My Book of Bible Stories (reading to practice)
From where did the heavens and earth come? How did the sun, moon and stars, as well as the many things on earth, come to be? The Bible gives the true answer when it says that they were created by God. So our book begins with Bible stories about creation.
The first creations of God, we learn, were spirit persons somewhat like himself. They were angels. But the earth was created for people like us. So God made the man and woman named Adam and Eve and put them in a beautiful garden. But they disobeyed God and lost the right to keep living.
In all, from Adam’s creation until the great Flood, there were 1,656 years. During this time many bad persons lived. In heaven, there were the unseen spirit persons, Satan and his bad angels. On earth, there were Cain and many other bad persons, including some unusually powerful men. But there were also good people on earth—Abel, Enoch and Noah. In Part ONE we will read about all these people and events.
Story 1: God Begins to Make Things
ALL the good things we have come from God. He made the sun to give us light by day, and the moon and stars so we can have some light at night. And God made the earth for us to live on.
But the sun, the moon, the stars and the earth were not the first things God made. Do you know what was the first? God first made persons like himself. We can’t see these persons, just as we can’t see God. In the Bible these persons are called angels. God made the angels to live with himself in heaven.
The first angel God made was very special. He was God’s first Son, and he worked with his Father. He helped God to make all other things. He helped God to make the sun, the moon, the stars and also our earth.
What was the earth like then? In the beginning no one could live on earth. There was nothing but one big ocean of water all over the land. But God wanted people to live on earth. So he began to get things ready for us. What did he do?
Well, first the earth needed light. So God made the light from the sun to shine on the earth. He made it so there could be both nighttime and daytime. Afterward God caused land to come up above the water of the ocean.
At first there was nothing on the land. It looked like the picture you see here. There were no flowers or trees or animals. There were not even any fish in the oceans. God had a lot more work to do to make the earth really nice for animals and people to live on.
Jeremiah 10:12; Colossians 1:15-17; Genesis 1:1-10.
Story 2: A Beautiful Garden
LOOK at the earth here! How pretty everything is! Look at the grass and the trees, the flowers and all the animals. Can you pick out the elephant and the lions?
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How did this beautiful garden come to be? Well, let’s see how God got the earth ready for us.
First, God made green grass to cover the land. And he made all kinds of small plants and bushes and trees. These growing things help to make the earth pretty. But they do more than that. Many of them also give us foods that taste very good.
God later made fish to swim in the water and birds to fly in the sky. He made dogs and cats and horses; big animals and small animals. What animals live near your home? Shouldn’t we be glad that God made all these things for us?
Finally, God made one part of the earth a very special place. He called this place the garden of Eden. It was just perfect. Everything about it was beautiful. And God wanted the whole earth to become just like this pretty garden he had made.
But look at the picture of this garden again. Do you know what God saw that was missing? Let’s see.
Genesis 1:11-25; 2:8, 9.
Story 3: The First Man and Woman
WHAT is different in this picture? Yes, it is the people in it. They are the first man and woman. Who made them? It was God. Do you know his name? It is Jehovah. And the man and woman came to be called Adam and Eve.
This is how Jehovah God made Adam. He took some dust from the ground and with it he formed a perfect body, a man’s body. Then he blew into the man’s nose, and Adam came to life.
Jehovah God had a job for Adam. He told Adam to name all the different kinds of animals. Adam may have watched the animals for a long time so he could pick the best names for them all. While Adam was naming the animals he began to see something. Do you know what that was?
The animals all had mates. There were papa elephants and mama elephants, and there were papa lions and mama lions. But Adam had no one to be his mate. So Jehovah made Adam fall into a deep sleep, and he took a rib bone from his side. Using this rib, Jehovah made a woman for Adam, and she became his wife.
How happy Adam was now! And think how happy Eve must have been to be put in such a beautiful garden to live! Now they could have children and live together in happiness.
Jehovah wanted Adam and Eve to live forever. He wanted them to make the whole earth as pretty as the garden of Eden. How happy Adam and Eve must have been when they thought about doing this! Would you have liked to share in making the earth a pretty garden? But the happiness of Adam and Eve did not last. Let’s find out why.
Psalm 83:18; Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7-25.
Story 4: Why They Lost Their Home
SEE what’s happening now. Adam and Eve are being put out of the beautiful garden of Eden. Do you know why? It is because they did something very bad. And so Jehovah is punishing them. Do you know the bad thing Adam and Eve did?
They did something God told them not to do. God told them they could eat food from the trees of the garden. But from one tree God said not to eat, or else they would die. He kept that tree as his own. And we know it is wrong to take something that belongs to someone else, don’t we? Well, what happened?
One day when Eve was alone in the garden, a snake spoke to her. Think of that! It told Eve to eat fruit from the tree from which God told them not to eat. Now, when Jehovah made snakes he did not make them so they could talk. So this can only mean that someone else was making the snake speak. Who was that?
