Characters in the Bible
If you want to know how God works, watch God work on people's lives outside
of their involvement with "the church!" That's the presumption of this section.
Consider the real-life circumstances of some of these people, and then you might
be able to see how God could work in your life as well!
Successful animal merchant in the great civilizations of Ur, turned nomad to
escape idolatry (?). In the end he avoids neither God nor his business.
A leader of people in a country in which he was a foreigner. His daily work,
perhaps not always ethical or just, saved an entire civilization — Egypt — from
famine and starvation.
A young man whose prophetic call was not dependent on his station or status, but
whose contentious ministry extended for decades.
A lesser governmental official, a man of faith in Yaweh, whose work results in
the rebuilding of a war-torn city and the spirit of its people.
Ruth portrays a ministry of presence, of family and love in difficult times.
This woman lives a life of service in the face of abuse and adversity. Her song
shows a deep sense of justice that lived inside this wife and mother.
An "ordinary" vinedresser becomes a prophet and announces God's word of judgment
from the viewpoint of other "ordinary" people in his day.
Here is an example of a man on a mission, but tragically flawed in his
capabilities to realize his life goals. Whether a victim of his own impulses or
of tragic circumstance, David is the emblem of fallen hero and wounded healer.
Too often seen as quasi-clergy, Paul is a university- and rabbinically- trained
tentmaker-turned-evangelist. His use of first century secular images mark him as
a full-time "lay-person" for his day.
Priscilla and Aquilla
Important leaders in the New Testament church, but also "ordinary workers" in
the tent-making business. (Add in Lydia, the cloth merchant, and you have an
A man of (illegal and immoral) commerce and government follows Jesus, providing
Jesus with valuable connections to the world of "publicans and sinners."
An "ordinary" fisherman — perhaps even just a little bit below "ordinary" —
reveals his weaknesses and incapability over and over again. Yet, with the power
of the Holy Spirit he is changed into a powerful figure in the life of the early