Wondering why we call biblical characters “Bible heroes”?
In this blog, we will:
- Meet some of the most amazing heroes from the Bible
- Identify what qualifies them as such
- Learn life lessons from them
Let’s get right into it!
Who are These Bible Heroes?
These are not Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and other Marvel or DC superheroes.
We are talking about characters from the Bible.
These are some of them:
1) Adam and Eve, the forerunners
In paradise—perfect and blameless
Adam and Eve were the first humans God created on earth. Hence, they were our grandparents.
They lived in the Garden of Eden, caring for the animals and everything God created.
Everything was perfect in that garden. But little did they know that Satan, the devil, disguised himself as a serpent on a tree.
The temptation that brought about the first sin
One day, Eve saw the beautiful fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent tempted her to eat from its fruit. But she refused, arguing that God told Adam and her that they would die if they did so.
But the serpent insisted they wouldn’t die. So, it urged Eve to take a bite. Finally, Eve gave in to the temptation. Later, she found Adam and convinced him to also take a bite.
Suddenly, everything changed. As God came looking for Adam and Eve, they felt ashamed. For the first time, they realized they were naked.
When asked what happened, Adam blamed Eve for persuading him to eat the fruit. Eve passed the blame on to the serpent, who tempted her.
Neither took responsibility for that first mistake. That was when sin began on earth.
The price of their disobedience
Because of what Adam and Eve did, God expelled them from the garden.
From then on, they would have to work hard for survival. Adam had to toil the ground. Eve had to suffer from the pain of childbirth.
2) Noah, the captain
God’s plan to eradicate sin
Noah was a righteous man of his generation. God chose him for a special mission of restoring the world from evil.
God would destroy the earth with a great flood. It would cover even the highest mountains and flying animals. Nothing would be left above the sea.
Materializing the plan
For this, God instructed Noah to build an ark to save people from the flood. He gave him instructions to follow. The construction took 120 years.
During those years, Noah warned the people of the coming flood. He encouraged them to save their lives.
But they didn’t believe him, thinking he was just a crazy lunatic preacher working on an insane construction project.
Rain fell for the first time.
The animals started entering the ark. Noah kept preaching and encouraging the people to get in. But they were unswayed.
Finally, the door of the ark was shut. Only the animals and eight members of Noah’s family, including himself, were saved.
As the floodwaters rose and covered the earth, the people outside became horrified. They pleaded with Noah to let them in, but it was too late for them.
The rain and flood went on for 40 days and 40 nights. The ark swam through the ocean, keeping Noah, his family, and the animals inside safe.
The end of the Flood—a new start
After 150 more days, the ark finally rested on Mount Ararat. Forty days after that, Noah sent out a raven to discover if there was any dry land. But it kept flying back and forth.
Later, he sent out a dove. It returned with a fresh olive leaf. Finally, Noah, his family, and the animals could get out of the ark.
As they went out, a rainbow appeared. It was a sign that God would no longer destroy the earth with a flood.
3) Joseph, the dreamer
As a privileged son
Joseph was the first-born son of Jacob and Rachel. Benjamin was his younger sibling.
He also had ten half-brothers who were jealous of him because he was their father’s favorite son.
What made them even more frustrated were Joseph’s ambitious dreams depicting they would one day bow down to him.
Because of their jealousy, his brothers sold him as a slave to Midianite merchants who were going to Egypt.
As a slave in Egypt
Joseph worked for Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Because of his excellent performance, he was promoted to take care of the entire household.
But Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of raping her when he refused to sleep with her. As a result, Potiphar put him in prison.
In prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of his two fellow inmates. He predicted that one would be executed, and the other would be reinstated. And it happened as foretold.
Two years later, Pharaoh also had a dream. The reinstated cupbearer recommended Joseph to be the interpreter.
Joseph predicted seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine in Egypt. As such, he suggested that Pharaoh plan ahead and stock grain to prepare for the famine.
With this, Pharaoh promoted Joseph second-in-command to supervise the stockpiling of grain in Egypt.
