The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Genesis 1-11: Believing the Simple Truth of God's Word

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In a cluttered and confusing world, there’s value in getting back to basics. The first eleven chapters of Genesis offer foundational truths on faith, sin, and relationships—both with God and others. This study guide provides a panoramic view of the beginning of life, while exploring God’s basic values for His people.  


Wiersbe Bible Studies deliver practical, in-depth guides to selected books of the Bible. Featuring insights from Wiersbe’s Be Basic commentary, this eight-week study features engaging questions and practical applications that will help you connect God’s word with your life.   

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781434703781
  • Publisher: Cook, David C.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2012
  • Series: Wiersbe Bible Study Series Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 909,262
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books, including the popular “BE” series of Bible commentaries, which has sold more than four million copies. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Read an Excerpt


Believing the Simple Truth of God's Word

By Warren W. Wiersbe

David C. Cook

Copyright © 2012 Warren W. Wiersbe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0857-8


God Speaks


Before you begin ...

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read Genesis 1. This lesson references chapters 1 and 2 in Be Basic. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

What was happening before God spoke the universe into existence? That may seem like an impractical hypothetical question, like "How many angels can stand on the point of a pin?" but it isn't. After all, God doesn't act arbitrarily, and the fact that He created something suggests that He must have had some magnificent purposes in mind. What, then, was the situation before Genesis 1:1, and what does it teach us about God and ourselves?

Be Basic, page 15

1. What can we know about things that preceded the events in Genesis? What does Genesis itself teach us about God's plan before the earth existed?

More to Consider: Moses said it best: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law" (Deut. 29:29). Read 1 Corinthians 13:9. How does this verse apply to our understanding of God's role in the universe prior to the creation of our world?

2. Choose one verse or phrase from Genesis 1 that stands out to you. This could be something you're intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.

Going Deeper

From the Commentary

The first eleven chapters of Genesis deal with humanity in general and focus on four great events: creation (1—2), the fall of man and its consequences (3—5), the flood (6—9), and the rebellion at Babel (10—11). The rest of Genesis focuses on Israel in particular (12—50) and recounts the lives of four great men: Abraham (12:1—25:18), Isaac (25:19—27:46), Jacob (28—36), and Joseph (37—50). We call these men the "patriarchs" because they were the founding fathers of the Hebrew nation.

As you study Genesis, keep in mind that Moses didn't write a detailed history of each person or event. He recorded only those things that helped him achieve his purpose, which was to explain the origin of things, especially the origin of the Jewish nation. Genesis 1—11 is a record of failure, but with the call of Abraham, God made a new beginning. Man's sin had brought God's curse (3:14, 17; 4:11), but God's gracious covenant with Abraham brought blessing to the whole world (12:1–3).

Be Basic, page 21

3. Why was it important for Moses to record the origin of things? What significance did this have to the Jewish nation? What "holes" are there in this record of life's beginning? How does the Bible fill in some of those holes for us?

From the Commentary

Some people call the president of the United States "the most powerful leader in the world," but more than one former president would disagree. Ex-presidents have confessed that their executive orders weren't always obeyed and that there wasn't much they could do about it.

For example, during President Nixon's first term in office, he ordered the removal of some ugly temporary buildings on the mall, eyesores that had been there since the World War I era, but it took many months before the order was obeyed. When journalists began writing about "the imperial presidency," Nixon called the whole idea "ludicrous." Presidents may speak and sign official orders, but that's no guarantee that anything will happen.

However, when God speaks, something happens! "For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast" (Ps. 33:9 NKJV).

Be Basic, page 27

4. What does God's power reveal about His character? In what ways do the events described in Genesis 1 inspire worship and awe? What should our response be to a God who has this kind of power and command over all living things?

From Today's World

The science of evolution has been taught in schools for decades. And for nearly as long, Christians have fought for the right to include the creation story in curriculum too. The battle has become a broader one in recent years as the theories of Intelligent Design have come to the fore, offering another (and not exclusively Christian) take on the beginning of everything. Opponents and proponents on all sides of the arguments are passionate about their beliefs, and this discussion isn't likely to abate anytime soon.

5. Why is there such passion in the evolution versus creation battle? How have the arguments changed over the years? What is science's response to creationism? What is Christianity's response to evolution? Can you land somewhere in between and still be a Christian? Explain.

