Why the Long Lists Of Names in the Bible?

One of the things that stump first time Bible readers is the long list of names, genealogies, places and temple articles found in some parts of the Bible. Some people think they’re useless information. Who cares about names of people who are long dead? What difference does it make if we knew who begat whom?

D. James Kennedy, in his book “Why I Believe,” gave this insightful explanation:

[The] plethora of details were [like] watermarks in paper which bear indelible evidence of the time and plan of manufacture. As a detective can ascertain from a watermark many things about the paper- its source, for instance- the science of archaeology has uncovered from these details a vast wealth of information about the Scripture.

In a courtroom, lawyers frequently ask witnesses many detailed questions that do not seem to bear directly on the issue at hand. They are attempting to establish in all sorts of corroborative ways whether the witness is telling the truth or is lying.

According to one historian, it is impossible to establish a lie in the midst of a well-known history. As the details are brought out and confirmed or denied, so the truth of the story also is confirmed or denied. One scholar states: “To my mind, absolute truth and local details (a thing which cannot possibly be invented when it is spread over a history covering many centuries) give proof almost absolute as to the truth of the thing related. Such proof we have for every part of the Bible.”

Source: D. James Kennedy, Why I Believe (Thomas Nelson; Revised edition, 1979)


Published by

Jojo Agot

Pastor at Victory. Teacher and writer at Every Nation Leadership Institute (ENLI). MA in Theology and Mission at Every Nation Seminary.

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