Genesis 1:1-51NIV New International Version Translations
Description: C:\Users\Bob\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\A9JPJ3U1\MP900179286.jpg In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless 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 darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
The foundation of all religion being laid in our relation to God as our Creator, it was fit that the book of divine revelations which was intended to be the guide, support, and rule, of religion in the world, should begin, as it does, with a plain and full account of the creation of the world. Concerning this the pagan philosophers wretchedly blundered, and became vain in their imaginations, some asserting the world’s eternity and self-existence, others ascribing it to a fortuitous concourse of atoms: thus “the world by wisdom knew not God,” but took a great deal of pains to lose him. The holy scripture therefore, designing by revealed religion to maintain and improve natural religion, to repair the decays of it and supply the defects of it, since the fall, for the reviving of the precepts of the law of nature, lays down, at first, this principle of the unclouded light of nature, That this world was, in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wisdom and power, who was himself before all time and all worlds.
‘In the beginning’. The Hebrew word for ‘beginning’ here is also the Hebrew title of this book. The usual English title, Genesis, is from a Greek word for ‘beginning’. (Greek is the language that the people in Greece speak. And the New Testament writers wrote in Greek.)
Verse 1 – ‘God’. God has always existed. And he will exist always. There has never been a time before God. And there will never be a time after God. The Hebrew word here for God is ‘Elohim’, which is plural. But the Hebrew word for ‘created’ means that only one person did it. This is because there is one God.
God ‘created’. The Hebrew word here for ‘create’ means to make something from nothing. Only God makes something from nothing. The writer uses that word in verse , and he uses it in verses 2 and 27 also.
Verse 2 – The earth had ‘no shape’ and it was ‘empty’. Until God works, there is only confusion. There is no plan and so there is no system.
‘Everything was dark’. This is like a description or picture for us. It shows what it is like to live without God.
God’s Spirit ‘moved gently’ over the waters. Think of this as a bird hovers, staying in the same place in the air but still e moving their wings. God’s Spirit also does this, like a bird that is looking after its young. That was because God cares about his creation and wants to protect it.
‘The waters’. This could mean dark gases or a ‘cloud that consists of darkness’ or it might mean darkness and waters. The older English texts say ‘the face of the deep’, which means the surface of the sea.
Verse 3 – ‘God said’. The words that God speaks are powerful. So when God ordered something to happen, that thing happened immediately.
Let there be ‘light’. We need light in order to live. And when we have light, we can see. We can see what God creates. Light is also like a description or picture for us. It shows what real life with God is like. And it shows what God’s blessing is like.
Verse 4 – ‘Good’. Everything that God does is good. That includes every part of his work.
Verse 5 – ‘The first day’. We do not know how long a day was. The Jewish day started at sunset. And the first day consisted of evening and morning. So probably it was like our day. But in the Bible, the word ‘day’ can also mean something special that happens. It means that in the phrase: ‘the day of the Lord’. It also means that in the phrase: ‘the day of judgment’
He ‘named’ the light. When a person gave a name to something, that action often meant that the person ruled over that thing.
Items for Discussion
- Why do you think that science has such an issue with this description of the formation of our world?
- Why is it so important to have a “day” that is formal, predictable, measurable, and separated with a time of light and darkness?
- How do these verses help establish in your own mind that God is real?
- What can you find in human nature that is similar to daylight and to nighttime?
- How does the concept of creation bring us closer to our God?
- Can you believe in God and not in Creation as Genesis describes it?
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 0 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
The Book of Mark is the shortest Gospel. Like the other Gospels, it tells us about the things that Jesus did. And it tells us some things that he taught. The writer of the book was the Apostle Mark. He belonged to a family who lived in Jerusalem. Mark became a Christian and he joined the church there. Then he travelled to tell people about Jesus. Mark worked with both Paul and Peter. Mark wanted to help people across the world about Jesus and wanted those who never met Jesus to know God’s good news.
Before Jesus began his special work for God, there was John the Baptist. Mark uses words from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 to describe John’s work. As people prepared the roads before a king came, John prepared people before Jesus came. John told them that they were doing many wrong things and must change their lives, because the Lord was coming.
John did not go into the towns but stayed near the river Jordan. There, people came to him from all over Israel, listening to the words that he spoke. They believed that he was right and asked him to baptize them.
Jesus was among the people who came and John baptized him. Then something happened that surprised John. The sky seemed to open. The Holy Spirit came from heaven and came upon Jesus. God spoke from heaven confirming that Jesus was his son.
Items for Discussion
- What modern examples can you think of where we have an introduction before the main event?
- Why is an introduction helpful?
- John the Baptist was a strange person yet he told people they were sinners, generating a response of repentance – why do you think the people responded in this way?
- Why do you think that the people who met John the Baptist would request to be baptized? Or in other words, what is significant about the act of baptism?
- In what way does the baptism of Jesus, the appearance of the Holy Spirit and our verses in Genesis support each other?
- In what ways should we, the modern Christian, be introducing Christ to the world?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations