How is Genesis Arranged?

How is Genesis Arranged?

Genesis 4:1-2 – Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.

This week, as we start to move on from our first parents, Adam and Eve, to their kids and throughout the next generation, I thought it would be helpful to take a bird’s eye look at how the great book of Genesis is arranged. Fans of great literature have always enjoyed Genesis for good reason. The book lays out into the following thematic sections:

First, Genesis 1-11 records God calling Creation into existence and Genesis 12-50 records God calling people into covenant relationship. The storyline of Genesis is God as Father making this world as a home for His family.

Second, both the major and minor sections of Genesis are introduced by the refrain “these are the generations…” The major sections beginning with this refrain are found in 2:4, 6:9, 11:27, 25:19, and 37:2 and the minor sections within the larger sections that begin with this refrain are found in 5:1, 10:1, 11:10, 25:12, and 36:1. These clues from Moses help the reader understand the shift in the storyline much like a road sign that tells a driver that a turn is coming up.

Third, in each section of Genesis, some aspect of God’s character is emphasized:

  • Genesis 1-2 – As Creator, God made everything and everyone
  • Genesis 3:1-6:4 – As Redeemer, God is the just judge of sinners and Savior of His people
  • Genesis 6:5-11:9 – As just, God is Holy, and He punishes sin and rewards repentance
  • Genesis 11:10-25:18 – As loving, God is relational and calls people into covenant relationship and promises to bless them
  • Genesis 25:19-28:9 – As faithful, God provides for His people to fulfill His promises to them
  • Genesis 28:10-36:43 – As sovereign, God elects and protects His people
  • Genesis 37-50 – As Lord, God accomplishes His good purposes despite human sin

The primary focus of Genesis is God. The secondary focus of Genesis is people as we are His priority, not unlike a Father who is devoted to His children. Practically, this may indicate that the first two things we need to learn when we study the Bible is who God is and who we are.

As the story of Genesis unfolds, new things are learned over the course of time about God. How have you seen the same thing in your own life where, in various seasons, you learn new aspects of God’s character?

To help you study the book of Genesis with us, we have the first of three free e-book study guides here.

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Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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