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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 1

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

Verse 1

Genesis 1:1 Book Comments

Walking Thru The Bible



1. The book of Genesis is the book of origins.

2. The scope of the book is "From Bereshith (Hebrew word beginning) to Shiloh (Genesis 1:1; Genesis 49:10)."

3. The book revolves around three significant ideas:

a. Generation - Genesis 1 - 2. The beginnings of things.

b. Degeneration - Genesis 3 - 11. The story of how evil entered the human history and its early movements.

c. Regeneration - Genesis 12 - 50. The story of God calling a man, the beginning of a nation and preparation for the coming of Christ.

4. The book can also be remembered around the lives of six men.

a. Adam - Genesis 1-5

b. Noah - Genesis 6-11

c. Abraham - Gen 12-25

d. Isaac - Genesis 26-27

e. Jacob - Genesis 27-36

f. Joseph - Genesis 37-50


I. ADAM Ch. 1-5

First: The Beginning (Genesis 1:1)

A. This verse carries us back to the beginning of everything.

B. It states the five fundamental facts of science.

1. Time - "In the beginning.."

2. Force - "...God..."

3. Actions - "...created..."

4. Space - "...the heavens..."

5. Matter - "...and the earth."

C. It assumes the existence of God.

D. This simple sentence denies atheism, polytheism, and it confesses the one Eternal Creator.

E. This verse affirms that something has always existed. Something never comes from nothing.

1. There are three words used in the first two chapters regarding the beginning of things.

a. Bara - (created)

(1) To create something from nothing.

(2) It is used only three times in the first chapter. Genesis 1:1; Genesis 1:21; Genesis 1:27.

b. Asah - (to make) Form out of pre-existing material, as a man takes lumber to make a desk. Genesis 1:7, Genesis 1:16; Genesis 26:1; Genesis 1:31; Genesis 2:18.

c. Yatsar - (form) Form out of pre-existing material. Genesis 2:7, 19.

G. The days were 24 hour periods of time, not long geological ages, Genesis 1:31; cf. Exodus 20:11. Objections to long periods of time:

1. It is unnecessary;

2. Every time the term day has a definite number before it, it refers to a 24 hour period of time;

3. The "Botany" argument;

4. Adam’s extreme age if every day millions of years.

A. Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).

B. Man given dominion over all of God’s creation (Genesis 1:28).

C. Man placed in the garden of Eden with one prohibition (Genesis 2:15-17).

D. Man given a mate - the beginning of marriage (Genesis 2:18-25).

Third: The Beginning of Sin (Genesis 3:1-6).

A. The tempter was the devil (Genesis 3:1).

B. The avenue of temptation were (Genesis 3:6):

1. Lust of eyes

2. Lust of the flesh

3. Pride of life

C. The consequence: (Genesis 3:11-24)

1. Driven from the garden.

2. Serpent to crawl upon his belly.

3. Woman to have pain in child bearing.

4. Ground cursed.

5. Man to earn his living by sweat of his face (Genesis 3:19).

A. The seed of woman was to bruise the head of the serpent.

B. Christ was born of a virgin - the seed of woman (Matthew 1:23).

C. Christ was made of woman when the fulness of time came (Galatians 4:4).

II. NOAH Ch. 6-11

A. Man became exceeding wicked on the earth (Genesis 6:5).

B. God determined to destroy the whole human race on the earth, but Noah found grace in God’s eyes (Genesis 6:8-14).

C. Noah did all that God commanded him to do (Genesis 6:22).

Four elements in God’s marvelous promise to Abraham

A. A nation for carrying out the promise - "I will make of thee a great nation."

B. A land for habitation - "Unto thy seed have I given this land" (Genesis 15:18).

C. A God to bless - "I will bless thee" (Genesis 22:17).

D. A coming Savior for all nations - "And in thy seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 22:18; Cf. Galatians 3:16)

IV. ISAAC Ch. 26-27

A. Genesis 26:3-5 God Repeated The Promise to Isaac, That was beginning to be fulfilled in him (Genesis 26:3-5).

V. JACOB Genesis 28-36

A. When Jacob was ready to leave home, Isaac repeated God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 28:3-4; Genesis 28:1-15).

B. God appeared to Jacob at Bethel and repeated the promise (Genesis 35:10-12).

VI. JOSEPH Genesis 37 - 50

A. Joseph is sold into Egypt and rises to power (Gen 37-40).

B. After interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph is placed in a position to help his people (Genesis 41).

C. After Joseph reveals himself to his brothers he assures them that God has used their evil deed for good (Genesis 45:5-7; Genesis 50:15-20).

D. Jacob in blessing his sons mentions the coming of Shiloh (Genesis 49:10).


1. So the book of beginnings ends with the great faith that God would bring them into the land he had promised (Genesis 50:24-25).

