By Sally Ivaska

Who Am I? Genesis 1-3: A Bible Study for Graduate Women

Who am I in relation to God?

Genesis 1:25-31

When asked the question “Who are you?” most of us respond with “I’m a student,” or “I’m so and so’s sister,” or “I’m a musician.” In other words, we tend to think of ourselves in light of the roles we play, or what we do, or in relationship to someone else in our lives.

But who are we in relation to God? Who has he created us to be as women? That’s what we want to explore in this study.
 

1. Where does your sense of self come from? To what extent has it been influenced by your abilities, appearance, achievements, race or ethnicity, parents, teachers, cultural expectations for women, what you do, how peers’ respond to you, etc?

Read Genesis 1:25-31.

2. From this passage, what do we learn about how God created human beings?

3. Genesis 1:25-27 describes God creating humankind in their own image. The New International Dictionary of the Bible (Zondervan, 1987, p. 462) describes it like this:

“. . . man has been made like God in a way that the rest of creation has not. . . The Scriptures do not define precisely the nature of the image of God in man, and we should be careful not to single out any individual aspect or attribute of man as if it were in a special sense the ‘image.’ It is rather man in his entirety that is to be thought of as in the image of God.”

What do you think it means to be purposefully created in God’s image? (Depending on time, have each person respond to at least one of the words below.)

  • Intellectually
  • Physically
  • Emotionally
  • Morally
  • Spiritually
  • Socially

(Also read Psalm 8:3-9. Note that the word often translated “angels” or “heavenly beings” is the same Hebrew word — aleim — used for God in Genesis 1. The New American Standard translation uses “God.”)

4. How does this truth about your identity — that you are God’s image-bearer — influence how you think and feel about

  • your studies or profession?
  • your gender?
  • your body?
  • your emotions?
  • your moral choices?
  • your relationship to God?
  • your relationship to others?

(Again, you may ask each person to choose one or two of these to answer.)

5. In what area of your life is this truth most difficult to absorb or apply? Why?

6. What is it about how God created you that influenced your choice of discipline or profession?

7. (If time permits; otherwise skip to question 8) Read 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Colossians 1:15-20. If Jesus is God’s perfect image-bearer, then he is our role model. In his earthly ministry, how did Jesus model a secure identity? (For example, see John 13:1-5)

8. How has this Scripture challenged your sense of self?

9. In what areas do you need God’s help to think biblically about who you are?

Spend time praying for each other, asking God to conform your thoughts about yourselves to the truth of his Word. 

For more from Sally Ivaska, download the complete study guide

About the Author

Sally Ivaska is the wife of David, mother of four sons, and proud grandmother of Zadie Marie. She has a master of arts in teaching from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University. Her passions — small group Bible study and all things cross-cultural — have taken many forms over the years: hosting international students, coordinating small groups for her church, serving as the International Student Advisor at North Park University, and training African students to study Scripture inductively and write their own discussion materials. Sally is never far from a book or a friend and enjoys life most when her “plate is full.”

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