This Sunday I start my teaching trek through Genesis in one28. I already sense the thrill of paddling to catch the wave, but likewise sense the fear that at any moment the wave may upend me and pound me into the rocks.
Photo thanks to Roy’s World
I am excited about Genesis because it is (obviously) the explanation of the beginning of almost everything. Genesis casts God’s light of revelation on why we exist and what He made us to do. Not only that, any study in the Old Testament compliments the standard fare of current evangelical exposition. More time in OT study also lets me continue to work on my Hebrew, in which there is significant room to excel still more. I look forward to the challenge of accurately interpreting narrative and trying to communicate the story in a way consistent with the genre. And more than anything else, I’m eager to catch the gravity of the Creator/creature distinction and why we as image-bearers should be both head-bowed before Him and heads-up in fulfilling His mandate.
On the other hand, I am fearful to begin Genesis because I suspect it will take a lot of rear-in-the-seat time just to scratch the surface of the book. I haven’t spent much previous effort studying narrative and even less time preaching it. If insight is “the product of intensive, headache-producing meditation”1 then I may need some Costco size bottles of Tylenol in my attempt to subdue Genesis. I hope to move through the book quickly, but not too quickly. I want to show how it frames our present-day story, without missing the historical-providential-redemptive, all-by-itself importance of the text itself. And apart from all those things, I’m afraid I may also be confronted with my failure to enjoy the bounty God has provided for men in vegetables.2
- From John Piper's chapter, "Brothers, Let Us Query the Text" in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, 75. ↩
- Prior to the fall, men ate vegetables only, and somehow this was no quandary for the first couple living in paradise. So if there is something to enjoy about living in a Genesis 3 world, eating meat must make the list. ↩