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NIV Stewardship Study BibleDiscover God's Design for Life, the Environment, Finances, Generosity, and Eternity
ZondervanCopyright © 2009 Stewardship Council
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Chapter OneSTEWARDSHIP IN GENESIS
The book of Genesis details the account of God's creation of the heavens and the earth, humanity and all that exists. We read of humanity's disobedience and tragic fall into a condition of sin and misery (3:1-6), but redemption is foreshadowed (3:15), and the beginning of the covenant relationship between God and Abraham and his offspring is described (12:3). Genesis supplies some of the Bible's most foundational stories: Noah and the flood (chs. 6-9), the Tower of Babel (ch. 11), the history of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (chs. 11-49), and the story of Joseph and his family's move to Egypt (chs. 37-50).
The book of Genesis establishes stewardship principles that lay the foundation for God's interaction with humanity and creation. First, as Genesis opens, God establishes his ownership over all things as Creator and Sustainer of the visible and invisible universe. Our responsibility to the creation is outlined as God places humans in an exalted role over all that he has made (1:28-30). This position of honor brings with it an obligation and duty to care for the earth (2:15). A second principle relates to God's covenant relationship with his people and with creation as its providential provider. Genesis establishes the integral concept of our stewardship of work. While God does not need our effort, he created humanity to partner with him in work of eternal significance, and we should work joyfully, knowing we are fulfilling a divine plan. Additionally, Genesis 18:17-19 presents the stewardship principle implicit in the definition of Israel's mission: blessing others out of gratitude for our abundant blessings. In Genesis, God creates humanity for relationship on four levels: our relationship to our Creator, to ourselves, to our neighbor and to the created world. By creating us in this relational way, God forms us in his image and establishes the scope and content of our call to be God's stewards.
As you read Genesis, you will be introduced to characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such as impatience (ch. 16). In Genesis you will meet Abel (4:3-4), Noah (6:5-8), Abraham (11:31-12:3), Abraham's chief servant (24:1-67) and Joseph (41:15-40). You will also read about God, creation's author and authority (1:1-26), sin's effect on stewardship (3:7-20), God's covenant with creation (8:21-9:17), the first example of tithing (14:18-20), giving it all to God (22:1-2), why we worship and give (28:16-22), and radical generosity (45:16-24).
No book is more important to our understanding of stewardship than Genesis. God makes it clear that, above all, he longs for us to love him and desires for stewardship of all we are and all we have to flow from our love for him. Stewardship is ultimately a reflection of our relationship with the living God. For all of us, stewardship is rooted in the truth of Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God ..."
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was a form less and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the dark ness. 5 God called the light "day," and the dark ness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning - the second day.
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land pro duce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, ac cording to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning - the third day.
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to sep a rate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sea sons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning - the fourth day.
20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and in crease in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds in crease on the earth." 23 And there was evening, and there was morning - the fifth day.
24 And God said, "Let the land pro duce living creatures according to their kinds: live stock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the live stock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let us v make man in our image, in our like ness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the live stock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and in crease in number; fill the earth and sub due it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground - every thing that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day.
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, be cause on it he rest ed from all the work of creating that he had done.
Adam and Eve
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens - 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground - 7 the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground - trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was sep a rated into four head waters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the en tire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
18 The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suit able for him."
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the live stock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suit able helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
"This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."
24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will be come one flesh.
25 The man and his wife were both naked, a and they felt no shame.
The Fall of Man
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"
4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for them selves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?"
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid be cause I was naked; so I hid."
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eat en from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
20 Adam named his wife Eve, be cause she would be come the mother of all the living.
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, "The man has now be come like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be al lowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Excerpted from NIV Stewardship Study Bible Copyright © 2009 by Stewardship Council. Excerpted by permission.
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