Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Genesis Notes: Adam's Descendents

Genesis 5 shows the descendents from Adam to Noah and is one of those endless seeming lists of names that make my eyes glaze over.

There's nothing for modern people in these lists. Right? Au contraire!

The Phillip Medhurst Picture Torah 43. Adam's descendants. Genesis cap 5. Schenck

The Bible contains several lists of ancestors, called genealogies. There are two basic views concerning these lists: (1) they are complete, recording the entire history of a family, tribe, or nation; or (2) they are not intended to be exhaustive and may include only famous people or the heads of families. "Became the father of" could also mean "was the ancestor of."

Why are genealogies included in the Bible? The Hebrews passed on their beliefs through oral tradition. For many years in many places, writing was primitive or nonexistent. Stories were told to children who passed them on to their children. Genealogies gave a skeletal outline that helped people remember the stories. For centuries these genealogies were added to and passed down from family to family. Even more important than preserving family tradition, genealogies were included to confirm the Bible's promise that the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, would be born into the line of Abraham.

Genealogies point out an interesting characteristic of God. People are important to him as individuals, not just as races or nations. Therefore God refers to people by name, mentioning their life span an descendants.

Life Application Study Bible, emphasis added
This series first ran in 2004 and 2005. I'm refreshing it as I go. For links to the whole study, go to the Genesis Index. For more about the resources used, go here.

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