The Story of Scripture – Genesis to Revelation – Part 1: God Creates a Wonderful World and Places the First People in a Fruitful Garden

Structure

So, let us start with the structure of the Bible. There are some important numbers to start with: 5-12-5-5-12. This makes up the 39 books of the Old Testament. The first five books are referenced as the Pentateuch, or the Torah (which means The Law). They can also be referenced as the Five Books of Moses. The books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

There are 12 books referenced as theological history, where the author is always doing something with

what the author is saying. The 12 are Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st & 2nd Samuel, 1st & 2nd Kings, 1st & 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. Up until this point, all the books are in chronological order.

Then there are 5 books of poetry: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon.

Then there are 5 books referenced as major Prophets and 12 books that are referenced as minor Prophets. The only difference is the major Prophets are bigger books than the minor Prophets.

You can put your arms around the books of poetry, the minor Prophets, and the major Prophets, pick them up, and drop them into the theological history section, which is where they belong chronologically, for the most part.

That is the Old Testament. Now for the New Testament. The numbers to remember here are 4-1-21-1. That adds up to the 27 books of the New Testament. They start with 4 books called the Gospels, that are very similar: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Then there is one book that’s theological history, called Acts.

Then there are 21 Letters. They are also referenced as Epistles. But they are really letters from a person to a person or form a person to a group.

So, in the Old Testament, there are 39 books. In the New testament there are 27. You put these two together, and you have the 66 books of the Bible. That is the structure of the Bible.

God Creates a Wonderful World and Places the First People in a Fruitful Garden[1]

The story starts way back in Genesis chapter one. The text starts off, “In the beginning God created.” The thesis sentence of the book of Genesis, and arguably the entire Bible is that there is a sovereign God, and He is the Creator God. That is seen vividly in the chapter. He speaks, and it comes into existence. There is a cycle of days where God speaks; He creates; and the text basically says: and God creates, and it is so, and it is good. And God creates again, and it was so, and it is good. And God creates, and it is good. Then it goes all the way through the created order and it comes to day six. Now that day is unique. Because there, God creates in His own image; male and female, and it is very good; and they are given dominion. That means they have rulership over everything else God created in the previous days. We already see this story is going to be about a Creator God and man and woman created in the image of God. That is anticipated in the story line. On day seven God rests, not because he is pooped out, but because it is a position of satisfaction and appreciation of what He had done. Because of that, that day was designated as a day in remembrance of the fact that God is the Creator God, and all provision comes from Him.

Then we step into Genesis chapter two, which really takes us back to the creation of man, who was placed in the garden, and woman, who is eventually created. There are two trees identified – one in the center of the garden, the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the other is the tree of life. So, man and woman and all the other animals are present in the garden and we find out that there is one instruction. The instruction was to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because the day you eat of it, you will surely die. By the time we get to the end of the chapter we realize that all is right with the world. Man and woman are in the garden, and they were naked, and they felt no shame. It is a picture of shalom, or peace. Really, we all long to get back to that garden because we know we miss it.

[1] J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hayes, Living God’s Word: Discovering Our Place in the Great Story of Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 22.

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