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Genesis Essentials Lesson Notes

Genesis Essentials Lesson Notes

Naturally we begin the Bible Essentials with Genesis…

 

Storyline

When God rebuked Satan in Genesis 3:15, He outlined the plot of the entire rest of the Bible: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Indeed, the devil would fight against Eve’s descendants; but one of them, Jesus of Nazareth, would deal him a fatal blow by defeating sin and death on the cross. Because Genesis encapsulates many foundational truths, it is not surprising that many New Testament books reference this book in some way. For example, Jesus, Paul, and the author of Hebrews draw from the Bible’s opening book to give the basis for marriage (Matthew 19:4–5), explain humanity’s fallen condition (Romans 5:12), and provide examples of walking by faith (Hebrews 11). And key salvation-related concepts like sin, covenant, sacrifice, judgment, mercy, and obedience all have their origins in this book.

 

Key Concepts

  • The covenant is God’s program of revelation.
  • The focus of creation is the establishment and maintenance of order and operation.
  • The stories in the Bible are stories about God.”

 

Essential Verses

“Genesis 1:28: Be fruitful and increase in number.

Genesis 12:3: All peoples on earth will be blessed through you [Abraham].

Genesis 50:20: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish . . . the saving of many lives.”

 

Central Chapter

Genesis 15—Central to all of Scripture is the Abrahamic covenant, which is given in 12:1–3 and ratified in 15:1–21. Israel receives three specific promises: (1) the promise of a great land—“from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates” (15:18); (2) the promise of a great nation—“and I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth” (13:16); and (3) the promise of a great blessing—“I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (12:2).

 

Key Teachings

  • God established and maintains order in the cosmos.
  • God overcomes obstacles to carry out his purposes.
  • God reveals himself to his people.
  • God’s grace exceeds all logic.

 

KEY THEMES

God

The Bible’s opening verse focuses us on God – eternal (21:33), unique (1 Timothy 1:17), all-powerful, creating everything from nothing (Hebrews 11:3). However, he is no mere force or power, but personal, making humans in his image (1:26-27) for relationship with him (2:7-24). As Genesis unfolds, we see that he is also gracious (12:1-3), caring (16:7-16), sovereign (50:20), and yet he judges sin (3:23; 6:7; 11:8; 19:23-29).

Humanity

Although made on the same day as animals, humans are distinct and superior, reflected in their separate creation (1:24-26), dominion over the animal world (1:28), and creation in God’s image (1:26-27) – an image reflected fully and equally in both sexes.

Creation

Creation is “good” (1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31) and to be enjoyed, but not to the exclusion of its creator, nor by being made into god (Exodus 20:4-5). As God’s stewards, humanity is to care for creation on his behalf (1:28; 2:15; 9:1-3; Psalm 8:3-8; 115:16).

Sin

Adam and Eve’s disobedience had widespread consequences, affecting relationship with God (3:8-10), one another (3:7,12), and creation itself (3:17-19), yet excusing its guilt by hiding and explaining things away (3:7-13). Their sin spread deeply into their descendants (eg 4:1-8) and the rest of humanity (6:1-6) so that “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (8:21). The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Covenant

While covenants (solemn, unbreakable contracts between two parties) were common, biblical covenants were distinct by being entirely at God’s initiative. So all Abraham could do when God made covenant with him was stand by and watch (15:1-21). Only after it was made could he respond. God made covenants with his people at key times (eg 9:8-17; 15:9-21; 17:1-27; 19:3-8), but the prophets looked forward to a new covenant, written in people’s hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 37:25-27), which the New Testament says happened through Jesus (Matthew 26:26-28; Hebrews 9:15-28).

Election

Election is God’s gracious and sovereign calling of people for his greater purpose. In Genesis he chooses Israel through Abraham (12:1-3; 15:1-18; 17:1-16) rather than another nation, Isaac rather than Ishmael (17:19-21; Romans 9:6-9), Jacob rather than Esau (25:23; 27:1-40; Romans 9:10-16). This choice isn’t out of favoritism, but love (Deuteronomy 7:7-8), in order to bring about his bigger salvation purposes. Those chosen can therefore never be proud (Romans chapters 9-11), and even those not chosen can still find blessing, as Ishmael (21:17-20) and Esau (36:6-8) discovered.

 

Doctrines in Genesis

Most of the central teachings of Christianity have their roots in the Book of Genesis.

God the Father —the authority of God in creation (1:1–31 Psalm 103:19; 145:8–9; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; 4:6)

God the Son —the agent of God in creation (1:1 3:15 18:1 John 1:1–3; 10:30; 14:9; Philippians 2:5–8; Colossians 1:15–17; Hebrews 1:2)

God the Holy Spirit —the presence of God in creation (1:2; 6:3; Matthew 1:18; John 3:5–7)

God as one yet three —the Trinity (1:1,26; 3:22; 11:7; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5–7; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

Human beings —created in Christ’s image yet fallen into sin and needing a Savior (1:26; 2:4–25; 9:6; Isaiah 43:7; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; James 3:9; Revelation 4:11)

Sin (the Fall) —the infection of all creation with sin by rebellion toward God (2:16–17; 3:1–19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–3; 1 Timothy 2:13–14; 1 John 1:8)

Redemption —the rescue from sin and restoration accomplished by Christ on the cross (3:15; 48:16; John 8:44; 10:15; Romans 3:24–25; 16:20; 1 Peter 2:24)

