All Scripture Is Useful… Even Genealogies!

Maybe you’ve been there.  Trying to read through the Bible… again… and they start popping up.  Those pesky lists of names.  You wade through the ones in Genesis without much of a problem…. but 1 Chronicles is just too much… and you give up and just skip over the names, and wonder… why in the world are these things in here?

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all Scripture is useful.  Not just some.  Not just parts that are obviously useful.  All Scripture.  It’s God’s toolbox for our Christian lives and every single tool is important even if the use is not immediately obvious.  But when one looks a round a bit in Scripture and relates the things in genealogies to other key factors, perhaps the usefulness won’t be disputed quite so much.

1. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they trace a succession of a line.  They don’t meander in a meaningless way, there is a beginning and there are succeeding generations, and they don’t come out of nowhere.

2. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they remind us of the reality death.  Notice the normal repetition of “and he died” in Genesis 5.  What God warned Adam about came to pass.  Adam ate of the fruit, and died, and then we see future generations dying as well.

3. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they give patterns that, when broken, cause us to investigate further.  The inclusion of Enoch (who was not, because he was taken — he did not die!) in Genesis 5 and of 5 women in Jesus’ human lineage in Matthew 1 make us ask what was so significant about those individuals, and we can learn some valuable lessons in the process.

4. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they remind us of God’s patience.  He allowed the human race to continue and continue and continue!

5. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they remind us of God’s knowledge and care.  Few of us can go back more than a few generations with our family tree.  God gives us some examples of very long lines of descent.  He knows each name, including those not recorded, and He knows everything about each individual.

6. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they remind us of our reliance on previous generations.

7. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they remind us that we are leaving some kind of legacy to future generations.

8. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they remind us that the Bible gives us real history, not fairy tales.

9. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they ultimately point to Jesus.  The eternal Son of God took on flesh, and, as a man, He had a family history but He was the ultimate descendant of the woman that God’s people had been waiting for (Gen 3:15).  Do you see any other genealogies after that of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3?

10. The Bible’s genealogies are useful because they can help us ask whether we are in the long line of those who have believed the gospel of Jesus, and are the true children of God whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

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About dougsmith1977

Disciple of the Lord Jesus, husband, dad, student, teacher, preacher, media producer, blogger, writer. Author of Keeping the Faith in a Christian College. I tweet @dougsmith1977 .
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