All Bible Characters
Aaron, Moses' older brother, is so often overlooked. Moses and Aaron were quite the team - Moses was like a god to Pharaoh; Aaron was like a prophet.
Abimelech, King of Gerar
Abimelech wants Sarah for himself. Abraham lies and says Sarah is his sister. God speaks to Abimelech and preservers his innocence.
Abraham (Genesis 11:27-12:20)
God suddenly tells Abraham to move his family to Canaan. After a long journey, they arrive to find people already living there, but God appears again and tells him that his descendents will inhabit it. A famine comes, so they travel further south to Egypt. They meet the Pharoah's men and Abraham tricks them by saying he's Sarah's brother. They give him lots of expensive gifts in exchange for Sarah, who joins Pharoah's harem. But then everyone gets sick and they realize something is amiss. Abraham's lie is revealed, Sarah is kicked out, and both leave Egypt safely.
Abraham (Genesis 13)
Abraham and Lot are blessed with lots of silver, gold, cattle, and other riches, but since they are living right next to each other, their servants begin to fight, presumably over water and grazing issues. Abraham tells Lot he can choose whatever land he wants, and he chooses to go live outside the Promised Land. Again, God promises Abraham he will have many descendents and plenty of land to support them.
Abraham (Genesis 14)
Abraham gets involved in a dispute between two groups of kings, wins a battle, and then a priest, Melchizedek, generously provides a feast for him, reminding him that his mission is spiritual, not militaristic.
Abraham (Genesis 15)
When Abraham worries about not having an heir, God reassures him, promising that he would have as many descendents as there are stars in the sky.
Abraham (Genesis 16)
Sarah tells Abraham to impregnate her servant, Hagar, since she is barren. Hagar gets pregnant right away and Sarah immediately becomes jealous. Hagar flees but is stopped by an angel, who gives her hope and convinces her to return.
Abraham (Genesis 17)
God blesses Abram and Sarai by changing their names to Abraham and Sarah.
Abraham (Genesis 18:1-15)
Strangers (God's messengers) visit Abraham and Sarah, say that they will be back in a year, and let them know that Sarah will have a baby in her arms by then. She laughs with surprise and joy!
Abraham (Genesis 18:16-33)
Abraham talks with God about the people of Sodom. He says there must be at least a few righteous people there, despite the depravity of the majority. Abraham asks God to consider saving some Sodomites, and He agrees.
Abraham (Genesis 19)
Angels save Lot and his daughters when God destroys the city of Sodom. Lot's wife would have been saved, too, had she not looked back as the angels were leading her away to safety.
Abraham (Genesis 20)
Abraham plays a trick on Abimelech by saying his wife Sarah is his sister. Thankfully, Abimelech realizes what's going on, confronts Abraham about his lie, and returns Sarah without touching her. This sequence of events is suspiciously similar to those in Genesis 12, involving Pharoah in that instance.
Abraham (Genesis 21)
Sarah and Abraham joyously welcome Isaac into their family, despite their old ages. But Sarah's jealousy forces Abraham to send Hagar and her son, Ishmael, out into the wilderness. God preserves them there and she goes on to have many descendents.
Abraham (Genesis 21b)
Abraham and Abimelech make a deal about rights to a well called Beersheba, giving Abraham full ownership of the water. Abraham makes the land around it his permanent home.
Abraham (Genesis 22:1-2)
This is the climax of Abraham's story where he is asked by God to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.
Abraham (Genesis 22:3-8)
Abraham and Isaac continue their journey up the hill preparing for the sacrifice. When Isaac questions Abraham, he assures his son God will provide a lamb for the sacrifice.
Abraham (Genesis 22:9-19)
When Abraham put forth his hand to slay his son, the angel said, "Do not put forth your hand against the young man, do not do anything to him." Isaac is safe.
Abraham and His Family
Abraham was willing to listen to God and obey him. Abraham was a prophet. He performed the first healing in the Bible. He died at age 175.
God forms Adam from the dust of the ground. Learn more about Adam, Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the serpent.
