friends studying the Bible January 1 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Procedure for study. Go to today's Bible reading: Genesis 1, 2, 3

Answers to some of Life's Most Challenging Questions

Happy New Year! What a great way to start the beginning of a new year - studying the Bible chronologically. Moreover, what better place to start than to study the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings! In Genesis we get answers to some of life's most challenging questions: Is there a God? What is he like? How did life begin? Who am I and where did I come from? Why am I here? What is my purpose? Today's study will answer these questions and more.

The word “Genesis” means “Beginnings.” In Genesis we read about the following: the beginning of life, the beginning of man's relationship with God, the beginning of wrongdoing (sin) and the need for atonement (a covering and satisfaction for sin for the Holy God, our creator), the beginning of people groups and nations, and the beginning of a particular people chosen by God.

Moses is traditionally assumed to be the author of the first five books of the Bible, called the Pentateuch. Jesus' words in Luke 24:27 and Moses' writings in Psalm 90 may give some Scriptural justification for this view. Apparently, several thousands of years after the creation of the earth (we are unsure of how long a time span it actually was), God revealed to Moses the events only He could have witnessed. Moses must have been in awe as God described how he made the universe and all its inhabitants.

Did you ever ask yourself, even as a child, who made the birds, the reptiles, animals, plants, trees, insects, the sea and the creatures within it, the sky, and even the sun, moon, and stars? Genesis 1-2 tells us that the magnificent and transcendent Almighty God created the universe. He spoke words and things came into being. That is more power and wisdom than we could ever imagine. If God is powerful enough to do that, then he certainly can help us with our life

Who am I and where did I come from? Genesis 1 says you are a special creation of God:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them, (Genesis 1:26-27, NIV).

Like all of God's creation, we were once very good (Genesis 1:31). But, unlike all of God's creation, we are the highest order of his earthly creation, and we are made in His image. We are different from all the other creatures on earth in that we have a mind to think, a will to exercise our choices, and emotions. We also have an eternal spirit within us. While some creatures may have one or more of these characteristics, none but mankind are said to be made in God's image.

What is my purpose in this world? God created us for his pleasure (Genesis 1:31; Ephesians 1:3-14 ). Amazingly, though he is so great and eternally transcendent in power, might, and majesty, from the very beginning we can see that he desired to have a personal relationship with his image bearers. Genesis 3:8 seems to suggest that it was God's habit of walking in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening, assumedly to fellowship with Adam and Eve. But something happened one day. God expected to find them, but this time they were hiding (as you know, it is not only children that hide when they do wrong). Why were they hiding? They were hiding because they had disobeyed their Almighty and benevolent God, eating of the only tree in the garden from which they were forbidden to eat. Here was the beginning of sin. Sin is disobedience. Sin is rebellion. Sin is any wrongdoing or failure to do what is right. Because we are all the progeny of Adam and Eve, we are sinners by nature; but lest we blame our first parents for everything, we should remember that like them we are also sinners by choice. In fact, their sins and ours lead us to physical and spiritual death (Genesis 2:16-17 ; 1Corinthians 15:22 ; Romans 6:23 ; Revelation 21:8).

When our original parents sinned by disobeying God, their eyes were open to good, evil, shame and guilt. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent for their sin. God placed curses on the man, the woman, and the serpent. Then God sacrificed animals and used their hides to cover the shame and nakedness of our first parents (to be consistent with later Old Testament sacrifices, and as a picture of Christ, these may have been unblemished yearling lambs). Today, God provides us a better sacrifice; through Jesus He has provided a cleansing of our sin (Hebrews 10:10). Through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us we can have our guilt removed and be cleansed of our sins (1John 1:7, more... ). After our relationship to God is restored we have eternal spiritual life. This restored relationship with God makes it possible to fulfill our purpose in this world: to give God glory and pleasure.

Lessons to live by:

•  The magnificent and transcendent Almighty God created the universe. God is all-powerful so he can help us with all the small or large difficulties we encounter.

•  God is good; he plans and provides for our every need.

•  We are specially created in God's likeness.

•  We were created for God's pleasure. God wants to have a personal relationship with us. (more...)

•  Listening to Satan (the serpent, Revelation 12:9) and disobeying God ruins our relationship with him and leads to all kinds of evil and death. We need cleansing of our sins to have a renewed relationship with our holy God. This cleansing is provided for in Jesus Christ, God's Son (John 3:16 ).

Today's Bible Memory Verse:

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him,” (NIV).

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