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Something that bogs down us Bible readers is the lists of “begats” and sons and descendants in the Bible. For example, check out the beginning chapters of the books of Chronicles.
The introduction to these books in my Bible says, “The books open with several genealogical lists…While these lists may appear uninteresting and unnecessary to the modern reader, they were of great interest to those of the Chronicler’s own time.”
Through them, the author showed how the current people were connected to folks before the Exile, indicating a national identity. And it showed how the promises given to people before the Exile applied to them, too.
Folks years ago used to write down information on family history in their big family Bibles. This information has even been used in legal cases to show connections and correct names.
Now we can use computer networks such as Ancestry.com to trace our family history and find out all kinds of information such as what our relatives did. Some folks even take DNA tests to trace their heritage, although such an approach should be used with caution.
Jesus’ genealogy is reported in Matthew, chapter 1, and we know from Scripture that he had brothers. Mark 3:31-34 says, “Then His brothers and His mother came…And a multitude …said, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you.’ But He answered them… and said, ‘…whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.’”
Fellow Christians in the Bible were referred to as brothers and sisters, a practice followed today by some churches.
Now, I know real brothers and sisters fight, but we should consider that as adult Christian brothers and sisters, we should try to get along. The Apostle Paul even wrote to some churches about their infighting.
These days, like in the past, some people like to dwell on where people are from and the color of their skin, but remember this: We all came from the first humans in this world, so that makes us kin!
Donna Crowe is a minister’s wife.