The people of the Bible are not simply characters in stories. They existed in time and place just as we do. The biblical accounts of their lives are not fictitious; they are biographical.
Jesus spoke of Abraham, Jacob, Jonah, and David as historical figures, not storybook heroes. New Testament writers used the people of the Old Testament as examples of good and poor role models, much like we would speak of Abraham Lincoln or Benedict Arnold.
George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Paul made a similar point when he referred to Israel’s experiences in the wilderness: “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (1 Corinthians 10:6).
Wise students of the Bible read the Old Testament and New Testament narratives and ask the following questions:
- Why did God preserve this person’s history in the Bible?
- How can this person’s relationship to God enable me to improve my relationship with God?
- What did this person learn about God that I should learn?
The devotions in Dig into People will inspire you to explore the lives of Old Testament and New Testament people.