Book of Genesis Bible Study Part 1: Introduction to the Book of Genesis

foreign foreign i’m going to be honest with you i think i’m more excited about teaching on the book of genesis than i am or should i i should say than i was about teaching on the book of revelation but i’m going to do things a little bit different this time instead of teaching verse by verse i’m going to teach on the key events in the book and on the main characters in the book so i’m not going to be going into as much detail as i have in the past but that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to learn as much because i made this comment before and i had a person come up to me and say well pastor if you don’t go into detail we’re not going to learn as much i promise you you’re going to learn every bit as much because i am going to go in depth on the events that we cover and into the characters so when we hit those parts of the bible we’re going to really go in depth on those things does that make sense so by the time we finish this book you’re going to have a good understanding of what genesis is all about and how it fits into the overall part of the bible that’s the best way i can put it now i would like to be able to finish this book in 12 weeks but i really know that that’s impossible i don’t think that’s going to happen i looked at all of the main events i looked at all the main characters and i thought can i do it there is a slight chance i’ll be able to do it but there’s a better chance to take six months to a year so what i’m going to do is i’m going to teach for 12 weeks and then we’ll take a break and i’ll teach on other things for two to four weeks and then we’ll come back to the book of genesis and we’ll teach again for 12 weeks and then we’ll take a break if we need to now if you come to me and say but pastor we don’t want to take a break because i’m the type that i don’t get burned out but you might get burned out and i’m trying to keep that from happening because i know when we were studying the book of revelation i had a lot of people coming up to me and saying you know i missed two or three weeks it was hard to get back into it and you know i got kind of burned out on it and so this is my plan to just kind of break it up and hopefully slight chance we could get through in 12 weeks we’ll try but i doubt it now before we jump into chapter one and begin studying the creation story what i want to do tonight is i want to lay a foundation because i’d be doing you a grave injustice if i jumped right into the book without taking the time to explain the structure of the book and how it relates to the bible as a whole because the truth is genesis is without a doubt the most important book in the bible now i know many of you are thinking ah that’s not true it’s true without the book of genesis we would not understand man’s current relationship with god our need for redemption why israel is regarded as god’s chosen people and god’s ultimate plan to use israel to bless all the nations of the world truly genesis is the foundation for the bible which of course we know is god’s revelation to man in fact no other book in the bible is quoted as often in the other books of the bible there are at least 165 passages in genesis that are either directly quoted or referred to in the new testament we’re not even talking about the old testament and many of these passages in the new testament are alluded to more than once so there are over 200 quotations or illusions to genesis in the new testament now the characters in genesis are referred to in the other books of the bible more often than any of the other characters that are mentioned in the other books with only one exception who would that one exception be david who said david yeah with the exception of david abraham is mentioned by name in 15 of the old testament books not counting genesis

and 11 of the new testament jacob is mentioned in 20 old testament books and we’re not we’re not counting genesis and 17 new testament books israel is mentioned in almost every book of the bible and every time it is is in the it is an acknowledgement of the foundational authority of the book of genesis so without a doubt i can say genesis is the most important book in the bible bar none and hopefully if i do a good job of communicating if i do a good job of teaching you’ll understand why it’s so important by the time we finish tonight so let’s talk about the structure of the book and its purpose genesis is divided into two main sections chapters 1 and 11 and chapters 12 through 50 chapters 1 through 11 deal with primeval history chapters 12-50 deal with the history of the patriarchs and when i’m talking about the history of the patriarchs i’m talking about the origin of the nation of israel and their purpose as a nation chosen by god now does everyone know what i mean by primeval history you know sometimes we throw out those words and people think they know what they mean but they’re not quite sure so let me explain what i mean by primeval if you do an etymology study on the word in other words you’re going to study the origin and how it evolved and how its meaning evolved over time you would find out that the word primeval is a compound word that simply means that it’s made up of more than one word in this case it’s made up of two words the latin prefix primus which means first and the latin root word even which means age so when you combine these two words it literally means first age so it’s talking about the very first age of something or as we would say today the origin so when i say primeval history