Four Steps to Study People in the Bible
How can studying people in the Bible affect my life?
Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
Why are the stories about different people in the Bible important to study? Studying the people in the Bible is a great way to be encouraged in our walk with Jesus.
Step 1: Pick an interesting person
One of my favorite people in the Bible is Andrew. Who is Andrew? He was one of the first two disciples of Jesus! Most of us only know him as the brother of … well, we will get to that later.
Step 2: Find all references to them in the Bible
We find Andrew mentioned in: Matthew 4:18-19; Matthew 10:2; Mark 1:16; Mark 3:18; Mark 13:3-4; Luke 6:14; John 1:40-44; John 6:8; John 12:20-22; and Acts 1:13.
In chronological order, the first time we meet Andrew is in John 1:40 when he was still a disciple of John the Baptist. But from Matthew 4:18-19, we also know he was in business with his father and brother, and that they were partners with another father-and-sons family.
Step 3: Read the whole story
In many of the other verses above we simply read that Andrew was one of Jesus’ disciples. But John 1:40-44 again tells us that Andrew and his friend (we know this was John, the one who wrote the Gospel of John), were the first to follow Jesus. Jesus calls them to be His full-time disciples in Matthew 4:18-19. Before this, Andrew had done something very special – when he learned that Jesus, a man he already knew, was the promised Messiah, he ran to tell his brother this good news. His brother was Peter!
Does it seem unfair that Andrew, the first one to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, was not ever asked to write one of the books of the Bible? He wasn’t the great preacher his brother became. In fact, the only other time we read of something Andrew did is in John 6:8-9 when he brought a boy to Jesus, a boy who had something Jesus used to feed a crowd estimated to be at least 15,000 people (the 5,000 is the number of men and does not count the women and children).
Step 4: Identify and apply the lessons to your life
How often do I think only important or big things are valuable to Jesus? Andrew is known only as the one who brought Peter and a little boy to Jesus. Yet, the impact from these two he brought is very great.
Andrew did not share in importance with Peter, James, and John – he was not one of the “inner circle,” those who were closest to Jesus. That, however, did not make him less loved by Jesus.
As you study different people in the Bible, notice the things they did right as well as the things they did poorly. Pay attention to how they reacted to failure as well as to success (we often learn more from our mistakes than from our triumphs). How did they interact with others around them? Be careful not to read your own feelings into the verses. We must understand these people were just as human as we are, and they made mistakes just like we do. The Bible says that the “things that are written” are there to be examples for us (Romans 15:4).
Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, help me to be content with the place, the person, the significance of whom You have created me to be.
How satisfied are you with who you are? Talk to someone about it.