Someone at some point gave the Bible chapters and sections and verses. While this is super helpful for Bible studies and memorizing verses and creating sections to focus on, it’s not how the original text was written. Therefore, it can occasionally hinder how we read, study, and understand the Bible.
I’m a writer and that, on top of doing BCC with YWAM, has kind of conditioned me to read the Bible in a literary way. Meaning, I try not to read the Bible as individual verses or chapters, but chunks of texts we now know of as books. For the bigger ones, it’s difficult because we don’t always have time to read all of Genesis in one sitting. But you can take the larger context into consideration and always look at what was before and what is after.
It can make the biggest difference in how you understand what you’re reading.
For example, this verse, which is the start of a new section of Genesis 6:9.
These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.
So Noah entered an intimate relationship with God and was seen as righteous and blameless. But how did he get righteous or blameless when we know that all humans are sinful and fall short of the glory of God? (Romans 3:23).
This is where we need to look at what was before this verse.
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
But now the question arises:
Did Noah find favor because he was righteous? Or was Noah righteous because he had God’s favor?
How we answer this question is extremely significant to our theology, our lives, and our view of the Lord.
Does God like us because we are good or is righteousness produces because God chooses us and extends his favor to us?
Is God’s favor conditional to our righteousness and our blameless?
Is God a conditional God?
Or does God give us, sinful humans, his favor because he has chosen us, not because we are any more righteous than the next human? And does righteousness come with his favor? Is it up to us or is it up to God?
How we read, understand, and interpret these few verses in Genesis has the power to completely change our understanding of God.
If we read this literarily, without any verse or section breaks, then this is what we get:
The Lord found favor in Noah and Noah was righteous and blameless.
The Lord finds favor in us, he chooses us, and we are made righteous. We are made clean and holy because of the Lord extending his favor, his love, his mercy to us. We do not earn his favor through our righteousness.
If it were up to me to earn the Lord’s favor, I would fail a million times a day. I can never achieve righteousness. My body craves sinful things of this world. My mind is polluted with shame and immorality. My heart does not know pure, unconditional love.
If I were God, I would never choose a broken human like myself.
But the beautiful thing is, I am not God. And God does not choose pure, blameless humans. No human, not even Noah, is pure and blameless on their own.
And God has chosen me. He has found favor in me. Not because of anything I’ve done or who I am, but because He is a god of mercy and love and he picked me. I don’t know why be he did. And because of that, I am made righteous. I am made holy. I am made new.
I am made in the image of God.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
– Genesis 1:26-27
Also see Genesis 5:1, Matthew 5:48, and James 3:9.
You are made in the image of God.
Not a question.
You are made in the image of God. This is not conditional. It is a fact.
You are chosen and you are made righteous in him because he has found favor in you and you are made in his image.