i’m talking about the very beginning of things such as the origin of the universe when we talk about the origin of the universe we’re talking about matter in energy the laws of thermodynamics tell us certain things and one of the laws of thermodynamics tells us that matter matter and energy can neither be destroyed can either be created or destroyed but wait a minute has matter and energy always been here well if matter and energy has always always been here then why do we have the order that we have and the reason why i say that the second law of thermodynamics also known as the law of entropy states that all things go from order to disorder so all of the sudden we’re finding out things that science didn’t even know anything about until probably this last century it also gives us the origin of order and complexity and when you do consider the law of entropy the concept of irreducible complexity blows your mind it gives us the origin of our solar system the earth the sun the moon the planets the stars etc the origin of life the origin of man the origin of marriage the origin of sin the origin of the different languages that we have in the nations the origin of israel and we could go on and on and that’s what i mean by primeval history the very beginning of things so the first section of genesis deals with the origin of things and that’s chapters 1 through 11 and these chapters explain so much about our world and you’ll see why i say that as we study these chapters now the jews referred to this book as bereshith because in the middle east during the old testament period it was customary to refer to a book by its initial word or phrase and the book begins with this phrase in the beginning which is the hebrew word the reshift now in the third century bc certain scholars translated the old testament from hebrew into greek now remember this is three centuries before christ so there is no new testament but because of the babylonian captivity most of the jews had ceased speaking hebrew therefore they couldn’t read the bible so these hebrew scholars came in and they translated the bible from hebrew into greek and that’s known as the septuagint and those scholars those who translated the bible from hebrew into greek titled the book genesis genesis means origin now when we transliterate that greek word into english we get genesis in fact i was going to bring my white board up here and i was going to actually spell it out in greek and then give you the equivalent letters in english and what you would find and many people translate it or i didn’t

don’t mean translate they pronounced the greek word genesis as guinnesses but we pronounce in english genesis and of course genesis means origin and that’s what the book is all about the beginning of things the origin of things and that’s what the first section of genesis covers the origin of things and then we’re going to go into the second section the second section is chapters 12-50 and it deals with the history of the patriarchs but remember this book is all about origins so why would we study the history of the patriarchs in this book of origins i’ll tell you why because now we’re going to trace the origin of the nation of israel does that make sense and again this explains the origin of the nation of israel so we’re going to be able to trace israel all the way back to its origin all the way back to one man abraham and the family of abraham through isaac through jacob becomes the nation of israel and this nation becomes god’s chosen people through whom god is going to reveal his plan of redemption to the world it’s through them that salvation is going to come to all of the world to everyone now let me take a step back and explain how the first section chapters one through eleven ties into the section second chapter second section chapters 15 or 12 through 50 because you’re not going to understand if i don’t show you the connection why israel is so important you won’t understand this connection you won’t understand why in the world is the old testament all about this nation called israel is everyone with me so let’s let’s do that let me let me give you the connection in the first section chapters one through eleven the focus is universal in fact if you’re taking notes i want you to write that down the focus is universal now as i said the first section deals with the origin of things the origin of the world the origin of the solar system the origin of man the origin of sin etc and it tells the story of how mankind came to be alienated and separated from god and how sin has perverted all of god’s creation and then what it does is it traces the effects of sin up to a specific point in order to illustrate the great problem that was created by sin so let me kind of give you an illustration of this we have this story about the fall of adam and eve in the garden of eden and then we have this story about the murder of abel by his brother cain and then you have the story of noah’s ark and the reason we have that story is because this the world had become so corrupt that god had to judge it he had to destroy it and then we have the story of the tower of babel which explains the different nations and why we have different languages so by the time we finish the first section and we’ve seen all of this bad and we’ve seen all of these things taking place it leaves you wondering has god’s patience been exhausted has god given up on the world and this is the question that we’re left with as we finish the first section so by the time you get to the end of chapter 11 it’s like oh my gosh god created this