Tracing our Origins

Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after the flood.”—Genesis 10:1 (NKJV)

Have you ever wondered how you got here? By that I mean, have you ever wondered about your origins? Who were your earliest ancestors? Where did they come from? Where did they live? What made them unique from other people? The Bible answers these questions about our racial roots . . . and many of these answers are found here in Genesis 10.

At first, this chapter may seem insignificant. On the surface, it appears to be a long list of strange names. But when we look a little closer, we see that it’s actually establishing a framework for modern civilization, so much so that this chapter has been called by many The Table of Nations.

It starts with Noah and his three sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth. So far, so good! We know that they were the only people—along with their wives—who lived through the flood that God sent to purge the earth. But now that the flood had come and gone, God called them to repopulate the earth. 

The rest of Genesis 10 gives us the details on the descendants of Noah’s sons. Japheth had seven sons, and they eventually spread out and settled to the north of where the ark came to rest. This is the general region of Europe. Ham had four sons whose families settled to the south and west of the ark, which would be the regions of Africa. Lastly, Shem had five sons who settled to the east and south of the ark, which would be the area of Asia.

If your ancestry hails from Europe, then you’re probably related to Japheth. If you ancestors are from Africa, it’s more than likely that you’re related to Ham. And if your ancestry is Asian, then you can probably trace your line all the way back to Shem. 

So, we see that Genesis 10 is actually a vital bridge of information between the sons of Noah and us today. Because we have this Table of Nations, we have a better sense of how we’re personally connected to these events. It makes what we read in Scripture more real to us and we see how we fit into God’s grand plan for our world. We are grounded in the biblical narrative!

One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to know its origins and how it got to where it is. God graciously answers this for us here in His Word.

DIG: What does Genesis 10 tell us?

DISCOVER: Why is this so important? How does this chapter affect the way you see yourself?

DO: Where are you from? Discover your family tree and ancestry over the next few weeks.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.