Biographical Study Suggestions:
How to do Character Studies
(Taken from Dr. Moore's Christian Mentoring Notebook: Building Disciples out of print)
by Dr. Waylon B. Moore
There are over 2900 names of people in the Bible. God gives to us a summary of the most vital and
important things in their lives as a warning, or an example to follow. We can learn by the
mistakes of others; through also their victories we discover PRINCIPLES of Bible truth to apply
daily. Read 1 Corinthians 10:10, 11 and
We learn the power of purity through Joseph; the loss of everything of value through lack of
discipline of the heart and body through Samson. Lot teaches us the awful price of worldliness.
Noah's life emphasizes both the principal of determination to believe God against the tide, and
the tragic consequences of drunkenness.
The Holy Spirit wants to teach you how to apply Bible truth from the lives of others.
- Note the many encouragements to your growth in study from John 14:26; 16:13.
- Make study built into your life as a daily habit, not tacked on for
a group meeting or religious presentation.
- Studying with others regularly, however, is a great means of encouragement and motivation.
Remember, if you don't study the Word of God you will backslide; if you don't pray you will faint
- No one can study for you, or eat for you.
The word character means a distinctive mark, an impression. Each person in Scripture has
left us with an impression about their lives.
Some excellent tools for biographical study are:
- A Strong's or Young's Concordance, or the best complete concordance for the translation you use
daily; it will become the most valuable study aid you have, apart from the original languages.
- Remember that a plain sheet of paper is all you need, coupled with discipline to study any of the
methods available to you on this web site, or in my Notebook, if you still have a copy. There is a handy
Biographical Study Guide here ready to print and use. You can also print a
copy of our list of Character Qualities For Bible Study here.
How to do a Biographical Study
- Note the list of possible studies of this kind elsewhere on this web site, or in the Notebook. Those
with an * (asterisk) take longer and are more difficult. Begin with short studies as you learn
- Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you; in prayer tell Him you will seek to apply any truth you learn, in
your own life. We must be appliers, not just collectors of Biblical nuggets.
- Decide on a Bible character; look up all references in your Concordance; a Naves Topical Bible is
also of great value. Jot down all references. Look them up in your Bible.
- Record all positive qualities and actions together; any negative together. List quality along with
reference which gave you this idea.
- Prayerfully begin to note the reasons back of actions; use Who, What, When, Where, Why,
How. Observe, visualize the background of the person, the historical setting of the story.
- Write down conclusions and observations about the person. What lesson can I learn? Isolate principles
of conduct, attitudes, and actions that made the person what they were. What part did parents play
in their development? Where is the Lord in their lives?
- Isolate one key truth as a challenge to your own life or a warning to heed. Concentrate
on the positive Biblical principle that produces victory and the quality of an overcomer.
- Specific application is vital.
- After you have picked one idea, state WHY you need this truth in your own life.
- Illustrate if possible an example of NOT applying this truth at some time in your life.
- Write out what God is saying to DO now to personalize the truth in your life this week.
- The application should be personal enough that a friend or a Paul could check up to see
what you have let God do to make the principle come alive in you. The Holy Spirit deals in specifics;
Satan deals in generalities such as you didn't pray enough. The Spirit would point out a
time and place He led you to pray, and you were too busy or substituted a spiritual
busy-work for His guidance.
ASSIGNMENTS FOR GROWTH:
Men might study the following people:
Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16);
Barnabus (Acts 4:36; 9:26-31; 11:22-26);
Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30;
Women might enjoy beginning with:
Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2);
Mary, Jesus' mother (Matthew 1:16-20; 2:11; 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 1:27-56;
2:5-34; Acts 1:14);
the women in Matthew 1.
Ultimately there are four Old Testament men
who are a part of the essence of New Testament teaching and doctrine. We should master the lives of
Abraham, Moses, David, and Elijah to properly interpret the New Testament.
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© 2004 W. B. Moore
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