An advertisement for a trip to Hawaii in 2022

Back in the 1960s, Post cereals promoted its popular “Sugar Crisp” cereal with a singing cartoon character named Sugar Bear, who had first appeared on the Saturday morning “Linus the Lionhearted” cartoon show.

Sugar Bear was sort of an ursine version of Dean Martin, always laid-back and cool. In the commercials, he frequently sang “Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp, Sugar Crisp, Sugar Crisp — can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp, it keeps me going strong.”

If you’re too young to remember the tune and didn’t click the above link, it closely follows “Joshua fit de battle of Jericho.”

After Consumer Reports ran an article showing that Sugar Crisp (along with Kellogg’s Honey Smacks) had the highest sugar content of any cereal then on the market (more than 50 percent), Post tried less sugary names, finally settling on Golden Crisp.

I was never crazy about puffed wheat and sugar, so it didn’t take me long to get enough of that Sugar Crisp. As I started reading the Bible, though, I found that I couldn’t get enough of the Book of Genesis with its weird, wonderful, and wide-ranging stories. Cosmic creations, talking snakes, brotherly battles, 900-year-old men, flood-borne cruises, tall towers, spooky rituals, fire and brimstone – what more could a boy ask?

Sometimes I found myself humming “Can’t get enough of that Genesis, Genesis, Genesis …”

So it’s no surprise that as a grownup teacher I would find Genesis to be fertile ground for a collection of Bible studies, and was happy to contribute them to Smyth & Helwys’ “Sessions With …” series.

Sessions with Genesis: The Story Begins includes an introduction to Genesis and 10 Bible studies suitable for individuals, classes, or informal groups. The studies examine manageable texts but always against the context of the larger narrative, helping the reader get the big picture as well as the smaller ones.

Four of the studies deal with “Stories about Beginnings” and four more with “Stories about Ancestors,” accompanied by two “Sidetrack Stories.” The latter two concern R-rated accounts I could only scratch my head over when I was a boy. Have you ever studied the story (Genesis 34) of how Jacob’s daughter was raped by a prince, and how Jacob’s sneaky sons took revenge by ravaging his entire city? It’s not pretty, and it’s not flattering – so why is it in the Bible?

It may be even less likely that you have carefully considered the story (Genesis 38) about two sons of Judah who married the same woman, but each was so wicked that “God killed him” (that’s what the text says!). Before the story is over, the woman (Tamar) cleverly portrayed a prostitute in order to be impregnated by her father-in-law – and was praised for her actions. What is that story doing in the Bible?

I’d like it if you became curious enough to buy my little volume, but all you have to do is read the first book of your Bible to start humming “Can’t get enough of that Genesis … it tells where we came from.” 

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