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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Notes for Genesis

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“The Seed Plot of the Bible”


NAME: Genesis
The name Genesis is taken from the Septuagint. The Septuagint (LXX) is a Greek translation made of the Old Testament in Alexandria at the order of Ptolemy Philadelphus about 285-247 B.C. Josephus tells us that this translation was made by 72 priests (hence its name) in 72 days. Six priests were from each of the 12 tribes. Christ and Paul quoted from this translation of the Old Testament. It is older than any of the Hebrew texts extant today.
Genesis is the book of beginnings and the families — the beginning of creation, man, woman, sabbath, marriage, family, work, sin, murder, sacrifice, races, languages, culture, civilization, and redemption.
Genesis means “origin,” “source,” “birth.” The meaning closest to that of the original is “birth.” It is derived from the Greek verb gennao, which means “to beget” or “give birth to.” Genesis is the book of beginnings and sources, but more particularly it is the book of births — this is often overlooked. It is the book of generations. According to this understanding of Genesis, it falls into two natural divisions:

  1. Genesis 2:4 — The Book of the Birth of Heaven and the Earth (from Septuagint)
  2. Genesis 5:1 — The Book of the Birth of Men

Simply stated, the Book of Genesis is the record of the “family tree” of the Jews. It is the genealogy of heaven, earth, and man. Even the new birth is suggested in Genesis 3:15, where is the first mention of a Redeemer.

OUTLINE (according to genealogies):

Gen. 1:12:6 Book of generations of heavens and earth — divine poem of creation — God’s creative work
Gen. 2:76:8 Book of generations of Adam (men, anthropoi) — Adam was created, but children born to him
Gen. 6:99:29 Generations of Noah
Gen. 10:111:9 Generations of sons of Noah
Gen. 11:10-26 Generations of sons of Shem (Gentiles)
Gen. 11:2725:11 Generations of Terah
Gen. 25:12-18 Generations of Ishmael
Gen. 25:1935:29 Generations of Isaac (why Abraham left out, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” cf. Genesis 21:12; Hebrews 11:8, 9; Romans 9:7)
Gen. 36:137:1 Generations of Esau
Gen. 37:250:26 Generations of Jacob (genealogy of rejected line given first, chosen line last, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:46 for principle in giving genealogies)

KEY: Generations

PURPOSE: To give us the families — Genesis 12:3; 22:18; 28:13, 14; Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:6, 9, 16.
The first 11 chapters cover a minimum of 2000 years. It could easily be a thousand times longer. From chapter 12 to chapter 50, the time is 350 years. This should arrest our attention.

11 chapters cover 2000 years, plus.
39 chapters cover only 350 years.

Certainly the record slows down at chapter 12. Better stated, the first 11 chapters constitute an introduction to the remainder of the book and the Bible. This chart may prove helpful.

Chart of creation to Jesus Christ


Abraham is more important to God than the universe. It is being only fair to an author to place the emphasis where he places it.

In the New Testament, God indicates emphasis in the same way. The four Gospels record the main events in the life of Jesus Christ. Examine the following facts:

  • There are 89 chapters in the 4 Gospels:
  • 4 chapters cover the first 30 years of His life,
  • 85 chapters cover the last 3 years of His life,
  • 27 chapters cover the last 8 days of His life.

Which is more important to the writers, judging from the space given to each — the first 30 years or the last 8 days? Four chapters cover the first 30 years and 27 chapters cover the last 8 days. When you turn to the Epistles, you discover why the emphasis is on the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). These facts constitute the gospel; your salvation rests upon them. Do you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and that He was raised for your justification? This is essential.

One of the harshest and most frequently heard criticisms of the Bible concerns the creation account. It is pointed out that other nations of antiquity had such a story. This is true, but a comparison of the Genesis record with one of the best of a secular nation, the Babylonian tablets of creation, will show the superiority of the Genesis record. Here all is contrast:

Babylonian Bible
Tablets begin with chaos Bible begins with cosmos, perfection
Heavenly bodies are gods Heavenly bodies are matter
Polytheistic theology (many gods) Monotheistic truth (one God)
Work of a craftsman God spoke
Characterized by puerility and grotesqueness Grand and solemn realities of the Creator God who is holy and a Savior
Out of harmony with science In accord with science (many scientists are believers)
The Pentateuch ← Prior Section
Outline for Genesis Next Section →
Introduction ← Prior Book
Notes for Exodus Next Book →
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