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By: Larry Shaffer
Why Genesis? The Introduction
I’m being drawn toward Genesis this morning and as such I am committed to a study of Genesis chapters 1-11. Genesis has 50 chapters and at a high level is divided in two sections. Chapters 1-11 are primitive history and 12-50 are patriarchal history. The primitive history has four significant events: creation, the fall, the flood, the dispersion of nations. The patriarchal history of Genesis has four significant characters: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
23 and Me
Genesis was written for all of us and to all believers throughout all ages. But it is best understood and interpreted by understanding who it was directly written to and for what reason. Moses was the author of Genesis. This is attested in many places and is generally undisputed. The timing is most likely sometime after the Exodus. Moses, I assume, wrote it to document with accuracy the oral tradition among God’s chosen people, Israel. Today, people are more interested than ever in their origins, genealogy, 23 and me, etc. Genesis provided insight for the Israelites into their origins, beginnings, traditions, ancestors, the early formation of their nation. So, best we can, we will try to understand Genesis 1-11 through that interpretive lens.
Get it simple
Another interpretive approach that is important is that we should approach God’s Word with simplicity and authenticity. In other words, take it at its word unless it is obviously symbolic. We should try not to add to it or take away from it to fit our bias’. That is hard to do. We all have bias’s including me. So, the best we can do is approach God’s Word prayerfully and with a simple and authentic perspective. My goal in these Bible studies continues to be devotional rather than doctrinal. I attempt to moderately go into doctrinal or theological areas only because I want to affirm what the Bible says and therefore what it means. And I only want to know what it means so that I can understand how to best apply God’s Word to my life devotional. In other words, asking the question of ‘how then should I LIVE’?
Wonder and Excitement
Lord, we are approaching Genesis with an anticipation of wonder and excitement. This section of scripture is a look into our origin as well as a look into who You are with a view into Your power and plan for the ages. Teach us and expand our knowledge for helping us to live in submission to You and keep us on the path of Your precepts. Amen!