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STUDIES IN GENESIS

1.) Survey: Genesis and the Bible Top 55

The Bible Top 55 set is great for studies in Genesis because twelve of the top 55 people in the Bible (22% of them) are found in the Book of Beginnings. They are listed below in chronological order and with their respective ranking on the Top 55 list. The cards can be used in several interesting and educational ways.

Genesis with 12 Cards VIDEO

BIBLE TOP 55 -- ENGLISH LISTBIBLE TOP 55 CARDS - Print ready (English)

The Bible Top 55 cards and related materials are available in English (sample above) or as a bilingual set in Japanese and English (sample below). The cards can be printed out free of charge using the links above and below. For additional related materials, go to the Bible Top 55 Intro. page.

BIBLE TOP 55 -- JAPANESE LISTBIBLE TOP 55 CARDS - Print ready (Japanese)BIBLE TOP 55 DETAILS -- INTRO. PAGE

2.) Survey: The Questions Asked in Genesis

This is a great summary chart and outline of Genesis focused on the questions asked therein. It can be used to study selected questions asked and answers given throughout the book. One creative method of doing so is shown below in 2b.

click here for the full-size
pdf of genesis questions
click here for the full-size
pdf of genesis questions (JP)

3.) Creation, the Flood, and What God Does

Creation, of course, comes first on the list of 101 things that God does, did, and will do, but there are several references to Genesis on this great list. Creation and the Flood also are prominent in Second Peter chapter three which is covered in one of the Double-Top Bible Studies.

4.) Descriptive Study: The Naming of the Animals

Why was the naming of the animals important?
The main reason is because the naming was more about Adam than about the animals. Through the naming the great Creator and Educator repeatedly taught the man that he was unique and that there was no animal that was in the image of God as he was. Therefore the naming was closely linked to the creation and naming of the woman who was also in the image of God (Gen. 1:28). The naming of the animals also showed that the man had dominion over them.

How should the worksheet for this and each special animals study be used?
The directions are at the bottom of each worksheet. 1.) First, read the passage and if possible some related literature or websites conserving the animal(s) being studied. 2.) Go through the points on the worksheet in alphabetical order considering and discussing whether each point is valid or not. (Most points are correct.) 3.) Think about and discuss which points are most important. 4.) Make some personal applications of the study. Usually some helpful points or questions regarding this are included at the end.

Why didn't God name the animals himself?
If the Lord had done it himself, it would have been faster, but it would not have been nearly as educational as having the man do it based on personal observation. Delegating the naming to the man was like giving Adam a great homework assignment. It was also like a long series of unspoken questions. How would you name this animal? How about that one? God thus encouraged the man to observe carefully and think rather than memorize names that God had given.
    Moreover, as the man named each animal, he was demonstrating his dominion over it in line with Genesis 1:27-28.

Did man do the naming all by himself?
In a way, he did since God never overruled a name that Adam chose. However, God brought the animals to the man, rather than having Adam go look for them. Moreover, God had given the man the abilities that he needed in order to do the task. So there was a degree of collaboration, just as there is today as well, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the believer's heart and mind.

What are the applications?
There are many possible applications in education. For instance, the naming shows that a degree of freedom is helpful, though since the fall of man more restrictions are needed. The passage also shows that repetition is good if there is also some variety. (The naming task was repeated again and again, but each animal was different.)
   The main lesson in the naming, however, was to show that man was and is different from the animals. So the main application is for each of us to live as one created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27-28) rather than as an animal.

Click here to go to the ANIMALS page.

5.) Descriptive Study: EVE

How would you describe Eve? Obviously, she was Adam's wife, but in the worksheet below the answer goes further, showing that she was Adam's only wife. God, of course, could have formed more than one woman from Adam's rib, but polygamy was never God's plan. Likewise, God could have created another man rather than the woman, but, of course, he did not. Homosexuality also has always been contrary to God's design.

 Eve was like her husband, in that they were both created in the image of God (1:26-27). Yet, she was also unlike him in various ways. The physical differences were and still are obvious, of course, but in addition Adam was formed first and was not deceived by the serpent like Eve was. These differences have important implications for the roles of men and women within the church. (See 1 Timothy 2:11-15.)

Several of the worksheet points concern the Fall. The serpent was able to distract Eve from her true purpose of serving the Lord with Adam to focus instead on personal knowledge and the forbidden fruit (3:1-6). In the process, the evil one cast doubt on God's goodness.

The Fall greatly changed Eve and her relationship with Adam, because they both died spiritually. Their physical condition was impacted as well, although Eve was still much healthier than women today. Although male leadership was built into God's design all along, after the Fall Adam became more domineering and Eve more competitive (3:16).

It is easy to blame Eve for the Fall, since she sinned first and taught Adam to sin as well (3:6). Yet, Adam was more responsible, since he sinned willfully and was not deceived.

The promise of the Messiah coming as the seed of the woman (3:15) gave Eve hope, but her hopes for Cain came to a bitter end (4:1-15). The virgin birth was still thousands of years in the future at that point, though Eve had no way of knowing.

