(Mt. 1:1-17) Do Matthew and Luke’s genealogies contradict each other? (cf. Lk. 3:23-38)

CLAIM: Matthew and Luke both write a genealogy for Jesus, but these are different from one another. Once Matthew and Luke reach David, they diverge from one another rapidly. Matthew has 26 names and Luke has 41 names (between David and Jesus).

RESPONSE: It is not at all uncommon to find genealogies differing in length. The purpose of a genealogy was to show descent, so the Jewish scribe would often skip multiple generations to show the ultimate lineage to a key figure in history. For instance, Aaron’s high priestly genealogy is this way (compare 1 Chron. 6:3-14 with Ezra 7:1-5). Ezra jumps from the 8th name to the 15th name.

Matthew and Luke agree on Jesus’ ultimate ancestors (e.g. David, Abraham, etc.), but they emphasize others in their genealogies because they were writing to different audiences. We can compare their emphases in this way:

Genealogies of Matthew and Luke: A Comparison



Argues Jesus’ legal lineage to be the Messiah

Argues Jesus’ biological lineage to Adam
Goes through his father (Joseph)

Goes through his mother (Mary)

From Abraham

From Adam
Writes to a Jewish audience (connects Abraham and David with Jesus)

Writes to a Gentile audience (connects the whole human race with Jesus)

Includes 14 genealogies to emphasize Jesus as the son of David (David’s name in Hebrew added up to 14)

Traces the genealogy through Solomon

Traces the genealogy through Nathan