Amos was a prophet who worked alone. He was also involved in sheep, cattle, and fruit businesses. He spoke and wrote often about the inequalities between the rich and poor.
Ampliatus was likely a Roman slave.
Ananias and Sapphira
Ananias and Sapphira withheld money from their community and paid the ultimate price.
The Ancient City of Damascus
Damascus was nestled on a main trade route that connected Egypt and Mesopotamia. Saul was on his way to Damascus when he saw the risen Jesus.
Andrew, the Apostle
Andrew was one of Jesus' first disciples, and he is the patron saint in many countries.
Andronicus and Junias
Paul wrote that Andronicus and Junias were Christians even before he was one!
Uriel isn't mentioned in the canonical writings, but he does appear as the fourth of seven archangels in Jewish literature. He is known as the mightiest of all angels.
Anna was a pious prophet who lived in the temple.
Apollos passionately taught others about and debates the principles of Christianity publicly.
The Apostolic Fathers
The Apostolic Fathers are considered a link between the apostles and later generations of Christians.
Aristobulus and Narcissus
Aristobulus was the grandson of Herod the Great.
Did you know that Armageddon literally means Mountain of Megeddon, which perplexes scholars because there are no mountains on the site of Megeddon.
Asenath means "gift of the sun" or "gift of the sun-god." She was an Egyptian princess, aristocratic, and high-born. Pharaoh honored Joseph by giving him Asenath as his wife.
Athanasius is known as the "Father of Orthodoxy." He made the official list of which books should be included in the New Testament.
Author of Psalms
Who was known as the sweet singer of songs? He compiled the book of Psalms, though he didn't write all of them.
Barnabas vouched for Saul after he became Paul on the road to Damascus, and afterward the two worked together often, spreading Christianity. He had a very high standing in the eyes of the believers.
Baruch was Jeremiah's secretary, and his name means "blessed by Yahweh."
The Beloved Disciple
There are many theories about who the beloved disciple was, and though none are definitive, all are interesting.
Ben Sira was a wise, rather opinionated teacher, translator, and writer.
Ben-ammi was Lot's grandson from his younger daughter. He was conceived after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Benjamin is Jacob's twelfth son and a full brother to Joseph. With her dying breath, Rachel names him Benoni, which means "son of my misfortune" or "son of my sorrow." After her death, Jacob changes his name to Benjamin, meaning "son of my good fortune" or "son of my right hand."
Cities of the Seven Churches
Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea made up the cities of the seven churches.
Clement of Alexandria
Clement was known as the first systematic theologian. He mediated between the Gnostics and orthodox Christians, which helped Christianity spread widely.
The Concept of Hell
There is no mention of hell in the Old Testament. The Old Testament talks about Sheol, which is a watery underworld where everyone went, whether they were Jew or Gentile, good or bad.
Cyrus, King of Persia
Cyrus united the Persians and Medes under one kingdom and eventually even conquered Babylon, Syria, and Palestine.
Dan and Naphtali
Dan and Naphtali were the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's servant. Rachel gives Bilhah to Jacob as a surrogate mother since she is unable to bear children.
Daniel saved his own life by interpreting the king's dream. He took no credit for it, attributing all wisdom to God.
An overview of David's amazing life, from his beginnings as a shepherd to his becoming king. (By Mary Jane Chaignot)
As the second king of Israel, David established Jerusalem as Israel's capital and religious center. (By Margaret Foerster)
The Day of the Lord
The Day of the Lord refers to a series of events that will happen when the world ends. It would comprise both disaster and salvation.
Deborah was a prophet and judge who people frequently came to for guidance.
Didymus Judas Thomas
Who was Thomas, exactly? Find out some interesting info about his life, including his missionary trips to India.
Different Bible Translations
Do you know what the differences are between various Bible translations?
Dinah is the seventh child and only daughter of Jacob and Leah.
Docetism was a refinement of Gnosticism. Its followers believed that Jesus' body was an illusion and that he was wholly spiritual.