It wasn’t Adam. So it had to be one of the persons that Jehovah had made long before he made the earth. Those persons are angels, and we cannot see them. This one angel had become very proud. He began thinking that he should be a ruler like God. And he wanted people to obey him instead of obeying Jehovah. He was the angel that made the snake talk.
This angel was able to fool Eve. When he told her that she would become like God if she ate the fruit, she believed it. So she ate, and Adam did too. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and that is why they lost their beautiful garden home.
But someday God will see to it that the whole earth is made as pretty as the garden of Eden. Later we will learn how you may share in making it this way. But now, let’s find out what happened to Adam and Eve.
Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:1-13, 24; Revelation 12:9.
Story 5: A Hard Life Begins
OUTSIDE the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had many troubles. They had to work hard for their food. Instead of beautiful fruit trees, they saw lots of thorns and thistles grow around them. This is what happened when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and stopped being His friends. But worse than that, Adam and Eve started to die. Remember, God warned them that they would die if they ate fruit from a certain tree. Well, the very day that they ate they began to die. How foolish they were not to listen to God!
The children of Adam and Eve were all born after God put their parents out of the garden of Eden. This means that the children would also have to grow old and die.
If only Adam and Eve had obeyed Jehovah, life would have been happy for them and their children. They could all have lived forever in happiness on earth. No one would have had to grow old, get sick and die.
God wants people to live forever in happiness, and He promises that someday they will. Not only will the whole earth be beautiful, but all the people will be healthy. And everyone on earth will be a good friend with everyone else and with God. But Eve was no longer a friend of God. So when she gave birth to her children, it was not easy for her. She had pain. Being disobedient to Jehovah certainly brought her a lot of sorrow, don’t you agree?
Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters. When their first son was born, they named him Cain. They named their second son Abel. What happened to them? Do you know?
Genesis 3:16-23; 4:1, 2; Revelation 21:3, 4.
Story 6: A Good Son, and a Bad One
LOOK at Cain and Abel now. They have both grown up. Cain has become a farmer. He grows grains and fruits and vegetables. Abel has become a keeper of sheep. He likes to take care of little lambs. They grow up into big sheep, and so Abel soon has a whole flock of sheep to watch over.
One day Cain and Abel bring a gift to God. Cain brings some food he has grown. And Abel brings the very best sheep he has. Jehovah is pleased with Abel and his gift. But he is not pleased with Cain and his gift. Do you know why?
It is not just that Abel’s gift is better than Cain’s. It is because Abel is a good man. He loves Jehovah and his brother. But Cain is bad; he does not love his brother.
So God tells Cain that he should change his ways. But Cain does not listen. He is very angry because God liked Abel better. So Cain says to Abel, ‘Let us go over into the field.’ There, when they are all alone, Cain hits his brother Abel. He hits him so hard that he kills him. Wasn’t that a terrible thing for Cain to do? Even though Abel died, God still remembers him. Abel was good, and Jehovah never forgets a person like that. So one day Jehovah God will bring Abel back to life. At that time Abel will never have to die. He will be able to live here on earth forever. Won’t it be fine to get to know persons like Abel?
But God is not pleased with persons like Cain. So after Cain killed his brother, God punished him by sending him far away from the rest of his family. When Cain went away to live in another part of the earth, he took with him one of his sisters, and she became his wife.
In time Cain and his wife began to have children. Other sons and daughters of Adam and Eve got married, and they also had children. Soon there were many people on the earth. Let’s learn about some of them.
Genesis 4:2-26; 1 John 3:11, 12; John 11:25.
Story 7: A Brave Man
AS THE number of people began to increase on the earth, most of them did bad things like Cain. But one man was different. He is this man named E´noch. E´noch was a brave man. The people all around him were doing very bad things, but E´noch still kept on serving God.
Do you know why those people back then did so many bad things? Well, think, Who caused Adam and Eve to disobey God and to eat the fruit that God said they should not eat? Yes, it was a bad angel. The Bible calls him Satan. And he is trying to get everyone to be bad. One day Jehovah God had E´noch tell the people something they did not want to hear. It was this: ‘God is someday going to destroy all the bad people.’ The people were probably very angry to hear this. They may even have tried to kill E´noch. So E´noch needed to be very brave to tell the people about what God was going to do.
God did not let E´noch live a long time among those bad people. E´noch lived to be only 365 years old. Why do we say “only 365 years”? Because men in those days were much stronger than now and lived much longer. Why, E´noch’s son Me·thu´se·lah lived to be 969 years old! Well, after E´noch died, the people just got worse and worse. The Bible says that ‘everything they thought about was bad all the time,’ and that ‘the earth became filled with violence.’
Do you know one of the reasons why there was so much trouble on the earth in those days? It is because Satan had a new way of getting the people to do bad things. We will learn about this next.
Genesis 5:21-24, 27; 6:5; Hebrews 11:5; Jude 14, 15.
