READ MATTHEW ONE
Matthew opens his gospel account with these words: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.” Below is a visual of how we came to the English translation you have in your Bible before you. The book of Matthew was originally written in Greek, so the first line is the original Greek text from which we get this opening phrase. Below the line of original text is the Greek transliteration; it is the same Greek phrase, but it is written out phonetically using the English alphabet. If you sound out the Greek transliteration, you will have an idea of how the Greek phrase was meant to be pronounced, and how it would have rolled off Matthew’s lips as he penned these words. Lastly, you see the English translation.
Βίβλος γενέσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
Biblos geneseōs Iēsou Christou
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ
Read the Greek transliteration aloud three times. Sound it out to the best of your ability.
What does the word “Biblios” remind you of? What does this tell you about the origin of our English word for Bible?
What book of the Bible does the word “geneseōs” remind you of? What insights does this bring to this opening phrase?
Matthew is opening his book with an ordinary phrase, but it has profound meaning for what lies ahead. The word “Genesis” means “the beginning.” He is not just announcing that what is coming will be a list of the genealogy of the Messiah, but he is calling to our minds the Genesis, or the beginning, of something new God is doing. Matthew is indicating to us that this isn’t just a book about Jesus’ family tree, but about the true beginning. The world, he indicates to us, didn’t just begin in the book of Genesis, but in a very real way is beginning here, at the birth of the Savior of the world. The world was made in the book of Genesis and it will be re-made in the genealogy of Christ. Matthew is telling us that what lies ahead is not just a list of names, but the chronological account of how God is remaking, rebirthing, and re-beginning the world in the person of Jesus Christ.
What is the significance of this grammatical insight?
What does it teach you about what God is doing in the genealogy?
PRAY AND REFLECT
Spend some time thanking God for the wonderful mysteries of His Word. Thank Him that the entire “Biblios” is woven together for our joy and understanding, and ultimately for His glory.