The Ebionates were early followers of Jesus who believed he was the Messiah the Jewish people had expected to come.
The Egyptian Pharaohs with Joseph
An informative overview about Joseph's years in Egypt.
Elijah and Elisha
Elijah was the one who was in conflict with King Ahaz about worshipping Baal, who was eventually proved to be impotent. Elisha was Elijah's successor. He's the one who healed Naaman (captain of the king of Syria's army) of leprosy.
Elizabeth was obedient to God's commands throughout her life.
Emperor Domitan was an immoral man who thought he was divine and promoted worship of the Roman gods.
Enuma Elish is a fanscinating, detailed Babylonian creation myth.
Epaenetus was Paul's very close friend. He was the first Christian convert in Asia.
Ephraim is the second son of Joseph and Asenath. The name Ephraim, then, means "fruitfulness."
As firstborn, Esau is the real heir and Isaac's successor. Readers already know that Jacob will be given that privilege.
The Essenes at Qumran
Essenes were devout religious group (similar to an order of monks) who emphasized spiritual purification and frequent praying.
Esther risked her life to save her people (the Jews), and it pays off.
Eusebius lived when Constantine persecuted and martyred many Christians. Thankfully he survived and went on to write a thorough history of the early Church. He also passionately spoke against the discrimination of the Arians.
God creates Eve to be of help to Adam. Learn more about Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the serpent.
Ezekiel prophesied from roughly 993-971BCE. Ezekiel was a priest. There is no information on what happened to him after 971.
Ezra was a lawyer and teacher who was very wealthy. He strongly disagreed with interracial marriage.
Felix was Festus' predecessor. He imprisoned Paul, but allowed him to speak in his own defense. He hoped Paul would offer him a bribe, but he never did. Festus thought Paul was delusional, but he didn't think that was cause for putting him to death or locking him up, so he let him go.
First Century Gnosticism
The Gnostics believe matter was evil and spirit was good.
Gad and Asher
Gad and Asher are Jacob's seventh and eight son's born to Zilpah, Leah's maidservant.
Gideon was a judge who asked God some tough questions.
Goliath of Gath
The story of David and Goliath is so familiar, but here are still some tidbits of information that surely you haven't heard before.
What's unique about Habakkuk is that he engaged in dialogue with God. When he didn't like God's responses, he told him.
Sarah's egyptian maid becomes the mother to Abraham's first son Isaac.
Haggai wrote during one of most challenging times in Jewish history. His prophecies inspired the people to persevere and stay committed to God during that difficult time.
Hannah was barren until she meekly asked for a son from God, promising that she would dedicate him to His service.
Paul referred to Herodion has his kinsman, but that could mean they were just close friends.
The Herods engaged in lots of wars, political intrigue, and tenuous alliances with Jews and Gentiles.
Hezekiah was 25 years old when he inherited the throne and reigned in Jerusalem for 29 years. Hezekiah was a very good King.
Higher Priesthood of Melchizedek
The priesthood of Melchizedek required one sacrifice for sins (Jesus), whereas the Levitical priesthood made endless sacrifices on a daily basis.
Hippolytus of Rome
Hippolytus was the first antipope who loved to debate Christian theology.
Hosea's first three children had very unusual names. His family story was a metaphor for God's relationship with Israel.
Iraneus was a bishop who wrote extensively whose ideas were fundamental to early Christian theology, particularly orthodoxy, which was in direct opposition to Gnosticism.
Isaac the son of Abraham and Sarah, He married Rebekah and Jacob and Esau's father.
Isaiah was a prophet for King Ahaz right before the Assyrian conflict began.
Ishmael was Abraham's firstborn son. His mother was Sarah's handmaiden, Hagar.
Issachar and Zebulun
God answers Leah's prayers by bringing her fifth and sixth sons: Issachar and Zebulun.
Jacob was the younger twin. He eventually dominated his brother, Esau and stole Esau's blessing.
Jacob and Esau
Jacob and Esau were twins of Rebekah and Jacob. Esau was the older twin. He was rather short-sighted. Jacob stole Esau's blessing.
