Genealogies are lame. Admit it. Only Bible college students pretend they’re interesting. And yet the Bible is full of them. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the term “genealogy,” these are the long lists of names that you skip through as you’re reading different sections of your Bible. You read the first few lines of “so and so begat so and so,” then you realize that this isn’t going to end for awhile, so you skip to the next story.
If genealogies are so tedious (and they are), then why are there so many in the Bible? The answer begins in the first few pages of our Bibles.
When humanity rebelled against God, choosing to believe the Serpent’s lies rather than God’s benevolent commands, God cursed the Serpent. Significantly, this curse involved offspring. And offspring means genealogies. God said to the Serpent:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)
Adam and Eve had blown it. Humanity was now plunged into a cycle of sin and death. The Serpent would continue to wreak havoc in this world. But one day, the Serpent’s head would be crushed by a descendent of Eve.
From that moment on, genealogies mattered immensely. What could matter more? A descendant of this woman would turn the whole thing around. So watch that genealogical line closely. When Eve begat so and so and when so and so begat someone else, eventually we will find our Snake Crusher. (By the way, this may be a part of what Paul is referring to in 1 Timothy 2:15.)
The last genealogies we see in the Bible end in Jesus, the Snake Crusher, the true offspring of Eve who would undo the harm done in the Garden. Luke’s Genealogy goes all the way back, drawing a straight line from Adam, and from that moment in the Garden, directly down to Jesus.
So when you encounter a boring list of names in the Bible, feel free to move on to the more exciting parts. But don’t forget that everything in the Bible matters—even the genealogies.