On Avoiding Endless Genealogies

When I was pondering whether to begin this particular look into the matter of maternal descent and its implications in scripture and in biblical history, I thought it worthwhile to consult those people who from time to time read what I write, and more rarely comment on it.  One of those readers replied with a concern about endless genealogies, and I thought it a worthwhile enough concern to address it as part of the preliminary materials to this project as a whole so that it is clearly understood what I propose to do and how it would avoid the problems Paul mentions concerning avoiding contentions over endless genealogies, or even contentions about genealogies as a whole.

Paul discusses the problems of genealogies in two of the passages of the pastoral epistles, and it is worthwhile to quote them.  The first passage is 1 Timothy 1:3-7, which reads in the NKJV (afterwards to be assumed unless it is noted differently):  “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,  nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.  Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,  from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.”  The second such passage is in Titus 3:9-11, which reads:  “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.  Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”

This is a warning that we ought to pay attention to.  There are far too many people who wish to be known as teachers of the law of God without living in obedience, and who lead others astray with their private speculations and wondering.  There are also many people who wish to invent their own spurious genealogies as a way of making themselves feel important.  We see this in particular when we look at the genealogies of many European houses who sought to tie themselves to noble ancestors, and from the wide variety of pretenders of noble and royal houses willing to falsely consider themselves bastards just so they could be connected with families of higher station and privilege and importance than their own real ancestry.  As to the first charge, it is not my intention to write any words that would contradict biblical law, or to attack the duties of honor and love that we owe to God and each other.  Nor is it my intention here to invent any genealogies or even to discuss my own family background here.  Rather, my intention is to give honor to women of the Bible whose importance is seldom appreciated and commented on at length, at least seldom in the sort of circles inhabit within the world of Christianity.  As a single man, I suppose I may consider myself immune from any need to joke about or disparage women as is customary among many who think it amusing to joke about those who are by custom and tradition prevented from talking back.  Nor are the genealogies that we will be dealing with endless, as we will be looking mostly at cases of family connection one generation at a time.  In a few examples, like that of Joash, we may have need to add to this by a generation or two, but in no situations will we go beyond a compact examination of genealogies.  In addition, this discussion will avoid as far as possible any sort of speculation, although inference from scripture and a discussion of the speculation of others, where appropriate, will be undertaken.

Before we close this discussion, it is worthwhile to discuss the matter of genealogies and their importance in the Bible.  We who understand that God is seeking to make a family out of humanity are often aware of the importance of family in our own lives.  We look at the example of faith set by generations before, and accept however unwillingly the fact that we have been given a blessing of growing up in godly families that we have not deserved.  We often pay attention to our own family connections, and ponder about those we are connected to through our marriages and the marriages of our relatives.  Likewise, the Bible is full of genealogical material.  Our discussion of the maternal lines and their importance within scripture will make use of much of this material as it relates especially to the priesthood of Aaron and royal line of David, as these two lines paid a great deal of importance to knowing where one belonged in a great chain of inheritance going back hundreds of years.  While these genealogies were endless, and while few people read them to any great extent [1], the people of the Bible were just as concerned to know their place within the grand scope of the epic biblical narrative as we are, and to those who wish to become sons and daughters of God it is to be expected that we should see how God’s word looks at the importance of women as well as man in that noble family history.

[1] But see, for example:









About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Maternal Lines, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to On Avoiding Endless Genealogies

  1. Pingback: Mysteries Of The Bible: Why Does The Bible Talk So Much About Genealogy | Edge Induced Cohesion

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