Who’s your favorite Bible character?

Everyone likes different bits of the Bible and has their own favorite Bible stories and characters, especially as children.  Certain aspects of a story or character may attract our attention, perhaps because we identify with them, or they echo parts of our own lives, or they do exciting things that we would like to do.

I remember a few months ago at church, we did an exercise where everyone wrote down their favorite Bible character and then we stuck them on a huge Bible time-line.  It was interesting to see that the characters chosen spanned the whole range of Bible history – although a significant proportion of people did choose Jesus!

Choosing your favorite stories and reading them again is a good way to get interested in the Bible.  Of course over time we should have a go at reading the whole book, but if you don’t enjoy what you are reading it will become a chore.

When I was little I was interested in the stories about Bible women, as I’m a girl myself, and liked reading about Ruth and Esther, and the wives of the patriarchs, Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel and Leah.  I also enjoyed reading historical fictions of Bible women – not all wholly accurate of course, but still I often ended up going back to the Bible text to see if something really happened or if an author made it up.

I also remember being fond of Paul’s travels in the Acts of the Apostles, and following his missionary work on the maps.  The thought of walking all those distances on foot was the most mind boggling I think; today we could travel the same distances in hours in a car instead of the days it took them on foot.

When I was a teenager I enjoyed reading the book of Ecclesiastes.  Not a story as such, but a book that talks round the meaning of life, and also has quite a negative tone in some places as Solomon discusses the pointlessness of everything.  Quite suitable for grumpy teenagers!  Of course it does end on a good note…

Thinking about Bible characters and their lives can make things more real for us today.  If we try to put flesh on the bones of the story, and really understand what a particular character was feeling, we learn that human nature doesn’t change over time.  These people had the same desires, needs and wants as us.  They got things wrong, they made mistakes, and they picked themselves up and started again, and learned how to deal with their emotions – just like we have to do.

Some people were impatient, some were loving and kind, some were warlike, some were ready to stand up for what they believed in.  Some had difficult family lives, some were fully supported, some people were introverted, and some were leaders and heroes.  The only differences between them and us are cultural and social differences, and the method by which God revealed his truth to them – whether by laws, prophets, or writings.

So next you pick up the Bible why not re-read your favorite childhood story, or if you have a child yourself, or a Sunday School class, ask them what their favorite story is and share it again together, and bring those men and women of olden times back to life.

The apostle Paul loved his Bible stories – have a read of Hebrews 11 some time where he discusses many situations in which Old Testament characters showed their faith.  He ends the chapter with a wonderful promise:

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. – Hebrews 11:39-40

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