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For Bible Study Nerds

Read Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 side by side and you’ll probably notice a problem: The two genealogies are not identical.

Some have decided that this means the biblical accounts of Jesus are untrustworthy, but most Bible scholars find that to be a shortsighted view. They point to other possible explanations for this literary discrepancy. Some believe that Matthew’s genealogy focuses primarily on the family tree of Jesus’ adopted father, Joseph, while Luke’s highlights the lineage of his mother, Mary. Another theory suggests that one of the histories focuses King David’s “throne-succession” line which then jumps to Joseph’s physical family line because the descendents of David’s son, Solomon, died out.

Though we can’t be sure which theories are correct, the fact that there are various theories that could legitimately explain the discrepancies between the Matthew and Luke genealogies indicates that some may be too quick to assume that non-identical manuscripts inherently discredits these Scriptures. It’s both possible and likely that there is more to this supposed “problem” than we fully understand today.

Matthew 1:1-17

Works Cited:

[BAH, 263-64]

 

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