Hebrew Name: Bereshit
OT or NT: Old Testament
Number of Chapters: 50
- Genesis is the first book of the Bible.
- Genesis is part of the “Pentateuch”: the first five books of the Bible including Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
- The Pentateuch is also referred to as the “Torah,” meaning “to guide or teach.”
- The name Genesis comes from the Greek word genesis, meaning “birth” or “lineage.”
- The Hebrew name for Genesis comes from the first word of the Hebrew text of the book: Bereshit, which means “In the beginning.”
Story of the Book
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is a story of beginnings. Genesis tells the story of creation, the fall, Cain and Abel, the flood, the Tower of Babel, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph and his twelve brothers. After the fall of humanity into sin, Genesis tells how God destroyed the earth with the flood and then established his Covenant with Abraham—beginning God’s cosmic plan of redemption for humanity and ultimately for creation.
The story of Genesis begins with creation and through telling all of the stories mentioned above, tells a brief recap of all of history from the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden through the time when Jacob and his twelve sons travel to the land of Egypt. The story of Genesis ends with the death of Joseph. At the time of the death of Joseph, the people of Israel are given permission by Pharaoh to dwell in the best of the land of Egypt.
Jesus Foreshadowed in Genesis
When God brings judgement against the serpent in the Garden of Eden, God says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15, ESV). The "he" in "he shall bruise your head" in this passage is a foretelling of the coming of Jesus and his redeeming work on the cross to defeat the serpent (Satan).
Some Christians believe that, when the LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, the three men who visited Abraham were two angels and Christ in a pre-incarnate state. This is a debatable interpretation, but nevertheless many believe this to be an example of Jesus in the book of Genesis. In addition, some Christians believe that when Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32:22-32, Jacob was also wrestling with Jesus in a pre-incarnate state.