-20)
(Side note: Verse twenty is the first time the man is referred to as “Adam”.)
Alright, ladies. This is where we come in.
After deciding that none of the “already created” creatures were a good fit, God put Adam into a deep sleep. While he was sleeping, God took out one of Adam’s ribs, closed up the flesh wound, and fashioned a woman out of the rib. He then took her to Adam. (2:21-22)
Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (2:23)
The way the relationship was supposed to be like between the man and the woman is described in the next verse…
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
(Side note: This verse also relates to Matthew 19:5. It can be used as a cross-reference and you can also make a note in your Bible.)
Chapter two ends with, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
I don’t know about you, but I would love to run around naked, in a beautiful garden, with fruit trees and a spouse, and not a care in the world. Sounds awesome…amirite?!
You know what else is awesome? That we just finished the first two chapters of Genesis!
I hope so much that you took something, anything, away from this. Like I said, it took me forever just to get through it. Writing this series to share with you all is taking time and patience and research and energy.
But I remember when I didn’t have anyone to break things down for me…so I didn’t even attempt it. And I don’t want that for anyone else. I don’t want anyone else to not try…just because they are scared they won’t understand it right out of the gate. That was my problem for the longest time. I am so thankful for the spiritual mentors that I’ve been blessed with. What kind of person/friend/blogger/believer would I be if I didn’t pass along what I’m learning, and how I’m growing from it? I’ll tell you what kind of person I would be. I would be the person I used to be…and I’m not that person anymore.
Here’s to new years, new decades, and new beginnings. May your garden be filled with fruit bearing trees and your fig leaf remain unnecessary. God Bless and Happy New Year, friends.
***Keep an eye out for Part 2! Coming soon!***
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