Reading Christian biographies is biblical
As I prepare to teach a series on select figures of church history, a biblical statement about Abel comes to mind. The author of Hebrews says of him, “Even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith” (Heb 11:4).
I agree with John Piper, who in his book Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, encourages us to read Christian biographies. He writes:
The unmistakeable implication of [Hebrews 11] is that if we hear about the faith of our forefathers (and mothers), we will “lay aside every weight and sin” and “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1). If we asked the author, “How shall we stir one another up to love and good works?” (10:24), his answer would be: “Through encouragement from the living and the dead” (10:25; 11:1-40). Christian biography is the means by which the “body life” of the church cuts across the centuries.
We can learn so much from those who went before us. We can gain both wisdom and encouragement. While every historical figure made mistakes, so many of our Christian forerunners are also examples of faith and courage.
I’m excited to spend the next few months with them. They may have passed into glory a long time ago, but they still speak to us through their faith.