As governor of Egypt, facing his brothers
Famine struck Egypt and the entire world. As a result, people from different nations came to buy food. Among these people were Joseph’s brothers.
As they came to Egypt, they bowed down to the governor. They didn’t know it was Joseph but he recognized them.
Joseph decided to test his brothers by accusing them of being spies. But they insisted they were not by telling him of their family background.
Determined to test them further, Joseph asked them to bring their youngest brother. But one should remain in prison until the rest returned.
When they returned with Benjamin, Joseph invited them to a feast.
Secretly, Joseph had his brothers’ donkeys loaded with the grain they purchased. He also ordered that his silver cup be placed in Benjamin’s sack.
As his brothers set off for home, Joseph’s steward chased them. He asked them to open their sacks and found the cup in Benjamin’s.
With this, Benjamin was to remain as Joseph’s slave. But Judah begged to take his place.
As a brother who was once lost and now was finally found
At this point, Joseph could no longer hold his emotions. He broke down in tears realizing how much his brothers had changed for good.
Finally, he told his brothers he was Joseph.
His brothers were terrified, knowing he could do whatever he wanted, being in such a position now. But he assured them he would not harm them.
Later, he asked them to bring their father when they returned.
What a family reunion it was when Joseph saw his father!
4) Moses, the lawgiver
Growing up in Egypt
Moses was an Israelite boy who escaped Pharaoh’s plot to kill all Israelite babies.
His mother, Jochebed, saved him in a basket. Pharaoh’s daughter saw him on a river. She pitied him and hired someone to take care of him.
Moses grew up watching his fellow Hebrews suffering in slavery every day. He pitied them.
The crime and escape
One day, he saw an Egyptian master beating a slave. Wanting to save his fellow, Moses killed the master.
To escape Pharaoh’s revenge against him, Moses fled into Midian. There, he worked as a shepherd and raised a family with Zipporah.
God’s call and mission
One day in the wilderness, Moses saw a burning bush. God spoke to him there, commissioning him to save Israel from slavery in Egypt. Though reluctant at first, he accepted the mission.
As he returned to Egypt, he tried to convince Pharaoh to set the Israelites free. But Pharaoh’s heart was hard as stone.
Even after Moses performed a miracle of turning his staff into a snake, Pharaoh still didn’t change his mind.
But Pharaoh gradually gave up as God sent ten plagues all over Egypt.
These included the River Nile turning into blood, livestock dying, animals killing people, weather changing, and many others.
But the worst plague that softened Pharaoh’s heart was the death of all firstborn children in Egypt, including his son.
Freedom from Egypt
Finally, Pharaoh set the Israelites free.
Moses led them to the wilderness to start a new life. But they had to cross the Red Sea first.
God showed them a miracle by parting the Red Sea for them to cross on dry land.
The Egyptians tried to chase them. But the waters came back over and drowned them all, burying them at the bottom of the sea. As a result, the Israelites had been delivered.
Giving of the law
The Israelites went on to the wilderness. Unfortunately, they became unruly and ungrateful despite what God had done for them.
Hence, God gave them the Ten Commandments in tablets of stone. It guided them to live as God wanted them to.
5) Esther, the queen of courage
As an orphan
Esther meant “star” in Persia.
In Hebrew, it was “Hadassa,” which meant “myrtle,” a member of a large Jewish community forced to relocate to Persia.
As a young orphan, Esther was raised by her older cousin Mordecai, a royal officer. He raised her well with a good upbringing.
When she got older, Esther was selected to join a “beauty pageant” in the Persian Empire. King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) was looking for a new queen, replacing Vashti, who disobeyed him.
In the “beauty pageant”
During the pageant, Esther did her best to make friends and influence people.
You can imagine her wearing her best outfit and making her signature moves, as in modern-day Miss Universe.
And guess what! Out of the several women who joined, Esther won as the new queen.
As in today’s pageants, she could have probably made her final walk while people were congratulating her.
The threat during her term as the new queen
Five years after Esther’s coronation, Haman was promoted chief adviser to the king.
