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Why are there two different genealogies of Jesus in the Bible.

The two genealogies of Jesus Christ are found in Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3: 23-38

How are the two genealogies of Jesus Christ different?

Matthew’s gospel was written for the convincing of the Jewish people that Jesus was the prophesied Messianic king of the Jews. His line traces through Joseph, Christ’s legal father, his line of descent that proves that he would have truly been a King of the Jews had they not been living under Roman rule.

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Why are there two different genealogies of Jesus in the Bible
Jesus depicted as the Good Shepherd

Matthew starts with Abraham coming forward to Christ in sets of 14 names – a common device in that time. His focus is on the important forbears – i.e., as one might say today “a descendant of King Henry” or “one of the Mayflower” without giving the entire line linking back to that person.

Luke’s gospel is written to converted members of the ancient church both Jewish and Gentile to give background and the story of this man Jesus, son of God. His genealogy begins with Jesus linking him to Joseph as his father (with the qualifier “as was supposed”) since the church knew Christ was the literal son of God. Luke, therefore, traces the genealogy of Christ back to Adam ending with the words “the son of God.”

Why are the two genealogies of Jesus Christ Different?

Here are the common reasons that were given and some arguments for them:

  1. That as Joseph was the legal father of Christ both genealogies are of Joseph – one of Joseph’s natural father and the other of his legal father -one being from the line of David and the other being from the line of Levi thus giving Christ both priestly and ruling power. A number of writers have suggested that this could have happened through adoption, or through the common practice for a “brother” (a man from the same father but not necessarily the same mother) to marry his deceased brother’s wife to raise up children for his brother.
  2. One of the genealogies is the genealogy of Mary. Hebrew law did not allow a woman to be in the genealogy (it went from male to male) so that Luke used Joseph’s name instead. This argument also suggests that Mary and Joseph were cousins and shared a maternal ancestor. Most frequently writers argue that Luke’s line is the one of Mary as Luke believed that God was the father of Christ, and, therefore, the genealogy should be traced from her.
  3. One or the other is incorrect – most likely Luke, who was going by hearsay while Matthew knew Christ and his family.

FREE, beautiful posters of the genealogy of Christ available for instant download.

We had two beautiful posters of the genealogy of Christ designed. On those posters, we have chosen to reflect the arguments suggesting that Luke’s genealogy traces Mary’s ancestors.

You can download either or both of these beautiful artwork posters of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ here – and while you’re there sign up for other free downloads and discount coupons.


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4 thoughts on “Why are there two different genealogies of Jesus in the Bible.

  1. For the differing Geneology you need to do more research. Matthew was giving the geneology through the First surviving son of David and Bathsheba representing the Jewish line who had a blood curse put on the line Jeconiah. The other geneology detailed the line from the second surviving son of David and Bathsheba and represents the gentile bride with Boaz who is the son of Rahab the prostitute. Its part of Prophecy. If you study out the promises in Exodus and Joshua the promises made to the daughters of Zelophohad and the blood curse on Jeconiah it will show the sovereignty of God in the Virgin birth and why it was necessary. Do your homework! Study out the laws of the Levitical priesthood for adoption. It is prophetic of the coming uniting of the Messianic Kingdom in Christ.

    1. Hi, could you tell me where you got that information? Thanks

      1. I’m not sure which information you are referring to. The genealogies are from the Bible and the comments as to why they are different are from a variety of sources.

  2. luke 31 clearly says that josephs (yeshuas step father)blood line is of king David though Mathew is speaking of marys Hebrew were it says husband is reallu father..The givra of mary which means father now the geneologies would only add to thirteen if thos were not true..anf the prophecy is fourteen generations…please research this yourself .. google Nehemiah Gordons research on the messiahs genealogy..oh and by the way he is a Bible scholar who DOESN’T believe in yeshua..

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