The Bible in a Year, Week 1: Genesis 1-23
This is the first weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. As previously stated, it should only take 15-20 minutes a day of reading, and maybe 4-5 chapters a day. For this week, week 1, the assignment is Genesis 1-23. That would be a little more than 3 chapters each day, or about 5 chapters on just the weekdays.
Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Genesis 1-23:
Genesis 1-2: The amazing power of God is revealed. He is a God who simply spoke and the universe came to be! We learn more about our God in these chapters, too. We learn that he is perfect and holy and made everything in the same way–it was “good.” We also see that all three members of the Trinity were present and participating in creation. Besides the Father, the Holy Spirit is mentioned in 1:2, and we learn from John 1:1 that Jesus was also there and partook in the creative work.
We also see in these chapters several arguments against evolution. The first is obvious–the Bible says God created the world! Next, we note the repetition of the phrase “according to its kind.” God designed that creatures can reproduce, and even change, but never change into something else (e.g. you can make a mule from a donkey and a horse, but you can’t make a “cog” from a cat and a dog!). Finally, context reveals that each day of creation was just that, a day. Not a period, not a millennia, not an eon. “And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day” (literally, a first day, a second day, a third day, etc.) Clearly a 24 hour period is indicated.
Finally, we see God’s intention for marriage. God designed that marriage be between one man and one woman. God designed that the woman would be a helper and a partner to the man. God designed that the marriage never break.
Genesis 3-5: Adam and Eve had opportunity to show their thanks and praise to God every day for his marvelous creation. Every day they could worship him by obeying his specific command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan had other plans in mind. He quickly comes to tempt Eve–and Adam whom we find out was right there with her. The fall into sin begins right away as Eve slightly adjusts and adds to the command God gave (3:2). We see hear Satan as he really is–more than a prankster or trickster–but as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. From the beginning and still now he twists God’s words and plays off our doubts and insecurities to lead us into temptation and sin. Adam and Eve fell for it. They sinned, and they lost the perfect and holy image of God. As is often the case still today, the blame game followed as neither wanted to take responsibility for the sin.
In the rest of chapter 3, we see our God for who he really is–a righteous and holy God who punishes sin, but also a loving God who forgives and offers salvation. One of the most important passages in this section, and in the whole Bible, is 3:15 where God first promises to send a Savior who will crush the serpent’s head. The fulfillment occurs on the cross on Good Friday.
Chapters 4-5 show the depravity that quickly spread as Cain murders his own brother Abel. Genesis 5:3 also reminds us that all people are sinful and are born with a sinful nature. After the fall into sin, all are now born with Adam’s image and no longer God’s.
Genesis 6-9: The sinful ways and woes of the world continue. God therefore declares that he will destroy almost all of his fallen creation. Yet by his grace he spared Noah and his other seven family members along with a number of animals. (here are many pictures of a very neat life-size model of the ark that was built). After, he promised never to send such a flood again and gave the rainbow as a sign of the promise.
Genesis 10-11: In some ways it may seem like these are insignificant chapters. What’s the point of a bunch of names no one can pronounce? But here God shows how he is keeping his promise. He promised to send a Savior. He’s showing how that promise is being carried out. The name to note is Shem. Shem is Noah’s son and the ancestor of the Israelite people.
Genesis 12-14: In these chapters God calls Abram (later Abraham), a great man of faith. God told him to pick up his things and leave his family, and as a 70 year old man he simply obeyed. Yet at the same time, we find Abram to be a sinner like the rest of us as he doesn’t trust in God’s providence and protection and chooses to lie in Egypt. It is of note also in chapter 12 that as God promises to bless Abram, he is also continuing his promise of a Savior. God declares that all nations on earth will be blessed through Abram (12:3). Indeed, we are all now blessed by his descendent, our Savior Jesus Christ.
After Abram separates from his nephew Lot, he needs to rescue him from the surrounding powers in chapter 14. There we meet a man name Melchizedek. Melchizedek is a type, or shadow and picture, of Christ to come. The Bible records no birth or death of Melchizedek. As God, Jesus has no beginning or end. Melchizedek is a prophet, priest, and king. Jesus is our great Prophet, Priest, and King for all time. Melchizedek is the king of Salem (Salem means peace in Hebrew). Jesus is also the King of spiritual peace, or the Prince of Peace as Isaiah says.
Genesis 15-18:15: God continues his grace and mercy with Abram. Once more he promises great blessings to him. Abram did nothing to deserve it or earn it. But by God’s gracious working, Abram simply “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (15:6). The apostle Paul uses Abraham as the ultimate example in Galatians 3. Just like Abraham, we do not deserve God’s grace and mercy. Yet he still gives us forgiveness and salvation in Jesus. There is nothing we can or need do to earn salvation. We simply believe the Lord and he credits it to us as righteousness.
Despite God’s gracious blessings, the corruption of sin is still evident in Abraham’s life. Again he shows some doubt of God’s promises as he takes things into his own hands and commits adultery in order to produce a child. In chapter 17 God reinforces his promises by making a covenant with Abraham. It is a one-side covenant, or contract. God simply promises to give Abraham blessings without any requirements to earn them. A vivid reminder is given (circumcision) that Abraham’s line will be special and different, and that God’s promise of a Savior will come through his seed.
Two angels and Jesus (he identifies himself in 18:10) then appear to Abraham to reinforce the promise of a son. Yet still there is doubt in the house as Sarah even laughs at such a promise (which is why the son is named Isaac–he laughs).
Genesis 18:16 – 20: Abraham becomes a wonderful model and example for us and for the power of persistent prayer at the end of chapter 18. Sadly, not even 10 believers could be found in Sodom and Gomorrah. They had become utterly corrupt, with the main sin of choice seeming to be homosexuality. While it is clear from here and other places that homosexuality is a sin that God hates along with all other sins, Sodom and Gomorrah remind us more so about God’s wrath against hearts that reject him. The “fire and brimstone” falling from heaven were just a foretaste of what awaited the wicked unbelievers in hell.
Yet they aren’t the only sinners. Lot’s daughters get him drunk in chapter 19 so that they can sleep with their father and have children. Abraham falls into the same sins of doubt and lying in chapter 20.
Genesis 21-23: God’s promise of a son is fulfilled as Isaac is born to Abraham at the age of 100. Abraham kept the covenant God established and had Isaac circumcised on the 8th day. But God presents Abraham with the ultimate test of faith in chapter 22–asking him to sacrifice and kill his long-awaited son Isaac. We can see why Abraham is called a hero of faith as he confidently tells Isaac that, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” Sure enough, the Lord stopped Abraham just in time and provided a ram to be sacrificed instead. This ram, like Melchizedek in chapter 14, is also a type of Christ. The ram became a sacrifice that took the place of Isaac and essentially “saved” him. In the same way Jesus took our place on the cross as the sacrifice for all sin. Through his substitutionary work we all are saved.
Finally in chapter 23 we read about the death of Abraham’s dear wife Sarah.
Next week’s readings (starting 1/10/10): Genesis 24-50
To view or download and print the One Year Bible Reading Schedule, click here.