A fascinating way to study Scripture is to follow the lives of specific people. Often, a minor character’s entire life will be summed up in just a few verses or chapters. But major players in God’s design are involved over entire books of the Bible, and may be used later as examples in other books. A few Old Testament people are even mentioned in the New Testament.
So how do we engage in a Character Bible study? Use your concordance to find all of the passages in the Word that talk about your chosen person. Read those slowly and thoughtfully, learning the background, history, and key events in the person’s life. Then look for patterns and changes that make applicable object lessons for believers today. Ask questions such as these:
What was this person’s initial relationship to God?
What did God do to get this person’s attention?
Was there a conversion experience? Or how did the person’s relationship to God change?
Did the person’s attitude, behavior, or words change as a result?
What difficulties or challenges did this person face? How did he react to those?
Did this person make any decisions or take any actions that I can learn from?
You get the idea. Study a person’s life from beginning to end and try to understand how God worked in, through, and for him. Godly and ungodly people are worthy of our time and attention. We need to know how to live, as well as how not to live! Here is a list of examples to consider:
Old Testament Major Characters: Job, Abraham, Moses, Saul, David, and Elijah
Old Testament Minor Characters: Methuselah, Isaac, Barak, Eli, Nabal, and Hezekiah
Old Testament Women: Eve, Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Rebekah, Hannah, Ruth, and Esther
New Testament Major Characters: Jesus, Peter, John, Paul
New Testament Minor Characters: Andrew, Judas, Pilate, Silas, and Barnabas
New Testament Women: Elizabeth, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Sapphira, Lydia, and Priscilla
Groups of People: The Jewish nation and the Pharisees
Obviously, the choices are as broad and numerous as the Scripture itself. Your study can be quick - just one day or study session - or long - I took an entire semester class in college on the life of David. Either way, the Holy Spirit will be your Guide and Teacher, revealing the lessons He has for you in your specific season of life.