Biblical Biographies - Bible lives and yours in God's great continuing story.

Posted by Les Ellison  ·  Be the first to comment

The Oxford Dictionary defines biography as ‘an account of a person’s life.’ A Biblical biography might be defined as ‘an account of the life of any historical person from the Old or New Testament’.

Of the more than 2,500 biography titles listed by, only about 400 are classified as Biblical biographies.

With biographies so popular in the commercial world (at the time of writing 7 out of 10 of the New York Times hardback best sellers are biographies) why do the number of Biblical biographies add up to little more than 2% of the 18,000 Bible study books in the online catalogue?

With so many more recorded lives than books in the Bible shouldn’t there be more Biblical biographies?

Who writes Biblical Biography?

The Bible itself must be one of the biggest collections of biographies in one pair of covers. In many cases there’s no certainty who wrote them, though their stories were probably told long before they were written down.

The stars of the Bible – those with most to say and do, tend to attract the most biographers. Biographies of Jesus, Paul, Moses and major Old Testament prophets are fairly easy to find. Even ‘secular’ writers have written quite a lot on their lives and legacy.

Big names in the Bible attract the big names in Christian scholarship. Less ‘famous’ Bible personalities often attract the attention of children’s authors and novelists. These writers can offer as much insight and more that the scholars and theologians.

Who reads Biblical Biography?

Readers of Biblical biographies are looking to get closer to the lives of Bible personalities in same way that readers of modern biographies look to get ‘inside ‘ the lives of the famous and the infamous.

Biblical biography is a search for truth and meaning – and not just of what Bible personalities said and did. Readers want to know the why, and how their lives and stories fitted in with God’s great unfolding plan.

More than anything, readers of Biblical biographies want to know how Biblical lives relate to real life today. Men and women of the Bible found encouragement, comfort, challenge and reassurance in their walks of faith.

Readers of Biblical biographies will find many parallels with the trials and challenges of their own lives and help in finding their own role in God’s greater narrative.

What’s good to read in Biblical Biography?

The big names in the Old and New testaments attract most attention from Biblical biographers. ‘Minor’ personalities with less to say or a shorter story, often have greater relevance to lives of readers today.

The biggest challenge to Biblical biographers is the absence of hard information on the original personalities. In some cases, there’s no biographical evidence at all beyond the Bible itself. Absence of detail doesn’t detract from the truth of their lives as recorded in the Bible.

Finding the truth in absence of hard facts is a task better suited to novelists and story writers than scholars and theologians. Well researched Bible based novels and enriched Bible retellings give readers a much greater choice and a deeper insight into the lives and meaning of Bible personalities.

Where to find Biblical Biography?

To help you find what you’re looking for, at Christian biographies are listed under the headings: autobiography, Biblical biography, general biography and autobiography.

You’ll find more about the others in linked articles, but under Biblical biography, you’ll find around 400 listed titles. A quick scan down the list will bring up at least one author you might well recognise. Charles R Swindoll’s ‘Great Lives’ series includes just about all the big name personalities of the Old and New Testament.

Biblical biographies in Charles Swindoll’s ‘Great Lives’ series are also available as large print and audio books.

Other authors writing Biblical biographies include:

  • Ray Markham (Bit Players Of The Bible).
  • Roger Ellsworth (Biblical biographies including Moses and Simon Peter).
  • John Pollock (Paul and many popular biographies).

What’s good to read in Christian Autobiography?

For the latest in current, new and future Biblical biographies click the books tab at and follow the links through to Biblical biography. You’ll find plenty to choose from.

Or… let do the work for you. Click on the books tab, and then bestsellers. Often the name alone on the cover of a bestselling autobiography will tell you what to expect, and what reading it will do for you.

What can Biblical Biography do for me?

Knowing that God’s plan includes powerful, famous, flawed and ordinary men and women can be encouraging, reassuring, inspiring and even life changing.

To help you find a Biblical biography that speaks to your life of faith and spiritual growth, here’s just a few of the titles available at
Biblical biographies: the lives of powerful, famous, flawed and ordinary men and women of the Bible; their part in God’s great unfolding plan and how that plan includes a role for you.

  • Great Lives – Job:A man of heroic endurance by Charles R. Swindoll
  • Great Lives – Esther: A woman of strength and dignity by Charles R. Swindoll
  • Face to Face with – Simon Peter: Encountering the preacher at Pentecost by Roger Ellsworth
  • Bit Players of The Bible - Over 100 lesser known characters on God’s stage by Ray Markham
  • Sons of Encouragement – Aaron, Caleb, Jonathan, Amos, Silas: (novelisation) by Francine Rivers
  • A Lineage of Grace – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary: (novelisation) by Francine Rivers
  • My Very First Bible Stories – various Bible personalities: colourful, simple stories for 3s to 5s by Lois Rock
  • Boring Bible – catastrophic kings (and others): anything but boring, the Bible for 7s to 12s by Andy Robb

Quick Guide to - quick guide  Biblical biography

Biblical biography - what is it?

  • Life stories and significance of famous and not so famous men and women of the Bible.
  • Trials and triumphs of Bible personalities; how their faith supported them or survived the test and their role in God’s great plan.
  • Encouragement, comfort and challenge for your walk of faith.

Biblical biography - why would I buy it?

  • For encouragement, reassurance and inspiration in the trials and triumphs of your own faith.
  • To know that you God’s great story isn’t finished, and you have a part it its telling.
  • As a gift to encourage, comfort or reassure another in their walk of faith.

Over to You

What about you?

At you can find a truly interactive Christian community helping you find all you need to live, learn and grow your faith.

  • Have you found encouragement, comfort, challenge or reassurance in the life of a Bible personality? What was it about their experience that connected with yours?
  • Is there a Bible personality not properly appreciated or written about? Who is it, and why do you think their biography’s been overlooked?

Tell us. Post your ideas, views and tips - bizarre and brilliant at

13th February

February 13th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison

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