The bottom line: A strong introduction to Genesis from a strong Bible preacher/teacher
This neat little book is a solid introduction to the first eleven chapters in the Book of Genesis. Without a doubt, Genesis 1-11 will teach you, guide you or equip you to make concrete big themes and ideas found in the Bible’s initial foundational chapters.
For those unfamiliar, each book in the MacArthur Bible Study Series wears many hats: Bible study workbook, general commentary, verse-by-verse commentary, and question-and-answer reflection diary.
The book begins with an introduction that discusses authorship, historical background, grand theological themes and interpretive challenges. Each subsequent chapter focuses on a chunk of verses and follows the same general pattern: (i) “Drawing Near” which prompts you to reflect upon the text (ii) “The Context” which describes the scene in which the Biblical events happen (iii) “Keys to the Text” which is essentially a brief verse by verse commentary (iv) “Unleashing the Text” are questions that quiz you on what the text says (iv) “Exploring the Meaning” goes over the key take-home points (v) “Reflecting on the Text” and (vi) “Personal Response” asks questions and their purpose is self-explanatory.
The only critique I have of this book in no way takes away from its valuable content. Pastor MacArthur makes clear that the biblical account of creation is in no way shape or form ever compatible with evolution, but this point is repeated ad nauseum. Also, Pastor MacArthur has been teaching the Word longer than I have been alive. I want to read what he has to teach me, not to pollute his book with my personal reflections and answers to questions. The punch of the book would be just as strong without all the prompts for the reader to give their two cents.
Genesis 1-11 is the first title that I have read in Pastor MacArthur’s Bible Study Series and I recommend it to anyone who seeks to augment their own study either individually or as a member of a group. I personally used it to prepare my own Sunday school lesson that gave as introduction to Genesis. As a whole this book focuses on major themes so it is very accessible will not bog you down in gobbledygook.