Thousands of individuals have made the resolution this year to read their Bible more, or perhaps for the very first time. Many will begin in the Book of Beginnings – Genesis. There is great benefit in reading the details of Creation, the Flood, and the tower of Babel. It’s good for Bible students to be able to name the descendants from Abraham to Joseph, and it’s good to ponder and ask questions like, “Why did Lot’s wife look back?” However, with Genesis spanning approximately 2,400 years, and containing so many significant people and events, another important question to ask is – “How does it all fit together?”
Consider first, that while Genesis does detail the beginning of time and humanity, it’s not just a book about our origin. These 50 chapters document the beginning of most of the major themes in the Bible, and it is the first glimpse given into knowing the God that we serve. We see the first use of the word “grace” (Genesis 6:8, NKJV) and “love” – “ahab” in Hebrew, “agape” in Greek (Genesis 22:2). Genesis introduces the topics of sin, sacrifice, and judgment, but what is also obvious through its pages is God’s power, patience, and faithfulness in His promises. Perhaps the most significant, we see the beginning of the theme of the entire Bible – God’s plan of redemption for all of mankind (Genesis 3:15, 12:1-3).
It becomes easier to see this theme of redemption when you study some of the key words of Genesis. “Bless” or “blessing”, etc. is the most repeated (88x), “seed/offspring/descendants” (58x), and covenant (26x). Examine just one of the verses where God reiterates His promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” God’s desire and His promise is to bless His people. His method for doing that was to preserve the seed line of fallible, ordinary men in order to bring about One who is extraordinary, and it’s been His plan since the beginning!
If you are one of those thousands that has resolved to be a better Bible student, I’d like to offer a challenge. One month, one book, one word, and all with the intent to better know the One True God. You can easily fit this in with other study/reading programs. For January, it’s Genesis, and the word is “bless.” Read through the book throughout the month, not just for the sake of being a daily Bible reader or preparing to teach a class, but to see Genesis in its entirety from the perspective of this word. Make note of each form of the word “bless.” As you study, ask yourself, “Who is being blessed? What is the blessing? Are there conditions associated with receiving the blessing? Who and why do others receive a curse instead of blessing?” Especially ask, “What does this teach me about God?” Remember, God has always wanted to bless His people. He does so because He is good. You’ll see this from the very beginning in Chapter 1 and all the way through to Chapter 50.
One other helpful hint – consider first noting another important word in Genesis. The Hebrew word is TOLEDOT, and it is usually translated generations as in, “These are the generations of Noah…” (Genesis 6:9). It’s helpful in identifying who is receiving the blessing (and in some cases not!). It also breaks down the book into manageable sections to study throughout the month! If you’ve already studied this word in Genesis or have more time left in the month, pick a different key word or theme from the list! Keep growing and keep getting to know God better! You’ll be blessed!
by Kathryn Baker
Kathryn is married to Andy Baker who preaches for the Graeber Road Church of Christ in Rosenberg, TX. She stays at home with their 3 children. In her spare time, she enjoys food (both cooking and eating!), gardening, and taking their Boston terrier for walks.