perfect world he created mankind they had everything going for them there was only one thing they were not supposed to do and we see their fall we see sin enter the world and then we see the effects of sin and how it not only affected mankind but also affected all of god’s creation and when we see all of this through these stories that question is has god given up on the world and this is the question we’re left with and the second section provides the answer to that question it provides the solution to the problem of sin in essence what god is going to do is he’s going to pick one man and he’s going to use that man’s descendants to reveal his plan of redemption to the rest of the world and who is that one man no it’s not jesus jesus is the one through which redemption comes jesus is the one that the plant is working towards but what one man does he choose yes abraham and who are his descendants and his children all of the israelites so the second section of genesis is the story of how god chose one man and began working through his

descendants to form a nation that he could use to reveal his plan of redemption to the world so the second section deals with the history of the patriarchs from abraham to isaac to jacob then to his twelve sons and then you have the story of one of his sons joseph who ends up in egypt and we’ll go through the story and in that story we find out that eventually all of jacob’s family ends up in egypt and guess what the story kind of ends there and then the book of exodus begins and it picks the story up from there and that’s where we find out how god formed a nation out of the descendants of abraham but the origin of all of this is found in the book of genesis now genesis chapter 12 verse number 3 i would write that bible reference down if i were you genesis chapter 12 verse number 3 is the transitional verse between the two sections turn to genesis chapter 12 verse number 3 now the reason i told you to write this down is because genesis chapter 12 verse number 3 is the key to understanding the old testament if you do not understand genesis 12 3 you will not understand the old testament if you understand genesis chapter 12 verse number 3 you understand the old testament so let’s look at this in this verse god made this promise to abraham and i will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee i’m going to stop right there does that still apply today you betcha it does let me tell you we better pray for our president and we better pray that he blesses israel because the nation that does not bless israel the nation that curses or works with its enemies will be cursed it doesn’t matter how great you think america is god will bring america to its knees if it doesn’t recognize genesis 12 3 this is one of the most found i shouldn’t say one of the most this is a foundational verse in the old testament here it is i will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee though he’s talking to abraham he’s talking to the seed of abraham we know that because he said and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed now it is through abraham but it’s actually through his descendants or his seeds but he says this and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed now i want you to underline the word families because really that is not a good translation and it doesn’t matter if you have the niv the new american standard it doesn’t matter if you use the nlt any of the versions they are really not good translation so i’m going to tell you what that word families means that word families is translated from the hebrew word mishpakka and it means clans tribes or nations so what this is saying is that through abraham and his descendants all of the nations on the earth will be blessed in fact israel was giving us given a specific mission that mission statement is found in exodus the 19th chapter verses three through six after israel becomes a nation here they have been brought out of egypt god is forming a nation out of the descendants of abraham and he’s making a covenant with them the mosaic covenant and in this covenant he gives them a mission this is the mission statement of israel then moses climbed the mountain to appear before god the lord called to him from the mountain and said give these instructions to the family of jacob announce it to the descendants of israel you have seen what i did to the egyptians you know how i carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself now if you will obey me and if you will keep my covenant you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples of the earth for all the earth belongs to me and the implication is when he says that because he’s talking about people for all the earth belongs to me in other words all the people are mine and you will be my kingdom of priest my holy nation this is the message you must give to the people of israel now you need to understand something