One of the most tragic things about Adam and Eve is that they are often not taken seriously today. In part this is because they lived long before Moses and are therefore in a way "prehistoric." They were real people, however, and their actions, such as the blame shifting in 3:12-13, are fully in line with how real people normally deal with guilt today as well. The hypocrisy of modern septics is most clearly seen in their eager acceptance of highly questionable interpretations of the prehistoric fossil record in contrast to their biased rejection of the early biblical record.

6.) Descriptive Study: Noah's DOVE

Why did Noah send out the dove?
He was trying to determine if the ground had dried up enough to be safe for people and the animals. He knew that the tops of the mountains were above water (8:5), but without removing the top covering of the ark (8:13) he was unable to see much. So he had sent out a raven as a probe, but by not returning the raven only showed that the earth was safe for ravens.

What was the dove like?
Both the raven and the dove were like space probes sent to an unexplored planet, but the dove was much more helpful. Its cautious nature made it a better instrument for measuring livability, and its instinctive interest in plants did as well. Apparently it explored for an entire day the second time since it did not return until evening (8:10-11). Despite finding plant life that day, it decided that returning to the familiar ark at night was the safer thing to do. Only on its third outing, did it decide that it was safe to remain outside (8:12). Both the dove and Noah were wisely cautious.
    In addition, doves are very different from eagles which could easily have flown far away to the mountain, as well as ducks and other seabirds which would have happily rested outside the ark while floating on the water.

Why did the dove bring back an olive leaf?
Bringing back the leaf may have involved nesting instinct or natural interest in fruit bearing trees. On the other hand, the dove was undoubtedly providentially guided to do as it did since the olive leaf was informative and encouraging to Noah (8:11). There is no contradiction between the dove being free to go wherever it wished and God providentially leading it to do as it did.

Was the dove necessary?
Soon afterward, the Lord told Noah to open the ark and let out all the animals (8:15-19). So the repeated probing with the dove was in a way unnecessary. Yet, the same is true of the sending out of the two spies in Joshua chapter two. God had already promised victory over Jericho, but the spies were still sent out. The good report that they brought back encouraged Joshua and the people, just like the dove's return with an olive leaf encouraged Noah. In both cases, it was important to have assurance of God's blessing.

What is the application?
Like Noah, we should be actively interested in our surroundings. We should use God-given wisdom to investigate things that impact our lives, rather than just "waiting upon the Lord." For sure, God has a plan, but he wants us to be actively involved in such, including through investigating factors that are unknown but knowable.

Click here to go to the ANIMALS page.

7.) Descriptive Study: SARAH

How would you describe Sarah? The most obvious points are that she was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac, but beyond these how SHOULD she be described? The recond in Genesis contains many negative points. Chief among these is her disastrous plan concerning Hagar, but that is not all. In addition, the Lord famously rebuked her for her unbelief and laughter in chapter 18.

In the New Testament, however, Sarah is shown in a more positive light, especially as a woman of faith in Hebrews 11:11. Rather than contradicting Genesis, this is divine explanation. Sarah was, indeed, doubtful at first, but Hebrews 11 shows that she must have later repented, probably as a result of the Lord's rebuke. In Genesis as well, her laughter in chapter 21 was a sign of her faith in contrast to her earlier unbelieving laughter. Moreover, though Abraham is often presented as a great example of faith, we must not forget that Abraham and Sarah were together in leaving Ur and again later regarding the birth of a son. (See Romans 4:16-22.)

How was Sarah the best example of biblical submission in marriage? (See 1 Pet. 3:6.) A better question might be, "Who would you suggest as an example instead of Sarah?" There are various godly women in the Old Testament. For instance, Ruth's faith and love toward her mother-in-law is wonderful to behold, but submission to Boaz is NOT the point of the story.
  The contrast between Hagar and Sarah may be helpful here. Though Hagar attempted to run away in chapter 16, Sarah never did so. In fact, some believe that Sarah was too submissive because she went along with Abram's "She's-my-sister." line in Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) and again later regarding Abimelech (20:2). She was surprisingly silent on both occasions as far as we can tell. Perhaps she actually was too silent and submissive, but, for sure, she was NOT rebellious.

8.) Joseph: Four Studies

1.) There is a study on Joseph being betrayed by his brothers in the Godless Times series. 2.) There is a study on his great wisdom (regarding Pharaoh's dream) in the I.D.E.A. Bible Studies series. 3.) There is a study on his Egyptian wife, Asenath, in the Lesser-Known Women series. 4.) There is a study on God's blessing in his life in the W.A.L.K. Four-Step Bible Studies set.

This is the Godless Times worksheet for the study on Joseph's betrayal by his brothers.

There is much about ancestry and moving in Genesis. So this is a photo of Jon's father and mother taken in 1942, probably just as they were leaving Maine for Connecticut where Dad worked during the war. His brother was born there in 1945, and Jon was born back in Maine after the war in 1948. Details like these will bore nonfamily members, but all families, tribes, and nations have background stories, and Genesis is full of them.

© 2020 by Jon F. Mahar, Hakusan City, Japan

Check out these various ways to study Genesis.