Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for December 17

Here’s the Explore the Bible Sunday School lesson commentary for Dec. 17, written by Douglas K. Wilson, Ph. D., Executive Director of the Center for Christian Calling, University of Mobile.

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for December 17

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By Douglas K. Wilson, Ph. D.
Executive Director of the Center for Christian Calling, University of Mobile


Genesis 3:1–7, 21–24

Theologians debate Adam’s federal headship versus natural headship. Populists argue that the first sin was not forbidden fruit, but some salacious “forbidden fruit” (of a sensual nature). The plain message of the narrative though is that the first couple disobeyed God through her being deceived and his disregard for God’s warning.

Tempted (1–5)

Sometimes meanings of words are lost in translation. In biblical Hebrew, there are several personal pronouns translated to the one English word “you”: masculine singular, feminine singular, masculine plural and feminine plural. When we read “you” in our Christian Standard Bible translation, which original word is it representing?

The Elizabethan (or Jacobite) English of the King James Version records the temptations from the serpent with the word “ye.” That’s “y’all” in Alabama.

Most English translations provide a footnote indicating the “you” in the temptation is plural in the original. While the serpent approached Eve, the temptations were directed to both Adam and Eve.

The serpent directed their attention to the fruit forbidden by God. Systematically, the tempter questioned God’s message, then His meaning and ultimately His motive. He knew that humanity was created in God’s image, so his claim that they would be like God was a lie — they were already more like God than he was!

His half-truth was that they would know (become intimately acquainted with) evil.

Fallen (6–7)

If the wording in Genesis 3:6 sounds familiar to Christians, it should. The temptations faced in the Garden are echoed throughout Scripture. David faced them in 2 Samuel 11, and Jesus faced them in the wilderness. First John describes love for the world as including the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and pride (2:16). Eve was deceived with these in Genesis 3:6, David surrendered to them in his relationship with Bathsheba and Jesus withstood these temptations in Matthew 4 (and parallel passages).

Adam willingly ate of the forbidden fruit. His act was outright disobedience to the expressed will of God, and it invited judgment. Adam’s sin broke the world. It fractured his fellowship with God, his understanding of himself, his relationship with Eve (and later, with his children) and his relationship with the world he was supposed to steward.

God’s judgment on sin may come immediately, or it may result in intermediate consequences, but ultimately it leads to death. “When sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death” (James 1:15).

Grace Found (21–24)

In the intervening passages, God asks questions and then He issues sentences. When God asks questions, it is not because He is uninformed. Instead, God offers opportunities for the guilty to confess their crimes and plead for His mercy. Adam, where are you? Eve, what have you done? God was not unaware.

Life gets hard when we disobey God. Adam, your labor is going to get wearisome, and you will be accountable to Me. Eve, your labor will be painful, and you will be accountable to your husband. Ground, you will produce twisted and painful vegetation. Serpent, your seed will be defeated by her Seed.

Fig leaves could not cover their sin, and they will not cover ours. It took animals dying to clothe Adam and Eve. It took the Lamb of God being crucified and rising from the dead to conquer sin and death for everyone who believes.