How many races are in the Bible?
Question: American Indians and many others believe there are four races of mankind. The Bible, however, seems to state that there are only three. Which is correct? Where did the Indians originate?
Answer: The word "races," other than in the sense of a track and field event, does not appear in most Bible translations. It does appear, however, in the New International Version translation of a verse in Romans 9.
The word translated 'race' in the NIV comes from the Greek word suggenes (Strong's Concordance Number #G4773) and is more accurately translated as 'kinsman' as it is found in the below translation and in others like it.
Scripture does not indicate that Shem, Ham, and Japheth were "white, black and yellow" as many commonly assert. We know that the children of Israel descended from Shem because God's word gives us that genealogy, but there is nothing to indicate that Ham was "black" or Japheth was "yellow" or Oriental. These are suppositions based upon the fact that some of Ham's descendants settled in Northern Africa and one of Japheth's descendants was named, "Javan", which some think might be the antecedent of Japan. However, this is ONLY a supposition or theory and is not something that can be proved from the word of God.
Those whose formal field of study is "races" have proven that many of the North American "Indians" are descended from Asiatic people. The Scriptures are not, however, a historical record of the world and its people. After the first ten chapters of Genesis, the rest of scripture is primarily concerned with the descendants of Abraham and only mentions other people as they encounter God's chosen people.
Much of today's speculation regarding this topic comes in two forms. The first is from those who are racist in their ideology and believe that one group of people is superior to another because of some characteristic like skin color. The second comes from those who want to merge all people together, regardless of cultural differences, out of "political correctness."