How can we resolve genealogical problems?
People use genealogy to try and discredit the Bible, such as Genesis 5 where it seems that the genealogy is at odds with the archeological findings that would suggest there were humans on the earth at a much earlier date. The problem is that by comparing Scripture with Scripture we can determine that there were gaps in the genealogy and so that Adam was in fact created at a much older time period. Another genealogy which causes concern is that of our Lord which we pay particular attention to at Christmas time. Where Matthew 1 and Luke 3 agree from Abraham to David but from then they go separate ways. There are a number of issues here, the first being that in biblical languages there is no word for grandfather, so a man can be called a father of someone but be their grandfather. Our Lord Jesus is called the son of David which is way down the line of ancestors. Also, a man’s son-in-law can be and is called a son. A second issue is that the Bible is not a book of genealogy, there is a purpose in listing a genealogy that goes above giving someone’s family tree, so that it does not matter if someone is left out, that is not the point of the text. This then brings us to the point of the text. The Gospel of Matthew views our Lord from the perspective of being the king, seeking to install His kingdom in the line of David, as descending from His legal father Joseph. The Gospel of Luke views our Lord as the perfect man, descending from Mary who bore Him. Both genealogies are correct, just from a different perspective in keeping with the perspective of the Gospel in which they occur. The purpose of the gospels and of the entire Bible is to present the one way to the one God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at firstname.lastname@example.org and read the answer here in this article.