Book of Genesis


Authorship, date, and background Genesis is the first of the five books in the Old Testament to which the title Pentateuch has been applied. They are also known as the Law or the Books of Moses. The Septuagint(the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, ca. 150 B.C.) translators used the name Genesis, which means "origin, beginning". The Hebrew title, Bereshith, the first word in the text meaning "in the beginning". Everything in Genesis predates the time of Moses, whom the authorship of the Pentateuch has been attributed. This means that he secured his information from extant written materials or by oral transmission or by revelation from God or a combination of all. The source of his knowledge does not matter materially so long as we know that in the use of the materials the Holy Spirit enabled him to record only that which is true.

No verse in the Pentateuch names Moses directly as the author, but there are internal evidences favoring Mosaic authorship as well as statements from the New Testament by Jesus and others which leads to this conclusion. In the Pentateuch itself (see Ex 17:14; 24:4-7;34:27;Num 33:1,2, Deut 31:9-11). Moses was instructed by God to write down certain information. In addition, other books in the Old Testament speak of the "the law of Moses"(1 Kgs 2:3,2 Kgs 14:6), "the laws of Moses"(Ezra 6:18; Neh 13:1; etc).Moreover, the New Testament Mk 1:44;10:4,5;Lk 5:14;16:31;20:37;Act 3:23;13:39;15:5ff;26:22;Rom 10:5,19;1 Cor 9:9; 2 Cor 3:15; Rev 15:3).

Characteristics and content The book of Genesis sets the scene for the entire Bible. Without it the reader would not know some of the most important happenings in the history of the world. Genesis tells us about the creation of the cosmos, the creation of man, the beginning of sin in the human race, the provision of God for redemption, the selection of one man through whose descendants salvation would be made possible, the person and nature of God, as well as about divine judgment and human responsibility. The first two chapters of Genesis speak of generation; chapters 3-11 deal with degeneration; chapters 12-50 have to do with regeneration.