Community Group Study “Genesis: Image of God — Created to cultivate”

Before your community group meets:

When we talk about work in this study guide, and “work” is not just a job where one draws a paycheck but a place where you put forth intentional effort, energy and ability. Take some time to think, how do people in your life typically feel about work?

Read Genesis 2:5-15, What is the beginning state of the garden of Eden? How does the Bible describe work? Is this passage generally positive, neutral or negative about work”? What is the goal of Adam’s work in the garden?

Spend some time in praying for the areas of life that God has given you stewardship over where you get to devote time, energy and effort into for his glory.

Study Information:

We are going to study “work” and being created to cultivate. Work is not so much about having a 9-5 job somewhere but the idea of putting forth intentional time, energy and effort to see something grow that is under your care. Cultivating is the long process of doing that while relying on God to give the growth. This could mean that your work is in the marketplace, but also in the home or some place you function as a dedicated volunteer.

Genesis 2:15 uses two words to describe humanity’s calling in the garden. The first word is “Avad” which is the Hebrew word to labor or serve and gets translated as “work” in the ESV. The second word, “Samar” is to steward or care for and gets translated as “keep” in the ESV. When we look at Genesis 1:26-28 we see that God created humanity to reflect him as image bearers and gave them the blessing and purpose to fill the earth and subdue it. Filling the earth is not focused on procreation, but rather taking the image of God to the ends of the earth and creating God-glorifying culture and society. Subdue points to how that happens via using what God has created and the resources in this world to bring greater fruitfulness to what God has made.

These verses show us that God created the world as it was intended (“very good”), but that the creation included humanity being called alongside God to work in such a way that creation continued to be ordered, filled and made more fruitful.

We can see from these passages that work is not a necessary evil, but part of what it means to live a meaningful life in following Christ.

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week?

Scripture and Discussion Questions:

What was your first job? Do you remember what your attitude was to work during that time?

As a group read Genesis 1:26-2:15. What are some of the reasons we can see from the Bible that work is designed by God to be good?

Why do you think our work has the unique ability to become our identity?

The sermon described cultivating as putting forth time, energy and effort towards something God has given you stewardship over in order to help it grow into something that more fully honors God and reflects who he is. The Bible uses the image of a gardener to help us see this. It requires a long term focus and a lot of what we would consider “ordinary” work.

What areas has God called you to cultivate in your life? What are some ways you can apply what you’ve learned through this scripture study in those places?

Looking Ahead:

Read Genesis 2:18-25. This is the first time the words “not good” are mentioned in the Bible. What specifically is “not good” and how does God reveal this to Adam?

The word “helper” is used to describe the woman God is going to make. Read Genesis 2:18-20, Psalm 30:10, Psalm 54:4, and Psalm 118:7. How would you define “helper” based on these verses? What seems to be the reason Eve is called Adam’s helper?

How is the relationship between Adam and Eve described in Genesis 2:25?

One of the things we will see in our study of this passage and is that God has created people for companionship. The specific application of this passage is often in Marriage, but people whether they are married or not are created for friendship, community and companionship. Spend some time in prayer this week for the people God has placed in your life who you have the opportunity to encourage, love and serve.

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