Studying faith in Bible stories is one of my favorite ways to encourage my heart, especially in rough times.
There are so many people of faith in the Bible. In this post I will list just a few characters and stories of faith you can study to uplift your heart.
Examples of strong faith in the Bible
One of the first places many people look for a list of heroes of faith in the Bible is Hebrews 11. But the entire Bible is filled with examples of great faith.
Let’s look at a few.
Bible stories of faith in hard times
The Widow at Zarephath – A three famine was well under way. The widow of Zarephath trusted God so much that she decided to feed Elisha with the very last bit of flour she had. Even in a famine, she never ran out of food. 1 Kings 17:7-16
Joseph – Although his brothers sold him into slavery and although he ended up in prison for doing the right thing, Joseph always knew that the dreams he had as a boy were God’s plans for his future. He endured everything he did in faith, knowing it would all come together.
Hannah – Hannah struggled with infertility in a world where motherhood was the definition of womanhood. She prayed in faith for a baby and walked away confident that her prayers were answered. And God did answer her.
David – David is one of those Bible characters whose life was a soap opera. After he secretly raped Bathsheba and impregnated her, he murdered Uriah her husband and then married her. This was a humongous sin. But his prayer in Psalm 51 was so heartfelt. And by faith, David believed that he had been forgiven.
Jacob – Although he struggled with the sin of deceit, Jacob believed that he and his sons were a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. He struggled a great deal to grow and settle his family. But he remained obedient to God through all the challenges of his life.
Naaman – There was no cure for his leprosy. He was facing a slow, painful death. Although his faith was new, he used the little he had to go dip in the Jordan. Naaman’s leprosy was cured little by little with each dip in the dirty Jordan. 2 Kings 5:1-19.
Abigail – Abigail had one of the worst husband’s in the Bible. He was a drunken, selfish, foolish man who almost cost his entire household their lives. By faith, Abigail maintained a strong relationship with God and a very sweet, spirit-filled disposition. She didn’t allow her hard situation to harden her.
Jeremiah – The Prophet Jeremiah didn’t have an easy life. He was a prophet to Israel during some rough days. His family and friends disowned him and tried to kill him. He had no friends. The Lord told him not to marry. He was beaten. He was accused of being a liar. He was thrown into a pit filled with human waste. He became very angry at God and so depressed that he was going to leave his prophetic ministry. He actually asked God to take his life. But the call on his life was so strong that he just had to keep going in faith.
Examples of radical faith in the Bible
There are varying degrees of faith. Some Bible characters have baby faith and others have mature faith.
Here are some examples of strong faith in the Bible that were at another level.
The battle at Jericho – I’d like to think that if people saw me walking around their property several times a day, every day for a whole week, I would be taken to the loony bin. The faith of the Israelites was radical to make them do this crazy thing God told them to do. But the walls of that city did come tumbling down!
Daniel – It takes great faith to keep doing something you know you could get killed for. Daniel chose to pray even though it was against the newly passed laws. He trusted God to show up for him. And his faith was rewarded.
The three Hebrew boys – How about not doing something and you know you will be killed for not doing it? Yet these boys refused to bow to the image when hundreds of others bowed. God showed up to save them from death.
Esther – After finding out that her life was being threatened along with those of her nation, Esther goes into fasting and prayer. By faith she put a plan in place to save herself and her people. Again, God showed up and made her plan successful.
Elijah on Mount Carmel – Praying for fire to fall from heaven is quite something. Don’t you think? Well, Elijah did it, by faith. God reestablish Himself as the only true God.
The Woman with the issue of blood – This woman had nothing else to lose. She decided to defy every Jewish rule to get to Jesus for her miracle. That’s radical faith. This is one of the most powerful faith stories in the New Testament Bible.
Peter walking on water – Well, gravity doesn’t care what we humans think. But when faith comes in, gravity has to obey Jesus. And Peter had radical faith to step out of the boat to walk on water. If you want a story about stepping out in faith, literally, this is it!
The Syrophenecian Woman – When you have something to lose, you lose your pride. The Syrophenecian Woman had a dying child. When she approached Jesus, she broke all the Jewish rules about gentiles. But she showed radical faith and got her miracle. She believed her daughter could be healed without Jesus visiting her home.
The centurion – When faith comes from unlikely places, that’s radical. The centurion approached Jesus on behalf of his sick servant. And just like the Syrophenecian Woman, he believed his servant could be healed if Jesus just said the word.
