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NIV/The Message Parallel Study Bible
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Chapter One Introduction to GENESIS
First, God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don't have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God.
Genesis gets us off on the right foot. Genesis pulls us into a sense of reality that is God-shaped and God-filled. It gives us a vocabulary for speaking accurately and comprehensively about our lives, where we come from and where we are going, what we think and what we do, the people we live with and how to get along with them, the troubles we find ourselves in and the blessings that keep arriving.
Genesis uses words to make a foundation that is solid and true. Everything we think and do and feel is material in a building operation in which we are engaged all our life long. There is immense significance in everything that we do. Our speech and our actions and our prayers are all, every detail of them, involved in this vast building operation comprehensively known as the kingdom of God. But we don't build the foundation. The foundation is given. The foundation is firmly in place.
Jesus concluded his most famous teaching by telling us that there are two ways to go about our lives-we can build on sand or we can build on rock. No matter how wonderfully we build, if we build on sand it will all fall to pieces like a house of cards. We build on what is already there, on the rock. Genesis is a verbal witness to that rock: God acts creatively; God intervenes and graciously judges, God calls us to a life of faith, God makes covenant with us.
But Genesis presents none of this to us as an abstract, bloodless "truth" or "principle." Instead we are given a succession of stories with named people, people who loved and quarreled, believed and doubted, had children and married, experienced sin and grace. If we pay attention, we find that we ourselves are living variations on these very stories: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and his sons, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Joseph and his brothers. The stories show clearly that we are never outsiders or spectators to anything in "heaven and earth." God doesn't work impersonally from space; he works with us where we are, as he finds us.
No matter what we do, whether good or bad, we continue to be part of everything that God is doing. Nobody can drop out-there's no place to drop out to. So we may as well get started and take our place in the story-at the beginning.
GENESIS at a Glance
Author * Moses Audience * God's chosen people, the Israelites Date * Probably between 1446 and 1406 B.C. Theme * Genesis is a book of beginnings that introduces central themes of the Bible, such as creation and redemption.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was a form less and empty, dark ness 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 sep a rat ed the light from the darkness. 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 sep a rate 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, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed ac cording to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it ac cording 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 sep a rate light from dark ness. 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 fl y 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, ac cording to their kinds, and every winged bird ac cording 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: livestock, 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 livestock 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 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, a 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.
THE MESSAGE GENESIS
Heaven and Earth
1.1-2 1 First this: God created the Heavens and Earth-all you see, all you don't see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God's Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
1.3-5 God spoke: "Light!" And light appeared. God saw that light was good and separated light from dark. God named the light Day, he named the dark Night. It was evening, it was morning- Day One. 1.6-8 God spoke: "Sky! In the middle of the waters; separate water from water!" God made sky. He separated the water under sky from the water above sky. And there it was: he named sky the Heavens; It was evening, it was morning- Day Two.
1.9-10 God spoke: "Separate! Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place; Land, appear!" And there it was. God named the land Earth. He named the pooled water Ocean. God saw that it was good.
1.11-13 God spoke: "Earth, green up! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants, Every sort of fruit-bearing tree." And there it was. Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties, And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. God saw that it was good. It was evening, it was morning- Day Three.
1.14-15 God spoke: "Lights! Come out! Shine in Heaven's sky! Separate Day from Night. Mark seasons and days and years, Lights in Heaven's sky to give light to Earth." And there it was.
1.16-19 God made two big lights, the larger to take charge of Day, The smaller to be in charge of Night; and he made the stars. God placed them in the heavenly sky to light up Earth And oversee Day and Night, to separate light and dark. God saw that it was good. It was evening, it was morning- Day Four.
1.20-23 God spoke: "Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life! Birds, fl y through the sky over Earth!" God created the huge whales, all the swarm of life in the waters, And every kind and species of flying birds. God saw that it was good. God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Ocean! Birds, reproduce on Earth!" It was evening, it was morning- Day Five.
1.24-25 God spoke: "Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind: cattle and reptiles and wild animals-all kinds." And there it was: wild animals of every kind, Cattle of all kinds, every sort of reptile and bug. God saw that it was good.
1.26-28 God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth." God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God's nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth."
1.29-30 Then God said, "I've given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth And every kind of fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food. To all animals and all birds, everything that moves and breathes, I give whatever grows out of the ground for food." And there it was.
1.31 God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good! It was evening, it was morning- Day Six.
Excerpted from NIV/The Message Parallel Study Bible
Copyright © 2008 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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