Genesis

These are all of the chapters of the book of Genesis. Clicking on a chapter will show you the text of that chapter of Genesis in the Bible (New International Version).

Bible open to Book of Genesis

Who Wrote the Book of Genesis?

Scholars who attribute authorship to Moses, believe Moses wrote Genesis sometime after God used him to lead His people out of Egypt and sometime before Moses’ death in Exodus 34:5. He likely wrote the book sometime during the Israelites’ wandering period (1440-1400 BC). 

Within the book itself, the author of Genesis remains anonymous. Jewish and Christian tradition, usually, attributes the content to Moses. Other biblical writers, along with Christ Himself, do as well. In Mark 12:26, Jesus said, “Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?” In Luke 24:27, referring to Jesus’ post-resurrection interaction with His disciples, we read, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” We find additional references in 2 Corinthians 3:15 and John 1:45 as well. 

This does raise questions, however, regarding content, such as the creation account and Abraham’s journey, both of which occurred prior to Moses’s birth. In answer to this, some suggest perhaps Moses wrote portions of the book and acted as an editor or historian and compiled, under the Holy Spirit’s direction, various oral accounts and family histories. 

Context and Background of Genesis

The events recorded in Genesis occurred in an area known as the Fertile Crescent. The book begins with the creation account and discussion of an area known as the Garden of Eden. Though no one is certain where this patch of paradise existed, Scripture provides clues when it mentions a river that separated into four heads (Genesis 2:10). Therefore, some suggest the Garden was located somewhere near the head of the Persian Gulf where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers merge. Others believe the flood in Genesis 6-9 would’ve made the original location undetectable. 

It appears, from Genesis 2-11, mankind remained in one centralized location, likely close to their ancestral land, until God called a man named Abraham and his wife out of “Ur of the Chaldeans” (modern-day Iraq) and into Canaan (modern-day Syria, Jordan, and Israel). From there, he headed south into Egypt for a short period before returning back to what later became known as the Promised Land. Genesis ends with Abraham’s descendants back in Egypt. 

Though Scripture was meant for all of mankind, Moses would’ve been writing first and foremost to the Hebrews coming out of Egypt. They had lived oppressed and enslaved, for four hundred years, in a pagan land where people worshiped everything from the sun and moon to beetles. Though they likely retained stories from their past, they didn’t have an accurate worldview. They needed to know who God was, what He was like, and how they were to relate to and interact with Him. They also needed to know where they came from, what their purpose was, and where they were headed. 

Genesis helped the ancient Hebrews understand their world, including why it was filled with sin, sickness, and death. They needed to know that life would not always remain so broken. One day, God would fulfill the promise He had made in the garden (Gen. 3:15) and later to Abraham and his descendants to remove sins curse and usher in His kingdom reign. 

Main Theme and Purpose of Genesis

Genesis has been called a book of beginnings or origins for it tells of the origin of everything other than God, the only pre-existing being. In this foundational book of Scripture, we learn of the origin of time, space, and matter. We also learn the origin of man, marriage, the Jewish nation, sin, and the battle between good and evil. Genesis reveals God’s continued faithfulness contrasted with mankind’s continual failure and therefore sets the backdrop for grace. 

A key word mentioned, in one variation or another, is “blessing” or “blessed.” In Genesis 1:22, God blessed the creatures of the sea and the sky and told them to increase in number. In verse 28, He blessed mankind and also told them to increase in number. He blessed them again in 5:2. After the flood, God blessed Noah and his sons, telling them to multiply (9:1), then Noah says of God, in 9:26, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem” (one of his sons). 

