We’ve all gotten to those places in our reading and studying of Scripture where we come across an ancient genealogy and suddenly lose all our momentum. We find the notion of someone else’s family tree to be completely irrelevant to our own lives in the 21st century and often succumb to the temptation to skip over this “boring” part of Scripture. That’s where the best-selling, newly revised and expanded edition of the Life Application Study Bible can help us.

1 Chronicles 1-9

The longest genealogy in Scripture is 1 Chronicles 1-9, coming in at a whopping ten chapters. It takes an incredible amount of concentration to read through this dense material, but the Life Application Study Bible can help break it down for us in an understandable way. The Life Application® commentary notes help explain the significance of this genealogy from an Israelite’s perspective.

It also includes a helpful chart of “Who’s Who in the Bible.” Though we may not recognize every name in this genealogy or know anything about some of these people, the chart can help us locate and become more familiar with people who show up in other places in the Bible. In traversing this difficult terrain, we can have something solid to stand on as we work our way from one generation to the next.

Personal Profiles

Another unique feature of the Life Application Study Bible is the Life Application® profiles of key people in the Bible. These profiles can help you dig deeper into some of the characters that show up in the genealogies, further strengthening our grasp of the biblical story. Here’s a profile of Noah.

Genealogies of Jesus

Another reason to not simply skip or dismiss the genealogies in the Bible is that they help us to know the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Life Application® commentary notes speak to this in the two places Jesus’ genealogy shows up—Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. Here is some content adapted from the Life Application® commentary notes on Matthew’s genealogy:

1:1-17 Beginning his book by presenting this record of ancestors (called a genealogy) was the best way that Matthew could interest a Jewish audience. Because a Jewish person’s family line proved his or her standing as one of God’s chosen people, Matthew began by showing that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham, the father of all Jews, and a direct descendant of David, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah’s line. The facts of this ancestry were carefully preserved. Matthew used this and many other proofs to show that Jesus is the true Messiah.

1:1-17 In the first 17 verses of Matthew we meet 46 people whose lifetimes span 2,000 years. All were ancestors of Jesus, but they varied considerably in personality, spiritual maturity, and experience. Some were heroes of faith, like Abraham, Isaac, Ruth, and David. Some came from outside Israel or had shady reputations, like Rahab, Tamar, and Ruth. Many were very ordinary, like Hezron, Ram, Nahshon, and Akim. And others were evil, like Manasseh and Abijah. Human failures or sins cannot limit or block God’s work in history. He works through both remarkable and ordinary people. Just as God chose all kinds of people to be part of the lineage of Jesus, he uses all kinds today to accomplish his will, in the present and for the future. And God wants to use you. This is one of Matthew’s main purposes—to show how you can be part of God’s Kingdom by following Jesus.

1:3-6 Matthew’s inclusion of four particular women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba) reveals his concern to do more than relay historical data. These women might have raised both ethnic and ethical questions for Matthew’s readers. All four of them were most likely not Israelites by birth, and all might seem scandalous to mention in an ancestral tree of the Messiah. Tamar acted as a prostitute to scam her father-in-law, Judah, but she was declared righteous for her actions by Judah for showing greater faithfulness to the family than he had (Genesis 38). Rahab was a prostitute and a foreigner, but she helped deliver the city of Jericho into the hands of the Israelites and had faith in God (Joshua 2:1-21; 6:22-25). Ruth was from Moab, an enemy tribe of Israel, but she faithfully took care of her mother-in-law Naomi and was praised for being better than seven sons (Ruth 1–4). King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, yet she became the mother of Solomon, the wisest king of Israel (2 Samuel 11; 12:24-25). This was the colorful line into which God’s Son was born.

Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus lists the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it intentionally does not leave out people who seemed questionable. The point Matthew is trying to make is that God sent his Son as the Savior of all people—Jews, Gentiles, men, and women. No matter who people are or where they come from, God’s plan of salvation is offered to all people.

Here is some more content from the Life Application® commentary notes on Luke’s genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:23-38):

3:23-38 Matthew’s genealogy goes back to Abraham and shows that Jesus is related to all Jews (Matthew 1). Luke’s genealogy goes back to Adam, showing that Jesus is related to all human beings. This is consistent with Luke’s picture of Jesus as the fully human Savior of the whole world.

3:23 Imagine the Savior of the world working in a small-town carpenter’s shop until he was 30 years old! It seems incredible that Jesus would have been content to remain in Nazareth all that time, but he patiently trusted his Father’s timing for his life and ministry. Thirty was the prescribed age for priests to begin their ministry (Numbers 4:3). Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving the king of Egypt (Genesis 41:46), and David was 30 years old when he began to reign over Judah (2 Samuel 5:4). Age 30, then, was a good time to begin an important task in the Jewish culture. Like Jesus, we need to resist the temptation to jump ahead before receiving the Spirit’s direction. Are you waiting and wondering what your next step should be? Trust God’s timing.

By noticing how Matthew and Luke crafted their genealogies, we can learn more about Jesus. Matthew wants us to see that Jesus is the offspring of both Abraham and David. In other words, he is Abraham’s offspring (see Gal 3:16) and David’s greater Son (see 2 Sam 7:1-17; Rom 1:3-4). Luke wants us to see that Jesus is the Son of God (Luke 3:22) like Adam (Luke 3:38), but where Adam succumbed to temptation (Gen 3:1-7), Jesus successfully resisted it (Luke 4:1-13).

Through a combination of charts, personal profiles, and commentary notes, the newly revised and expanded edition of the Life Application Study Bible can assist you in reading, studying, understanding, and applying some of the most challenging material you will encounter in the Bible. Pick up your copy today, find your place in the story God is telling about his Son, and see how genealogies can truly change your life!

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