Simply put, the Bible is the story of God's creation, the fall of humankind into sin and finally God's sacrifice in Jesus, paying the price for the sin of all people. Knowing the whole overarching Bible story helps us put each of the books and stories contained within it into context. It helps us understand how it all fits together and we get an amazing picture of God's love for people.
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In the beginning...
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1). In six days he created day and night, oceans and sky, land and plants, the sun, moon and stars, fish, birds and land animals. Finally, in his own image he created a man called Adam (Gen 1:26) and a woman called Eve (Gen 1:27) and placed them in a garden in Eden. God rested on the seventh day (Gen 2:2).
One day, the serpent tricked Eve into eating fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3). Desiring the same knowledge God had, she ate and shared the fruit with Adam. They instantly realised they had disobeyed God and tried to hide from him in the garden. Not wanting the man and woman to eat from the tree of life and therefore live forever (Gen 3:22), God drove them out of the garden, sentencing Eve to pain during childbirth and Adam to work the ground for food. In removing them from the garden, God also pronounced a sentence of death on Adam and Eve by not allowing them to eat from the tree of life and live forever.
Adam and Eve then had two sons, Cain and Abel (Gen 4). Cain worked the ground and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Overcome with jealousy for his brother, Cain one day killed Abel in the field (Gen 4:8). Adam and Eve had another son, Seth, who also had children. As people populated the earth, God saw that human hearts and thoughts were constantly filled with evil (Gen 6:5). God was sorry he had ever made humans (Gen 6:6). Only one man named Noah pleased God.
God told Noah to build an Ark (Gen 6:9), because he was going to put an end to the sinful human race. Noah built the Ark as God commanded and filled it with a male and female of every kind of animal. God flooded the entire earth, and destroyed all sinful people.
When the flood subsided, God promised Noah that he would never again curse the ground because of humankind or destroy every living thing (Gen 8:21). He placed a rainbow in the clouds as a reminder to the human race of his promise (Gen 9:13).
The population grew, but the sinful desires of humans led them to build a tower to the heavens at Babel, attempting to establish their own glory, not that of God (Gen 11:1). God destroyed the tower and scattered the people and their languages over the earth.
At this point, God decided to deal with the problem of sinful people. He chose one man, Abraham, from whom would come an entire nation that would worship him (Gen 12:1). He promised this nation a special land where they would live. It was to be from this nation that a saviour would come who would be a blessing to the people of the world.
The beginning of a nation
Abraham was called at the age of 75 to go to the land of Canaan (Gen 12:4). Abraham and his wife Sarah had a son, Isaac, who in turn had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons whose families formed the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob's favourite son, Joseph, was sold into slavery in Egypt by his jealous brothers (Gen 37:27).
After proving himself a faithful servant to Pharaoh, Joseph was put in charge over all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself (Gen 41:40). He warned Pharaoh to store food in preparation for a coming famine. When the famine began, Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to buy food. Joseph forgave his brothers and invited them to live with him in Egypt. Joseph realised his slavery, imprisonment and promotion were part of God's plan to settle his family in Egypt (Gen 50:20).