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DISC Personality Traits | Simple Discipleship Blog

February 12, 2014 — Tom Cocklereece

Read the four gospels and you will see the distinctive expressions of the personalities of each writer—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. For evangelical Christians, God inspired the words to be written in their respective sections of what became part of the Bible, but God’s inspiration did not diminish the individual personalities of the writers. This article seeks to identify the personality or behavior styles of the four gospel writers using the widely accepted DISC system that is simplified for easy understanding.


The DISC is widely accepted in the human resources and professional life, work, and leadership coaching fields. Each letter in the DISC illustrates a personality or behavior style of about a quarter of the population. Respectively the letters stand for D- dominating, I- inspiring, S- steadying, and C- calculating. The words representative of each group illustrate the behavior characteristics of each style. A simplified system (underlined) that is also easier to remember is illustrated in the list and in the article graphic:

  • D – Dominating – Assertive – Momentous Mark
  • I – Inspiring – Animated – Jubilant John
  • S – Steadying – Amiable – Likable Luke
  • C – Calculating – Analytical – Methodical Matthew

As the reader may note, the primary behavior type of each gospel writer is included. Note that Analyticals and Amiables are generally slow-paced while Assertives and Animates are generally fast-paced. Also, Amiables and Animateds tend to be people-oriented while Analyticals and Assertives tend to be task oriented. Now let’s formulate this in the lives of the gospel writers.


The Apostle Matthew’s behavior style is easy to recognize by his precise records and lists. C-Analyticals are list-makers and tend to like systematic thinking. True to his character, Matthew ties the past to his present day where nine times he uses the phrase: “that it might be fulfilled.” Matthew’s gospel consists of 1071 verses and 165 times or in 15% of his verses he uses the phrase formula “when a, then b” which is consistent with how an analytical style person would write. Analyticals tend to define the present and future by past historical events. Matthew was Jewish and throughout his gospel account he connects Old Testament prophecies with the events in Jesus’ life that fulfill the respective prophecies. Matthew wrote his accord as a chronological record of events and fulfilled prophecies based around the life of Jesus to show the Jews and us that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. Indeed, God used a methodical tax-collector accountant to be the historian who may have written the Q-documents on which the Gospel of Matthew and other gospels may have been based. For the graphic the color blue is used to illustrate the personality of the analytical as they are often moody and sometimes “blue.”


Mark was likely a D-Assertive as his is the shortest of the four gospels with only 678 verses in the KJV and is 37% shorter than Matthew’s gospel. It is as if he wrote an account of Jesus’ life for other assertive readers. Some have called his account “a gospel tract” because of its brevity. As assertive people do, Mark got right to the point. He skipped the birth narrative as well as much of the narrative of Matthew’s account. The pace of Mark’s gospel is rapid as he used the word “immediately” thirty-six times. Assertives tend to focus on tasks or events rather than people and relationships. They don’t like to waste time, resources, or in the case of Mark, ink and papyrus. For the graphic the color green is used to illustrate the personality of the assertive as they are often driven to “go” at full speed and evangelism or transforming the behavior of others is often their modus operandi.


The Gospel of Luke seems to be almost conversational as he moves from one section to the next. Thirteen times Luke begins verses with the phrase “so it was,” which sounds like another way of saying “once upon a time.” He began his account by addressing the person to whom he was writing named Theophilus, an indication of Luke’s amiable personality style which is people oriented. By his greeting, it appears that it was important to Luke that Theophilus like him and feel that he respected him, which is also classic behavior for amiables. Luke’s account is the longest of the synoptic gospels with 1151 verses and the chronology differs from that of Matthew. Amiable people tend to focus of relationships rather than things like chronological order and logic. This is not to say that Luke thought chronology or logic to be unimportant but those things were not natural for him to consider paramount. Like Matthew, Luke’s account includes a birth narrative but the genealogy appears in chapter three. For an analytical the genealogy may appear out of place but it is simply reflective of the personality of an amiable person. Luke included many names in his account but it may have been more to show relationships between the characters rather than to simply be historically accurate. The color yellow is used to depict the amiable because it is represents “peace” which is often a high priority for amiables.


