Both Matthew and Luke contain genealogies of Jesus, Matthew to Abraham, and Luke to Adam. However, neither Mark nor John contain genealogies. What is the reason for this--both for why Matthew and Luke do contain genealogies, and for why Mark and John do not?

  • Probably because Matthew was a tax collector and Luke was a doctor. Both of them found details to be of utmost importance? Mark provides a general overview of Jesus's life whereas John only focuses on his ministry so the whole genealogy wouldn't make sense in these two books.
    – user1160
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 0:42
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    Neither Mark nor John contain any mention of the birth of Jesus, ergo, no genealogies. Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


I don't think we can ever know for sure as we can't ask them. However I think the answer is probably to do with who they are writing to and what is the purpose of their writing.

Matthew is probably writing to a Jewish audience. For them the Christ has to have come from Abraham & David and so Matthew spends the time to show that Jesus has the credentials to be the Christ.

Luke has probably been employed to write the book by Theophilus (debated if that is the persons name or title). He has been tasked to report on what has happened and what it means - thus it goes into a lot of detail.

Mark seems to be focused on just reporting the facts as they happened. He doesn't need to present the background information on what it means, just runs through the events.

John is in a completely different format than the other gospels. In terms of who Jesus is he is very much focused on Jesus' divinity - not his human family.



The Gospel of Matthew appears to be written to Jews in order to present Jesus to them as the King of the Jews. As such, it was necessary to trace Jesus' lineage through Joseph, His adopted father, through the lineage of the kings back to David, whom God promised would have an heir who would reign forever. It was also important to trace His lineage back to Abraham, the Patriarch. As the son of Joseph, Jesus had legal right to the throne.


The Gospel of Mark presents Jesus as the Servant who fulfills the Suffering Servant prophecy in Isaiah 52-53. For a servant, a genealogy is unnecessary and even irrelevant. Thus, Mark does not include one.


The Gospel of Luke presents Jesus as the Son of Man. As such, it is thought that he actually traces Jesus' biological lineage through Mary. Her lineage leads to David as well. However, Luke's emphasis is not the Jewishness of Jesus, but His human nature. As such, he traces the lineage all the way back to the first Adam.


The Gospel of John is said to present Jesus as the Son of God. As such, God has no genealogy. His authority does not come from the legal line of David or in His Jewishness, but in His divinity. Jesus' Divine nature has no genealogy. He is, forever has been, and forever will be the Son of God and God the Son.

  • 1
    The only thing I would add is that John does in a way have genealogy. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. This is God's genealogy, pre-existance. Commented May 15, 2016 at 4:43

This point has been touched on, but I wanted to flesh it out a bit. The lack of genealogies in Mark and John is intentional. Mark portrayed Christ as a Servant, which was stated already, and as such the author intentionally left out the genealogy. John HAS a genealogy, if God can be said to have one... "In the beginning was the Word." He always was, and always will be. All four Gospels are making a point about some aspect of Christ's "origin."

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