From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

The value attached by the Hebrew people to genealogies is seen in the long and, to modern readers, somewhat wearisome, lists of Scripture. Their exaggerated importance was in some measure due to family pride, which loved an old descent; and therefore it was considered a laudable ambition to build up legendary pedigrees of heroes and founders such as are met with, e.g. in the Book of Jubilees . As Judaism became politically impotent, it took to dreaming of the glories of the past, and there sprang up a ‘rank growth of legend respecting the patriarchs and other heroes’ (Hort, Judaistic Christianity , Cambridge and London, 1894, p. 136). This genealogical matter is found in Hebrew and in Greek, and appears in both Philo and Josephus.

In the genealogies a religious interest is also apparent. We know from the NT how obstinately the later Judaism clung to the merely positive and perishable precepts of the Law, and how at the same time, under a narrow and literal doctrine of inspiration, the attempt was made to extract nourishment for the spiritual life from every part of the OT. The most fantastic doctrines were drawn, even from the names in the genealogical lists, in the interests of a supposed edification.

For a time Judaism bitterly opposed the Church; then, entering it as Judaistic Christianity, it sought to capture the new movement, in the interests of a sect, by binding upon it the yoke of the Law, which Peter, in the Jerusalem Council, said ‘neither our fathers nor we were able to bear’ ( Acts 15:10). ‘Lastly, it becomes a fantastic heresy inside the Church, and sinks into profane frivolity, “Pretended revelations are given as to the names and genealogy of angels; absurd ascetic rules are laid down as ‘counsels of perfection,’ while daring immorality defaces the actual life” ’ (Plummer, The Pastoral Epp . [Expos. Bib., London, 1888], p. 34; also Expositor , 3rd ser., viii. [1888] 42); cf.  Revelation 2:9 ‘I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews and they are not.’

With this ‘unwholesome stuff’ (Hort, p. 137) there was combined the doctrine of aeons of the Jewish philosopher Philo-the incipient Gnosticism of the Colossian heresy. The γνῶαις of the NT is the special lore of those who interpreted mystically the OT, especially the Law (cf. Hort, pp. 139-144). This so-called Gnosticism may be traced through Philo, the Book of Wisdom, and Sirach, ‘back to the Persian speculations with which the Jews became familiar during the Captivity’ (Dods, Introd. to NT , London, 1888, p. 141f.). This is the situation, atmosphere, and tendency lying behind the stern rebukes of the Pastoral Epistles.

In  1 Timothy 1:14 the warning is given, μηδὲ προσέχειν μύθοις καὶ γενεαλογίαις ἀπεράντοις, αἵτινες ἐκζητήσεις παρέχουσι, ‘neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, the which minister questionings.’ These genealogies are ‘legendary pedigrees of Jewish heroes’ and ‘haggadic embroidery of Jewish biographies’ (Moffatt, Introd. to Literature of the New Testament (Moffatt). , Edinburgh, 1911, pp. 406, 408). They are called ἀπέραντοι (ἄπαξ λεγ. in NT)-‘endless,’ because they led nowhere, and, where all meanings were equally possible and equally worthless, one interpretation was as good as another. ‘They minister questionings’-that was their end. ‘Fanciful tales merely tickle the ears and loosen the tongue. They have no relation to the serious business of life … They end in conversation, not conversion’ (J. Strachan, The Captivity and the Pastoral Epistles [Westminster NT, London, 1910]. p. 203, where Köhler is quoted [p. 205]: ‘the author can think of no more striking contrast than that between the endless prattle of the false teachers and the gospel of the glory of the blessed God’ [ 1 Timothy 1:11]). Life is a stewardship of God (οἰκονομία θεοῦ), but this trashy and unwholesome stuff,’ which occupied ‘men’s minds to the exclusion of solid and life-giving nutriment’ (Hort, p. 137), hinders the fulfilment of the trust of life. It is contrary to sound doctrine. It does not belong to the healthy (ὑγιαινούσῃ) mind. In  Titus 3:9 the warning is repeated: ‘shun foolish questions and genealogies.’

The scornful method adopted by the Pastoral Epistles of dealing with these ‘silly questions and genealogies’ has been objected to as un-Pauline, and is cited as an argument for the late date of the Epistles. Without raising the question of authorship, one may feel, on general considerations, that, in the interests of the Church, the question was a vital one-should Christianity be allowed to degenerate into a blend of Mosaism and Gentile philosophy or theosophy? Even in religious controversy, rank growths are not to be eradicated with a pair of tweezers. Moffatt’s rejoinder ( Encyclopaedia Biblica 5083) to McGiffert ( Apostolic Age , Edinburgh, 1897, it. 402) may be regarded as justified and satisfactory: ‘This movement [represented by fables, genealogies, etc.] is met by … methods, which seem denunciatory merely because we no longer possess any statement of the other side, and are, therefore, prone to forget that such rough and decisive ways are at times the soundest method of conserving truth.… Firmness and even ridicule have their own place as ethical weapons of defence.’ See Fable.

