What does Luke 3:37 mean?
ESV: the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan,
NIV: the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan,
NASB: the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan,
CSB: son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalalel, son of Cainan,
NLT: Lamech was the son of Methuselah. Methuselah was the son of Enoch. Enoch was the son of Jared. Jared was the son of Mahalalel. Mahalalel was the son of Kenan.
KJV: Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,
Luke's genealogy of Jesus is reaching its end—or, rather, its beginning—as it approaches the first man, Adam. As Christ is a genuine human being, Christ's gospel is made available to the entire human race.
The first name mentioned here is Methuselah, famously the oldest person recorded in Scripture (Genesis 5:27).
This Enoch is the one famous for being taken by God, apparently without dying (Genesis 5:24). This is not the same as one of the sons of Cain (Genesis 4:17).
Jared, Mahalaleel, and Cainan, like many, are men only mentioned in genealogies, with few other details given about their lives.
Luke 3:23–38 traces the earthly ancestry of Jesus, apparently focusing on direct family lines. That is, Luke might be following literal birth, rather than by legal means such as adoption. Scholars differ on the precise meaning of these lines, but a common interpretation is that Luke is establishing Mary's ancestry. This establishes Jesus' physical relationship to His ancestor David (2 Samuel 7:12–16). Matthew's genealogy shows Joseph's descent from David, making his adoptive son, Jesus, a legal member of that line.
The early part of Luke's gospel shifts back and forth between the histories of Jesus and John the Baptist. Chapter 3 starts with historical and prophetic context about John. It then depicts some of John's interactions with local religious leaders. Luke gives only a brief description of Jesus' baptism. He also touches on John's criticism of Herod the Tetrarch, which would eventually result in John's execution (Matthew 14:10–12). The chapter ends with a genealogy of Christ.
Chapters 1 and 2 provided early history for both John the Baptist and Jesus. Chapter 3 establishes John's preaching ministry and its connection to Jesus Christ. The chapter ends with a genealogy which some believe runs through Mary's side of the family. Chapter 4 transitions from Jesus' baptism into His public ministry, by describing His fasting in the wilderness and temptation by Satan.
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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