Week 1

  1. Introduction – Helpful hints
    1. Do the reading – make it a priority.  Do not get hung up on things you do not understand or things you cannot pronounce, do you best and move ahead.  When your daily reading is done, then you may go back and explore.
    2. Get the big picture.  We are reading through the Bible together, not doing a one-year Bible study on the whole thing – that would be impossible. 
    3. Consider using a study Bible.  If you have time to do more than read the text, a study Bible can be helpful to your understanding.  Just remember, the notes in a study Bible are the editor’s opinion and not inspired scripture.  If you are pressed for time, avoid a study Bible so you cannot get distracted. 
    4. Make notes.  Think about things you’d like to contribute, or questions you would like to ask in your group session. 
    5. Listen.  Reading is best, but audio Bibles are available in almost every translation, and many are free.  Listening in addition to reading is very powerful, and if you do not have time to read, you can listen while you do other things like commuting.  Check the app store for your smart phone for an audio Bible. 
  2. Genesis 1-15
    1. Genre – Genres of the Bible include historical narrative, law codes, wisdom literature, poetry/song, prophecy, gospel, letters, and apocryphal.  We’ll cover these as we come to them. 
      1. Genesis 1-15 is historical narrative with a couple of very brief poems thrown in (note how your Bible formats this differently).
      2. Historical narrative demands that we interpret these things literally.  In historical narrative, the author (Moses, inspired by God) seeks to relate factual and accurate information about what actually happened.  Parables and symbolism have very definite indicators, and those indicators are not present in Genesis 1-15.
    2. Creation, Genesis 1-2,
      1. There is no linguistic indicator that suggests we should take this any other way than literally.  Obviously a six-day creation raises some questions, but let’s keep in mind who’s doing the creating – speaking things into existence!  Think about it – doesn’t stretching out the creation raise even more questions?  Could a partially formed created order have any sense to it at all?
      2. There is no truly scientific data that contradicts this account (observational or experimental data).
      3. Evolutionary theory puts death before sin – contradicting a key Bible theme – see Romans 5.
    3. Mankind
      1. Man as God’s image-bearer.  Man as God’s image and likeness indicates sonship, lordship over the created order as God is Lord over all, and other various attributes of man that distinguish him from animals. 
      2. Man’s work – to tend the garden, and by implication, spread the garden conditions across the whole earth.  We were made to work and relate to God.
      3. Order of the family – Adam was created first and given the rule to not eat of the tree.  Eve ate first, then Adam, but the responsibility is pinned on Adam.  The mane is established as head of the household, but this does not make him more important for both are the image of God.  People who see authoritative position as inherently more important are thinking materially.  Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Romans 5.
      4. The curse explains much of the trouble today.  Prior to sin – no scarcity or poverty.  The world changes radically in Genesis 3, 9, and 11. 
      5. From this point forward, mankind’s tendency is sin.  Notice the shame, the immediate blame game, and the fear of the presence of God.  Could it be the saddest question in the Bible, “Where are you?” 
      6. Repentance and faith:  Adam and Eve and Cain are confronted with their sin, and seem to have opportunity to repent, but do not.  However, along the way, it appears that some believe God’s resolve to fulfill the promise of Genesis 3:15.  There seems to be glimmers of faith and hope – see Genesis 4:25 and 5:29. 
    4. Satan – notice his strategy is to question and ultimately deny the Word of God – leading people astray by their own desires.  The tactic never changes. Notice his destiny – to be defeated by the seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15.  From this point until the New Testament – he is basically behind the scenes, but active in deceiving the world and attacking the people of God by denying God’s Word, and leading people astray by their own desires.  At every turn, he is trying to prevent the coming of the Seed of the Woman (Jesus).  See Rev. 12:3-9. 
    5. Covenant:  God had a covenant with Adam (mankind) and he re-established it with Noah.  Then God makes another covenant (within the original) with Abraham.  It will flow through Israel and David, then will become the New Covenant. 
    6. Patterns:  Much of what happens here is paralleled in the book of Revelation.  Sin comes in, then goes out.  The tree of life reappears with open access.  All that sin brought forth into the world is gone in the New Heaven and the New Earth.  The separation ends.  So the material between Genesis and Revelation is an explanation of how God fulfills Genesis 3:15.  See if you can find more parallels. 
    7. Christ:  Genesis 3:15 is called the protoevangelium or the first gospel/good news.  The Seed of the Woman of course is Christ.  Christ is immediately foreshadowed in Genesis 3:21 as an animal was sacrificed to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve just as Christ was sacrificed to pay the price for our sins. 
    8. Salvation:  In the Old Testament just like the New Testament, salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Genesis 15:6 shows this, and is explained in Romans 4 and Hebrews 11.  True faith of course always has the result of actions.    
  3. Psalms
    1. Psalm 19 – Creation and the Law both speak about God.  See Romans 1:18-20.  Pray these Psalms as praises and petitions to God.  What a powerful prayer is Psalm 19:14.  Try praying this every day this week!
    2. Psalm 104 – Indeed, we should see in all things beautiful the glory of God.  How would you pray this Psalm? 
    3. Psalm 148 – Another Psalm of praise.  Remember these Psalms are inspired by the Holy Spirit.  They are instructive in Theology, examples as praise and petition, and a touch point for us with the Word of God.  So often we’ll find in here expressions we can relate to. 
  4. Mark 1-5
    1. We’ll spend more time on Mark in week 2 because the beginning of Genesis was so critical. 
    2. John the Baptist – the predicted forerunner to prepare the way for Christ.  He is truly in the style of an Old Testament prophet. 
    3. Authority – Jesus shows his authority over demons, illness, nature, and people – calling his disciples.  Jesus did miracles not to suggest that we are all physically healed in him, but rather that he has the authority to forgive sins – a far more significant problem than any physical illness.  Mark 2:3-12.  His miracles testify to his identity. 
    4. Responses – Note the varying responses to Jesus.  Astonishment.  Resistance.  Obedience.  Praise.  His family even thought he might be crazy! 
    5. Parables – try to understand his parable of the sower according to Jesus’ own interpretation.  This helps understand the ones that follow as well. 

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