So where does the word “Genesis” come from?
Before I can answer that question, you have to be aware of the following three facts:
The Bible originally had NO titles or chapter divisions.
A lot of people seem to forget this. The current division of your Bible regardless of the translation has absolutely ZERO basis in any kind of ancient textual tradition. They are an early Christian invention. And then they were later adopted by the Jews. The reason? Because the medieval rabbis decided to use these chapter divisions as technical references in their “Who the heck is Jesus?” debates with Christian clergy (especially in Spain).
the Bible was originally written in Hebrew (the language of the people of Israel).
The Hebrew title for “Genesis” is “Beresheet” (pronounced “bear a sheet”). “Beresheet” simply means “In the beginning…“. That’s right. The very first verse in our Bibles where it says “In the beginning…” is a direct translation from the Hebrew “Beresheet”. The Hebrews decided to just use the first word for the title of the books of the Bible instead of concocting some thematic name. Why? I don’t know man. Maybe they just wanted to save time. They are a very smart and efficient people.
Greek was the very first foreign language the Bible was translated into.
The Greek translation of the original Hebrew Scriptures is called the Septuagint. And here is something a lot of people don’t know. Jesus Himself quoted from the Septuagint!!! This translation was done in the third century B.C. by Jewish scribes who were experts in Hebrew and Greek. This translation was very popular among Jews a full two centuries before Jesus arrived because many Jews in those days did NOT understand Hebrew.
So the next time you’re on a game show and that Pee-wee Herman-ish nerdy host with the 10-inch thick glasses asks you the million dollar question “Where does the word ‘Genesis’ come from?”
Put a big smile on your face and answer, “The word ‘Genesis’ comes from the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Bible from its original Hebrew.”
Then collect your million dollars and go home with an even bigger smile on your face.