February 17, 2021 — Why The Genealogies?

The genealogies in the Bible read like a phone book—all cast and no plot: what are they doing there?

As we turn the pages of the Bible, we can’t leave the first family behind, because we’re related! Some say their ancestors came to America on the Mayflower or received a land grant from the king. Others came a very different way, and find their roots in Africa. The fact is, we all trace our lineage to the same place: Adam and Eve. So whether born into privilege or poverty, we all carry the sinful bloodline: “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,” Paul writes in Romans 5:19. That’s the whole human race. But my heart rejoices to tell you the rest of the verse, which introduces our Savior: “So also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” We are made righteous by first confessing our unrighteousness and then receiving as a gift “the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (Rom 3:22). As the old preachers used to say, it doesn’t matter so much where you came from; it’s where you’re going to that’s important! Heaven and hell are the only two destinations, so the Bible warns, “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12). But as we read through Genesis, it isn’t too long before we come across genealogies. Some people skip these sections, but they ARE important. There’s a practical reason: they prove that God is paying attention to us personally; everybody matters to Him. There’s also a prophetic reason, because God is providing documentary evidence that Jesus truly is the son of Adam, Abraham, and David. In Genesis 5:4, we see that Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters, but the Bible selects to list the lineage of only two: Cain and Seth. In our next lesson, we’ll see the huge difference that our choices make, not only to us but to the generations following.