This book of beginnings (or genesis in Greek) is the foundation of the entire Bible. Biblical literacy is impossible without intimate knowledge of Genesis. In the first eleven chapters alone, it details the creation of the world, man’s purpose and calling, the entry of evil into the world and its consequences, the reconstitution of God’s people, raging wickedness and divine judgment, a new creation, a rebellious tower, and the confusion of languages. And all that happens before Abraham and his family enter the action.
What’s more, no westerner can be considered culturally literate without a thorough knowledge of this book. Its stories, theology, and wisdom have fired the souls and imaginations of generations of people in the western tradition. Literature, history, theology are nearly impossible to do well without being thoroughly versed in the book of Genesis.