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 Bible Studies For Life curriculum.

Bible Passages: Genesis 1:1-5, 26-31

Discussion Questions:

  • What can we learn about God from the first five verses of the Bible?
  • What does it mean that God created us in His image?
  • How does Genesis 1:28-31 summarize our mission and purpose as stewards of God’s creation?

Food for Thought:

The opening verses of the Bible are important and powerful. They remind us of God’s authority and creativity as He brought the world into being. Genesis 1 quickly cuts to the chase. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (v. 1). It’s almost as if the writer were saying, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Listen, I know you’re hearing all kinds of confusing things from all kinds of people. Let me tell you about who is really in charge, what He did, and how you can know Him.” Many of us use icons every day – and we don’t even know it. They are tied to the apps on our smartphones. Tap on a picture on the home screen and an application launches. The word for that picture is an icon: an image that points you somewhere else.

In Genesis 1:26-27, the word translated image is the Hebrew word “selem.” In Genesis 1, God was not talking about icons or apps on phones. He was talking about us, and He said something amazing about how He made us. To be made in the “image of God” (v. 27) means we were made with something the rest of creation doesn’t have. Think about what makes humanity different from, say, the dog lying on your floor or the cat curled up by the window. Our ability to think, reason and process morality is different. We have the capacity to adapt and tame the land around us, no matter what that land looks like. But the most unique thing about us is that we were uniquely created to be God’s representatives on earth.

God didn’t just place us, beings created in His image, in an elevated position in creation to sit back and bask. He tasked us with being caretakers and to live in a way that brings honor to Him. God gave us three tasks:

  1. Be fruitful and fill the earth.
  2. Subdue the earth.
  3. Relish everything that God made, because He made it all to be enjoyed.

We are tasked with filling the earth and tending to it. But these commands go far deeper than just populating the earth; they are about spreading God’s image far and wide.

As we live as Christians in the world God made, we have the unique opportunity to exemplify the kind of life God created us to live. Think of how blessed we are. We get to know our Creator in a personal way, we get to care for His creation, and we get to be His image-bearers. This realization leads us to see things differently.

When the world looks at us, it shouldn’t see people simply living for themselves, but people carrying out the highest calling imaginable. We should be seen displaying the image of God Who made us, doing everything we can to bring Him honor and glory.

Bible Studies for Life

Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at Biblestudiesforlife.com.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by Lifeway can be found at Lifeway.com/SundaySchool or ordered at Lifeway Christian Resources.

    About the Author

  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources