Most of us can only recount five or six stories from the bible. Why? Because many of us have not read the bible. Why? Because it’s incredibly boring. For example, check out Genesis 10:1-32, which is a tedious list of people born after the flood. Genealogies, such as this, are quite common in the bible. Check out Genesis 11:10-32, 25:12-18, 36:1-43, and 46:8-27.
The genealogies don’t end in Genesis. Here’s a quick list of a lot of other genealogies found in the bible: Numbers 1:5-43, Numbers 2:1-34 (actually a list of military commanders, but similar to a genealogy), Numbers 3:17-37, Numbers 13:4-15, Numbers 26:5-9, Numbers 26:12-37, Numbers 26:57-60, 1 Chronicles 2:8-55, 1 Chronicles 3:1-24, 1 Chronicles 4:1-37, 1 Chronicles 5:3-17, 1 Chronicles 6:1-81, 1 Chronicles 7:1-40, 1 Chronicles 8:1-40, 1 Chronicles 9:1-44, 1 Chronicles 11:26-47, 1 Chronicles 24:1-31, 2 Chronicles 7:1-23, 2 Chronicles 8:1-36, and of course Luke 3:23-38 and Matthew 1:1–17 (the genealogies of Jesus).
This list is incomplete. The bible is rife with genealogies and other boring lists of men.
So what? So the bible has some boring lists, what’s that got to do with anything?
Well, the bible says to avoid endless genealogies. 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9 both warn against reading such things. In fact, Titus is very damning about genealogies. “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.” In other words, parts of the bible are “unprofitable and vain.”
If we subscribe to such a policy against reading genealogies, parts of the bible then become difficult to justify. But then again, Christians might do well to heed these warnings; ignoring genealogies makes Jesus’ genealogy contradiction invisible. But ignoring parts of the bible is especially ill-advised for a follower of the bible. This qualifies as a genuine conundrum: follow the bible and ignore it, or read the bible and disobey it?