“In the beginning…” – Genesis 1:1
This is the first teaching of a new year. The beginning, or origin, of 2018.
As you most likely know, the first book of the Bible is Genesis. Its name is a transliteration of the Greek word “genesis,” which means “origin.” It is so named because of the first line in the book: “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1). This line is translated from just one word in Hebrew—“beresit.”
Both the book and the word “beresit” begin the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible. They both begin with “In the beginning God” (Genesis 1:1, bold mine).
God was before the beginning. As we read in Revelation 1:8: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” God always has existed, does exist, and always will exist. God is all powerful, and He created everything.
God the Father and Jesus the Son are one. So they were both there “in the beginning.” We read about this in John 1:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (The “Word” in these verses refers to Jesus.)
The book of Genesis in the Bible is the account of how God created everything that we know. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “genesis” as “the origin or coming into being of something.” That “something” in the book of Genesis is the earth and everything in it. This includes marriage.
But the book of Genesis goes beyond just the beginning of the world, mankind, and marriage. In it, we learn how God relates to His creation. We also begin to learn how we are to relate to one another.
This includes how we are to relate to one another as husband and wife in marriage. We learn about the right ways to live together and serve God together in marriage. Ways that lead to the wonderful marriage God has desired for us from the beginning.
We also observe the wrong ways to relate to each other in marriage. We see the terrible consequences of following our own “wisdom,” instead of following God’s perfect wisdom. That’s why we are told in Jeremiah 10:12: “But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.”
Marriage is part of that world which God founded by His wisdom. Therefore, we must look to God’s Word to learn how to have the marriage He desires for us. We read in Proverbs 2:6: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
We find His wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and the promises we need to have a joyful marriage in His Word. He says in 1 Peter 1:3-4: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
We discover “everything we need for a godly life” in His Word. This includes all we need for a blessed marriage. It all begins with a “knowledge of him.”
The Greek word that is translated “knowledge” in 1 Peter 1:3 is “epignosis.” It means to have a close relationship with someone or something. Peter is therefore saying we have everything we need for this life—including for our marriage—when we have a close, personal relationship with God.
God has given us a way to have that kind of relationship with Him through faith in Jesus. This is the only way we can have the marriage He intends for us to have—a marriage full of joy and blessing. If you do not have this type of relationship with God and want it, go here to learn how: Meet Jesus.
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. Jesus promised in John 14:16-17: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
Only then will we be able to understand and live out God’s truth found in His Word. This includes what He teaches us about marriage. Jesus also says in John 14:26: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
All of God’s Word teaches us about living the wonderful life God intends for us. This includes in marriage.
So at the beginning of this year, we will start at the beginning of God’s Word to learn what God has to teach us about marriage.
In this series we will see the wonderful plan God has had for marriage since the creation, as we study Adam and Eve. We will also learn how sin placed a roadblock in this plan. We will then observe how several sin-stained marriages that are part of the early chapters of Genesis have application to our own sin-stained marriages today.
After studying Adam and Eve, we will look at the relationship between Abraham and Sarah, which can teach us much about our own relationship with our spouse. We will see the importance of always being faithful to God’s Word and how that allows men to protect their wives and marriages from the schemes of Satan. Also we will see how vital it is to remain faithful to God by remaining faithful to our spouse.
Finally, we will study the marriage of Jacob and Leah. We will learn through their example how a marriage with God as its foundation will grow stronger over time. A marriage based on God and His Word is the only way to assure that it will be as He intends—a marriage of blessing and love. The kind of marriage we all desire.
This study of Genesis will not include all we can learn from God about marriage. Nor will it include a study of every marriage found in this first book of the Bible. But it will allow us to look at some of the key ingredients God says are essential if we are going to have a blessed marriage.
So join us next week as we begin our study with the very first marriage—Adam and Eve. And maybe this new year will be a new beginning for your marriage. A fresh perspective to give you a fresh start to receive all the sweet blessings God created marriage for.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
♦ Read this week’s teaching together. Discuss what God taught you through it.
♦ Make certain as we begin this study of marriage in the book of Genesis that you are prepared to hear from God and apply what He speaks to you to your marriage. You must have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord for this to happen. You must allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and empower you to do what He teaches you. If you have unconfessed sin in your life and/or marriage, the Holy Spirit will not be able to work in you. Confess any sin in your life, and God will forgive and cleanse you (see 1 John 1:9). Then the Holy Spirit will be able to freely teach and empower you.
♦ One of the truths that we will see through this study is that because of sin, every marriage has difficulties. We will also observe, however, that because of God’s love, mercy, and grace, He can and will turn even those problems into opportunities for growth in our relationship with Him and each other. Discuss ways you have seen that God has done this in your marriage already.
♦ Close your time together in prayer. Ask God to teach you through this study what He knows that you need to have the marriage that He desires for you. Ask Him to reveal any sin that you need to confess. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit so that you will hear Him clearly and do what He reveals to you. Ask Him to use you in one another’s lives to grow in your walk with Him and each other.
May God bless you with a wonderful new year!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash, (CC0), cropped/text added.