Is There a Family in Your Bible?

Is there a Family in your Bible?

The Bible is full of genealogies. Is your own family’s genealogy one of them?

In this age of databases, websites, and downloadable family tree software, I suspect that the “Family Bible” may be a thing of the past.

I have two family Bibles. Neither is in English. One I cannot read. The other isn’t my family.

The family Bible from my paternal grandmother is in Welsh. The handwritten generations are, thankfully, in English. The Bible itself is dated 1878 and is a translation from the English of the King James Version. Its text is accompanied, in sidenotes, by the Biblical dates that became common in the KJV after 1701. For example, the Tower of Babel and confusion of language in Genesis 11 is given as “Cyn Christ Cylch 2247” (Before Christ circa 2247). The confusion of language 4,265 years ago was a harsh event for the Welsh language:  that Celtic tongue appears (to me) never to have gotten over it.

Many, though, know one Welsh hymn from the opening line of its English translation, “Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land.”  Others know it simply by its tune, Cwm Rhondda, Rhondda Valley. The hymn ends, “When I tread the verge of Jordan, …Land me safe on Canaan’s side.”  It is a worthy prayer for any Christian.

The other Bible is in German. The family’s marriages, births, and deaths are written in the challenging old German script. The marriage text of the matriarch and patriarch was the beautiful passage in Ruth 1: 16,17 — “…for whither thou goest, I will go;  and whither thou lodgest I will lodge; …thy God shall be my God:  Where thou diest, there I, too, will die, …the Lord do so to me…if ought but death part thee and me.”

The couple were from East Prussia. They married in Volhynia, Russia, emigrated to New York City, and finally settled in Alberta, Canada. He was a German Baptist minister. They had ten children. I found their family Bible in a used-book store in Portland, Oregon. It does not record where either of the couple died.

The most famous Biblical genealogy may be the sixteen verses of Luke 3:23-38 — “And Jesus… being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was … the son of David, which was … the son of Abraham, which was … the son of Noah, which was … the son of Adam, which was the son of God.”  Or, if you prefer Welsh:  “A’r Iesu,… fab Dafydd,… fab Noë,… fab Adda, fab Duw.”

Is your family in the Bible?  Is the Bible in your family?  Are your names written in the Lamb’s book of life — the Lamb who is also “Brenhin brenhinoedd, ac Arglwydd arglwyddi” — the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS?

… John Leonard

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