Genesis Bible Study Lessons
The Greek word Genesis means “origin,” “source,” “generation,” or “beginning.” The original Hebrew title, Bereshith, means, “In the beginning.” So Genesis tells us about the beginnings of many things, including the physical universe, mankind, sin, and death, and God’s amazing plan to redeem it all.
The first part of Genesis focuses on the beginning and spread of sin in the world, culminating in a devastating flood. In this section of the book we see God creating, again and again, by speaking various aspects of our universe into existence. Then God “defines” what He has created, again by speaking his word. By naming things, God gives them an identity, a purpose, and a definition. Finally, God establishes and blesses what He has made, sealing the truth of His creation through His spoken word.
So what does this mean for you and me today? It means that God made you for a special purpose. He spoke you into existence long before you were conceived in your mother’s womb. He “called” you—He defined you and gave you specific talents, gifts, and dreams. All your life, He has continued to call you, giving you guidance, direction, and protection. This is the truth about who you are as His beloved child who is born again and saved by His grace forever.
The second part of Genesis focuses on God’s dealings with one man, Abraham, through whom He promises to bring salvation and blessing to the world. Abraham and his descendants learn firsthand that it is always best to trust in the Lord in times of famine and feasting, blessing and bondage. From Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph, God’s promises begin to manifest to a great nation that would possess a great land.
Theme: Genesis provides a solid framework for understanding the big picture of the Bible. This book of beginnings introduces us to God and His holiness, righteousness, grace, and mercy, to His creation, man’s sin, and God’s plan of redemption as it began to unfold through Abraham and his descendants.
Time: Genesis begins with the creation story and ends with the death of Joseph, which probably occurred around the nineteenth century B.C.
Structure: The literary structure of Genesis is built around eleven distinct units, each signaled by the presence of the word “genealogy.” The eleven sections include: (1) Introduction to the genealogies (1:1–2:3); (2) Heaven and Earth (2:4–4:26); (3) Adam (5:1–6:8); (4) Noah (6:9–9:29); (5) Sons of Noah (10:1–11:9); (6) Shem (11:10–26); (7) Terah (11:27–25:11); (8) Ishmael (25:12–18); (9) Isaac (25:19–35:29); (10) Esau (36:1–37:1); (11) Jacob (37:2–50:26).
Charles F. Stanley, The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles, 2005), Ge.