just like when god created the nation of israel and there were 12 different tribes he had one tribe that were considered to be priests they were to be a holy tribe set apart for god they did not inherit any land why because god was their inheritance does that make sense the very same thing happens in the beginning god says the whole earth is mine but in the context what he’s saying is all of the people are are mine but you will be a special treasure what does he mean special treasure does it mean that they’re more loved than everyone else we’re going to find out no does it mean that that god desires to do more for them than anyone else no what he means by special treasure is that you are called to be the priest to the world wow you are to be a special treasure a kingdom of priest which means they were entrusted with god’s revelation and they were supposed to act as a mediator to reveal god’s plan of redemption to the nations of the world now that is so important because that explains why the nation of israel is the focus of the old testament it’s not because god is a bigot it’s not because god loves the jews more than he loves everyone else that is not why god says they’re my special trees a treasure it’s because god’s plan was to use the nation of israel to reveal his plan of redemption to the whole world and that’s exactly what he did god’s plan of redemption was fulfilled in jesus christ who was a jew and now the gospel has gone out into the entire world so genesis chapter 12 verse number three is at the juncture between the two sections of genesis and it’s not only one of the most important verses in the old testament but it’s one of the most important verses in the whole bible because at that juncture the bible goes from a universal focus on the first section or in the first section to a focus on a specific group of people but the ultimate goal is to bring salvation to the entire world now if you don’t understand that then the old testament is just a bunch of stories about a strange group of people that god seems to favor and you don’t understand what that nation has to do with the world and you get the idea that god is a bigot you get the idea that god loves the jews more than anyone else and if you’re a jew you know you’re one of god’s chosen one and that means that he loves you more than everyone that is not what that means are jews god’s chosen people you betcha but they are chosen for a purpose they were chosen for a reason so here’s what’s kind of interesting and this is what i want you to see because the bible is really neat about this in the first 11 chapters of the bible the focus is universal it’s on every one and then at the end of chapter 11 all of a sudden we are at this juncture when the focus comes in on abraham and then all of a sudden we only study the study of abraham’s family and if we study the rest of the world it’s always in conjunction with this family and so we go from abraham to isaac to jacob to his sons and then to their descendants and then we start reading through the old testament then it’s all about these people and then we get to the new testament and it’s all about the jews but this one special man who comes to them and this is the man that’s been prophesied about this is the man who’s going to fulfill god’s plan of redemption that he’s been outlining this plan of redemption has been given to the children of israel and he comes and he fulfills that plan and all of a sudden guess what takes place after the gospels now the focus goes back to the universal focus now it’s on everyone and everything so you see it starts that way and then the focus gets little because the focus is on this group of people that are supposed to reveal god’s plan of redemption to the world and it works through them till that plan comes and then all of a sudden the focus is

back to the world does that make sense i hope it does i’m going to open it up in just a little bit for questions so in case i didn’t make sense you can ask a specific question hopefully i can say in a way that you’ll understand it but let me say a few more things before we do open it up to questions genesis actually introduces most of the great doctrines of the bible you can look at almost any great doctrine of the bible doesn’t matter what it is and you can trace it back almost i shouldn’t say almost you can trace it back there’s a few that you can’t but almost all of the great doctrine you can trace it all the way back to the book of genesis again it means origin so we’re going to find out that the beginning of all these great doctrines were where in the book of genesis and then those doctrines are fully developed in later books of the bible now let me give you some examples just to illustrate what i’m talking about in genesis we have the first mention of the trinity it’s in chapter 1 verse number 26 it says when god said let us make man in our image now all of a sudden we see this monotheistic religion where we believe that god is one there’s there’s only one god but we see this statement where god says let us plural make man in our image in genesis the doctrine of justification by faith is mentioned genesis 15 6 says and abram believed the lord and the lord counted him as righteous because of his faith now paul is going to use this story and this particular verse from genesis 15 6 he’s going to use it in his book to the romans to explain that we are justified by faith and the law didn’t do away with that in fact we go all the way back to the to the person who began this chosen nation we go all the way back to abraham and we find out that he was justified by faith and you have so many other doctrines introduced such as the divine incarnation we’re told that the woman’s seed will crush the head of the servant well wait a minute men have seed men have sperm and the septuagint it’s the greek word spyro which means to sow and then you have the speech sperma where our word sperm comes from and that literally is what that’s saying woman see women don’t have sperm what in the world is that talking about that’s talking about a virgin conceiving we’re seeing the divine incarnation in the book of genesis we’re seeing the death and resurrection the messiah which is foreshadowed by abraham when he