There are 4146 verses in John’s gospel which is almost three times longer than the accounts of Matthew or Luke. Of course The Gospel of John is not one of the synoptic gospels as he is all over the chronological time-line. In classic I-Animated style, John jumps all the way back to the beginning of time in his introductory prologue. Animated people are more emotionally expressive and John certainly includes more emotive content than the other gospels. The word “love” appears twenty-seven times in John’s account, twelve in Matthew, five in Mark, and thirteen times in Luke, but the focus of the word is also different. John’s focus on the subject of love includes the aspect of love from people to people but also that of God’s love for people while the other gospel writers focused on the love of people for other people. The synoptic gospel writers never seemed to refer to themselves directly but John may have done so. Animated people are natural “selfies” as they generally find a way to include themselves in the story and John stated four times “the disciple whom Jesus loved” which is likely a way he included himself in his gospel account. The color red is used to illustrate the animated style because it is bold, bright, and joyful which are common for animateds.


Why did God tell the story of Jesus through four people representative of the four primary personality styles? Perhaps it was to relate to each of the four primary personality styles of readers of the Bible. Preachers and teachers should pay attention to the preparation and delivery of their messages and lessons. There is the natural style of the one delivering the preaching and teaching and then there are also the varying styles of the people in the audience. It is imperative that the preacher and teacher deliver the message in a way that uses a variety of styles so that nobody is left out of the message. General observations and guidelines include:

  • Analyticals want logic and structure in the message which may be boring to an Assertive and especially an Animated.
  • Assertives want to know “why this is important” right up front at the beginning.
  • Amiables and Animateds love stories and illustrations in the message.
  • Analyticals and Assertives are often turned off by jokes while Animates are turned on and excited by jokes.
  • Amiables and Animateds are more interested in “what does this mean to me” aspects of the message while Analyticals and Assertives are more interested in “what am I supposed to do” aspects of the message.

The implications of the personality styles as related to discipleship are included in one of my publications: The Disciple-Maker’s Toolkit.  


The observations about the four personalities or behavior styles are generalities since everybody sometimes acts outside of their usual pattern. Please offer your comments to this article. What do you think were the personality styles of other Bible characters or writers?


Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC. He has 20 years experience as a  pastor, and is an author, certified professional coach and coach trainer, leadership specialist, and a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team

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March 1, 2012 — Tom Cocklereece

Defining Moment Rewards

Becoming a growing disciple of the Lord requires that we respond to the “defining moments” placed before us on the path of life. The dictionary defines “defining moments” as: a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified. Though it is not a biblical phrase there are many “defining moments” in the Bible that reveal the character of those involved. We might say that the Bible is the ultimate Book of Defining Moments as it still determines the character that is revealed under pressure of modern-day disciples. This article discusses the nature of defining moments as related to disciples of Jesus Christ and how they might miss those defining moments based on personality types- DISC.


On January 15, 2009 Captain Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III had a defining moment as he crash landed his stricken U.S. Airways plane onto the surface of the Hudson River with 155 passengers all of whom survived. Captain “Sully” said that he had been preparing all of his career for that one defining moment. Characteristic of defining moments, Captain Sully had no time to reflect and consider, “Is this a defining moment?” Will you be ready for your defining moment?


An online dialogue about defining moments with other leadership specialists revealed several issues. Perhaps some of those points of discussion will help us understand defining moments better and here are some questions:

  1. Is it possible to miss defining moments?
  2. If we can miss defining moments, is it possible to learn to recognize them at the crucial point of decision?
  3. Is it possible to anticipate defining moments?
  4. Is it possible to recapture a defining moment?

