NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Genesis 1:1–2:3
— Why is it significant that God first introduced Himself as Elohim?
— Why is the concept of God being transcendent of time and space difficult for us to grasp? Why should we spend time and energy attempting to fully understand something that we can’t grasp?
— Why do we need to know from the start that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present?
Food for thought:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So said Juliet in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” But there must be something to a name. After all, we tend to like our own names and become irritated when others mispronounce or poke fun at them.
Expectant parents might do online searches, pore over baby-name books, and otherwise fret and stew seeking just the right moniker to attach to their prenatal bundle of joy. Businesses and corporations will conduct focus groups, solicit survey responses, and engage expensive consulting firms to deliver just the right handle to position them as they wish within the public arena. Then, once the name is in place, those same companies spend millions of dollars annually and hire brand managers and lawyers to protect, polish, and publicize that name. Maybe Juliet’s teenage idealism was misguided.
God did not hire Madison Avenue consultants or fork over cold hard cash to select what He would call Himself or to determine what image to project before a skeptical humanity. But He has repeatedly taken action to protect His name against abuse and misrepresentation (see Exodus 20:7). And He has chosen to reveal much about His nature and character traits with the variety of names by which He has made Himself known.
In the current MasterWork study, Tony Evans digs into the richness of several of those names, including the very first one revealed in Scripture — Elohim.
In fact, Elohim appears in the very first verse of Scripture and we begin immediately seeing God as the strong creator God who, apart from any resource other than His own initiative and desire, formed the vastness, beauty, and intricacies of the universe in which we dwell.
When we begin to understand that Elohim created all that exists, we find ourselves confronted by two incomprehensible facts. To have been before “the beginning” (Genesis 1:1) when all we know was “without form” and “void” (v. 2), then Elohim must stand outside of both time and space. Yet there is no time and no space when and where Elohim does not exist.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.