Jael killed the man who had oppressed the Israelites for 20 years.
There are three man named James who are prime candidates for the authorship of the book of James.
Jeremiah was a prophet for five different kings. He wrote a lot about repentance and did many symbolic acts to teach people lessons.
The Jerusalem Council
The Jerusalem Council decided whether the Jews who were becoming Christians would need to be circumcised to convert completely.
The arrival of God's son, heralded by Gabriel in his annunciation of Mary as the expectant mother of the Son of God. Jesus birth is described differently in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Matthew has the angel speak to Joseph; has them living in Bethlehem; and the wise men are witnesses. Whereas in Luke - Mary is greeted by Gabriel; they live in Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem where Jesus was born in a stable and angels and shepherds witnessed his arrival.
Find out more about the backgrounds of Jesus' disciples.
Job was faithful to God, even when he lost absolutely everything that had been important to him.
John Hyrcanus was a high priest and king during the height of tensions between the Jews and Samaritans. He didn't help quell the violence, though — he added to it.
John the Baptist
An angel foretold John's birth, indicating that he would have an important mission. He was Jesus' cousin.
John, the Apostle
Jesus' nickname for John the apostle was Boanerges, which means "sons of thunder."
No one knows if Jonah was a real person or if his life is just a story. The story of Jonah reminds us of the importance of listening to God and that God loves us all.
Jacob's beloved wife Rachel died after giving birth to Joseph. Jacob dearly loved Joseph, and showed favoritism towards him, thus separating his sons.
Joshua was the successor to Moses. He was one of the spies sent to check out the Promised Land. He was the one to apportion the land among the tribes.
Josiah was 8 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 37 years. Josiah was the last king before the exile.He destroyed all pagan idols and altars and insisted his people worship the one God.
Judah means, "thanksgiving" or "praise." Leah names this son, Judah, from the verb "to praise" and resolves to praise God for his wonderful provisions.
Learn more about Judas, the traitor, who betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities.
Judas was the disciple who betrayed Jesus to the Roman authorities. What was his motivation?
Yikes! Judas was known as the Hammer because of his ferociousness in battle.
The author of the bibilical book of Jude was likely the brother of James (not one of Jesus' twelve disciples). Or, it could be that Jude was just a pseudonym.
Judith is considered the ultimate wise, clever woman after helping Uzziah and decapitating Holofernes.
King Agrippa I
Extra-biblical sources cast King Agrippia I as a compassionate, kind leader, but the book of Acts portrays him as a heartless tyrant who brutally persecuted Christians. Which is true?
King Agrippa II
King Agrippa II's main projects were ornate buildings in various cities, especially Caesarea Phillippi, his capital. He was a boisterous king who had many drunken parties. Paul pleaded his case before Agrippa, who eventually released him unharmed.
Another name for King Ahasuerus is Ahasuerus of the Septuagint.
Levi is the third son of Jacob and his first wife, Leah. The name Levi is drawn from the verb "to join", expressing Leah's hope that her husband would now be drawn to her.
Lot is Abraham's nephew who chooses the land of Sodom because of it's apparent beauty and fertility.
The Making of Parchment
Many parts of the New Testament have been found on parchment. What is it made of and how is it made?
Malachi wrote the last words of the Old Testament, after which prophecy virtually ended. There wouldn't be another important prophet for at least 400 years.
Manasseh was the king of southern Judea. He was known for his idol worship and lack of faith in Yahweh.
Manasseh, Son of Joseph
Manasseh is the eldest son of Joseph and Asenath. Sometime later Joseph finds out that his father, Jacob, is ill. He takes his two sons to see his father. Jacob adopts Joseph's son, Manasseh, as well as his second son.
Manichaeism, a popular religion in the fifth century, was about the battle between light and darkness, evil and good.
Mariology is the study of Mary, Jesus' mother, whom many consider the model of purity and virtue.
Mary discovered that all things are possible with God.
