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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. Why is it that in the Gospel of Matthew, the line of ancestors is different than the one mentioned in the Gospel of Luke? The different lineage appear to contradict the teaching that both Mary and Joseph were descendants of David. Please explain.

A. 1. The difference in the line of ancestors mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew versus the Gospel of Luke does not prove that the Bible is in error.

Let us consider these facts:

King David lived around 1,050 B.C. When considering that one generation is about 20 years, there was at least 52 generations between the time of King David and the birth of Jesus.

Adam and Eve lived at least 5,000 years before the birth of Jesus, that being 250 generations from the time of Adam to the days of Jesus.

When Matthew wrote his Gospel, it was intended for the Jewish converts to Christianity. His focus was on showing that Jesus was the Son of Adam. In doing so, he named 42 Jewish ancestors (14 + 14 + 14) when there actually was at least 250 of them.

When Luke wrote his Gospel, it was intended for the Gentile converts. His focus was on showing that Jesus was a descendant of Adam. In doing so, he listed about 75 ancestors when there were at least 250 of them.

It is obvious that each list is different from the other to a great extent because of where the focus was placed. Certain names were more meaningful to each individual group and accordingly, those names were used. Because the lists differ, it does not mean that they are inaccurate. In both cases, the list of ancestors is incomplete. If they were complete, they would closely resemble each other up to the last few generations.

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