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In the Beginning, God Said
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The Bible begins with the assertion that God speaks and all creation obediently responds. With His Word, God creates out of nothing, brings order out of chaos, makes distinctions in accordance with His will, pronounces a blessing on His creation, and issues a command for humanity to follow. The original audience of Genesis—the Israelites who were delivered from slavery in Egypt—needed to recognize the authority, beauty, and life-giving power of God’s Word as they were called to be distinct from all nations of the earth. The same God who called the universe into existence called Israel to be His people; the same God who brought order out of chaos redeemed Israel from slavery; the same God who blessed His creation promised blessings for His people; and the same God who made distinctions in accordance with His will gave instructions and commandments for Israel to follow. Given the importance of God’s Word for knowing, loving, and following the Lord, it is no surprise that the first act of rebellion in world history began with the words, “Did God actually say?”
01. Knowing God is impossible apart from knowing His Word; therefore, let us read and study the Bible with the aim to know God more.
02. Loving God is impossible apart from loving His Word; therefore, let us receive and acknowledge the Bible as God’s gift to us.
03. Following God is impossible apart from following His Word; therefore, let us accept and apply the Bible to every area of our lives.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Note that Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 use similar language. What is John’s purpose in describing Jesus as the Word of God? How has God revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ? What would we not know about God if it were not for Jesus?
2. God could have created the world in any way He chose, yet He chose to do so through speaking the world into existence. What does this act of creation suggest about the power of God’s Word? How does 2 Corinthians 4:6 offer insight into God’s creative power? How does Ezekiel 37 also illustrate the creative power of God’s Word? What do these texts suggest about the power of preaching God’s Word?
3. Observe how God separates light and darkness and day from night in Genesis 1:3-4. What other distinctions or separations occur in Genesis 1? How did these differences point to further distinctions that Israel would be responsible for applying in their own lives, such as clean and unclean foods? How does Psalm 1 provide further insight into the distinctions God makes between those who follow and those who ignore His Word?
4. What was the strategy of the serpent in Genesis 3:1, as he tempted Eve to disobey God? In what ways do people question the goodness of God or the authority of His Word today? What other strategies does the evil one employ to distract us from God’s Word?
5. How does reading the Bible demonstrate a desire to know God? How does our view of the Bible demonstrate our love for God? Is it possible to love God without having the same view of the Bible that the Bible has of itself or that Jesus had? Why is it important to follow the Word of God in all areas of our lives rather than selectively choosing which parts of the Bible are true for us now?
For Further Reading: J. I. Packer, God Has Spoken (Crossway, 2021)