The Bible is rich in biographies, and biographies are rich in valuable instruction. There are approximately three thousand men and women mentioned within its pages. Some of these persons are nameless (as far as the Biblical record is concerned), some are mentioned only briefly and some have considerable information given about them. It is in the area of biography that the Bible rises to heights of unequaled greatness.
           The inspired writers describe, in character, every type of person who lives today and has ever lived. They do so with amazing impartiality, concealing no imperfection and exaggerating no virtue of their subjects. The men and women of the Bible pass before us neither as dim abstractions nor as cold officials, but as ordinary persons like ourselves, whose lives are recorded in the Heavenly Record in order to furnish us with motives, encouragements and cautions as we walk before God. The Bible was not written for angels, but for people, and it will be seen that the lives of those individuals recorded within its pages have much in common with people today. The biographical treasures of the Bible abound with perpetual relevance, timely applications and eternal significance for our lives today. If you really want to know people, study the Bible.

          F.D. Power, in his biography of W. K. Pendleton said, “Every human being is a volume worthy to be studied” (p. vii). Power added, “Examples mean more than precepts…Study men.” Alexander Campbell agreed when he wrote, “There is no study more popular, or more interesting to the great mass of mankind, than what we call biography” (Familiar Lectures on the Pentateuch, p. 166). Franklin Camp wrote, “The Bible is a book of people and places. The people of the Bible are just like people of today. They had their problems, trials, and needs, just as we do. The Bible enables one to see how God met these needs. The multitudes of people who crowd the pages of the Bible are like the thronging multitudes who crowd the streets and lands of our world today” (The Word of Life, Vol. 1, p. 136).
            An area of study which has received considerable attention in print in recent years is that of the women of the Bible.  There is good reason for this interest. The women of the Bible were persons of great influence while they lived upon this earth. Their influence did not die with them. The influence of these women of Bible times is far greater now than it was during their lifetimes. That is because of the way God used them in working out his marvelous scheme of redemption.
            Women have certainly had their brush with history and men have taken notice. The fourth century scholar Jerome (347-420 A.D.) is famous for his work in translating the Septuagint into Latin.  His work is known as the Latin Vulgate.  A fact that is not widely known is that Jerome dedicated his versions of Job, Isaiah, the books of Samuel, the books of Kings, Esther, the Minor Prophets, Galatians, Titus and Philemon to Paula and her daughter, Eustochium.  Paula assisted Jerome in his work of translation with her knowledge of the Greek language. When Jerome was criticized for dedicating parts of his translation to women, he responded by saying: “These people do not know that while Barak trembled, Deborah saved Israel; that Esther delivered from supreme peril the children of God...Is it not to women that our Lord appeared after his resurrection?  Yes, and the men could then blush for not having sought what women had found” (Christian History, p. 19).
           We are sometimes slow to realize the value of the lives of the people that were personally involved in God’s unfolding of redemption. Charles B. Hodge, Jr., noted in his book, The Man Who: “The Bible is a Book about people. The great lessons have always best been taught through people.” The Bible is indeed a book about people, particularly the redemption of people through Jesus.
            It is common for people to speak of “Bible characters.” That designation has never set well with me for reasons stated above. Also, when we think of “characters” we envision actors in a play, a movie, or characters in a fictional story. People mentioned in scripture are not characters in a story. Maybe it’s a pet peeve with me. They were persons like you and me. They just lived in a different time and place. A better designation is “Bible personages.” Some were prominent persons to whom the Holy Spirit devoted more attention. Others were lesser known, but no less important. Through the pages of divine inspiration heroes come to life again.
          “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4, ESV)