By Mike Riley

The Bible is certainly not a written record of perfect people. In fact, it’s just the opposite. God’s word points out in painful detail the Bible characters who made mistakes. This is just one of the ways (there are many others) by which we can know that the Bible had to have originated from the mind of God, and not from the mind of man (2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for [b]rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man or woman of God may be [c]fully capable, equipped for every good work.).

For example, Adam and Eve failed to obey God’s specific restrictions (Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3:1-7). Abram lied about his relationship to Sarai (Genesis 12:10-20). Moses grew angry and struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock, thus disobeying God (Numbers 20:7-12). David committed adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11-12). Solomon started out well but turned from God (1 Kings 3:5-9;1 Kings 11). Peter denied knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). Demas forsook Paul, having loved this world’s enticements (2 Timothy 4:10  10 for Demas, having loved this present ]world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.).

And on and on we could go.

The Bible’s honest portrayal of the troubles that its characters brought upon themselves and others, reminds us of what humorist Sam Levenson once said:

You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself” (source).

It is for our instruction that the Bible records the sinful actions of many of its key characters (Romans 15:4; Hebrews 3:6-12; 2 Peter 2:15-16; 1 John 3:12). In looking at these characters, we’re reminded of the old saying, “Those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.” And that’s a very true statement.

As we view the mistakes made by characters throughout the Bible, may we always be willing to ask the Lord to help us from making the same or similar errors (Psalm 119:9-12 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. 10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. 11 I have treasured Your word in my heart, So that I may not sin against You. 12 Blessed are You Lord; Teach me Your statutes).