From the Commentary

Three books of the Bible open with "beginnings": Genesis 1:1; Mark 1:1; and John 1:1. Each of these beginnings is important. "In the beginning was the Word" (John 1:1) takes us into eternity past when Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, existed as the eternal Son of God. John wasn't suggesting that Jesus had a beginning. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who existed before all things because He made all things (John 1:3; Col. 1:16–17; Heb. 1:2). Therefore, John's "beginning" antedates Genesis 1:1.

The gospel of Mark opens with, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." The message of the gospel didn't start with the ministry of John the Baptist, because the good news of God's grace was announced in Genesis 3:15. As Hebrews 11 bears witness, God's promise was believed by people throughout Old Testament history, and those who believed were saved. (See Gal. 3:1–9 and Rom. 4.) The ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, was the beginning of the proclamation of the message concerning Jesus Christ of Nazareth (see Acts 1:21–22 and 10:37).

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1) refers to the dateless past when God brought the universe into existence out of nothing (Ps. 33:6; Rom. 4:17; Heb. 1:3). Genesis 1:1–2 is the declaration that God created the universe; the detailed explanation of the six days of God's creative work is given in the rest of the chapter.

Be Basic, page 28

6. The Hebrew name for God in Genesis 1 is Elohim. This is a Hebrew word that emphasizes God's majesty and power. The New International Version and most other versions translate this word simply as "God." Underline the times God is called Elohim in Genesis 1. How is God's power revealed in Genesis 1? Why is it particularly significant that God created the universe "out of nothing"? What has humankind created "out of nothing"?

From the Commentary

God commanded the light to shine and then separated the light from the darkness. But how could there be light when the light-bearers aren't mentioned until the fourth day (Gen. 1:14–19)? Since we aren't told that this light came from any of the luminaries God created, it probably came from God Himself who is light (John 1:5) and wears light as a garment (Ps. 104:2; Hab. 3:3–4). The eternal city will enjoy endless light without the help of the sun or moon (Rev. 22:5), so why couldn't there be light at the beginning of time before the luminaries were made?

Life as we know it could not exist without the light of the sun. Paul saw in this creative act the work of God in the new creation, the salvation of the lost. "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6 NKJV).

Be Basic, pages 29–30

7. Light is a familiar theme throughout Scripture. How do the references to light in Genesis 1 set the stage for the way light is used later in God's Word? What does it mean that God Himself is light? Read John 1:4–5. What does this passage reveal about light?

From the Commentary

God put an expanse between the upper waters and the lower waters and made "heaven," what we know as "the sky." It seems that these waters were a vaporous "blanket" that covered the original creative mass. When separated from the landmass, the lower waters eventually became the ocean and the seas, and the upper waters played a part in the flood during Noah's day (Gen. 7:11–12; 9:11–15).

God gathered the waters and caused the dry land to appear, thus making "earth" and "seas." Israel's pagan neighbors believed all kinds of myths about the heavens, the earth, and the seas; but Moses made it clear that Elohim, the one true God, was Lord of them all. For the second time, God said that what He had done was "good" (v. 10; "light" being the first, v. 4). God's creation is still good, even though it travails because of sin (Rom. 8:20–22) and has been ravaged and exploited by sinful people.

Be Basic, page 31

8. Why is it important that God calls His creation "good"? How does that affect the way we ought to treat it? How well are Christians caring for God's creation today? Is it possible to strip away the political from the spiritual when it comes to caring for the earth? Explain.

More to Consider: In the King James Version, the word translated "firmament" ("expanse" in NIV) means "to beat out." Why would Moses use this sort of word to describe the sky? How does his description of creation in Genesis contradict common pagan mythology that the sky was some kind of "solid covering"?

From the Commentary

Into the expanse of the sky God placed the heavenly bodies and assigned them their work: to divide the day and night and to provide "signs" to mark off days, years, and seasons. Light had already appeared on the first day, but now it was concentrated in these heavenly bodies.

God had created the sky and the waters, and now He filled them abundantly with living creatures. He made birds to fly in the sky and aquatic creatures to frolic in the seas. "O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions—This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great" (Ps. 104:24–25 NKJV).

