Formed in God’s story: Genesis

Update 2032-04-29: podcasts added.

If you’ve been around church for any time, you’ve heard of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and his sons. You’ve probably heard debates about creation and evolution. You know about the snake and the fall. You may have heard of Nimrod or the Nephilim, or compared our time to the days of Noah.

These topics are in Genesis, but they are not the message of the book. Why was Genesis written? What is the theme at the core of the book? What is this book doing at the start of the Bible’s narrative?

Genesis is far more than a collection of fascinating stories. There’s something grander going on, a narrative that is greater than the sum of its parts.

So what is it? How does the story work, and where is it going? Here’s the macro story, the big picture of how the story flows in Genesis, what it says about God and us, and how this draws us into the whole Bible narrative:

We’ll provide you with one of these each week for the next six weeks, covering Genesis — Esther as a single narrative dealing with the relationship between heaven and earth. Isn’t that what the first verse establishes?

Six weeks from now, you’ll know how the first 17 books of the Bible form a single story. That’s everything in the historical section of the Old Testament, including the Torah. That’s the backdrop that gives you context for everything else in the developing story of Scripture: the Psalms and the prophets, the Messiah and his people, how everything God established in the beginning comes together in the end.

I do think Scripture has a single purpose. It is the revelation of God. Knowing God shapes us. Our identity and purpose come from who God is and what God is doing. That’s the reason for the title: Formed in God’s Story.

This series was originally prepared for Riverview Church in Perth, Western Australia. Since we’re all being formed in God’s story, we’re sharing it with everyone. No charge. No need to register (unless you wish to attend in person).

If you want more detail on a specific chapter, the Scripture Index will help you locate another 90 posts on Genesis.

If you want less detail to see how it fits together, check out the Bible Project videos on Genesis 1–11 and Genesis 12–50 (8 minutes each).

Next week we’ll provide you with “Part 2: Exodus.”


Canaanite gate from Abraham’s era, near Tel Dan.
Photo: Allen Browne, 2017-05-14

Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Riverview Church, Perth, Western Australia

2 thoughts on “Formed in God’s story: Genesis”

  1. Hi Allen

    I think one of the most enlightening things I read about Genesis over the last few years, was the answer to the question, Why might the book have been written as it is? In answering this question, the circumstances of the Hebrews in Egypt should play a significant part, as this is the backdrop to the book’s origins. Having been in Egypt for multiple generations it is expected that the descendants of Isaac would have been completely steeped in the Egyptian culture and world view. In order to begin to build a people for Himself Yahweh needs to reframe their cosmology. To remove the idea of a multiple gods universe and begin to establish the idea of 1 god, himself. (though this would take many generations). To, as you point out, establish the relationship between heaven and earth.

    As I’ve read and taught through the first 11 chapters, holding this idea of Yahweh establishing a new cosmic framework for Israel plays into every story.

    Looks like a great 6 week adventure.

    Regards Graham


  2. Thanks for your encouraging and thoughtul comments, Graham. Always love it when you’re in touch.
    Yes, Genesis is the backstory for the exodus that birthed Israel, establishing them as the nation that would make the rescuing God known to the nations.


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