offers up his son isaac of course it stopped but the reason abraham was willing to do that is because god had made a specific promise to him he said it’s through isaac that i will fulfill my promises so when he lays he lays his son down on the altar he does it with the faith that if he kills isaac god will raise him from the dead and because abraham is willing to offer up his son god said i’m willing to offer up my knowing that i will raise him from the dead because these promises will be fulfilled in christ jesus we also see the first rapture in the book of genesis we see all of these great doctrines in the book of genesis and we can trace them to that book and one of the most important things about genesis is that we can learn what god’s original intention was for different subjects before sin entered into the world which allows us to know god’s perfect will and let me give an example divorce in matthew chapter 9 verse number 18 jesus was talking to the religious leaders and this is what he said to them moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard but it was not this way from the beginning now a lot of pastors have said moses made a mistake he shouldn’t have done that and that’s what jesus was doing jesus was correcting moses people you need to understand something jesus was not saying that moses was wrong when he allowed divorce what he was saying was that sin had perverted god’s perfect world and in a perfect world you wouldn’t have sin you wouldn’t have contentious women you wouldn’t have jerks for husbands you wouldn’t have people with emotional problems and emotional baggage

you wouldn’t have the works of the flesh you would only have people with the fruit of the spirit so in the beginning there wasn’t even such a thing as divorce but sin has perverted that perfect world and in an imperfect world provisions had to be made to deal with sin and rebellion but what jesus was saying in the beginning it was not so so if you’re gonna talk about divorce don’t just go back to moses and talk about he allowed divorce go back to the beginning so you can see god’s original intent for marriage and then you can bring moses into it because there are times when i tell people you need to get a divorce you know i have people come up to me and say you’re a pastor how would you why would you dare say that i’ll tell you why i’ll say that if a woman comes to me and the in the in her husband is beating the dog out of her i look at that woman and i look at that man and i tell that woman you need to divorce this man he has broken the covenant in fact it’s kind of interesting but when jesus said save for the cause of fornication the word fornication is the greek word pornea it means more than just sex outside of marriage what it means is not living up to your marital covenant the covenant agreements that everyone’s supposed to fulfill when they get married that’s what the word pernea means you’re not living up to the standard of conduct of the covenant agreement and so jesus said there are times if a woman comes and she’s being physically abused i’m going to tell and even with a man and there are times because of the hardness of the heart of one person they’re refusing to change they’re refusing to repent i look at that person said you know i hate this it’s bad this is not what god originally intended but because of sin because of the way this person is you have every right to divorce and when i teach that people are just amazed but they don’t understand jesus words because jesus went all the way back to genesis and when you go back all the way to the origin of marriage and you see what jesus was talking about then you come to moses and what he wrote then you can understand what jesus was saying does that make sense genesis is also prophetical and it goes hand in hand with the book of revelation let me give you some examples genesis records humanity’s first rebellion against god you find that in chapter three and the first six verses revelation records the final rebellion that’s in chapter 20 verses 7 through 10 genesis records the entrance of sin into the world revelation records its exit its exit in chapter 20 verse 10 genesis records the imposition of the curse in chapter 3 verses 9-19 revelation records the lifting of the curse in chapter 22 verse 3. genesis records the beginning of death verse number 19 chapter 3. revelation records the end of death in chapter 21 verse number 4. genesis records the creation of the heaven and the earth the present heaven and earth that’s in chapter one verse one revelation records the creation of the new heaven and the new earth in chapter 21 verse number one so what we find is that god had this perfect world but sin was was uh was brought into the picture and it so affected this world and perverted the world we think oh man is there any way to get out of this but god wasn’t caught off off guard he wasn’t surprised by all of this and so he has a plan of redemption and he’s now going to reveal that plan of redemption but he’s going to use one nation and he’s going to reveal himself to this one nation and this one nation needs to remain faithful because their job is to be able to reveal this plan of redemption to the world and they have done a wonderful job actually recording the word of god and making sure that it was not corrupted and then we see the fulfillment of that and now we see in the book of revelation that everything that god designed and desired in the very beginning we’re going to see the fulfillment of it in the book of revelation and then we’re going to see that take place you