“Why A List Of Names?”

Categories: Character Study, Christian, Daily Living, Expository Study, Nehemiah, New Testament, Obedience, Old Testament

After yesterday’s study, I got to thinking more about all of the names in Nehemiah chapter three. Why did God want His writers to include lists of names from time to time? Why do we read all of those names in Genesis 5 and 10? Why do we read all the names in Exodus 6:14-30 or in the Chronicles? Why name people in Nehemiah, chapters three and seven? Why all of the names in Matthew 1, Luke 3, Romans 16, Hebrews 11, and other places throughout the Scripture?

One answer is that on several occasions, these names are recorded, so we see the genealogy that brings us from Adam to Christ. This is true (Heb. 7:14; Isa. 11:1-2; Gen. 49:10). At other times, however, this is not the case. In our reading, the names in Nehemiah three and seven are not listed for this purpose.

In the case of Nehemiah, let me suggest that those names are listed as a memorial to special people. It memorialized those who served the Lord faithfully and some who did not “put … their necks to the work” (3:5)! The overwhelming majority, however, stand out for their work in rebuilding a wall that had been in ruins for decades! We might think of it as a memorial to them and their sacrifice. This list is not unlike the list of names found in Romans 16 or Hebrews 11, where we read a “hall of fame” of sorts of faithful people.

If you have not done so, spend some time in Nehemiah chapters three and seven and some of the other Scriptures cited above. You would be well-served to take some time and study the people named in those books. Don’t get intimidated by their pronunciation. Instead, look up these people in a Bible dictionary or other Bible study book and see what you can learn about these faith heroes. You might be surprised to learn these people’s connection with the overall narrative of the Bible, and how, at times, their lives intertwine with the lineage of Christ!

Besides this, a study of these people will inspire us to higher service to God. After all, if they endured the hardships they did and remained faithful, does this not show me that I can do it as well (Heb. 12:1; Rom. 15:4)?

- Jarrod M. Jacobs