Sunday School Bible Survey:      GENESIS

Theme: The failure of man, and the salvation of God.

Key verse: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15).

WRITER: According to Jewish tradition, the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses. The word Pentateuch comes from Greek pente (five) and teuchos (scrolls). From Exodus to Deuteronomy, Moses was an eyewitness and the main character. When writing Genesis, apart from direct revelations of God (for example, the creation of the world in Genesis 1 and 2), Moses may have referred to ancient documents and oral accounts from the time of the patriarchs (for example, the genealogies). Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Moses wrote everything down accurately. "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21). "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16).

DATE: We are not told when the Book of Genesis was written. The date of authorship is likely between 1440 and 1400 B.C., between the time Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and his death.

THEME: The Greek word Genesis means "beginning," and the book of Genesis tells us the beginning of everything except God. We learn of the beginning of marriage, the beginning of the home, the beginning of the human race, the beginning of sin, the beginning of salvation, the beginning of the sabbath, the beginning of sacrifices, the beginning of prophecy, the beginning of divine retribution, the beginning of human government, the beginning of godless civilization, the beginning of music, the beginning of the nation Israel, the beginning of the Gentile nations, and the beginning of languages.

"The first book of the Bible is for several reasons one of the most interesting and fascinating portions of Scripture. Its place in the Canon, its relation to the rest of the Bible, and the varied and striking character of its contents combine to make it one of the most prominent in Holy Writ. It is with a real spiritual insight, therefore, that the people of God in all ages have fastened upon this book, and given it their earnest attention"
— W. H. Griffith Thomas.

The book of Genesis has been called the seed plot of the Bible because every fundamental doctrine of Christianity is found in the book of Genesis. G. Campbell Morgan said that there are seven "foundation truths" recorded in Genesis: Theology (the science of God), Cosmogony (the origin of the universe), Anthropology (the study of man), Sociology (the study of society), Hamartiology (the doctrine of sin), Ethnology (the study of the characteristics of different peoples), and Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation).

  1. Theology — God is Creator, King, and Redeemer
  2. Cosmogony — "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).
  3. Anthropology — man is given dominion over the earth. Man is given the ability to choose between good and evil (Genesis 2:17).
  4. Sociology — the first circle of society is the family, with the husband as the head of the home. "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:19).
  5. Hamartiology — "Genesis affirms that sin in the case of man is failure of faith in the goodness of God, and consequent rebellion against His government" — G. Campbell Morgan (Living Messages of the Books of the Bible).
  6. Ethnology — "Genesis records the breakup of the unity of the race, following upon an attempted confederacy of godlessness" — G. Campbell Morgan.
  7. Soteriology — salvation must come from God. The Messiah will come through the "seed" of the woman (Genesis 3:15). In conception "the seed" is delivered by the man, not the woman. But in Genesis 3:15, God refers to "her seed." What seems impossible biologically is explained theologically in Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 -- "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son..."


  1. Creation
  2. Fall of man
  3. Flood
  4. Tower of Babel
  5. Abraham
  6. Isaac
  7. Jacob
  8. Joseph

These are simple Sunday School survey notes. They are not for sale. The author used many outlines from popular Bible teachers such as C.I. Scofield and J. Vernon McGee, and he has tried to give credit when using their material.

—  Pastor James J. Barker  —