Mary and Martha
These sisters provided a teachable moment when Martha asked Jesus to ask Mary to come help her serve the guests. Both are present when Jesus raises Lazarus from death, too.
Controversy over who Mary Magdalene was abounds, but everyone can agree that she was important to Jesus.
Like Abraham, king Melchizedek believes in the supreme God who created all and given Abraham the victory. In the name of God, the Most High, Melchizedek blesses Abraham.
Find out what premillennialism, amillenialism, and postmillennialism are here.
Miriam is the elder sister of Aaron and Moses. She suggests to Pharaohs daughter that a hebrew woman nurse baby Moses and thereby reunites Moses with his mother.
Moab was Lot's grandson. He was the offspring of Lotís eldest daughter.
Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. He performed incredible miracles that showed God had appointed him to lead the people.
The Nag Hammadi Library
When Mohammad Ali Samman discovered the library, he had no idea it was so valuable. Decades later, it was finally put into a museum for scholars to study.
Nahum's predicted the demise of Ninevah, which was surprising because during that time it was very prosperous.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was a successful leader in terms of military endeavors, building projects, and increasing the prosperity of his kingdom.
Nehemiah worked hard to organize the building of a wall around Jerusalem in only about 2 months.
Nero was a brutal emperor who even ordered the death of his own mother, as well as anyone who disagreed with him.
Nicodemus was likely a member of the Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme court). He warmly invited Jesus into his home and spoke with him respectfully.
Most people probably thought he was crazy, but Noah was obedient to God and built an ark according to exact specifications.
Onesimus was Philemon's slave who was converted to Christianity by Paul.
Origen was one of the most influential thinkers when it came to spiritualizing or allegorizing bibilical texts. He also created a Bible with six translations listed side-by-side, a format that many still use for Bible study today.
Overview of New Testament Healings
This is a chronological chart of healings found in the New Testament.
Oxyrhnchus is an Egyptian city that has many ancient documents written on papyrus—70% of all known papyri has been found there.
The Passion Week
The Passion Week - Chronology of Events. Each event is listed in the appropriate Gospel, so you can go back and refresh yourself with the story.
The Pastoral Letters
These letters were written to church congregations to address problems that had arose among the members.
Conflict arose because of the question of whether Gentiles needed to be circumcised to be full Christians, since the Jews were always required to be circumcised. Paul was on the side that said the Gentiles didn't need to be circumcised.
Persis was a Persian lady who worked hard.
Anytime the disciples are named, Peter's name comes first, indicating his importance. He's the one who walked on water with Jesus. He's also the one who denied knowing Jesus three times before his crucifixion.
Philemon was a wealthy man who was good friends with Paul.
Philip was one of Jesus' most cherished disciples. Find out more about his role in Jesus' mission here.
Phoebe was a wealthy Christian who was entrusted with carrying Paul's letter to the Romans.
Potiphar and His Wife
Potiphar buys Joseph grom the Midianites. Potiphar sees "that the Lord is with Joseph and that the Lord gives him success in everything he does."
Priscilla and Aquila
Priscilla and Aquila were faithful early Christians who risked their lives for Paul.
Rachel and Leah
Rachel was Jacob's second wife and his true love. Tragically, she died in childbirth. Leah was Jacob's first wife, who was deceptively given to him after he had worked for seven years to marry Leah. From her son, Judah, came the line of David and Jesus.
Rebekah is the first woman in the Hebrew Bible for whom marital love is proclaimed. She is married to Isaac and is the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Reuben is the eldest son of Jacob and his first wife, Leah.
Rufus and his Mother
Rufus and his mother likely served as an adopted family to Paul when he became a Christian.
Ruth and Naomi
Ruth and Naomi both experience the loss of loved ones. Ruth swears an oath, saying she will remain with Naomi.Naomi must have been an amazing woman to instill that amount of loyalty. Naomi acknowledged God's control over every phase of her life.
Samson was a perfect example of what NOT to do—in almost every sense.
Samuel was the one God called three times during the night. As an adult, he served as a judge of the people.
