And so-and-so Begat so-and-so

We all know the difficulties of “so-and-so begat so-and-so.” Many evangelical believers read through a Bible in a year reading program. Several of the daily readings will include lists of genealogies that secretly–or maybe not so secretly–prompt the reader to ask questions as to the practicality of such lists upon lists upon lists.

Bible readers using the M’Cheyne reading plan or the reading guide  of the Trinitarian Bible Society’s Westminster Reference Bible are currently working through the beginning of I Chronicles. If you are familiar with the book, it begins with ten chapters of difficult genealogy that include several of the most arduous names found within the pages of the holy Scriptures. If your family is like my family, you may be asking yourself how to work through the so-and-so begat so-and-sos.

Here are two family worship helps from my table to yours as you work through the so-and-sos:

First off, as we are working through the genealogy lists during family worship, we have someone else read the passages to us. This may seem like a strange suggestion–especially from someone who publicly reads the Scriptures for a living–but it is helpful to hear another voice; and a trained one at that.

Yesterday and today we used the Dramatized KJV on Youtube and followed along in our Bibles. I paused the reading to insert questions or comments as we read along. (Tomorrow morning’s reading begins at 21:11.)

This is not our normal reading practice during family worship, but it is helpful to hear a professional reader as we work through the difficult genealogies for a week. Surely its more useful than fumbling through names like Haahashtari, Hazarshual, Hazzelelponi, and Hodaviah.

Secondly, I gave the children up front a list of questions to think about as they listened; following the reading, they were already prepared with some discussion points drawn out of the text. Here’s my list of questions (I am sure others could add more):

1. What names do you recognize? What is their connection to the over-arching story of the Bible?

2. What short narratives did you find in the middle of the genealogies? What do you think they mean?

3. Is there one area in the chapter that clearly points to Jesus Christ?

4. What is one point from the chapter that you can meditate on throughout the day?

Hopefully these two points help your genealogy reading during family worship go more smoothly.

What do you do to help out with the difficult genealogies? What helps would you share with readers as they seek to be faithful to reading through all of the Word of God?