The Bible is full of broken, imperfect people

The Bible is full of broken, imperfect people

People who have never read the Bible tend to think that the people of God in the Bible were all perfect models of morality and faithfulness. The kind of people who we are glad are out there somewhere, but people who are not really like us.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Bible is full of broken, imperfect people. The great patriarchs in Genesis are a wonderful example of this. Abraham lied several times to save his own skin. Isaac played favourites with his children. Jacob lived up to his name (which means ‘deceiver’) countless times, deceiving his brother, his father, and his uncle. Jacob’s children ganged up on one of their own, Joseph, selling him into slavery. And that’s all only in the first book of the Bible.

If you keep on reading, you will come across murder, lies, adultery, idolatry, selfishness, cruelty, faithlessness, and every other kind of evil. And this is not just in the “bad people” in the Bible. This kind of behaviour can be found in the lives of people as exalted and important as Gideon, King David, King Hezekiah, and the apostles of Jesus. The Bible is a book that truly describes the human condition: we are all broken and imperfect, even the best of us.

For those who do know the Bible well, can you think of anyone in the Bible of whom nothing negative is said? Some candidates might be Jonathan or Caleb, or maybe someone mentioned briefly somewhere. The only reason we don’t know negative things about some people is that we don’t know enough about their lives!

Why is this so important? Let me give you two reasons:

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  1. The message of the Bible is not that we need to be perfect, but that we need someone to fix our imperfections. If we understand we are lost and unable to save ourselves, unable to be the perfect person we need to be before God, that means we look for help. We need to look for the one who is perfect and whose sacrifice can save us from God’s anger at our brokenness. The good news of the Bible is that God can save broken people and make them his perfect children, not by their effort, but through the work of Jesus.

Don’t read the Bible as a collection of stories of inspirational people to follow. If that is all the Bible is, we have a burden and not a blessing. Instead, be encouraged that God can save even broken people like Abraham and David, and he can even save you if you would trust in Jesus.