The word "genesis" signifies "generation" or "origin" and comes from the Greek translation of Genesis 2:4. It is an appropriate title for the first book of the Bible, which contains the record of the origin of the universe, the human race, family life, nations, sin redemption, etc. The first 11 chapters, which deal with primeval or pre-Patriarchal times, present the antecedents of Hebrew history from Adam to Abraham. The remaining chapters (12 - 50) are concerned with God’s dealings with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Jacob’s son Joseph, all "fathers" of the people whom God has chosen to carry out His plan for the redemption of mankind. The book closes with these "Chosen People" in Egypt.
The name means "going out" or departure". While it refers to one of the most important events of the book, the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, other highly significant events are also found here, such as the oppression of the Chosen People in Egypt, the flight and call of Moses, and God’s covenant with the nation Israel at Sinai - an experience climaxed by His giving of the moral law (Ten Commandments) through Moses to the people. A code of secular laws is also included, and the latter part of the book contains an elaborate description of the sacred Ark of the Covenant and its ten (tabernacle), God’s place of dwelling among His people.
This book was so named because it treats of laws of service and worship of special importance to the Tribe of Levi. It has been aptly called "the Handbook of the Priests". Many basic precepts of the New Testament are foreshadowed in this book, such as the seriousness of sin in God’s sight, the necessity of atonement for sin, the holiness of God, and the necessity of a mediator between God and man.
The name of this book originated from the two numberings of the people related in it: the first at Sinai in the second year of the Exodus and another on the plains of Moab opposite Jericho in the 40th year. A better title is the one give by the Hebrew themselves, Bemidhbar ( "In the Wilderness"), for it describes the locale of the major events of the book. In all these events, the writer sees the guiding hand of God, sustaining, delivering, and keeping covenant with His people, as He prepares them for entrance into the land promised first to Abraham.