In the Hebrew Bible, the title of Genesis is In the Beginning, the book’s first words. The English title is related to the Greek word genesis, which means “beginning.”
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God said, “Let us make man” (Gen. 1:26). This phrase could be the Bible’s earliest indication that God exists as three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians around the world refer to this as the doctrine of the Trinity.
The Euphrates (Gen. 2:14) is the longest and most important river in southwest Asia. Early settlers depended on the river for commerce and agriculture. The Euphrates and Tigris rivers form what is today the Shatt-al-Arab, a waterway that flows into the Persian Gulf.
Cherubim (Gen. 3:24) are angels who guard holy places. They appear in various places in the Bible. “Cherubim” is the Hebrew plural form of “cherub.”
Two men who never died. Enoch and Elijah are the only people in the Bible who did not die a natural death. Instead, they were “taken by God.”
Favor in the eyes of the Lord. “Favor” (Gen. 6:8) is another word for God’s grace. Of all the people living at the time of the flood, only Noah and his family found favor in God’s sight.
Why did Noah take seven pairs of each clean animal but only one pair of each unclean animal? After the flood, some clean animals were needed for making sacrifices and for food. To ensure their survival, it was necessary to have more than one pair of each kind in the ark.
Extending an olive branch. The universal symbol for peace—a dove with an olive branch—is based on the Bible story of the flood (Gen. 8:11).
Sinful pride and rebellion against God brought negative consequences to the builders of the Tower of Babel, introducing the many languages that now exist around the world.
What did the Tower of Babel look like? The Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–9) probably resembled the ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia. The most famous of these is the Great Ziggurat of Ur. Its remains can be seen today in southeastern Iraq.
Altars were tables or platforms used for presenting sacrifices to God. They could be built of stone, mud-brick, or dirt mounds. The first altar mentioned in the Bible is the one Noah built after the flood (Gen. 8:20; Gen. 12:8).
Abram believed the Lord, and that was the basis for God counting him as righteous. Such faith remains the basis for God’s justification of Christians in the NT (Gal. 2:16).
Non-Levite Priests? Melchizedek (Gen. 14:17–21) and Jesus Christ are the only approved priests in the Bible who were not Levites. The NT book of Hebrews explains why this is important.
Taking servants as wives. It was common in ancient cultures for a married man to take a servant as a wife (Gen. 16:2). But this was contrary to God’s original design for marriage (Gen. 2:24).
Isaac means “he laughs.” When Abraham and Sarah heard that they were going to have a son in their old age, they both laughed (Gen. 17:17; 18:12). When Isaac was born, however, they and all their friends laughed with joy (Gen. 21:6)!
The city gate was a place where leaders made key decisions (Prov. 31:23; Lam. 5:14). Lot’s presence at the city gate (Gen. 19:1) shows that he had a position of importance in Sodom.
What is the Negeb? The Negeb (Gen. 20:1) is a dry area of rolling hills in southern Israel. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived there. Hagar sought refuge in the Negeb. Later, it provided refuge for Israelites fleeing from invading armies.
Why fight over a well? Wells are of great importance in the hot, dry climates around the world. Because lack of water was a constant threat, both military generals and civilian travelers would often plan their routes according to the location of wells. (Gen. 21:25–31.)
Two biblical firsts. The burial of Sarah (Gen. 23:19) is the first biblical record of a burial. Abraham’s purchase of the burial plot is also the first biblical record of a business transaction.