Biblical People

Sinners, Saints, and Us

From a basic understanding, this book considers some of the people in the Old Testament who make mistakes (sinners) and who do good (saints). We can look at their errors to avoid their blunders or to correct our missteps. We can also look at their successes to celebrate what they did well and inspire us to do better.

A more correct understanding of sinners and saints, however, is to acknowledge we are all sinners: every one of us. This includes you and me. As such, we all fall short of God’s Old Testament expectations. 

Yet Jesus offers us a better way. 

When we repent and follow him, he makes us right with Father God, wiping away the penalty our sins deserve and giving us a clean slate. In this way we become saints. This sainthood—our right standing with God—is a gift freely available to anyone who wants to receive it. 

All we need to do is accept what Jesus offers. We don’t need to change our behavior to gain God’s attention or earn our salvation—we can’t. It’s impossible. Instead, God has prepared a no-strings-attached present that he graciously offers to us. 

It’s in response to this gift that we seek to change our behavior as a way of saying “thank you” to Jesus for the salvation he has given us. 

May the Old Testament characters of the Bible inspire us to move forward as we become more Christlike in response to our salvation. Here are some questions to consider and to spur us on:

  • What Bible character inspired you the most?
  • Which story surprised you?
  • What are three errors (sins) you need to repent of and move away from?
  • What are three errors (sins) you must guard against, so you don’t repeat those mistakes?
  • What three characteristics from these Old Testament people can you celebrate and imitate?
  • What three characteristics can you aspire to follow so you become more Christlike?

Contemplate your answers, and seek God to help you move forward. May he bless you as you read his Word and apply it to your life each day. May he receive your efforts as an act of worship, and may the world see your life as a powerful witness.

[Discover more in 2 Timothy 3:16–17].

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