This theme of blessing is prominent throughout “the Generations of Terah (Gen. 11:27-25:11)” as well. God promises to bless Abram (later called Abraham) and all the nations through him and to make him a blessing (12:2-3). Then, Genesis 14:19 tells us a “priest of God most High … blessed Abram, saying, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High … and blessed be God most High.” Bless or blessing is also mentioned in 17:16, 20; 18:18; 22:17, 18; 24:1, 27, 31, 35, 48, 60; 25:11, along with numerous times in relation to Abram’s son Isaac (26:3, 4, 12, 24, 29; 28:1, 3, 4, 6, 14; 30:27, 30; 31:55; 32:26, 29; 33:11; 35:9, including 23 times in chapter 27) and his grandson Jacob (39:5; 47:7, 10; and 15 times in chapters 48-49). 

In Genesis 1 and 2, we learn God created a good and abundant world. He brought order and light to that which was dark and chaotic. He, the ultimate life-giver, created life and gave all of humanity purpose—to know and reflect Him. But man rebelled against God’s rule, demanded to be their own gods, and chaos followed. In this, and the cycles of rebellion and self-destruction that follow, we understand that God gave us a beautiful, bountiful world, but we corrupted it. This theme of God’s goodness, man’s rebellion, and the consequences of that rebellion, play out in the generations that follow. 

Genesis 1-3: God created a perfect world, filled with abundance and free of sin. Through a tree known as the tree of God and Evil, God presented mankind with a choice: honor Him or act as their own gods. They chose rebellion and were cast out of the garden, their relationship with God and one another broken.

Genesis 4-6: Evil increases on the earth as mankind continues to rebel against God until the earth is filled with violence. God sends a worldwide flood as a consequence for mankind’s sin, saving but one man named Noah and His family, through whom God begins again. But this man, too, fails, as do his descendants after him.

Genesis 12-23: God again chooses a man (Abraham) from among all the evil and violent people populating the earth. He calls this man to Himself and promises to bless him. God then makes a covenant with Abraham, making it clear that He alone will fulfill it (Gen. 15). In this, we see that only God can and will remain faithful, a faithfulness which, ultimately, led to the life, death, and resurrection of His Son. 

Genesis 24-50: For the remainder of Genesis, we see God beginning to build a nation from Abraham’s descendants, through whom His ultimate blessing will come, Jesus. And yet again, we see mankind’s continual sin. 

In each of these stories, God reveals man’s need for rescue and God’s continual rescuing. This points to Christ and our ultimate rescue found only in Him. Scholars have also noted a close correspondence between Genesis, the first book in Scripture, and Revelation, the last. 

In Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth (1:1). Revelations speak of the “new earth (2:1).” A tree of life stood prominent in the Garden of Eden and will also grow in the new earth (Gen. 2:9, Rev. 22:2). In Genesis chapter one, God created light; light came from Him, and He separated light from darkness (1:4). In Revelation He is the source of light and there is no night (21:23). He created the first heavens and earth (Genesis 1-2), which are temporary; the new heaven and earth will remain through eternity (Rev. 21:2). 

Genesis mentions gold in the land (2:12) whereas Revelation tells of a street of gold within the city (21:21). God dwelled, or communed, with man in both. Evil enters the garden (Satan, Gen. 3:1-5), but evil will be banned from heaven (Rev. 21:27). In Genesis, we see how God’s people, originally of one tongue, broke into nations (Gen. 11). In Revelations, those nations are brought back together once again and worship Christ in unity (7:9). Genesis reveals a world that has been cursed by sin and the consequences of that sin—death, sorrow, sickness, tears, thorns and thistles, laborious work, and separation from evil. Scripture tells us none of these will exist in the new heaven and earth. 

Our Favorite Verses in Genesis

Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Genesis 1:27, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

Genesis 2:18, "The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'”

Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 12:3, "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Genesis 50:20, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

Sources

Archaeological Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984.

Biblestudytools.com, Genesis and Revelation as Bookends & Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Genesis

Bill T. Arnold, Bryan E. Beyer. Encountering the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1984.

Matt Champlin. “A Biblical Theology of Blessings in Genesis.” The Gospel Coalition

“Genesis and Revelation as Bookends.”

Don Steward. “Why Was the Book of Genesis Written.” Blue Letter Bible.

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Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.