Examples of faith in action
Faith without works is dead. In other words, believing without action is not evidence that you believe.
Real faith is accompanied by taking concrete steps towards that thing you are believing God for.
Here are some Bible characters and stories that demonstrate faith in action.
Abraham – If ever there was ever an example of radical faith in action, Abraham is it. Abraham showed his faith by leaving the safety of his home, without a plan and going to a place he had never been before. In fact, God didn’t reveal a specific destination until the appointed time. Here is yet another powerful Bible story about stepping out in faith.
Moses – When God sent Moses to Egypt, that was a huge step of faith. How was he going to conquer the leader of the largest nation of the then known world with a single stick in his hand? Yet, he went anyway. And man, what an adventure it was.
Crossing the Jordan – It was time for Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land. They needed to cross the Jordan River. They took action by putting their feet into the water. The river didn’t start parting until they put their foot into the water.
David and Goliath – When Goliath threatened Israel, all the Israelite soldiers sat on the sideline in fear. David came in and jumped into the fight all by himself with only a slingshot and a stone.
The Widow’s Olive Oil – This woman was in a desperate situation. But when Elisha told her to go get as many jugs as possible, that was taking action. Without taking that first step, her miracle of an unending stream of oil would not unfold.
The Four Lepers – These lepers were so hungry they were about to die. They could stay outside the city and die for sure but they could go inside the camp and face a 50 percent chance of dying. They weighed their options and decided to take action. They found so much food and treasures and not one soul was around. This Bible story demonstrates how you can step out in faith.
Jesus and the feeding of 5000 – Who would have thought that 5 loaves and 2 fish could feed a crowd? When Jesus got the morsel, he just prayed and started sharing the food. He took action on the little he had in his hand and before anyone knew it, the crowd of 15000 people was was full and there were left overs.
Paul trying the doors – Paul was very passionate about ministry. At one point he made multiple attempts to go to various places to do ministry. The Holy Spirit kept closing doors but he kept trying others until he landed on the path God desired for him at that time.
Lack of faith stories in the Bible
Many of these faithful characters in the Bible had their unique flaws. Here are some examples of weak faith in some of the most popular people in the Bible.
Sarah and Abraham – As the first couple of radical faith, they struggled to believe when God took more than 20 years to fulfill the promise. Enter Hagar to help along the promise with human planning. And there were also the times when Abraham lied to two kings to save his skin instead of trusting God to protect them.
Isaac and Rebekah – Just like his father Abraham, Isaac had the wonderful plight of having a beautiful wife. He too lied to kings to save himself from being killed for Rebekah.
The Israelites – Going through the wilderness with 2 million people who complain all the time isn’t easy. Although God promised to take care of them, they complained alot. They complained about food, water, Moses etc. They had forgotten how to trust God. One other good example is when God told to pick up manna only for a day. Because of lack of faith disobeyed.
The 12 spies – There are few things worst than people who always have a negative view of things. And it’s worst when they spread that in a crowd. The 12 spies were sure to tell everyone that the land of Canaan could not be conquered. This is the same land God said was already there’s if they trusted Him for deliverance.
Gideon – When God told him to move forward with the war to free Israel, Gideon needed to be assured by God twice. Nevertheless, God met him where he was in his faith and gave him those signs.
Barak – It takes a bit of courage to run into battle. Barack struggled with this. Because of his weak faith, he needed the help of Deborah to get into the fight. Ultimately it was a woman who finalized the battle.
The rich young ruler – His faith was weak because he thought that his wealth was his key to heaven. Jesus tried to teach him otherwise. But his weak, misguided faith couldn’t handle the teaching.
Jesus heals the boy with the impure spirit – This poor father went to the disciples for help to cast out the demons from his boy. They couldn’t do it because their faith wasn’t strong enough. Even the father himself struggled to believe that it could be done. The disciples mark 9:14-19
Thomas – The disciples often struggled to understand what Jesus tried to say about his death and resurrection. Thomas is remembered for doubting that Jesus was indeed alive. Until he touched Jesus for himself he didn’t believe.
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Stories of faith in everyday life
God still shows up in powerful ways in the 21st century. Sometimes He’s loud. Other times, very quietly.
Here are a few stories about faith in daily life.
Read examples of faith in Bible stories
I just love reading the stories of the Bible. It’s one of my favorite things to do to get encouragement and empowerment.
I hope this list of inspirational Bible stories about faith and these few real life faith stories will do the same for your heart today.