Our church midweek Bible study group was set the challenge to look at the first three chapters of Genesis and note down up to seven words from each chapter that struck us as significant or ‘jumped off the page’ as we read.
Most people chose a list of significant single words but when I looked at Genesis 1 I kept seeing the phrase ‘… and God saw that it was good.’ – five times in all, verses 10, 12, 18, 21 and 25 plus verse 31 which says ‘… God looked at all He had made and saw that it was very good.’
Looking at the challenge in this way I found a phrase for Chapter 2 and then two phrases for Chapter 3. I found the second short phrase for Chapter 3 (‘Where are you?’) particularly poignant. It is something I feel God can still say to us today as we often try to hide ourselves and aspects of our life from Him. Someone at the group commented that God knew very well where Adam and Eve were – and, of course, he knows where we are and what we are doing too.
After the meeting was over I decided to continue on through the book of Genesis and, with a few ‘…’ breaks to help the chosen words make better sense, I felt the following reflected the main thrust of each of the first twelve chapters. The call of Abram seemed a sensible place to stop. Some chapters ahead would have been very difficult to summarise. Imagine doing Romans – now there’s a challenge!
(I was using the New International Version of the Bible and every word I have used comes from there. Obviously the wording of other versions will differ slightly.)
1. And God saw that it was good (verse 10)
2. God formed the man from the dust (verse 6)
3. Did God really say? Where are you? (verses 1 & 9)
4. Sin … desires to have you … master it (verse 7)
5. Created … male and female and blessed them (verse 2)
6. Lord … grieved that he had made man (verse 6)
7. Noah did all that the Lord commanded (verse 5)
8. Noah built an altar to the Lord (verse 20)
9. I now establish my covenant with you (verse 9)
10. The nations spread out over the earth (verse 32)
11. Lord confused the language of the … world (verse 9)
12. I will make you … a great nation (verse 2)