There are a variety of methods and many topics to choose from in studying the Bible. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to include study in our daily or weekly routine. But it doesn’t have to be like that! Character Bible studies offer a different way of exploring Scripture. They are relatable, and often bring the Bible to life by revealing God’s intentional relationship with His people.
What is a Bible Character Study?
A Bible character study is simply reflecting on one Bible character and their story. It involves studying God’s word by pausing and learning from someone else’s journey of faith. There is so much that we can learn by observing God’s relationship with different individuals in Scripture.
Although lifestyles change through the progress of time, God does not change. He is eternal, steadfast, and true. There is, therefore, application for our lives today from the experiences of those who have gone before us.
Why Do a Bible Character Study?
Choosing to do character Bible studies is a great way to learn about ourselves and our relationship with God. Time and culture bring many changes to society, but fundamentally people don’t change. We still experience the same range of human emotions as previous generations.
You only need to look at the first few chapters of the Bible in Genesis. There we see covetousness, comparison, selfishness, jealousy, anger, and frustration. But also, obedience, faithfulness, and the desire to walk with God. Our personality traits, weaknesses, and strengths are identifiable in others and so easy to relate to.
How To Do Character Bible Studies – Five Easy Steps
If you are not sure how to do a Bible character study, then start here with these five simple steps. At the bottom of this post, I have some free resources for you to download. These are to assist anyone who wants to start to do character Bible studies. There is a Bible Character Worksheet, a free template for you to use as a study guide. I also have included access to some Bible Character profile sheets that have the information you need to get started – check them out!
1 Choose Your Character
This is the obvious place to start in a Bible character study, choose the person that you are interested in. Is there someone’s story that has intrigued you? Has there been a name mentioned in a reading or message recently and you’d like to find out more about them?
If this is your first Bible character study, then I would suggest picking a lesser-known character. Or if you want to go for someone who had a major role in Scripture then look at breaking their life story down into segments. Choose one part of their story and make that the starting point.
2 Find the Scripture References
Character Bible studies usually center on one person. Once you’ve chosen whom you are going to study, you need to find the passages of Scripture that record their story.
Most study Bibles – Best Study Bible for Women – contain an alphabetical index. This includes Bible characters and a list of the main passages of Scripture in which they are mentioned. Or you can check out the resources and character profiles at the end of this post and use one of those!
In studying Bible characters and their stories, it is important to set the scene. This usually means doing some extra reading around the main event. It is helpful to understand where the story fits into the bigger picture of God’s relationship with humanity.
It is also good to know the immediate context. What was the spiritual climate at the time? Does the age, sex, or family background, of the character have any bearing on the events? This all helps to fill the gaps in our knowledge of the time, and culture, and bring the story to life.
4 Story Outline
As you read the Bible and study the relevant passages of Scripture make some notes and outline the story as it unfolds. Highlight those words or actions that speak to you. But be careful not to embellish, or add to, what is in the text. Look for cross-references in Scripture to see if they reveal any helpful additional information.
5 Main Message
Through the story reflect on the qualities of the main character. Take time to consider not only their inspirational traits but also their very human flaws. How did God intentionally work for them? And how did they respond to God?
The main focus of the message is the relationship between God and His people. Do we identify and relate to the way that ordinary people, just like us, responded in faith to God? Are there lessons from their lives that we can apply to our own? Is there a Scripture that seems particularly relevant and memorable?
When we reflect and respond to the word of God, we grow in knowledge of Him. And as we apply God’s word to our lives we come to know Him more. This is not just theoretical knowledge but a personal relationship, this becomes our story, our journey of faith…
“Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.”Psalm 119:27 NIV
Free Character Bible Study Resources
I have included some free resources here for anyone who wants to start doing Character Bible studies. Download this free Bible character study template to get started – there are three designs to choose from. Use the template to guide your own character Bible studies. It follows the five points from the list above and provides a standard method to help you get the most out of your study.
Bible Character Study Worksheet PDF
Download here – Bible Character Worksheet Template
Bible Characters and Their Stories PDF
In addition to the Bible character worksheet, the blank template, I have some further resources that you might find helpful. Download these four free ‘profiles’ to start a character Bible study. These are a great resource for Bible study as the background work is already provided for you. This will enable you to select your character, open your Bible, and just get straight into God’s word.
Download here – Bible Character Profile PDF Choose from Caleb, Hannah, Joseph of Arimathea, or Lydia!
If you follow this blog you will see that I love Character Bible studies, they are a regular feature. So, if you would like more Bible character profiles then sign up to receive the Limitless Horizon newsletter. Then you will gain access to the full range of information sheets in the subscribers-only library. There is a folder there that contains, currently, more than twenty of these character profile sheets. But, I will keep adding them on a regular basis!
You might also like to read: Bible Study on Deborah with Free Bible Study Questions!