One wonderful way of preaching or teaching a series from Scripture is through presenting “mini-biographies” of lesser known Biblical characters. Now, doing extended studies on the major characters – Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Paul, and such – is certainly rewarding as well. But the major characters have many chapters in the Scriptures devoted to them and are usually already well-known to our hearers.
Mini-biographies take characters which get little attention in the Biblical text and yet are in the story for a reason. It requires the preacher/teacher to dig into the context, background, meaning of the text and why the Holy Spirit and the Biblical writer saw the importance of including this person in the story. Here are a few “series” that could be done on people in Scripture:
- Characters in Genesis: Cain, Lot, Ishmael, Esau, Reuben, Judah, Potiphar, etc.
- The Judges
- Men surrounding David: Jonathan, various of his “mighty men,” Absalom, Joab, Mephibosheth, etc.
- Lesser known kings of Israel or Judah
- Non-writing prophets in Old Testament: Elijah, Elisha, Gad, Nathan, Huldah, Micaiah, the “unnamed prophets” (examples in I Kings 13), etc.
- People at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified
Many more lists could be made, but these illustrate the concept. Because the information about many of these people is so limited, care has to be taken to not present as fact what may be only opinion. Likewise, the “application” of each study should not claim things that would not have been the intent of the original author, or be concluded by the original audience.
As an example, we will look at a series I created involving people around Jesus (other than his personal disciples). I called it “Snapshots with Jesus” because each of these characters were affected and changed by contact with the Lord. I will try to document at least some of the background material I used to serve as examples of how I think such a study can be done.
Here are some of the people we will look at:
- Simeon & Anna
- Jairus, the synagogue ruler
- Demoniac of Gadara
- The woman healed of bleeding
- The paralyzed man of Mark 2
- The blind beggar of John 9
- James, brother of Jesus
The image above was provided by the Lumo Project through www.freebibleimages.org – a source for over 10,000 free images for use in teaching. This image represents Joseph and Mary at the Temple to dedicate the infant Jesus; there they meet Simeon and Anna as told in Luke 2:22-38.