For many, the claim of the title doesn’t come as a shock. We have historical evidence for many of these people having existed. But even though we mentally assent their realness, we sometimes feel detached and like their stories are impersonal. After all, they lived a long time ago and we’ve never met them. Many of them were considered giants of the faith, and we don’t feel like we’d make the same cut. We don’t always fully recognize that they were people just like us. They had jobs, families, friends, concerns, hopes, dreams, struggles, and triumphs just like we do, just with the flavor of their culture and time period.
Remembering that the Bible is as honest about their failures as their successes helps us to remember that Bible characters are real people. Giants in the faith had their doubts and failures, too. Abraham doubted God’s protection and promise on more than one occasion, but he was a friend of God. Aaron helped make a molten idol, but he was God’s high priest. David was a bloody man, but he was a man after God’s own heart. Peter denied he ever knew Jesus, but Jesus told him to feed His sheep. Paul vehemently persecuted the early Christians, but Jesus sent him as a missionary to spread the Gospel.
When we look at the accounts of each Bible person from start to finish, we see some very real people going through some very real struggles, and we see the very real God who has always been here to help – the same real God who still helps real people with their real problems.