This year, we will read the Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, along with Luke and Acts. It should not be a surprise that these 2 Old Testament books seldom get very close attention. After all, they just repeat what is contained in part of Samuel and Kings, right? Well, not so fast. It’s true that some passages from Samuel and Kings are contained in Chronicles, and some are even word for word. But certainly, that does not apply to the entire books – and there is more to it than that.
So what is the difference? To start with, the Books of Kings are written chiefly from the perspective of the northern kingdom of Israel, ending with the fall of Judah and the beginning of the Babylonian captivity. The Books of Chronicles are written primarily for the exiles who have returned from captivity (and of course, for us as well). There is much contained in Chronicles that is not written anywhere else, and much more attention is paid to the southern kingdom. In fact, the northern kings are rarely mentioned outside the context of their interaction with the southern kingdom.
Before going into too much more detail about the Books of Chronicles, let us provide a few tips for reading 1 Chronicles – which is where we start the year. First, it is important to point out that most of the first 9 chapters contain almost exclusively genealogies – beginning with Adam, all the way to the post-exilic period. Why? A couple of reasons.
The chief reason is that the Lord wanted the people to have this information documented very well for those returning from exile so that there would be no confusion as to lineage when questions arose concerning such matters as who could serve as a Levitical priest. Secondly, there is much information in these genealogies that explain things that we might not otherwise know. For example, we read much in the Book of Joshua about the Jebusites and the Amorites. But where did they come from? The answer is in the first 14 verses of 1 Chronicles chapter one.
So tip #1 when reading these first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles is to remember that your natural inclination will be to hit the “fast forward button” and move ahead. That’s OK, but when you let yourself do that, skim through and make a note of any names or places you may remember being mentioned elsewhere for further investigation. With this easy schedule, you may want to look further into it.
Tip #2: Don’t get impatient and move too far ahead in the schedule of 1 Chronicles. We are just reading less than 30 verses per day – many times, even less than 10! Let God’s word work in you. Remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Tip #3: Our daily blog will alternate between a focus on Luke and on the Books of Chronicles. We will do our best to give meaning and understanding to some of the details of these genealogies until we get through them. Once we do, the reward in the following chapters will be well worth the wait.
We will complete this introduction to the Books of Chronicles this week and begin our study of Luke’s gospel as well.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules used by this blog can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.