Readings for January 1st-5th
Genesis 1-5 & Matthew 1-5
Where We Are In The Story ~ Old Testament (Genesis)
As the first book of the Bible, Genesis introduces God as the all-powerful Creator who cares about His creation, and it describes God’s creation of the universe, its contents, people, and the institution of marriage (Gen. 1-2). Genesis 1-2 answers the existential question “Who am I?” (made in the image of God), and Genesis 3 explains what is wrong with the world. Written by Moses when Israel was wandering in the wilderness, Genesis provides the history of God’s covenant with His people by telling about Adam and his descendants, which include Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Structure: Genesis is organized into ten sections (Gen. 2:4-4:26; 5:1-6:8; 6:9-9:29; 10:1-11:9; 11:10-26; 11:27-25:11; 25:12-18; 25:19-35:29; 36:1-37:1; 37:2-50:26), and each section opens with the phrase “these are the generations of” and serves as the beginning of a genealogy. The first person mentioned in the genealogy (“these are the generations of Adam”) describes the subject of the following narrative section.
Theme: In Genesis 50:20, Joseph’s words highlight the central theme of Genesis – that God takes evil and transforms it for His glory. This truth is in play in Genesis 1-5 when God promises salvation after Adam and Eve sin in the Garden of Eden and explains to them the consequences of their sin (Gen. 3:15). Throughout the book, we also see the theme of blessing. God blesses His creation in Gen. 1:22-2:3 and enriches that which was good beyond its normal quality. God also blessed the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), so their family line would multiply and become the covenant people of God (Gen. 12-50). In contrast, those who opposed God’s people or plan would face judgment and separation from the place of blessing.
Where We Are In The Story ~ New Testament (Matthew)
Matthew is the first of four Gospels that tell about the life of Christ. As one of the twelve disciples (Matt. 9:9-13), Matthew focuses on demonstrating how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament promises concerning the Messiah. This is why Matthew 1 includes a genealogy that begins with Abraham and includes King David, since the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham’s son Judah (Gen. 49:10) and a descendant of King David (2 Sam. 7:12-13). Other fulfilled prophecies in Matthew 1-5 include how the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14), born in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), reside in Egypt (Hosea 11:1), be preceded by a prophet who would prepare the way for the Messiah’s coming (Isa. 40:3), and minister in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali in Israel (Isa. 9:1-2).
Structure: Matthew includes five collections of Jesus’ teaching (Matt. 5-7; 10; 13; 18; 24-25), and each of these sections concludes with a statement saying, “And when Jesus finished these sayings…” The first of these collections begins in Matthew 5 and is called “The Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5:1-7:29).