Question 15: In I Timothy 1:4, Paul is instructing Timothy not to pay attention to “endless genealogies.” Does that make it a scripturally forbidden practice for believers to compile family trees or genealogies?

Answer:

I Timothy 1:4 says:

4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. (ESV)

The practice referred to in I Timothy 1:4 was prevalent among Greeks, who usually traced genealogies for two reasons: to try to show superiority in family origin and/or to try to trace the lineage to one of the Greek gods or goddesses. It is this kind of genealogy that is forbidden by I Timothy 1:4. To compile a genealogy as a matter of family history would not be a problem. God Himself recorded many genealogies in His own Word, so He cannot be against keeping track of one’s family history in this way.

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.