The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings, as is the meaning of the name. The beginning of life, and all things, is found in this wonderful and amazing book. Most importantly, the beginning of creation is found in the very fist chapter. What is more vital is that the ‘Triune’ God is found in the first two verses of the Bible. The first mention of God in verse 1 refers to Elohim, meaning that there is more than one Person in the Godhead, so we can say that God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, were both together before the world was created. The Holy Spirit is in verse 2, referred to as the Spirit of God, hovering over the face of the waters. What a beautiful introduction we have in the Word of God – an introduction to God Himself! Truly we can say with the hymnwriter ‘God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!’
This is an attempted overview and division of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. It has been suggested that in order to unlock the books, or rightly divide the books, there is a key, and the key is usually found in the first chapter. We can go further to suggest that the key to unlocking the whole of Scripture is found in the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings. It is good to think about the words, topics, or concepts while reading the bible, and it is good to find out where the first time a particular word, or topic, is mentioned. Chances are that it is mentioned in Genesis. We can see that the book of Genesis presents to us the beginnings of life, man, God’s love, sin, sacrifice, and the nations through Noah and his sons.
We have before us chapter 1, the amazing chapter of creation. When God said ‘let us’, He is referring to Himself, and to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God. In chapter 1, there are seven different ‘acts’, or aspects of creation, not to be confused with the seven days, because the world was created in six days, and God rested on the seventh day (Chapter 2:1-2). It is a wonder that Genesis 1 presents seven different acts of creation, and these correspond with the lives and biographies of seven key people in the book of Genesis.
- Ch 1:1-2 corresponds with Adam (ch 2-3) – waste and darkness, nothing in the earth. When Adam was created, there were only the animals, and no one with him as a helper.
- Ch 1:3-5 light and darkness, corresponding with Abel and Cain and their descendants (ch 4-5) – first day.
- Ch 1:6-8 waters, corresponding with Noah and the flood (ch 6-9) – second day, then chapter 10 is the beginning of the nations and chapter 11 Babel and the beginning of world languages (Gen 11:7-9).
- Ch 1:9-13 the earth, fruit and seed, corresponding with Abraham and the promise for a seed from him (ch 12-21) – third day.
- Ch 1:14-19 the heavens, stars, sun and moon, corresponding with Isaac (picture of the sun) and Rebecca (picture of the moon) chapters 22-26 – fourth day.
- Ch 1:20-23 the seas, corresponding with Jacob and the troubles and trials that he put himself through, but God delivered him (ch 27-36 including Esau’s genealogy) – fifth day.
- Ch 1:24-30 made man and told man to have dominion, corresponding with Joseph (ch 37-50) – sixth day. In Joseph (Ch 37) we see his dreams, that the sheaves, and then the sun, moon and stars bowed down to him. Later in Egypt, he certainly did have dominion.
It is also striking that Genesis, while presenting the beginning of things, it also presents the beginning of death. If we remember God’s command to Adam in chapter 2:17, death would be a result of man’s disobedience. Now we know that Adam did not die on the spot, and God provided a covering for both him and Eve, which is a type of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, on the cross, as the perfect sacrifice, sufficient to cover the sins of those who come to Him. However, Abel was the first to die, by the hand of his brother Cain, as a result of hatred and envy (Chapter 4). Isn’t this the same thing that is happening in our day today? Chapter 5 also has genealogies, but all the people mentioned there died, with the exception of Enoch. It is sad to see at the end of Genesis how Joseph, remarkable as he is, still had to die, and the last few words in the chapter is ‘a coffin in Egypt’. How very solemn this is, and what a contrast with the very first few words ‘in the beginning’!
I will leave you with a heading for each chapter of the book of Genesis for personal study, reference and convenience.
Ch 1 – Creation
Ch 2 – Adam & Eve
Ch 3 – The fall
Ch 4 – Cain & Abel
Ch 5 – Genealogies and Enoch
Ch 6 – Noah’s Ark
Ch 7 – The Flood
Ch 8 – In and out of the Ark
Ch 9 – God blesses Noah
Ch 10 – Sons of Noah – the Nations
Ch 11 – Babel
Ch 12 – Abram and his calling
Ch 13 – Abram & Lot
Ch 14 – Lot’s crisis and Melchizedek
Ch 15 – God’s covenant with Abraham
Ch 16 – Hagar & Ishmael
Ch 17 – Circumcision
Ch 18 – Son of promise (Isaac)
Ch 19 – Sodom & Gomorrah
Ch 20 – Abimelech
Ch 21 – Isaac & Ishmael
Ch 22 – Abraham offering Isaac
Ch 23 – Sarah’s death and burial
Ch 24 – Isaac & Rebecca
Ch 25 – Jacob & Esau
Ch 26 – Isaac & Rebecca, and Abimelech
Ch 27 – Isaac blesses Jacob
Ch 28 – Jacob flees
Ch 29 – Jacob & Laban
Ch 30 – Jacob & Rachel
Ch 31 – Laban
Ch 32 – Jacob’s plan
Ch 33 – Jacob & Esau reunited
Ch 34 – Dinah & Shechem
Ch 35 – Bethel
Ch 36 – Esau’s generation
Ch 37 – Joseph
Ch 38 – Judah & Tamar; sons of Judah
Ch 39 – Joseph in Egypt
Ch 40 – The Butler & Baker; dreams interpreted
Ch 41 – Pharaoh’s dreams & Joseph exalted
Ch 42 – the Famine in Canaan; Joseph’s brothers in Egypt
Ch 43 – Benjamin
Ch 44 – Joseph’s brothers repent
Ch 45 – Joseph reveals himself
Ch 46 – Israel in Egypt
Ch 47 – the Famine around the nations
Ch 48 – Manasseh & Ephraim
Ch 49 – Jacob blesses his sons & dies
Ch 50 – Joseph dies