In a previous post, I laid out six questions that I believe will help the average reader move from what’s on the page in the Bible to personal life application. If you have not yet read that post, I strongly suggest you begin there (Click Here to see it).
The goal of Bible reading is always life application. The Bible is a book that seeks to inform and affect. God is not interested in merely telling us stuff; He is interested in telling us stuff that will change the way we think, speak, and act.
Below, I have implemented my six questions for moving to life application and with the first verse of the Bible. Follow along with me, and see how you might move from Bible page to your own life application with these six questions.
Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
1. Who are the author and the audience?
Moses is the author, but his information is coming from what must be direct revelation from God. Only God can know the origins of the “heavens and the earth,” since He was the only conscious thing there to witness it.
The audience is the people of God, who are being led out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. These people are formed by the promises of God (especially to Abraham [Gen. 12]) and sustained by the promises of God as they trustingly follow God’s man (Moses).
2. Why did the author write what he did?
Of course, we might simply answer “because God told him to.” But we are interested in considering the situation into which Moses wrote, so we must think more deeply than mere platitudes. The Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt, and the common religious systems of the ancient world included a number of gods. Each geographical location and even the occurrences of the natural world (like storms, rivers, and stars) would have its own assigned deity.
The Hebrew people needed to know and trust the true God over against the many gods of the people they encountered. Unlike these false gods, the true God is the creator of all things and sovereign over everyone.
3. What is the author talking about before and after the passage I am trying to understand?
Well, there is nothing before this verse, but there is much after. From Genesis 1:2 through Genesis 2:3, Moses is recounting God’s creation of everything. There is order, power, creativity, beauty, functionality, purpose, priority, and a host of other things we might observe in this opening scene from Scripture. All of these will add to our perception of who and what God is, since God Himself is the primary focus of the context here.
4. What is the “big truth” the author is getting at here?
God is the creator. This may initially seem quite simplistic, but truths don’t get any bigger or more foundational than this. We may certainly see more and learn more from the passage (and the context), but we must start here. Note: You will see below that the depth of this ‘big truth’ is much greater than one might imagine.
Note: You will see below that the depth of this ‘big truth’ is much greater than one might imagine.
5. What does the rest of the Bible teach about the “big truth” of this passage?
The rest of the Bible corroborates and expands this ‘big truth.’ God is most certainly the creator of everything, and there is not even the slightest conflicting statement in the Bible. Just a sampling of the passages that also speak to this ‘big truth’ are Job 38-41; Isaiah 44:23-24; John 1:1-4; and Colossians 1:15-17.
6. How does this “big truth” of the Bible speak to my own circumstances?
Now, this question requires some introspection. You must observe and consider your own circumstances in order to proceed. The applications here are limitless, but here are some examples of personal application.
If I were having difficulty trusting in God’s power to be my help in a time of great distress, then I might take wonderful comfort to remember that God is infinitely powerful in creation. He is powerful enough to create all that is, and He is powerful enough to help me in my time of need.
If I were wondering if God really knows anything about me and my situation, then I might note the profound reality that God has intended to make Himself known to me. God did not have to reveal Himself to Moses, to Abraham’s descendants, or to me through this biblical record… But HE DID! This means that God is interested in me; He wants me to know Him, and He is even giving me tangible evidence that this is true (the material, tangible evidence is the Bible in my hands).
If I were struggling to understand how I am to view the Bible’s authority, then I might hear the weighty assertion made here. The Bible makes a claim to tell humans the very nature of all origins – “In the beginning, God…” This means that the Bible is either true or not true, but it cannot simply be a good book. If it is not true, then it has no real value at all (though some might argue that the literary contributions are some value by themselves). But if it is true, then it has an ultimate claim on all of my life and every other human life. In this opening verse, the author is claiming to speak on behalf of God about the creation of everything. This is no small statement.
This sort of application to various circumstances could continue, but you likely get the point. My hope is that you will find great joy and marvelous delight as you discover more and more about the God who created all things as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. I also hope that these simple questions will be a benefit to you as you read, understand, and apply God’s word to your life each day.
*Thanks for reading. Please let me know if this article was a benefit to you in the comment section below.