How To Do A Bible Character Study: A Simple 5-Step Guide

Are you looking to deepen your understanding of the Bible and gain new insights into its timeless teachings? If so, a Bible character study may be just what you need. By focusing on the individuals who play a pivotal role in the stories of faith, hope, and redemption, you can uncover new lessons and wisdom that have the power to transform your own life.

It is amazing to me what we can learn from God’s Word when we look a little closer to the people whose stories He chose to include in the pages of scripture. Studying Bible characters is one of my favorite ways to study the Bible. As we explore the steps you can take to conduct a Bible character study, I pray you will be motivated to choose a Bible character to study for yourself!

woman open Bible holding pen thinking of doing a Bible character study

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What Is A Character Bible Study?

A character Bible study is a Bible study method that focuses on a particular person in scripture. This method analyzes all the Bible passages containing information about this person. This is done to learn all we can about the person’s life and story in order to learn more about God and His ways.

From the bits of information we gather, we can uncover meaningful lessons that we may apply to our own lives. A Bible character study is a great way to deepen our understanding of God’s Word and our own walk with God in today’s world!

How To Do A Bible Character Study

A Bible character study is a really interesting way to study the Bible. I love to discover new details I’d missed when reading a passage before. When we choose a topic, or in the case of this post, a character, to focus on as we read, we will find that the Bible has so much more to teach us than what we might otherwise have skimmed over and missed.

So, how can you do your own character Bible study? Here is a 5-step method to guide you through studying about your favorite Bible characters.

5-Step Method for Bible Character Study

  1. Choose your character.
  2. Gather background information.
  3. Examine the character’s actions and motivations.
  4. Analyze the character’s relationships.
  5. Look for themes and lessons.

1. Choose Your Character

To begin your Bible character study, it’s important to first select the character you want to focus on. This may seem like a small step, but there are so many interesting Bible characters to study that it might be hard to narrow down your choice.

So, how can you decide?

Start by praying and asking God to guide you. Every Bible study effort should begin with prayer.

Then think about what you hope to gain from your study; is there a specific lesson or theme you want to explore? Or do you simply want to gain a deeper understanding of the character and the story they are a part of? Once you have a clear idea of your purpose, you can begin to choose a character that aligns with your goals.

Consider characters that you may already be familiar with or those that intrigue you. It’s also helpful to think about characters that may be relevant to your current circumstances or struggles, as their stories may hold specific insights for you.

Don’t be afraid to select a lesser-known character or one that is often overlooked, as these can provide unique and valuable perspectives. In fact, it may be helpful if you’ve never done a character study, to choose someone who is found in only a few scriptures.

For instance, for a beginner, David would be a lot to take on as he and his life are covered in several books and chapters of the Bible. Whereas, Lydia would be a more manageable topic of analysis as small portion of her life is mentioned in a very few verses. Or, even Naomi or Ruth.

Who will you choose to study first?

For more help going deeper in your study of God’s Word, be sure to check out these effective Bible Study Resources!

2. Gather Background Information

Before diving into your Bible character study, it’s important to gather background information on the character you’ve selected. This will provide context and help you understand the character’s story and role in the Bible.

Start by gathering all the scripture references that include information about your character. You can easily do this by using a Bible app and doing a quick search for your person’s name.

Read each verse that contains the person’s name and also the surrounding verses. As you read, it might be helpful to have pen and paper to jot down every peice of information you can glean about the person from the text.

When I study a Bible character, I list out every fact I can find as I read. And beside each fact, I record the scripture reference. You might like to use this Character Bible Study Worksheet pdf set. You can use the study worksheets in this set to write out your answers to the Bible character study questions mentioned throughout this post.

Reading through these passages will help you in researching the character’s backstory, including their family, upbringing, and any significant events that may have shaped their life. Pay attention to any cultural or historical context that may be relevant to the character’s story.

You will want to note things like where they lived and in what time period. And any other details of their background that you notice.

Additionally, it can be helpful to explore the character’s personality traits and characteristics. What makes them unique? This can help you understand their actions and motivations later on in your study.

By taking the time to gather this important background information, you’ll be able to approach your Bible character study with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the character you’ve selected. With this foundation in place, you can move on to examining their actions and motivations to gain even greater insights from their story.

 

3. Examine the Character’s Actions and Motivations

To truly understand a Bible character’s story, it’s important to examine their actions and motivations. By analyzing what they did and why they did it, we can gain deeper insights into their experiences and better appreciate the messages their stories convey.

