Generational Transference in the Bible: Introduction

Generational Transference Passing

“I will teach you hidden lessons from our past- stories we have heard and know, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths form our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did. For he issued his decree to Jacob; he gave his law to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them- even the children not yet born- that they in turn might teach their children. So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.”[1] – Psalm 78:1-7

The issues of generational transference of leadership will only begin to be resolved as a local church embraces an environment of biblical ministry leadership principles.  It is theorized, after all, that the themes of this dissertation are not foreign to the Bible.  Biblical and Theological foundations exhibit and call for an unceasing transmittance of faith as the central strategy to the communication of the Gospel. Throughout history, Scriptures reveal the pattern that God expects humanity to practice:  One generation passing on to the next the praxis of God’s mission. 

Throughout the Bible the foundational concept of generational transference is evident in principle as well as in practice.  For instance, Psalm 145 implores God’s people: “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts.”[2]   Another example, found in Deuteronomy 6, records the Lord’s proclamation upon his people to pass down his commands to their children and grandchildren so that they can then lead the future generations similarly.[3]  Furthermore, the theme of generational transference evidences continuity in the revelation of both the Old and New Testaments.  Paul, for instance, models a lifestyle of transferring leadership on to people like Timothy and Titus.  And he is not alone.  Barnabas, Peter, John, and others actively engaged in the practice of generational transference.  Older men and women are to be sources of mentoring and encouragement to younger men and women as they practice living wisely together in the midst of their challenging culture.[4]            

At times, admittedly, generational transference of ministry leadership was haphazard at best.  In the book of Judges, for instance, it seems a miracle that faith and Scripture was able to survive as one generation repeatedly failed to follow after God.  And yet, at other times throughout the history of Scripture, generational transference of ministry leadership was an intentionally prioritized principle, such as in the example of Samuel and David or in the wisdom of Proverbs chapter two.  The example of Jesus and the disciples as well as the epistles to Timothy, just to name a few, provide a treasure house of principles for generational transference of ministry.  One only needs to give a cursory examination of Scripture to understand that no matter the geography, the cultural climate, or the leadership structures, generational transference of ministry is an essential aspect to God’s purposes for the his people. 

UPCOMING GENERATIONAL TRANSFERENCE POSTS:  In the days to come I intend to post an overview of generational transference evident within Scripture. These posts in no way are meant to be comprehensive, but merely a simple summary of the idea that God accomplishes his mission through a process of transferring the proclamation responsibility and missional purposes of his love spanning through generations.  These summaries are reflective of what were presented in chapter 4 of my dissertation: “Biblical and Theological Foundations of Generational Transference of Ministry Leadership in the Local Church”.

[1] Psalm 78:1-7
[2] Psalm 145:7
[3] Deuteronomy 6:1-9; 20-25; 32:7

[4] Titus 2:1-6

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