Story 8: Giants in the Earth
IF SOMEONE were walking toward you and he was as tall as the ceiling in your house, what would you think? That person would be a giant! At one time there really were giants on the earth. The Bible shows that their fathers were angels from heaven. But how could that be? Remember, the bad angel Satan was busy making trouble. He was even trying to get God’s angels to be bad. In time, some of these angels started to listen to Satan. They stopped the work that God had for them to do in heaven. And they came down to earth and made human bodies for themselves. Do you know why?
The Bible says that it is because these sons of God saw the pretty women on earth and wanted to live with them. So they came to earth and married these women. The Bible says that this was wrong, because God made the angels to live in heaven.
When the angels and their wives had babies, these babies were different. At first they may not have looked very different. But they kept growing bigger and bigger, and getting stronger and stronger, until they became giants.
These giants were bad. And because they were so big and strong, they would hurt people. They tried to force everyone to be bad like themselves.
E´noch had died, but there was one man on earth now who was good. This man’s name was Noah. He always did what God wanted him to do.
One day God told Noah that the time had come for Him to destroy all the bad people. But God was going to save Noah, his family and many of the animals. Let’s see how God did this.
Genesis 6:1-8; Jude 6.
Story 9: Noah Builds an Ark
NOAH had a wife and three sons. His sons’ names were Shem, Ham and Ja´pheth. And each of these sons had a wife. So there were eight persons in Noah’s family.
God now had Noah do a strange thing. He told him to build a big ark. This ark was large like a ship, but it looked more like a big, long box. ‘Make it three floors high,’ God said, ‘and put rooms in it.’ The rooms were for Noah and his family, the animals, and the food all of them would need.
God also told Noah to fix up the ark so that no water could leak in. God said: ‘I am going to send a great flood of water and destroy the whole world. Everyone not in the ark will die.’
Noah and his sons obeyed Jehovah and started building. But the other people just laughed. They kept on being bad. Nobody believed Noah when he told them what God was going to do. It took a long time to build the ark because it was so big. Finally, after many years, it was finished. Now God told Noah to bring the animals into the ark. God said to bring in two of some kinds of animals, both a male and a female. But of other kinds of animals, God told Noah to bring in seven. God also told Noah to bring in all the different kinds of birds. Noah did just what God said.
Afterward, Noah and his family also went into the ark. Then God shut the door. Inside, Noah and his family waited. Just imagine you are there in the ark with them, waiting. Would there really be a flood as God said?
Genesis 6:9-22; 7:1-9.
Story 10: The Great Flood
OUTSIDE the ark, the people went about their life the same as before. They still did not believe that the Flood would come. They must have laughed more than ever. But they soon stopped laughing. All of a sudden water began to fall. It poured down from the sky as when you pour water from a bucket. Noah had been right! But it was too late now for anybody else to get into the ark. The door had been closed tight by Jehovah.
Soon all the low ground was covered. The water became like big rivers. It pushed over trees and rolled around big stones, and made a lot of noise. The people were afraid. They climbed up to higher ground. Oh, how they wished they had listened to Noah and gotten into the ark when the door was still open for them! But now it was too late.
The water kept getting higher and higher. For 40 days and 40 nights the water poured out of the sky. It rose up the sides of the mountains, and soon even the tallest mountains were covered. So just as God had said, all the people and animals outside the ark died. But everyone inside was safe.
Noah and his sons had done a good job building the ark. The water lifted it up, and it floated right on top of the water. Then one day, after the rain stopped falling, the sun began to shine. What a sight it was! There was just one big ocean everywhere. And the only thing that could be seen was the ark floating on top. The giants were gone now. No more would they be around to hurt people. All of them had died, along with their mothers and the rest of the bad people. But what happened to their fathers?
The fathers of the giants were not really human people like us. They were angels that had come down to live as men on earth. So when the Flood came, they did not die with the rest of the people. They stopped using the human bodies they had made, and went back to heaven as angels. But they were no longer allowed to be part of the family of God’s angels. So they became the angels of Satan. In the Bible they are called demons.
God now made a wind blow, and the waters of the flood began to go down. Five months later the ark came to rest on the top of a mountain. Many more days passed, and those inside the ark could look out and see the tops of the mountains. The waters kept on going down and down.
Then Noah let a black bird called a raven out of the ark. It would fly away for a while and then it would come back, because it could not find a good place to land. It kept doing this and each time it returned, it would rest on the ark. Noah wanted to see if the waters had run off the earth, so next he sent a dove out of the ark. But the dove came back too because it did not find a place to stay. Noah sent it out a second time, and it brought back an olive leaf in its beak. So Noah knew that the waters had gone down. Noah sent out the dove a third time, and finally it found a dry place to live.
God now spoke to Noah. He said: ‘Go out of the ark. Take your whole family and the animals with you.’ They had been inside the ark for more than a whole year. So we can just imagine how happy they all were to be outside again and to be alive!
Genesis 7:10-24; 8:1-17; 1 Peter 3:19, 20.