The Sanhedrin was the Jewish supreme court that ensured all activities, especially religious services, were done according to the Law.
Sarah was Abraham's wife. Amazingly, Sarah had a child—Isaac—at the ripe old age of 90.
Saul's rebellion and impatience led to Yahweh's rejection of his kingship.
School/Council of Jamnia
After the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE, many Jewish scholars fled to Jamnia, where they found a school and the Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme court). They might have held a council there to decide which books would be included in the Old Testament.
Second Generation Paulinists
Paulinists studied Paul and his followers' writings. They thought of Jesus as a redeemer and great reconciler.
Silas and Silvanus were the same person. He was a prophet who worked with Paul.
Simeon is the second son of Jacob and his first wife, Leah. The name Simeon means, "God has heard." It refers to Leah's conviction that God heard that "she was unloved." So essentially, it means that God has heard about her suffering.
Simon was the high priest and military commander in Jerusalem during a pivotal time.
Simon and Peter were intense rivals until Simon challenged Peter's authority and fell out of the sky.
God loved Solomon. David's final advice to Solomon was that he should be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, so that you may prosper.
The Sons of Adam and Eve
Enjoy learning more about Cain and Able the sons of Adam and Eve.
Jerome's most important contribution to Christianity was the Vulgate translation. He is known as the patron saint of librarians and translators.
Stephen was a wise prophet, healer, and teacher who was filled with the Holy Spirit, even during his unfair trial. He was the first Christian martyr.
When her life is on the line, as an innocent woman, Susanna whole-heartedly prays to God.
Syrian Antioch and Pisidian Antioch
Syrian Antioch was near Jerusalem, and it was the capital and military headquarters for the Syrian province during the Roman Empire. There, the word "Christians" is used for the very first time. Pisidian Antioch was the location of Paul's first missionary journey. His first recorded speech was given there.
The Syrophoenician Woman
A pagan woman implores Jesus to heal her daughter, and he does.
Tamar's name means "date palm, or food or life." Her story can be found in Genesis 38.
Tamar's Twins - Perez and Zerah
Tamar tricks Judah and together they have twin boys, Perez and Zerah.
rtullian was a brave defender of Christianity, often writing pointed, sarcastic letters to Rome, calling for an end to the persecution of Christians.
Thecla, Theocleia, Thamyris
Thecla was so enamored with Paul's preaching at her mother Theoclia's house that she broke off her engagement to Thamyris. After being spurned, Thamyris was so angry that he had him thrown in jail. Find out what happens next!
Thessalonia was a busy, populous seaport, so it was a very important city for Paul's missionary work.
Three Hebrew Boys
Three Hebrews boys refuse to worship a statue because it violates the Second Commandment. Then they're thrown into a fiery furnace and something miraculous happens!
Timothy was one of the early church workers. He accompanied Paul on many of his missionary travels.
Paul and Titus were close friends, so much so that Paul referred to him as his brother.
Tobit and Tobias
Tobit always did the right thing, even when he was risking everything. He steadfastly remained faithful to God. Tobit taught Tobias to live righteously as well, and he was blessed tremendously with a good wife, lots of sons, and prosperity.
The Tradition of Hanukkah
Find out what the Jews are celebrating during Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.
Tryphaena and Tryphosa
These two sisters were of aristocratic descent who left their easy life behind to promote the cause of Christianity.
Urbanus, Stachys, and Apelles
These three likely worked closely with Paul.
Valentinus was an eloquent man who wrote extensively about his theological beliefs, which include many elements of Gnosticism.
Wisdom Literatures includes Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. These books include poems, instructions, pithy sayings (proverbs), and dialogue.
The Women Named Salome
There are two women named Salome in the Bible—one who followed Jesus, and one who was a seductive princess.
Zechariah's gave a spiritual interpretation to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.
Zephaniah prophesied almost entirely about judgment and hope, but only for those who remained faithful to God.
Zerubbabel is often credited with rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem, though most of his life is shrouded in mystery.