Covenant —God establishes relationships and makes promises (15:1–20; 17:10–11; Numbers 25:10–13; Deuteronomy 4:25–31; 30:1–9; 2 Samuel 23:5; 1 Chronicles 16:15–18; Jeremiah 30:11; 32:40; 46:27–28; Amos 9:8; Luke 1:67–75; Hebrews 6:13–18)

Promise —God commits Himself into the future (12:1–3; 26:3–4; 28:14; Acts 2:39; Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 8:6)

Satan —the original rebel among God’s creatures (3:1–15; Isaiah 14:13–14; Matthew 4:3–10; 2 Corinthians 11:3,14; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 12:9; 20:2)

Angels—special beings created to serve God (3:24; 18:1–8; 28:12; Luke 2:9–14; Hebrews 1:6–7,14; 2:6–7; Revelation 5:11–14)

Revelation —Natural revelation occurs as God indirectly communicates through what He has made (1:1–2:25; Romans 1:19,20). Special revelation occurs when God directly communicates Himself as well as otherwise unknowable truth (2:15–17; 3:8–19; 12:1–3; 18:1–8; 32:24–32; Deuteronomy 18:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:1–4; 1 Peter 1:10–12)

Israel —Jacob’s God-given name that became the name of the nation he fathered; inheritors of God’s covenant with Abraham (32:28; 35:10; Deuteronomy 28:15–68; Isaiah 65:17–25; Jeremiah 31:31–34; Ezekiel 37:21–28; Zechariah 8:1–17; Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1–29)

Judgment —God’s righteous response to sin (3; 6; 7; 11:1–9; 15:14, 18:16– 19:29; Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 1:9; Matthew 12:36–37; Romans 1:18–2:16; 2 Peter 2:5–6)

Blessing —a special benefit or a hope-filled statement to someone about their life (1:28; 9:1; 12:1–3; 14:18–20; 27:1–40; 48:1–20; Numbers 6:24–27; Deuteronomy 11:26–27; Psalm 3:8; Malachi 3:10; Matthew 5:3–11; 1 Peter 3:9)

 

God’s Character in Genesis

Many of God’s character traits are first revealed in Genesis.

God is the Creator —1:1–31

God is faithful (keeps promises) —12:3,7; 26:3–4; 28:14; 32:9,12

God is just —18:25

God is long-suffering —6:3

God is loving —24:12

God is merciful —19:16,19

God is omnipotent —17:1

God is powerful —18:14

God is provident —8:22; 24:12–14,48,56; 28:20–21; 45:5–7; 48:15; 50:20

God is truthful —3:4–5; 24:27; 32:10

God is wrathful —7:21–23; 11:8; 19:24–25

 

 

 

Christ Revealed in Genesis

The preexistent Christ, the living Word, is evident throughout the Book of Genesis…

The preincarnate Jesus was present at creation (John 1:3). Genesis 3:15 anticipates Jesus’ ministry, suggesting that the “Seed” of the woman who will bruise the serpent’s (Satan’s) head is Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16). Melchizedek is the mysterious king-priest of Genesis 14 (Heb. 6:20). The greatest revelation of Christ in Genesis is found in God’s establishment of His covenant with Abraham (chs. 15; 17). Jesus is the major fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, a truth Paul explains in detail in Galatians. Much of the Bible is built upon the Abrahamic covenant and Christ’s fulfillment of it. In Genesis 22:2, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac at God’s command bears a startling similarity to the crucial New Testament truth of God’s willingness to sacrifice His only Son for the sins of the world. Finally, Jacob’s blessing upon Judah anticipates the coming of “Shiloh” to be identified as the Messiah: “And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (49:10).

 

 

CONTENT OUTLINE OF GENESIS

  1. Primeval Events (1:1–11:32)
  2. Creation Overview (1:1–2:3)
  3. Creation Detail (2:4–4:26)
  4. Creation of man, woman (2:4–25)
  5. Temptation and Fall (3:1–7)
  6. Impact of sin (3:8–4:26)
  7. On Adam, Eve (3:8–24)
  8. On their offspring (4:1–18)
  9. On society (4:19–26)
  10. Man’s Early History (5:1–11:32)
  11. Adam to Noah (5:1–32)
  12. Corruption of the race (6:1–8)
  13. Noah’s survival of the Flood (6:9–8:22)
  14. God’s covenant with Noah (9:1–17)
  15. The curse on Canaan (9:18–29)
  16. Nations springing from Noah’s sons (10:1–32)
  17. Origin of languages (11:1–9)
  18. From Shem to Abram (11:10–32)
  19. Patriarchal Narratives (12:1–50:26)
  20. The Story of Abraham (12:1–25:18)
  21. Making of the Covenant (12:1–15:21)
  22. Provision of the promised seed, and tests of Abraham’s faith (16:1–22:19)
  23. Transmission of the promises to Isaac (22:20–25:11)
  24. The history of Ishmael (25:12–18)
  25. The Story of Jacob (25:19–35:29)
  26. Transmission of the blessing to Jacob rather than Esau (25:19–28:22)
  27. Jacob’s sojourn in Paddan Aram (29:1–30:43)
  28. Jacob’s return (31–35)
  29. The History of Esau (36:1–37:1)
  30. The Story of Joseph (37:2–50:26)
  31. Joseph sold to Egypt (37:2–36)
  32. Corruption of Judah (38:1–30)
  33. Rise of Joseph in Egypt (39:1–41:57)
  34. The move to Egypt (42:1–47:31)
  35. The Covenant story to be continued (48:1–50:26)