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Bible Book Summary: Genesis


Author and Date

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Both the Old Testament (Ex. 17:14, Josh. 8:31, and others) and New Testament (Matt. 8:4, Acts 15:1, Rom. 10:19, and others) designate Moses as the author of Genesis. An estimation of 1445 to 1405 B.C. is given for the date of writing. There is no compelling evidence to suggest that Moses was not the author of the book.

The events of the book find parallels in other ancient histories as well. The flood account of Noah finds parallel to the Atrahasis and Gilgamesh epics, including the Sumerian flood story, written around 1600 B.C. And, the genealogies of chapters 5 and 11 of Genesis find their parallel in the Sumerian Kings list which is dated around 1900 B.C.

These parallels help to confirm the events in Genesis as being quite reliable.


Naturally, in a book of beginnings, the idea of Creation is at the forefront of the theme. But, that creation became marred by man’s fall and was in need of recreation. This puts the Gospel at the forefront of the book of Genesis, in God’s grace and pursuit of Adam and Eve after their rebellion.

This theme is also seen in the story of the flood, where man’s rebellion was so great that the Lord decided to wipe out mankind, saving Noah and his family, and offering once again a “beginning.”

As the book moves from Noah to the beginning of the nation of Israel, we once again see a creation. Abraham’s call from his pagan beginnings offers a clear picture of God’s adoption and choice of who his people are.

Finally, we see the creation of the nation of Israel through the 12 sons of Jacob, later named Israel. Joseph’s rise to power is the culmination of the book and sets the stage for Israel’s enslavement by the Egyptians following Joseph’s death.

Background and Purpose

The book of Genesis is an introduction to the events that follow in the next four books of the Law. It introduces the reader to a God who is transcendent and powerful enough to speak the world into existence. It is his will and power that pervade the events, and orchestrate them, throughout the book.

The setting starts in eternity past, where God exists. Through his power, he spoke the world into existence within six days. On the sixth day, he created his penultimate creation–mankind–breathing into him the “breath of life” (Gen 2:7), something he did not do with the rest of the created order.

The rest of the events show a family line created and preserved, that will lead to the ultimate blessing, the Messiah, who will descend from this line. While the events of Genesis clearly preceded Moses, its oral tradition passed down, focused on the firstborn son of the woman who will crush the serpent (Gen. 3:15).

Christ in Genesis

The fall of Adam and Eve paved the way for the promise of a Savior (Gen. 3:15). Though Jesus stood as a lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8), his introduction comes as a softening to Adam and Eve’s punishment for their rebellion. As a result, God proceeded to slay an animal to make coverings for the rebels, after they’d made their own inadequate coverings. Throughout the book, God is constantly protecting the promised line of Christ.

Key Verses

  • Genesis 1:1
  • Genesis 2:7, 25
  • Genesis 3:15, 21
  • Genesis 6:5, 8
  • Genesis 12:2
  • Genesis 15:6
  • Genesis 17:1-8
  • Genesis 22:8, 17
  • Genesis 39:2-3
  • Genesis 45:7-8
  • Genesis 50:20

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