2. How does Genesis connect with "the glory of God and the salvation of man through Jesus Christ" ?

a. God’s revelation makes known the origin of the universe, of man and of sin.

b. It unfolds the development of the Messianic nation.

c. It looks into the future and foretells the coming of the "promised seed," the Savior--Shiloh.

Gen 11.1 (Click on the "chapter" icon for a sermon from this chapter.)

Genesis 11

BABEL: Confusion of Tongues - Dispersion of Nations


1. In Gen 10 we read of the dispersion of Noah’s descendants.

2. In Gen 11 the building of the city and tower of Babel.

a. This incident prompted the dispersion of Genesis 10:31-32.


1. They built to keep united. Didn’t want to scatter. Their’s was a rebellious society "No, we don’t want to!" They built to establish a rallying point that might serve to maintain their unity.

2. But God had told them to replenish the earth (Genesis 9:1).

3. God won’t tolerate rebellion. Sounds like today! God gives us the standard to regulate morals and ethics but men and women say, "No, we don’t want them! We want to set our own standards." (Which is NO standard.)


1. God’s purpose was that men should scatter and replenish the entire earth. His purpose was not prevented though man tried.

2. Often we forget God’s purposes and decide upon our own course of action.

3. Consider God’s purpose for the church and how men have tried to thwart that purpose.

a. Social Gospel; Humanism; A Divided Christendom

4. Consider God’s plan for marriage and the home and how our society today is perverting and failing God’s plan.

5. God’s plan for man is happiness. And He shows the way of life in which it can be achieved.

a. Why are so many unhappy?

b. "Getters Vs Givers" "To give is happier than to get" (Acts 20:35, Moffatt Translation).


1. Forget what God says...let’s build one big city!

2. "Doing things the same way won’t mean a thing unless we are doing it right." Illustration: A new supervisor


2. Every work will be judged by God (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

3. Rebellion will not go un-noticed.


2. Nations of the world united at the cross.

Genesis 1.1

Genesis 1:1 Verse by Verse


Astronomy - Psalms 19:1; Psalms 33:6; Psalms 102:25; Genesis 1:14-18; Leviticus 23:5; Exodus 10:23; Job 37:18 Job 38:19-20; Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 44:24; Hebrews 11:3; John 1:3; Colossians 1:1-17;

Creation - Isaiah 40:21; Isaiah 45:18; Ecclesiastes 1:5-6; Jeremiah 10:16; Romans 1:20; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2

Space; Time And Matter - 1 Corinthians 2:7;

Gravity - Job 26:7

First Law Of Thermodynamics -- Genesis 2:2-3; Isaiah 40:26; Psalms 148:6; Hebrews 4:3-4; Hebrews 4:10. 1 Peter 3:3-7

Hydrologic Cycle - Job 36:27-28; Ecclesiastes 1:7

BARA - So does bara pertain to material creation, or functional creation? Can we even determine that for certain?

“If all occurrences [of bara] were either material or ambiguous,” Dr. John Walton of Wheaton college says, “We could not claim support for a functional understanding. If all occurrences were either functional or ambiguous, we could not claim clear support for a material understanding. If there are clear examples that can be only functional, and other clear examples that can only be material, then we would conclude that the verb could work in either kind of context, and ambiguous cases would have to be dealt with on a case-by-case-basis.”

In the 50 or so occurrences of bara in the Old Testament, “grammatical subjects of the verb are not easily identified in material terms, and even when they are, it is questionable that the context is objectifying them.” Walton goes on to clarify, “That is, no clear example occurs that demands a material perspective for the verb, though many are ambiguous.”

“If the seven days -- . concern origins of functions not material, then the seven days and Genesis 1 as a whole have nothing to contribute to the discussion of the age of the earth. This is not a conclusion designed to accommodate science—it was drawn from an analysis and interpretation of the biblical text of Genesis in its ancient environment. The point is not that the biblical text therefore supports an old earth, but simply that there is no biblical position on the age of the earth. If it were to turn out that the earth is young, so be it. But most people who seek to defend a young-earth view do so because they believe that the Bible obligates them to such a defense.”

Make no mistake: Walton absolutely believes God is the material creator of the earth as well, and he suggests (as I’ve quoted above) that the ancient Hebrews would have inherently understood God’s role as functional creator to also imply his role as the material creator.

“Viewing Genesis 1 as an account of functional origins of the cosmos as temple,” Walton says, “does not in any way suggest or imply that God was uninvolved in material origins—it only contends that Genesis 1 is not that story.”

Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Ge 1:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Verse 5

Genesis 1:5

evening ... morning, the first day --

The civil day of the Jews began with sunset, and ended with the sunset of the following day. On this account Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:25, calls it a night-day, νυχθήμερον. This mode of beginning the day is met with even in the history of creation; for, Genesis 1:5, we read: “It was evening, and it was morning, one day.” - Caspari, p. 2-3.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Genesis 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/genesis-1.html. 2021.
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