It was bad news because he was a proud and insecure man. Also, he was not on good terms with Mordecai.
Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman when he entered the royal gates. It made Haman so angry that he persuaded the king to sign a decree to kill all Jews.
The king didn’t know that Queen Esther was a Jew because she kept it a secret.
This threat also made Esther struggle to choose between herself and her people’s welfare.
Mordecai and Esther prayed and fasted for some days. Soon, he advised her to intercede with the king.
But Esther didn’t want to break the palace rule which stated that she should not come before the king uninvited. As a result, she would be put to death unless he held out his golden scepter to her.
Still, Esther approached the king. But, instead of blurting out about Haman’s plot, she played it cool. First, she invited him and Haman to a series of feasts.
The first one gave Esther time to soften up the king and the adviser. She gained their confidence.
As a tradition, the king was obliged to grant the queen something in return. But Esther decided not to show all her cards yet.
The second banquet was the final move. God gave Esther the right words needed to plead for her and her people’s lives in danger.
Finally, she accused Haman of devising the plot, which angered the king.
The blessing in disguise
Now, instead of the Jews, Haman fell victim to his own trap as King Ahasuerus ordered his execution.
As a result, Mordecai replaced him as the king’s chief advisor.
Then, he and Esther made a new decree that saved the Jews and permitted them to attack their enemies.
6) David, the giant slayer
A humble life
David was one of the sons of Jesse.
He spent his life taking care of their sheep. He would kill the lions and bears that threatened their flock.
Prophet Samuel visited David’s family on a mission to identify and anoint the future king of Israel.
Jesse never thought of recommending David, who was always busy in the pastures. Also, he was sure the prophet would choose one of his older sons instead.
But David was special, so Samuel insisted on meeting him. When he met him, he anointed his head with oil. It confirmed that David was destined for great things.
The fight that changed history
Goliath, a Philistine giant, had been challenging the Israelite troops for days. But no one dared to fight against him because they were afraid of him.
Meanwhile, David came to bring food for his brothers enlisted as soldiers. When he heard Goliath’s frightening insults against Israel, David offered to take the challenge.
But he was small and unskilled as a fighter. Also, King Saul was reluctant to let him go. Yet, David was determined.
The king offered David armor and a sword, but the humble fighter declined. He chose to fight Goliath with a slingshot and five stones instead.
Would you believe that? Could he win the fight with those incompetent weapons?
Later, David swung his slingshot, targeting Goliath’s forehead. Surprisingly, with just one stone, the giant crashed down to the ground.
The boy grabbed the giant’s sword and cut off his head. It frightened the rest of the Philistines, who then fled in shame.
What Qualifies a Bible Hero?
From their descriptions and stories alone, you probably know why Bible heroes were called such.
But here are three qualities that qualify a Bible hero, according to Gary Blanchard, Seventh-day Adventist World Church Youth Director:
1) Being a follower of Christ
In the interview by Associate Director of Communications Sam Neves, Gary quotes Apostle Paul. He goes, “All disciples are believers, but not all believers are disciples.”
True enough, many Christians today are Christians by name but are unfortunately not faithful followers of Christ.
Meaning to say, to be a Bible hero is to obey God and His commandments.
God’s law and Word are “not arbitrary,” Gary continues. “He doesn’t just come up with a bunch of laws and rules…because He can, and He’s God.”
His laws “are not made to chain us down and imprison us.” Instead, “they’re actually made to set us free.”
2) Courage to stand up for the right no matter what
What does it mean?
For Gary, a Bible hero is “a person who is willing to live for God though the heavens fall.”
In other words, he is “willing to stand true for the Lord” even when things turn against him.
Sam adds, “We need a generation [that is] willing to draw the line.” Anyone from this generation must have the courage to say, “From this point onwards, I will go no further.”
“This may bring persecution,” but he doesn’t fear the consequences of staying faithful to God.
Taking Daniel as an example
Daniel is Gary’s favorite Bible hero.
According to him, Daniel was “a young man who had integrity…in an environment that did not have [one].”