Be Basic, pages 32–33

9. How is the orderliness of God's creation significant? What does it teach us about God? Why did God choose to bless His creation? What did that blessing mean for the creation at that time? What does it mean for us today?

From the Commentary

God had formed the sky and filled it with heavenly luminaries and flying birds. He had formed the seas and filled the waters with various aquatic creatures. Creation reaches its climax when on the sixth day He filled the land with animal life and then created the first man who, with his wife, would have dominion over the earth and its creatures.

The creation of the first man is seen as a very special occasion, for there's a "consultation" prior to the event.

Be Basic, pages 33–34

10. Who is the "our" God refers to in Genesis 1:26? What does it mean that we are created in God's image? What does this tell us about God? About His intent for humankind?

Looking Inward

Take a moment to reflect on all that you've explored thus far in this study of Genesis 1. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.

Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don't press for people to speak if they're uncomfortable doing so.

11. Do you believe Genesis is a literal telling of the creation story? Why or why not? Is your faith strengthened or weakened by challenges to the literal belief of Genesis? What is the most important message for you in God's creation story?

12. What bothers you most about the biblical story of creation? What bothers you most about the science of evolution? Where do you stand in this discussion? How does this ongoing controversy affect you personally? How can you use it as an opportunity to grow in faith? As an opportunity to share your faith with others?

13. How does being created in God's image affect the way you view yourself? How can you treat other people as bearers of God's image? Are non-Christians made in God's image? What about people who are disabled or even comatose? How should your answers to these questions affect the way you treat everyone you meet?

Going Forward

14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you'd like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It's better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don't try).

Do you want to treat other people more as bearers of God's image? Be specific. Go back through Genesis 1 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.

Real-Life Application Ideas: The first chapter of Genesis is the basis for our understanding of the beginning of life. However, it's often in stark contrast to the beliefs taught in school science classes. Do a little research to see what's being taught in your local schools. If you agree with the methods and content, send a note of thanks to the appropriate administrator. If you think they are lacking, send a letter expressing your thoughts (in a loving and kind way).

Seeking Help

15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you've noted in the Going Forward section. Be honest about your desires and fears.

Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you've read and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read Genesis 2. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapter 3, "First Things First," in Be Basic.


First Things


Before you begin ...

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read Genesis 2. This lesson references chapter 3 in Be Basic. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

If you could have been present to witness any event in Bible history, which event would you choose?

I once asked that question of several well-known Christian leaders, and the answers were varied: the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the flood, Israel crossing the Red Sea, and even David slaying Goliath. But one of them said, "I would like to have been present when God finished His creation. It must have been an awesome sight!"

Some scientists claim that if we could travel out into space fast enough and far enough, we could "catch up" with the light beams from the past and watch history unfold before our eyes. Perhaps the Lord will let us do that when we get to heaven. I hope so, because I would like to see the extraordinary events Moses described in Genesis 1 and 2.

Be Basic, page 39

1. What are the "firsts" that Genesis 2 introduces to us? How do the events in Genesis 2 line up with the events in chapter 1? Why might some people think these are two different creation accounts?

2. Choose one verse or phrase from Genesis 2 that stands out to you. This could be something you're intrigued by, something that makes you uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.

Going Deeper

From the Commentary

The word "Sabbath" isn't found in Genesis 2:1–3, but Moses is writing about the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. The phrase "seventh day" is mentioned three times in verses 2–3. "Sabbath" comes from a Hebrew word shabbat that means "to cease working, to rest" and is related to the Hebrew word for "seven." We need to consider three different Sabbaths found in the Bible.


Excerpted from THE WIERSBE BIBLE STUDY SERIES: GENESIS 1â?"11 by Warren W. Wiersbe. Copyright © 2012 Warren W. Wiersbe. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to Genesis 1-11 7

How to Use This Study 9

Lesson 1 God Speaks (Genesis 1) 13

Lesson 2 First Things (Genesis 2) 29

Lesson 3 Paradise Lost (Genesis 3) 43

Lesson 4 Cain (Genesis 4:1-24) 57

Lesson 5 Faith and Family (Genesis 4:25-7:24) 71

Lesson 6 Beginnings (Genesis 8) 87

Lesson 7 The Rest of the Story (Genesis 9-10) 101

Lesson 8 God at Work (Genesis 11) 119

Bonus Lesson Summary and Review 135

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