Start by looking at the character’s actions. What did they do, and what were the consequences of those actions? Did they act in line with their beliefs and values, or were their actions contradictory? For example, King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed to cover up the affair. This led to a great deal of suffering for all involved, including David himself.

Next, consider the character’s motivations. What drove them to act in the way they did? Were they acting out of love, fear, ambition, or some other emotion?

Understanding a character’s motivations can help us appreciate their struggles and empathize with their choices. For example, Mary Magdalene was a devoted follower of Jesus who witnessed his crucifixion and resurrection. Her love for Jesus motivated her to stay by his side through it all, even when it was difficult.

In this step of your character Bible study you might ask, What do this character’s actions and motivations reveal about their strengths and weaknesses? What makes them unique?

By examining a character’s actions and motivations, we can gain a deeper understanding of their story and the messages it conveys. This knowledge can then help us apply those messages to our own lives and experiences. Next, we’ll explore how a character’s relationships can shed further light on their story.

4. Analyze the Character’s Relationships

By examining a Bible character’s relationships, we can gain insight into their personality and their role in the story. Relationships are a crucial aspect of any character study, as they can reveal much about a character’s motivations and challenges.

For instance, the relationship between David and Saul provides a fascinating perspective on both characters. At first, Saul was kind to David and even made him a commander in his army. However, as David’s popularity grew, Saul became jealous and paranoid, ultimately leading to his downfall.

Meanwhile, David had to navigate a complex relationship with his best friend Jonathan, who was also Saul’s son. Despite their loyalty and affection for each other, David and Jonathan were torn apart by politics and family loyalty.

Similarly, the relationship between Joseph and his brothers illuminates Joseph’s resilience and forgiveness. Despite being sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph remained faithful to God and rose to a position of power in Egypt. When his brothers came to him for assistance years later, Joseph forgave them and even provided for their needs.

By analyzing a character’s relationships, we can see how their actions and decisions are influenced by those around them. As we continue to explore the character’s story, we should consider how their relationships impact their journey and what lessons we can learn from their experiences.

5. Look for Themes and Lessons

By delving into the relationships that a biblical character has with those around them, we can gain a deeper understanding of their story and the larger themes at play. These themes may include loyalty, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption, among others.

This step in our study would also include looking for what this Bible character has to teach us about God. What does God reveal to us of His character in His dealings with this person? Does God show His faithfulness, lovingkindness, longsuffering, sovereignty, justice, righteous judgement, omnipotence, etc.?

With these themes in mind, we can begin to extract valuable lessons and insights that we can apply to our own lives. For this step, look for answers to questions like: What lessons does this person’s life teach you? Was this person a positive example to emulate? Or, a negative one, teaching you what not to do in similar life situations?

The next step is to take these lessons and consider how they might be relevant to our modern experiences and challenges.

Applying What You’ve Learned

By studying Bible characters and identifying the themes and lessons within their stories, we can gain valuable insights that are applicable to our lives today. Whether it’s the story of Joseph and his unwavering faith in God, Ruth’s determination and loyalty, or David’s courage in the face of adversity, each character offers lessons that can help us in our own lives.

For example, the story of David and Goliath teaches us that even when we feel small and powerless, we can still overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles with faith and determination. The story of Moses reminds us that even when we feel ill-equipped for the tasks at hand, God can use us to do great things. And the story of Esther shows us the power of courage and conviction in the face of danger and adversity.

But it’s not enough to simply identify these lessons. We must also consider how they might be relevant to the modern experiences and challenges we face today.

Perhaps we can draw courage from David’s story when facing a difficult situation at work or in our personal lives. Or maybe we can glean insights from Ruth’s determination to persevere through difficult circumstances to help us be strong through our own struggles.

Ultimately, we can find hope, inspiration, and guidance in the stories of those who came before us, and use their experiences to help us navigate the challenges of our own lives. By applying the lessons of Bible characters to our own life situations, we gain wisdom and strength to grow in our walk with God!

Ultimately, we can find hope, inspiration, and guidance in the stories of those who came before us, and use their experiences to help us navigate the challenges of our own lives.


Get the most out of your study of characters in the Bible with this FREE Bible Character Study Checklist printable!

Click the image to download and print.

In conclusion, delving into a Bible character study can transform and deepen your faith, allowing you to gain a better understanding of the Word of God. By carefully selecting your character, gathering background information, examining their actions and motivations, analyzing relationships, and looking for themes and lessons, you can gain a wealth of insight and inspiration.

So, choose a Bible character and get started today! And let the wisdom God gives you from the study of their life guide you on your faith journey.


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