Biblical People

Biblical People: Abram/Abraham

While living in Harran, God comes to Abram and tells him to go to the land he will show him. Abram obeys, setting out from Harran when he’s seventy-five years old. He takes his wife Sarai and nephew Lot, along with the possessions they acquired while living in Harran.

They head for Canaan. The Bible doesn’t explicitly state Canaan to be the place God shows him, but we can assume this is the case. 

Interestingly, Canaan is where Abram’s father Terah had originally headed to when he stopped midjourney to live in Harran instead. This leads us to wonder if God had originally called Terah to Canaan, a mission Abram had to finish after his father failed to complete it.

Upon arriving in Canaan—an act of obedience—Abram’s real story begins. His life stands as an inspiring journey with God. It’s a faith-filled adventure, with a few hiccups along the way. Yet he perseveres and God esteems his faith. 

One of the pivotal junctures in Abram’s life occurs when God forms an everlasting covenant with Abram when he is ninety-nine years old. The Almighty affirms Abram’s faithful walk with him and calls him blameless. What an astounding affirmation. 

God also promises to make him the father of many nations, even though he has no children.

At this point, God changes his name from Abram to Abraham. Abram means “exalted father” and Abraham means “father of many.” This name change represents an expanded scope, despite Abraham having no offspring—yet.

The phrase “Father Abraham” reflects both his old name and new. It appears several times in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Another notable aspect of Abraham’s life is the idea of God blessing him to bless others. The ultimate form of this blessing comes through Abraham’s descendant Jesus, who dies as the once-and-for-all sacrifice to make us right with Father God.

This idea of being blessed to be a blessing to others is a vision we can all follow. God blesses us so we can bless others.

There’s much more to share about Abraham’s life. We’ll cover key aspects in the next several chapters.

Would God esteem us for our faith? How well do we do at blessing others when God blesses us? 

[Read about Abram in Genesis 11:26–17:4, and read about Abraham in Genesis 17:5–25:11. Discover more in Acts 3:25; Romans 4:1–3; and James 2:20–24.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at