The name "Genesis" comes from a Greek word meaning "beginning." And this is a book of beginnings, because it talks about the beginning of the universe, the beginning of the human race, and the beginning of the people of Israel.
The first part of Genesis (Genesis 1-11) tells about creation and the human race up to the time of Abraham. Everything God created was good, but the first two human beings, Adam and Eve, disobeyed him and brought evil into the world. People became so sinful that God decided to send a flood to kill everyone except a man named Noah and his family. They worshiped God, and so God told them to build a large boat to save themselves and a few of each kind of animals and birds. After the flood people again spread out over the earth, and most of them stopped worshiping God.
The rest of the book of Genesis (Genesis 12-50) contains the story of Abram and his family. God chose them to be the beginning of his own special people. God also changed Abram's name to Abraham, and the name of Abram's wife Sarai to Sarah. Abraham and his wife Sarah had no children, but God promised that they would have a child and that their descendants would someday have their own land and be a blessing for all nations.
Abraham and Sarah moved to Canaan, the land that God had promised to give their descendants. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, when they were very old. Isaac later had two sons, Jacob and Esau. As the book concludes, Jacob's twelve sons and their families are living in Egypt. One of these brothers, Joseph, had become the governor of Egypt. But Joseph knew that God would someday keep his promise to his people:
Before Joseph died, he told his brothers, "I won't live much longer. But God will take care of you and lead you out of Egypt to the land he promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
A Quick Look at this Book
A Quick Look at this Book:
- The Story of Creation (Genesis 1:1-2:25)
- The First Sin and the First Murder (Genesis 3:1-4:16)
- Descendants of Adam before the Flood (Genesis 4:17-5:32)
- Noah and the Flood (Genesis 6:1-9:28)
- The Descendants of Noah and the Tower of Babel (Genesis 10:1-11:32)
- The Lord Chooses Abram (Genesis 12:1-20)
- Abram and Lot (Genesis 13:1-14:24)
- The Lord's Promises to Abram (Genesis 15:1-21)
- Abram, Hagar, and Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-16)
- God Changes Abram's Name to Abraham and Promises Him a Son (Genesis 17:1-18:15)
- Abraham, Lot, Sodom, and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-19:38)
- Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac (Genesis 20:1-23:20)
- Rebekah, a Wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:1-67)
- The Death of Abraham (Genesis 25:1-18)
- Isaac and His Family (Genesis 25:19-28:9)
- Jacob and His Family (Genesis 28:10-35:29)
- Esau and His Family (Genesis 36:1-43)
- Joseph Is Sold by His Brothers as a Slave (Genesis 37:1-36)
- Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38:1-30)
- Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 39:1-41:57)
- Joseph and His Brothers (Genesis 42:1-45:28)
- Jacob and His Family Go to Egypt (Genesis 46:1-47:31)
- Jacob Blesses His Family and Dies (Genesis 48:1-50:14)
- Joseph Dies (Genesis 50:15-26)
The Story of Creation
1 In the beginning God
created the heavens and the earth.
2 The earth was barren, with no form of life;
it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness.
But the Spirit of God was moving over the water.
The First Day
3 God said, "I command light to shine!" And light started shining.
4 God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness
5 and named the light "Day" and the darkness "Night." Evening came and then morning—that was the first day.
The Second Day
6 God said, "I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it."
7 And that's what happened. God made the dome
8 and named it "Sky." Evening came and then morning—that was the second day.
The Third Day
9 God said, "I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground." And that's what happened.
10 God named the dry ground "Land," and he named the water "Ocean." God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good.
11 God said, "I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain." And that's what happened.
12 The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good.
13 Evening came and then morning—that was the third day.
The Fourth Day
14 God said, "I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years.
15 I command them to shine on the earth." And that's what happened.
16 God made two powerful lights, the brighter one to rule the day and the other to rule the night. He also made the stars.
17 Then God put these lights in the sky to shine on the earth,
18 to rule day and night, and to separate light from darkness. God looked at what he had done, and it was good.
19 Evening came and then morning—that was the fourth day.
The Fifth Day
20 God said, "I command the ocean to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth."
21 So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the ocean. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good.
22 Then he gave the living creatures his blessing—he told the ocean creatures to live everywhere in the ocean and the birds to live everywhere on earth.
23 Evening came and then morning—that was the fifth day.
The Sixth Day
24 God said, "I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles." And that's what happened.
25 God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good.
26 God said, "Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures."
27 So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women.
28 God gave them his blessing and said:
Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth.
29 I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat.
30 And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes. These will be food for animals, both wild and tame, and for birds.
31 God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morning—that was the sixth day.