The Genealogy of Christ | Matthew 1

Do you like genealogical research?

Most of the time my answer would be not really.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of genealogical research.

And I am glad others take the time to do this type of research.

It just is not something I feel drawn to pursue for myself.

But the Bible contains several genealogical lists that intrigue me.

For example, the Gospel of Matthew opens with a genealogy of Christ.

What can we learn from this odd way to open a book about Christ?

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. [1]

What does the first verse of Matthew 1 state about Jesus Christ?

Following this opening statement, Matthew then breaks down the genealogical record into three sections.

  • Abraham to Jesse, the father of King David (Matthew 1:2-6a)
  • David to Josiah, the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon (Matthew 1:6b-11)
  • After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah to Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:12-16)

These three genealogical sections reflect the opening verse of Matthew by outlining the generations from Abraham to David and then to Christ.

The Genealogy of Christ | Matthew 1 | Son of Abraham

Review the following promises given to Abram/Abraham.

12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” [2]

17 “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”[3]

What do God’s promises to Abraham have to do with the establishment of David as king?

Who will be blessed by God through Abraham?

What reason does God give to make this promise to Abraham?

Consider Paul’s thoughts on the importance of Christ being Abraham’s son.

16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by

Describe in your own words the significance of Jesus being the son of Abraham.

The Genealogy of Christ | Matthew 1 | Son of David

Review the following promise given to King David:

11 When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. [4]

Compare this promise to David with the promises Abraham received from God. How are they the same? How are they different?

How long does God say the Son of David’s reign will last?

Describe how this connects to the promises given to Abraham.

The Genealogy of Christ | Matthew 1 | Jesus

Consider the end of the third section of the genealogical record in Matthew 1.

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. [5]

Most of the genealogical form follows the pattern of listing who the men fathered, such as “Jacob the father of Joseph”.

Joseph is not called the father of Jesus in this verse. Instead, he is described as the husband of Mary.

Why is this important? (See Matthew 1:18)

Matthew then sums up his genealogical record.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. [6]

Scholars rightly point out that Matthew is statistically inaccurate in saying there were only fourteen generations between the three genealogical sections.

Rather, Matthew is reflecting theologically on the past and highlights the royal lineage of Jesus by whom he includes or excludes from this condensed genealogy.

Keeping in mind that Matthew is writing primarily to a Jewish audience, what reasons make sense for his focus on the Davidic monarchy in this genealogical record of the “Messiah” also known as the “Son of David”?

The Genealogy of Christ | Matthew 1 | Personal Application

Take a moment to read the first stanza from the hymn written by Fred Pratt Green called Long Ago, Prophets Knew.

Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew.
Come to make all things new;
Bear his People’s burden,
Freely love and pardon.
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
When he comes,
Who will make him welcome?

How does this verse relate to Matthew’s genealogy?

Did this study of the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1 help you see that God’s promises are trustworthy? Why or why not?

What next steps do you need to take today to welcome Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, into your daily experience?

Who has affected you the most in your own spiritual upbringing?

Share in the comments how this person helped you grow in your faith.


Barbara Lynn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 1:1.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 12:1–3.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 22:17–18.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Ch 17:11–12.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 1:16.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 1:17.

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