Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for December 17

Here’s the Explore the Bible Sunday School lesson commentary for Dec. 17, written by Mark Rathel, professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida.

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for December 17


Genesis 3:1–7, 21–24

The term “good” functions as a key concept in Genesis. In Chapter 1, “good” occurs seven times to describe God’s creation (vv. 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).

In Genesis 3, however, a change takes place because of the first sin of humans and its consequences.

This chapter affirms that human sin marred God’s created order as well as individual human beings, family life and the world.

Tempted (1–5)

The agent of temptation was a particular literal snake. The serpent was cunning, skilled in deception. Yahweh God made the serpent. “Yahweh” is the covenant name of God.

The name translated “God” is “Elohim,” the name of God that emphasizes His role as creator. Genesis 1 ascribes the ability of speech to the serpent.

Perhaps Satan indwelt the serpent. Both the first book of the Bible and the last book of the Bible describe Satan as a serpent (Rev. 12:9).

Notice Satan’s methodology. Satan did not approach Eve with a direct denial of God’s Word. He cast doubt on God’s motivation, assuming that God was holding out on some good for Eve. The reality is that God liberally provided for the needs of Adam and Eve, providing all the other trees in the garden for them.

Second, Satan changed God’s Word, saying “You can’t eat from any tree in the garden,” which is in contrast with the truth of God’s generous provision offered in Genesis 2:16.

Both Satan and Eve twisted God’s Word. God had said, “You will certainly die” (2:17). Satan contradicted God’s Word by claiming, “You will not die” (3:4). Furthermore, Eve fails to grasp the significance of God’s warning.

Fallen (6–7)

Satan tempted Eve. Eve tempted Adam. In one sense, Satan told the truth. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and their eyes were open and they knew they were naked.

They sewed fig leaves to cover their nakedness. Adam and Eve possessed knowledge of good and evil, but Genesis highlights the knowledge the couple gained. They knew they were naked literally before each other but also before God.

Grace Found (21–24)

God judged Adam and Eve for their sin, but God’s grace is the most prominent note in this passage. God confronted Adam and Eve with the consequences of their disobedience. Adam and Eve possessed life; they would experience death.

Rather than pleasure, Eve would experience pain in childbirth. But God’s grace is evident in providing clothing to cover their shame.

Although Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves, God covered them with animal skins.  God’s grace was also demonstrated in that He prevented access to the tree of life, preventing Adam and Eve from being eternal sinners.

By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida

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