Apologetics Study Bible Profile
If you haven't heard yet, we are having a great sale on Study Bibles this month. With so many excellent Study Bibles to choose from, you might be wondering which of these tools would prove useful in your own study of the Bible. While we do provide a brief description of each Study Bible on our sale page, we thought it might help to take a closer look at some of the Study Bibles included in our sale. We will be profiling a different Study Bible every few days or so over the course of the month, and providing some sample material from each to give you an idea of what these tools are like. To kick things off, today we will be taking a closer look at the Apologetics Study Bible.
Title: The Apologetics Study Bible
Area of Focus: Apologetics
Contributors: Over 90 Christian apologists including Chuck Colson, Norman Geisler, Hank Hanegraaff, Josh McDowell, Albert Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias.
Description: The Apologetics Study Bible is designed to provide straight answers to some of the difficult questions that Christians are confronted with about their faith. Features include notes throughout the entire Bible, profiles of key Christian apologists, in-depth articles on Apologetical issues, and a series of posts titled "Twisted Scripture" which refute some of the notable misinterpretations on certain passages throughout history.
Are the Biblical Genealogies Reliable?
by Kenneth A. Matthews
Biblical genealogies must be understood in the context of the ancient Near East. Typically, genealogies expressed more than family descent. They reflected political and socioreligious realities among people groups. For example, “Salma fathered Bethlehem” (1 Ch 2:51) describes the founder of the village Bethlehem. Therefore the genealogies were fluid, showing differences due to changing political and social realities.
The adoption of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, by Jacob created a new way of interpreting the 12–tribe configuration (Gn 48:5). “Joseph” appears in the blessing of Jacob (Gn 49:22–26), but the blessing of Moses counts 12 tribes by deleting Simeon and dividing the house of Joseph into Ephraim and Manasseh (Dt 33:17). Thus, as we see from this example, the contents of genealogies were selective and not intended to be exhaustive and precise.
Shortening genealogies by omitting names was commonplace. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus exhibits a pattern in which three sets of 14 generations are achieved (Mt 1:17). The number 14 was desirable because of the importance attributed to the symbolic meaning of seven (“complete, perfect”). Thus “Joram fathered Uzziah” (Mt 1:8) omits three generations (2 Ch 21:4–26:33) so as to accomplish the desired number (cp. Ezr 7:1–5 with 1 Ch 6).
From this example we discover another unexpected feature in biblical genealogies. Genetic terms, such as “son of” and “father,” were flexible in meaning, sometimes indicating a “descendant” and “grandfather or forefather.” The word “daughter,” for example, could mean a subordinate village affiliated with a nearby city and thus be translated “surrounding settlements” (Jdg 1:27, NIV).
One technique in the ancient world for legitimizing a new king was the concoction of a fictional ancestry. Moreover, scholars often assume that persons named in genealogies are metaphors for tribes and actually have no familial connection. The charge of fiction has been leveled against the genealogies of the 12 tribes of Israel as descended from the one person Jacob (e.g., Gn 46:8–27; Nm 1:20–43; 1 Ch 2:1–2).
The argument that the term “sons of Jacob” reflects only an evolving social reality and not a reliable domestic one is an unnecessary assumption that contradicts the plain meaning of the biblical witness. The biblical account of the patriarchs reveals a family story primarily and a national one secondarily. Also, since genealogies impacted domestic, legal, and religious matters of importance, reliable genealogical records and censuses were fastidiously maintained (Nm 1:45; Ru 4:10; 1 Ch 4:33; 9:1; Neh 7:5; see Nm 27:1–11; Ezr 2:62)...