Yes, THAT 1 Chronicles 1-9. Nine chapters of genealogy. As it turns out, I learned a lot in my preparation for that lesson, but it stretched me both as a Christian and as a teacher.
One thing that jumps out at me when I am studying the Bible is any reference to books. As a part time used\rare book dealer I am interested in references to early scrolls. I have never had the privilege of handling any biblical manuscripts of early vintage, but I have read books about them and find them fascinating. As an evangelist, the manuscript evidence for the integrity of the Bible as the Word of God is immense and makes a strong apologetic argument for evangelism on university campuses.
As I did my background study for 1 Chronicles, I discovered that Jewish tradition names Ezra as the author. I also discovered that some scholars believe the books of the Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah to have originally been one large book, due to the similarity in style. There are good reasons to question this thesis and it has not been definitively settled. But one thing is for certain: the author of Chronicles cites his sources far more frequently than any other Old Testament writer. The Zondervan Bible Encyclopedia points out that the author of Chronicles cites no less than seven separate official records, nine separate prophetic writings, genealogical lists, official documents and letters from King Sennacherib, the words of Asaph and David, and Temple plans. Considering the mass of these sources, one is left to wonder, "Where did the author find all of these documents?"
The answer comes from one of the Apocryphal books. 2 Maccabees refers to an extensive library that Nehemiah (also of biblical fame) assembled containing some of these same kinds of sources. Specifically, it is said, "These same facts are found in the royal records and in the memoirs of Nehemiah, who established a library and collected the writings of David, letters of the kings concerning offerings, and books about the kings and prophets...If you ever need any of these books, let us know and we will send them" (2 Macc. 2:13, 15). Ezra, of course, was a contemporary of Nehemiah (see the biblical books of the same names). If Jewish tradition was right, it is likely that he got his sources from Nehemiah's library.
Ezra is the kind of guy that every biblical evangelist loves. In Ezra 8, after the Jewish people return from Babylonian exile, he read the Law of Moses to the people and they re-instituted the Passover and Levitical practice. His reading of the Law brought conviction of sin and repentance. There's something about that which resonates with us. But he is also the kind of guy that every informed evangelist loves. He valued historical accuracy and used the library that he had available to write, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, one of the historical books of the Bible. In short, he was a biblical evangelist who used books for a ministry which complemented his reformation\evangelism ministry in post-exilic Jerusalem. In fact, the book of Chronicles (it was originally one book) seems to have been written for the purpose of giving some national identity to the ex-exiles, which is part and parcel of Ezra's reformation ministry.
If it is true that we need a second Reformation (it is), then we need another generation of Ezras to not only proclaim the truth of the Law, but study to approve themselves unto God as diligent, unashamed workers, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).