3 generation family January 4 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading: Genesis 9:18- 11:26;
1Chronicles 1:5-27

Family Trees

Many people find it interesting to trace their family trees. Through library Genealogical Societies and Internet searches it is easier than ever to trace ancestry. Where are you from? Are there any interesting characters in your family line? Do your relations give you joy or grief? Usually there are some bramble and wild limbs in every family tree. There are no guarantees, but how can we better insure that our branch in the tree will be godly?

In the Bible, Noah was the father of three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. From these three sons and their wives all the peoples and nations of the earth are formed. Noah’s three sons had interesting lineages. Ham’s descendants formed the eastern and southeastern peoples of Mesopotamia (Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Israel, Syria, and northern Iraq). One of his sons, Cush and his descendants built the first Babylon and Nineveh in Assyria.

A prominent son of Ham, Canaan, was cursed because his father shamed his grandfather, Noah. Why? It is not explicitly stated, but it appears Ham may have seriously violated cultural laws by not giving his father, Noah, proper respect. Apparently, he saw his inebriated father naked. He boasted about it and mocked him to his brothers, making Noah lose respect in the eyes of his sons. For this, Noah cursed Canaan, one of Ham’s four sons. Why Canaan? Why weren’t all sons under Ham to suffer from the actions of Ham? Again, we are not sure. Perhaps Canaan was a lot like his father, and the curse was therefore prophetical. Indeed, Canaan’s descendants became proud and sexually immoral. Canaanites settled in the area that would later be conquered by Israel, and they would be servants to Israel (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, pp. 41).

Lest we become judgmental of Ham and his son Canaan, let us remember that we are all under the curse of sin. Sin enslaves us just as Canaanites would become enslaved because of their immorality and wickedness. All of us are sinners (Romans 3:23). But, here is the good news - by Jesus death on the cross, he bore our sins in his own body and became a curse for us so that we might be set free from the curse of sin and death (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:23). Have you accepted his sacrifice for your sins? Have you called on Him to save you and set you free? Romans 10:9-13 tells you how to do that. (more...)

The genealogies given in Genesis 10 are not all-inclusive but are representative of family groups of people. From the genealogies of the other sons of Noah we know that Japheth was the father of the European nations, and Shem was a father of the Elamites that settled in eastern Babylon. Later Abraham’s family would migrate from Ur of the Chaldees (Babylon) to the area of Israel where the Canaanites lived. Other sons of Shem lived in the Mesopotamia area. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, pp. 42-44).

Now the whole earth [the entire known world] used the same language and the same words.

It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.

They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth,” (Genesis 11:1-4, NIV).

This is the account of the Tower of Babel. What Noah's descendants proposed to do displeased the LORD; they were not obeying the command to fill the earth (Genesis 9:1); instead they were filled with pride seeking to make a name for themselves. God hates pride. All glory was to go to God, so he confused their languages and scattered them all over the earth. They then formed their own nations with their own languages and dialects. The unfinished tower became known as the tower of “Babel” since they could not understand each other’s languages. Do we give glory to God? If we do, God will give us peace and direction. If we don’t, our lives could become chaotic with no sense of direction.

A major part of the book of Genesis supplies the historical basis for God's covenant with his people. With the tracing of each genealogical line, there is a narrowing with the chosen line continuing. Here are examples of that narrowing choice: In the family lines of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the line of Shem is carried on. In the line of Terah, Abraham's line is carried on. In the line of Abraham's sons, Ishmael and Isaac, Isaac is carried on. In the line of Isaac's sons, Esau and Jacob, Jacob is carried on. Each chosen line has a blessing and cursing motif and a deterioration because of man's sin (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T. by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, p.24-25). To us this is a continual reminder of man's need of redemption. We all need to own a personal relationship with God through Christ to be saved (more...), but we can lead our relatives to the well of everlasting life so they might drink. We do this by living a good Christian example in humility and godliness and dependence on God, and by teaching them about Christ and their need to be saved. Pray fervently and consistently for God to work in the hearts of your family and friends. Perhaps, this is the year they will be saved.

Lessons to live by:

  • Family lines are interesting. We cannot know what we have become without knowing our ancestry. We are part of that ancestral line. What do we want our descendants to know about us?
  • Sin enslaves us, but Christ sets us free. (more...)
  • Do not seek to make a name for yourself. Honor God's name by giving him all the glory.
  • We all need redemption from being enslaved for our sins. Tell your family members about Christ and lead them to worship the LORD so that a godly family line will be preserved.

Today’s Bible Memory Verses:

Proverbs 3:33 “The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” (NIV)

Proverbs 20:7 “The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.” (NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to

Previous Lesson  |  Next Lesson

Back to top of page
Return to Chronological Bible Studies main page
Go to Scriptures main page
Go to Topics main page
Go to Home page

Contact Us