W. M. Grant.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

Old Testament Genealogies are recorded in the Old Testament as early as  Genesis 4:1 . Various enrollments by family lineage are referenced at significant junctures in Old Testament history ( Numbers 1:19-49;  Ezra 8:1 ). The writer of Chronicles offered abundant genealogical records ( 1 Chronicles 1-9 ).

Genealogies occur in several different forms. A linear genealogy lists one person in each generation, usually father, son, grandson, etc. A segmented genealogy lists several people of at least the first generation and often of following generations, usually the sons of a father, the children of each son, the children in the next generation, etc. Descending genealogies begin with a parent and list the following generations. Ascending genealogies begin with the last member named and trace ancestry back through parent, grandparent, great grandparent, etc. to the original ancestor of the family, clan or nation. The linear genealogy seeks to show that the final person listed has a legitimate right to the position or honor the person occupies or claims. Such legitimation comes from the first ancestor listed or from the established family position. A segmented genealogy shows the relationship between the various individuals or groups named. Genealogies may serve family, political, or religious purposes. In their purposes of legitimation, genealogies describe not only kinship relationships but also geographical, social, economic, religious, and political relationships.

At least nine functions of genealogies may be described: 1. Demonstrate the relationships and the differences between Israel and other nations ( Genesis 10:1 );  2 . Demonstrate the unity and coherence of Israel ( Exodus 1:1-5 ) or of all nations ( Genesis 10:1 );  3 . Build a historical bridge connecting Israel through periods of history for which few narratives are available ( 1 Chronicles 1-9 );  4 . Reveal a pattern of cycles in world history ( Matthew 1:1-17 );  5 . Describe military functions ( Numbers 1:5-16 );  6 . Show a person or group's right to an office or function ( 1 Chronicles 6:1;  1 Chronicles 24-26 );  7 . Preserve the purity of the nation (see  Ezra 10:1 );  8 . Assure a sense of national continuity and unity in a period of national despair ( 1 Chronicles 5:1 );  9 . Show the movement of history toward God's goal ( Genesis 4:1;  Genesis 5:1;  Genesis 11:10-32;  1 Chronicles 1-9 ).

Such genealogies thus provided a wide range of functions in Hebrew life—from establishing inheritance rights, to tracing priestly and royal descent, to ensuring racial purity. Such concerns heightened following the Babylonian Exile.

New Testament Matthew began his Gospel with a genealogy tracing Jesus' lineage from Abraham through David. Luke also included a genealogy reaching back to Adam and God ( Matthew 3:23-38 ). The relationship between these two records is not clear, though a respective focus on messiahship and salvation offered to all mankind is apparent.

Genealogies later came under question.  Hebrews 7:3 ,Hebrews 7:3, 7:6 assigns value to the fact that Melchizedek was a priest without genealogy—a fact that set him apart from the Jewish priesthood. Paul condemned a distorted use of genealogies in his later writings (  1 Timothy 1:4;  Titus 3:9 ), though the exact role such genealogies played is not certain. They perhaps were the source of disputes about authority and leadership in some churches. Michael Fink

Morrish Bible Dictionary [3]

These were the records of generations: 'the genealogy of their generations ' was reckoned.  1 Chronicles 5:7;  1 Chronicles 7:9 . Though 'generations' are given from the beginning, we do not read of 'genealogies' until Israel was in the land. It was important then that the genealogies should be preserved, because it was a part of the law that the children of Israel should enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers. The inheritance must not remove from tribe to tribe.  Numbers 36:8,9 . As the priesthood was restricted to the sons of Aaron, it was essential that they should preserve their genealogy. On the return from the exile some were unable to show their descent from Aaron, and they were put out of the priesthood.  Ezra 2:62 .

A knowledge of the priestly genealogies extended to the N.T. Zacharias was of the 'course of Abia,' and Elizabeth was 'of the daughters of Aaron.' So also of the tribes and families generally. At the census Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem, for they were of the lineage of David; Anna was of the tribe of Asher, and Paul of the tribe of Benjamin.

The prophecies, which reveal that in the seed of Abraham should all the nations of the earth be blessed, and that the Messiah was to be of the royal line of David, made it needful that the genealogies of both these lines should be preserved, as we find them given in the N.T. In the future possession of the land there will be the twelve tribes, and some of each of the twelve will be sealed for blessing.  Ezekiel 48;  Revelation 7:3-8 . God, who is guarding them for future events, can also preserve their genealogies.

It is probable that in  1 Timothy 1:4 and   Titus 3:9 reference is not made to Jewish genealogies, which could not be called 'endless,' nor were they fabulous; but that reference is made to the aeons of the Gnostics which reach back to eternity, three of which were represented to be Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus. Tertullian quoted the above passage in Timothy when confuting the Gnostics.