The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: G

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Gen, overview

Author: Moses (date of writing: c 1440-1400 BC).

Period: Creation to c 1800 BC.

Title: The Heb title of this book is taken from its opening phrase, Bereshith ("In the beginning..."). The English name is taken from the title given to this book in the Greek Septuagint translation. The Greek word genesis can mean "birth," "genealogy," "history of origin," or "source." The word "genesis" is also found in the opening phrase of the first book of the New Testament, Matthew, where it means "genealogy" or "history of origin."

Summary: Genesis is the single most important book of the Bible. It is the beginning and foundation of the Bible, on which everything else is built. Everything revealed in the other books of the Bible has its beginning in the book of Genesis. It is the first book of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. As both the Hebrew and Greek titles suggest, the book of Genesis is a book of beginnings. Genesis and Revelation stand as two end posts bridging the revelation of God to man; the first telling how it all began, the second revealing in symbol how it all will finish. In Genesis we see the beginnings of all that Revelation predicts as the consummation of the Divine purpose in the earth.

For example:
  1. Genesis speaks of a natural creation (Gen 1); Revelation of a spiritual creation (Rev 3:14).
  2. In Genesis the serpent speaks (Gen 3:1-5); in Revelation it is restrained (Rev 20:2).
  3. In Genesis, the curse is imposed (Gen 3:17); in Revelation it is removed (Rev 22:3).
  4. In Genesis, sorrow and death make their appearance (Gen 3:16-19); in Revelation they are taken away (Rev 21:4).
  5. In Genesis, access to the tree of life is denied (Gen 3:24); in Revelation, access to it is opened (22:7).
  6. In Genesis, the first paradise is closed to man (3:23); in Revelation it is opened to him (Rev 21:25).

In addition to the natural separation into two periods of time, the book of Genesis is also divided naturally into twelve sections. With the exception of the first, these natural subject divisions are marked in the Hebrew text by the word "toledoth" (lit, "generations," or "births"). In the Septuagint, this word is translated with the Greek term "genesis". The KJV translates the phrase in which "toledoth" appears as "the generations of..." and the NIV uses the expression "the account of..." These divisions act something like the subject headings used in some Bibles -- except in this case, they are inspired! The divisions of Genesis are listed below:

1. Creation -- the beginning: Gen 1:1 - 2:3
2. The history of the heavens and the earth: Gen 2:4 - 4:26
3. The book of the genealogy of Adam: Gen 5:1 - 6:8
4. The genealogy of Noah: Gen 6:9 - 9:29
5. The genealogy of the sons of Noah: Gen 10:1 -11:9
6. The genealogy of Shem: Gen 11:10-26
7. The genealogy of Terah (Abraham): Gen 11:27 - 25:11
8. The genealogy of Ishmael 25:12-18
9. The genealogy of Isaac: Gen 25:19 - 35:29
10. The genealogy of Esau: Gen 36:1-8
11. The genealogy of the sons of Esau: Gen 36:9-43
12. The genealogy of Jacob: Gen 37:1 - 50:26



  1. Adam illustrates human nature ; and what we are we have inherited from him (1Co 15:47,48; Rom 5:12-19).
  2. Cain illustrates the carnal mind, at enmity with God and with a religion of its own (Gen 4:1-16; 1Jo 3:12; Jud 1:11).
  3. Abel illustrates the spiritual mind, which discerns the value of shed blood (Gen 4:4; Heb 9:22; 11:4).
  4. Enoch illustrates communion with God that leads to separation from the world, and typifies believers caught away from the great tribulation (Gen 5:21-24; Heb 11:5,6; Jud 1:14,15).
  5. Noah illustrates regeneration -- being saved by the ark -- a symbol also of baptism (Heb 11:7; 1Pe 3:20,21).
  6. Abraham illustrates faith, leading to strangership in this world (Gen 12:1, etc; Heb 11:8-16; Gal 3:6-9).
  7. Isaac illustrates sonship and heirship (Gal 4:1-7,21-31).
  8. Jacob illustrates service ; he served fourteen years for both his wives, and six years for his cattle (Gen 31:38-42; Mat 25:21).
  9. Joseph illustrates suffering and glory (Gen 39:20; 41:41-45; 2Ti 2:12).
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