THE BOOK OF GENESIS

On January 14, 2015, we begin our study of the first book in the Bible: Genesis. Our goal in the study of Genesis is to understand God’s revelation of Himself to His creation and the purpose of this written revelation by the person or persons who wrote Genesis. This book is beautifully written but also raises several questions that we will answer together over the next several weeks. Let’s get started!

Here in Week Two of 2015, we will study Genesis Chapter 1, which gives the first six days of creation. Please read Chapter 1 and answer these questions:

  1. What does the name Genesis mean?
  1. What kind of writing is the Book of Genesis?
    1. Prophecy
    2. Poetry
    3. Primarily Historical Narrative
    4. Genealogy
    5. All of the above
  1. Who do you think wrote Genesis?
    1. God
    2. Joseph the son of Jacob
    3. Abraham
    4. Moses
    5. Adam and Eve
  1. To whom was Genesis written?
    1. The Hebrews
    2. God’s Chosen People
    3. To the early Christian Church
    4. To Christians in the 21st Century
    5. All of the above
  1. In Genesis 1:1 God is introduced by the word God which is a translation of the Hebrew word Elohim. What does Elohim mean and why do you think it is so important to understanding everything that comes after this name in Genesis and the whole Bible?
  1. Which verses in Chapter 1 show the first day of creation?
  1. Which words in Verse 2 tell us human life could not survive on that land?
  1. Where in Chapter 1 do we first meet the Holy Spirit in the Bible?
  1. What happened in Verse 3 when God said “Let there be light” and what was the light that was created?
  1. Since Verse 1 says God created the heavens and earth, does Verse 3 mean God created another kind of light since the heavens were already created?
  1. Why do you think God called the light good in Verse 4?
  1. In beginning of Verse 6 the thing between the waters called “firmament” in KJV and “expanse” in NIV. What is meant by these terms in Verse 6?
  1. What do you think God meant when he said the firmament or expanse was used to separate the waters from the waters? What were these two bodies of water?
  1. Why do you think God DID NOT say what He did was good on the second day as in Verses 6-8 but did say what He did was good on the first day?
  1. What name did God give to the firmament or expanse he created between the waters?
  1. What did God do on the third day of creation?
  1. How many times on the third day did God say what He saw was good?
  1. What did God do on the fourth day and did He see it as good?
  1. What did God do on the fifth day and did He see it as good?
  1. What did God do on the sixth day and did He see it as good?
  1. Who is the “Us” that God was referring to in Verse 26?

 

THE NAMES OF GOD

The titles or designations given to God throughout the Bible. In the ancient world, knowing another’s name was a special privilege that offered access to that person’s thought and life. God favored His people by revealing Himself by several names which offered special insight into His love and righteousness.

Jehovah/Yahweh. One of the most important names for God in the Old Testament is Yahweh, or Jehovah, from the verb “to be,” meaning simply but profoundly, “I am who I am,” and “I will be who I will be.” The four-letter Hebrew word YHWH was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3:14). This bush was a vivid symbol of the inexhaustible dynamism of God who burns like a fire with love and righteousness, yet remains the same and never diminishes. Some English translations of the Bible translate the word as Jehovah, while others use Yahweh.

God is the author of life and salvation. His “I am” expresses the fact that He is the infinite and original personal God who is behind everything and to whom everything must finally be traced. This name, “I am who I am,” signals the truth that nothing else defines who God is but God Himself. What He says and does is who He is. The inspired Scriptures are the infallible guide to understanding who God is by what He says about Himself and what He does. Yahweh is the all-powerful and sovereign God who alone defines Himself and establishes truth for His creatures and works for their salvation.

Moses was called to proclaim deliverance to the people and was told by God, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (Ex 3:14). In the deliverance of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt, God revealed a deeper significance to His name. But He had already disclosed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as Yahweh. Each of them had called on the name of the Lord (Yahweh) (Gen 12:8; 13:4; 26:25; Ex 3:15) as the God who protects and blesses. Yet Ex 6:3 shows that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not know the fuller meaning of Yahweh, which was to be revealed to Moses and the Hebrew people in the Exodus experience.

The divine name Yahweh is usually translated Lord in English versions of the Bible, because it became a practice in late Old Testament Judaism not to pronounce the sacred name YHWH, but to say instead “my Lord” (Adonai) – a practice still used today in the synagogue. When the vowels of Adonai were attached to the consonants YHWH in the medieval period, the word Jehovah resulted. Today, many Christians use the word Yahweh, the more original pronunciation, not hesitating to name the divine name since Jesus taught believers to speak in a familiar way to God.

Jehovah-

tsebaoth

– This name, translated “The-LORD-of-hosts,” was used in the days of David and the prophets, witnessing to God the Savior who is surrounded by His hosts of heavenly power (1 Sam 1:3).

Jehovah

Elohe Israel

– This name means “LORD-God-of-Israel,” and it appears in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Psalms. Other names similar to this are

Netsah Israel

, “The Strength of Israel” (1 Sam 15:29); and

Abir Yisrael

“The Mighty One of Israel” (Isa 1:24).

El. Another important root name for God in the Old Testament is

El

. By itself it refers to a god in the most general sense. It was widely used in ancient eastern cultures whose languages are similar to Hebrew and therefore may refer either to the true God or to false gods. The highest Canaanite god was El whose son was Baal. In the Bible the word is often defined properly by a qualifier like Jehovah: “I, the LORD (Jehovah) your God (

Elohim

), am a jealous God (

El

)” (Deut 5:9).

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba “and there called on the name of the LORD (

Yahweh

), the Everlasting God (

El Olam

) (Gen 21:33). Jacob built an altar on a piece of land he purchased at Shechem and called it ”

El Elohe Israel

” (“God, the God of Israel”), commemorating his wrestling with the angel at the place he called

Peni-el

(“the face of God”), and receiving his new name Israel (

Yisra-el

, “God strives”) (Gen 32:28-30; 33:20).

El Shaddai

(God Almighty), signifying God as a source of blessing, is the name with which God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex 6:3).

Elohim.

Elohim

is the plural form of

El

, but it is usually translated in the singular. Some scholars have held that the plural represents an intensified form for the supreme God; others believe it describes the supreme God and His heavenly court of created beings. Still others hold that the plural form refers to the triune God of Gen 1:1-3, who works through Word and Spirit in the creation of the world. All agree that the plural form Elohim does convey the sense of the one supreme being who is the only true God.