The Bible is not just one book, but a collection of 66 books, with all sorts of people in them. Some are heroes, and some are not. Some are good, and others are evil. It is a book that shows humanity in its true form–warts and all. Except for God the Father and His Son, Jesus, none of us are perfect. But what this post will do is spotlight some personalities from the Bible that are the most memorable ones in the entire collection of stories.
Peter walks onto the pages of Scripture–and history–in the New Testament. He was originally a fisherman. That is, until Jesus of Nazareth approaches him and tells him, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Thus began his three year walk with Jesus Christ. One thing that makes him memorable is not only his love for his Master, but also his mouth got him into trouble a lot of times. For instance, he says to Jesus, Far be it from you to suffer like that. Christ has to correct him, saying, “Get thee behind me Satan. For you are only interested in the things of men and not of God.” He said this to him because Peter had bought into the notion that His kingdom would begin right then, and that He was going to free him and the others from the oppressive Roman Empire. But he is disappointed when he learns that that is not going to be, that his Lord is going to the cross to die for the sins of mankind.
Another time that he gets into trouble is when he makes a promise to the Lord that he cannot keep. He says, “Though others abandon you, I will be with you until the very end, and am even prepared to die for you.’ The Master says to him, “Before the cock crows, you will deny Me thrice.” And sure enough, that is what ended up happening.
But unlike his fellow disciple, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, Peter repented from the heart, and Christ used him mightily to bring many to know God. He gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom. He preached the first sermon at the dawn of Pentecost, and wrote two of the New Testament books.
He was a major prophet of the Old Testament. His assignment from God was to lead the Jewish people out of captivity from Egypt, with Pharoah, to the Promised Land, in Israel. The Lord called him to confront Pharoah, and to tell him to let His people go. However, relying only on his human strength, he turned Him down at first, saying, “I am slow of tongue. I can’t possibly go.” So God gave him Aaron to that end–he was an excellent speaker.
He was a man who honored God, but–like any of us, he was also human. He made the greatest mistake of his ministry when he decided to strike the rock a second time instead of speaking to it. This caused him to get excluded from the Promised Land by God Himself. God’s issue with that was his unbelief against God.
However, Moses is a hero in Scripture because even when his people sinned and God wanted to destroy them, he asked Him not to. He stood between the people and their offended God. Also, he put up with their idolatry. He begged God not to destroy them, even after they had built a golden calf to worship in his absence. He even refrained from turning against them when they begged for meat like they had in Egypt instead of the manna they were being fed from heaven every day.
Abraham was the Friend of God. He was the one God used to build a covenant with concerning His People Israel. He promised to make him the father of many nations, and He gave him a son in his old age, to show that He was God and could do all things. He didn’t need a young womb to fulfill His promise. He used Sarah’s old womb to do it. In spite of his sinful ways, his lying, for example–and his laughing when He first told him and his wife what He intended to do.
He was impatient for the promise of a son–often as we are when God makes a promise to us. What he did was try to help God out. He lay with Hagar, one of his house servants, and impregnated her with Ishmael, whom God also promised to bless, but not like he did Isaac. Abraham thought that that was the way He intended to do it.
Even though he at times could be a liar, an adulterer, and a doubter–God still saw fit to use him, and to make a great nation out of His seed, and to include his progeny in the line leading to Jesus.
But one test God put him through he proved himself and passed with flying colors. God asked him to sacrifice his son to Him. Surely enough, he prepared to obey Him by plunging the knife into him. But the angel of God stopped him in the nick of time before it was too late.
Again, Abraham was far from perfect, but he is the patriarch of the faith because he constantly obeyed God, and sought after Him.
David was far from perfect as well. But He was repentant, as Psalm 51 demonstrates, where he writes, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” He committed adultery. He in fact got the husband of Bath Sheba killed on the front line in the war so that he could have her to himself. He created a census to count up the people–which, in God’s eyes, was an act of pride.
God in fact punished Him, although He said that David was a man after his own heart (Acts 13: 22). He limited His punishment against him by not allowing him to die a violent death, but to live until he was 84 years old, and then He took him off the Earth. He also didn’t rip his kingdom away from him, as He did to Saul, because David was repentant.
Another reason I admire David so much is that he was a musician, quite like I am. He played the lyre instrument, as I play guitar. Since there are no recordings of his music, one can only imagine the beauty of his psalms as they were played. In fact, he was such a good musician, that he got to play for Saul when he was overcome by his demons.
When God created the Universe as we know it today, He started with Adam. He gave Him an assignment. He said to be fruitful and multiply, to replenish the Earth. He even gave him a wife, a companion, Eve. He was supposed to govern her, as well as the animals. However, he allowed Eve to govern him. He listens to her and she successfully tempts him to eat of the tree of good and evil. He takes a bite, and mankind has not been the same since.
So what Adam is remembered most for is how–because of the decisions he made–we see the things we do today: the murders, the racism, the classism, the sexism, the adultery, and a whole slew of other sins.
Esther is the only book of the Bible that doesn’t mention the name of God specifically. However, God in fact uses her. For those of you who don’t think women are capable of being leaders, read Esther. She is a heroine, with the wisdom that the king’s previous wife, Vashti, lacks.
Esther definitely wins the king’s heart. And she is able to persuade him to move decisively to defeat Haman, who has vowed to put to death the Jews in the land. His wrath was raised against Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, for whom Haman built a gallows. The ironic thing here was that these are the very gallows from which Haman was to hang.
Esther was strong. She did not crumble or show a sign of mercy, even when Haman leaned against her, pleading for his life. She knew what needed to be done, and her newfound husband, King Xerxes, did it, and saved the lives of the Jews in the land from Haman’s cold-blooded plan.
She earned her status in Scripture by fighting a war against a foe–the King of the Caananites who threatened to crush the people of the land of Israel. They were oppressing the Jewish people left and right, and God felt it was time to deal with them. He did it through a very wise woman by the name of Deborah, who was known for her wisdom and counsel, which people came to hear every day as she taught the people under a shady tree.
She was instructed by God to use a man by the name of Barak. He was only willing to go if Deborah went with him. So she agreed, and they won the war against the cruel Caananites. She was appointed a Judge over Israel, the position in which she served until her dying day.
John the Baptist
He was given this name because one of the things for which he is most famous is the act of baptizing Jesus. He is remembered because of his boldness. He got into Herod’s face and dared to tell him that it was unlawful for him to have his sister’s wife. Even in the face of death for challenging a king who didn’t want to hear the truth of Scripture, he still did what he felt God calling him to do at that moment.
He is the Son of God, the True Bridegroom. He is the one who made the decision to lay down His life for his Father’s love for mankind. When our foreparents sinned in the Garden of Eden, God had a dilemma. He is Holy, He cannot let sinful man into Heaven. But He loved them too much to send them to Hell, the place of no hope.
So He had to send a sinless Lamb to Earth–His only Son, who, being tempted in all points as we are, but without any instance of sin. Jesus willingly laid down His life, for he knew that with His Father’s help, he could–and would–rise triumphantly from the dead.
God the Father
The whole Book of the Bible is about Him. He is the Creator of the Universe, and it is all about Him. You see Him at work in the Old Testament as the ultimate Judge of sin. But you see Him in the New Testament as the compassionate one who wants to deliver us from our sin so that we can live for Him–and with Him–one day in Paradise.
God the Father is the centerpiece of Scripture. As I said earlier, of course He–and His Son, Jesus Christ–are the only truly perfect beings in all the Bible. The other eight mentioned in this discourse are good men and women who seem perfect but are people, just like we are, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.