Why Is it Important to Study the Various Characters in the Bible?

The goal of reading about biblical characters isn’t to follow their example but to understand how the Lord is at work in their lives. No matter your personality and struggles, there is someone in the Bible, you can relate to and learn from.

Dr. Sandra Hamer Smith
Reading the Bible

We read scriptures to study what the Word of God has to say about how we should live. The characters in the Bible give us examples of godly living and help us when we miss the mark. God works through humanity and by studying the characters of the Bible we find out how God can work in our individual situations.

Many books of the Bible and chapters are character-driven. The book of Job is a prime example. It highlights Job and it lets Christians know that he stuck to his faith no matter what happened to him. His wife wanted him to curse God and die. Job, being a man who feared God, did not take her advice. That itself is a lesson for Christians. Sometimes those closest to you can give you advice concerning spiritual things. It may not be the best advice. That is why we should ask God for wisdom. However, you need to know God for yourself and how God has showed up for you, and how He has been faithful towards you. Calamities do not come in your life to stay and are only for a season. Do not let people make you believe that just because you are a Christian, you will always have a hard time. The Bible says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:23). Sometimes, you can do absolutely nothing wrong and suffer some things. It’s good to study the book of Job.

Let us look at today’s situation with the pandemic. We can refer to previous generations who have gone through a pandemic. This has happened for centuries, but God is still faithful. God still loves us, and God still has a plan for us. We are just born in the time when the pandemic was scheduled. So please do not get in a situation where you curse God and all the things that He has done for you. We did not come into this world to stay. At the set time, those whom we love have gone on to receive their reward. We will have to leave this world as well unless we are raptured up. Everyone will not be raptured (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10). Some of us may leave before those events. God loves us and wants us to miss certain events. God is still good, and God is still faithful. God is still in control.

Why Isn't Scripture 'Boring'?

Scripture is exciting because it is based on the story of humanity coming to know God. Our lives are not dull. A lot of Scripture occurred before Jesus was on the scene in the flesh. A lot of what we are covered from is because of Jesus. Most of the drama was nailed to the cross. Yes, God was here in the beginning. He is still here and will always be here, but man did fall (Genesis 3). When man fell, that caused the problems that we encountered then and still encounter now. Women have pain during childbirth because of Eve. The Lord told her that He would greatly multiply her sorrow and conception (Genesis 3:16). Man must labor and work for what he gets in life (Genesis 3:17-19). Women must work too because we are in the workforce. All of these things are a result of the fall.

Since God loved us so much, He did send His Son to provide a path of redemption. I do not envy Saints who came before us. A lot of them suffered more persecution because they were Christians. We have stories in the Bible like Stephen who was stoned (Acts 7:54-8:2). Jesus stood up in heaven at this time. Stephen saw Him because he had the Holy Ghost. These stories were not made up by some producers in Hollywood. These are events that really happened and have been passed down through generations. When we Saints read these stories, we have a great appreciation of our faith. We know that it cost. It cost the Saints before us. It cost Jesus who laid His life down for us. It cost the Father who sent the Son, but He thought we were worth it.

Why Is it Important to Study Different Characters in the Bible?

I have often heard that you should study the scriptures and find a character to who you can relate. You maybe will be able to relate to a few characters depending on where you are in your life. During this pandemic, many may be able to relate to Job. There are some people who have lost not one, but two or more family members because of the pandemic. Unfortunately, some have not only lost a loved one, but they have lost a job, finances, their home, and who knows what else? I too, in my lifetime, have had some things stripped from me. Since this article is about the characters in the Bible, I will spare you the details. I can relate to Saints who have suffered various losses. Our losses may not have been extreme as Job’s, but his life is a testimony that you can lose all and still recover.

Imagine, the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48 and Mark 5:25-34). Many times, I wondered what type of issue she had. Being a woman, I immediately just thought her cycle was never-ending. I could not imagine what that would be like for 12 years. Several months would be too much. Again, I thought, perhaps she had fibroids. This will cause you to just bleed. I am amazed that she lasted that long and was able to get healing. This also lets us know that conditions that would normally kill a person can be sustained just because you believe that one day God will heal you.

This woman went to many physicians and grew worse. I am sure she might have been separated from friends because of this condition. I would imagine that it would have been hard to work with this condition. There are many feminine products available today to assist women. I cannot imagine how she was able to contain her cleanliness with this issue during that time. That would have been a job just to stay clean. Again, there is faith in her struggle. Jesus did heal her. Jesus paid the cost. And because He is, we can go to Him and remind Him of this woman and say we too can be healed. God is not a respecter of persons. He is a respecter of faith. Mark 9:23 says “If thou canst believe, all things are made possible to him that believeth.”

How Can Different Characters in the Bible Help Us Grow?

We can grow by studying the characters in the Bible. We can learn from their experiences and their faith. They did not have all the scriptures compiled for them like we do today. We can research characters. Many authors have written books on certain characters. There is no excuse for us not to grow. We have different versions of the Bible. People can attend seminary and Bible college to further their knowledge of the scriptures. During the middle part of the pandemic, I found a free course from Harvard Divinity School. I was amazed about how much I do not know about the Bible, characters, and Christianity. I look forward to continuing to study the scriptures and find out more about the origin of characters in the Bible. I suggest you study the scriptures and see if you can find a character to whom you can relate to. I am sure it will build your faith and starve your doubts.

For further reading:

If God Knew That Adam and Eve Would Sin, Then Why Did He Create Them?

How Did a Man after God’s Own Heart Fall So Far into Sin?

Did God Condone Violence Found in the Old Testament?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/fcscafeine

Dr. Sandra SmithDr. Sandra Hamer Smith is a Christian and wife to Sylvester Smith. She has one stepson, Greg. Smith lives and resides in Memphis, Tennessee. The University of Memphis alumnae has been in education for about 20 years after receiving the call to teach. Dr. Smith primarily teaches language arts. Prior to education, she worked in local and national television news for 13 years including positions as an overnight news anchor, reporter, and assignments editor at two local network affiliate stations. Smith was also a freelance correspondent for BET news. Dr. Smith has freelanced for the Tri-State Defender newspaper and Contempora magazine.  She is the author of the self-published novel GLORY…THE HAIR.  Smith is also a playwright and poet. The Tennessee native is a member of Temple of Deliverance COGIC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Omicron Delta Kappa, The Golden Key International Honour Society, and Kappa Delta Pi.

 


Originally published April 26, 2021.