In the time of Nebuchadnezzar
In Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar offered Daniel and his friends meat and wine. The king also had them bow down to his golden statue as a way of respect.
Yet, “he [and his friends] stood for a God really strong.”
They refused to take the king’s food. Instead, they requested water, fruits, and vegetables. Also, they didn’t bow down to his statue, even if it meant them being thrown into a fiery furnace.
Surprisingly, they didn’t burn in the fire. The king even saw that God was with them there.
In the time of Darius
Daniel gained King Darius’ favor and respect, which made other officials envious. So they devised a plan to remove Daniel from his position.
They encouraged the king to sign a decree stating that nobody could pray to anyone but him alone. Anyone who violated this law would be thrown into the lion’s den.
Shockingly, Darius realized that this law would put Daniel in danger because he wouldn’t worship anyone except God. But it was too late to retract the law.
Yet, Daniel kept true to his faith and continued praying. Even inside the den, he prayed and trusted that God would deliver him from the roaring lions.
True enough, the lions didn’t come near Daniel. God shut their mouths. And through the king’s prayer, Daniel was finally set free.
As a punishment, Darius ordered that Daniel’s accusers be thrown into the den instead. Then, he issued a decree declaring that Daniel’s God be respected above all.
3) Influence on people around him
Daniel was just one of several Bible heroes whose faithfulness greatly influenced the people around him.
We also have John, the apostle of love, who was once the son of thunder. His preaching led to the establishing of the early church after Jesus’ resurrection.
Mary Magdalene was once an adulterer. Yet, her humble act of washing Jesus’ feet with perfume showed the disciples what sincere confession was. And Jesus forgave her.
There were many others. But the greatest of them all was Jesus, our ultimate Superhero.
Despite being God, He came to earth in human form to live with us and die for our sins. It has given us salvation and eternity in heaven.
With all this, a Bible hero doesn’t only do what is right but also influences people to know God.
What Lessons Do Bible Heroes Teach Us?
1) God loves us despite our sinfulness.
Bible heroes were imperfect like us. They had flaws. They sinned, too.
For instance, David committed adultery with Bathsheba. Samson broke his Nazarite vow when he fell in love with Philistine women and had his hair cut. And Peter denied Jesus three times.
But despite these, they asked for forgiveness and changed for the better. “They kept focusing on God, [which] made all the difference,” Sam mentions.
2) Life is like a game.
Trivia games like our very own Heroes have puzzles and challenges to solve. Video games like A Journey Towards Jesus have adventures and missions to accomplish.
Even our church program, Pathfinders, has skills to learn and obstacles to overcome. It trains the youth to become followers and witnesses of Christ.
In fact, “Pathfinders is what taught me gamification,” Sam shares.
“You do this, and then you do that.” Then, “you get a badge [to] put on your uniform.” With the badges you collect, “you level up.”
This gamified progress speaks of life’s journey.
Like the Bible heroes, we encounter trials that test our endurance, determination, and faith in God. As we age, these challenges become more difficult.
But, as a reward, we learn lessons that make us stronger to face the next challenges. We cherish these learnings forever.
3) We need each other to grow.
Gary notes that Pathfindering provides an “atmosphere for young people to grow spiritually and…as people.”
“It’s also a great opportunity…for adults to get involved in the lives of young people.” They mentor and encourage them.
Meaning to say, young people need the older generation. Also, the latter needs to reach out to the former. They must help each other.
Gary adds, “Even the heroes in the Bible…have older generations that they leaned on and learned from.”
4) Jesus is our ultimate Role Model.
We admire Noah, Joseph, Moses, Ruth, Samson, Esther, Daniel, David, and other Bible heroes. But let’s not forget that they all point to the ultimate Superhero of all—Jesus.
He is our greatest Role Model. As a sinless Being, He lived a perfect life which we can emulate from.
So, as we look at our Bible heroes, let’s take the Apostle Paul’s advice: “Copy me as I’m copying Christ. Follow me as I’m following Christ.”
What Have You Learned?
Did you enjoy reading this blog?
What have you learned from the Bible heroes?
Let us hear your thoughts.