Texting On Biblical Genealogies 

The following is a text message answer I gave to a church member on why genealogies and long lists of names in the Bible are important.  

Well, here’s what I’d start with: If it’s in the Bible, it must be important to God that we read it.  Now, why is that particular thing important to Him? That’s kind of a tough one. But here’s a couple of possibilities:

  1. Some of these people and places in these sorts of sections in the Bible come back up later in God’s story; this helps us know where they fit.   Where they started.  Sort of like how knowing what round Dez Bryant was drafted in what college he played at is a part of his story, even though someone who doesn’t like football might say, “Why do you care about THAT? Why does THAT matter?”
  2. These sorts of sections (called “genealogies”) show us God cares about normal individuals, little tiny ordinary people.  Not just kings or generals or nations.  These sections remind us God remembers the names of ordinary little people. 
  3. They teach us to just patiently, quietly listen to God.  We have short attention spans as sinful human beings.   These sections of the Bible with long lists of names force us to slow down and just trust God enough to listen to Him even when He’s saying something we don’t really understand all the way or don’t find all that interesting.  It’s like listening to your dad show you how to change oil when you’re a little tiny kid, and you’re thinking, “Daddy, I don’t understand a word you’re saying.   And this is boring.  But I love you, and I trust you, so I’ll stay here and listen.  Somehow this must mean something, and I’ll understand someday.”