We may safely say that every person has missed a defining moment and probably more than several during their lifetime. We are not simply talking about small situations that may be “fixed” after our first reaction or poor decision but we are talking about those life-altering, life changing decisions that are rare. Like lightning strikes, they strike rarely and seldom in the same place, situation, or set of people. They are deal-makers and deal-breakers for people and organizations. They go with the saying, “You snooze, you lose.” Receiving the full benefit of a defining moment requires quick judgment and tapping in to knowledge and skill built up over many years. Thus, one may prepare for future defining moments by being at the top of one’s field and career. This is where mastering the details will pay off.

Missing defining moments may help us recognize defining moments as they present themselves. We do not choose defining moments, they choose us. Great leaders learn to recognize them instantly and take appropriate action. Your action or inaction will define you. They are like exams for which you receive the lectures and answers later. The problem is that some defining moments that reveal our character are costly. Those are the ones we regret and replay over and over wishing we could get the moment back.

Defining moments are often missed, as they come and go with no warning because they are often subtle. Defining moments are probably not like the CEO who calls your phone to offer a job, gets a busy signal, and then proceeds to call the next person on the list. They are moments when we may remember later that we should have done something differently.


When in high school I played on the football team. Small and thin, I was not well positioned as a lineman on offence and a linebacker on defense but that was where I was placed when I went out for the team. The next year during spring training the coach sprang something new on several of us. I found myself in a drill carrying the ball through tacklers. In the drill I was to move forward like a tailback and receive the ball from the quarterback when the ball was snapped. Then of course I was to run through the lines of the opposing tacklers. I did not give it my best effort. I was still trying to figure out what was going on. When I should have been concentrating on giving my all, I was asking myself, “Self, why am I doing this. Yea but I’m a linebacker or a guard or a tackle. What is the coach doing?” It did not take long for me to be defined as a linebacker or a guard or a tackle. It was not until later…years later, that I realized that was a defining moment that I missed. When playing football in the yard, my friends would compliment me on my balance and how difficult it was for them to tackle me. But I failed to make the connection that one day the coach tried me out for a different position. Another day like that never came and I often wonder what it might have been like to score a touchdown for the team. Notice that “yea buts” kill the opportunity presented in defining moments.

Some defining moments cost little but others are costly. So, how can you prepare? If you have a developed life-plan, passion, and purpose you have a better chance to see a defining moment when it arrives. Get a life-coach and work on your plan-passion-purpose as soon as you can.


We live in an exciting time of technology with cell phones that have texting, instant messaging, Skyping, email, music, movies, games, and voice calls at our disposal 24/7/365. The problem is that defining moments attract distractions. Further, the distractions will certainly cause you to miss a defining moment. Acting on defining moments requires you to live in the present which means that you must turn off all of the distractions. Practicing presence is a developed skill of living and being in the moment and making eye contact instead of dozing off. Nobody sleeping ever caught a defining moment wave…they always miss it!


Simple Discipleship DISC

Many people in leadership training are familiar with DISC personality type profiles. They are not predictors or definers of one’s actions but they are remarkably accurate in many applications. Each personality type may react to defining moments differently. When it comes to missing a defining moment, each personality type tends to be predisposed to miss it in unique ways:

Dominant (Dpersonalities have great potential to respond quickly to a defining moment in a positive manner. However, Ds have a habit of being busy controlling situations and events. Defining moments defy control and when controlled they often evaporate. People of this personality type need to slow down and be “in the room,” in the moment,” and sensitive to their intuition that will likely provide the first indication of a defining moment.

Inspiring (I) personality types enjoy being the focus of a group as the leader or in some other role. As the leader they have great positive energy that can inspire others as a defining moment presents an opportunity. However, Is are often so self-focused that they miss defining moments. If you are of this personality type, remember that you cannot be the center of attention if you are going to seize a defining moment. If you are trying to BE the defining moment you will miss it.

Steady (S) personalities are generally laid-back people. With training, experience, or a situation that matches their abilities Ss can be good leaders. Steady personality types have a unique ability to solve conflicts when a defining moment is presented and bring harmony and mitigate conflict. However, they often miss defining moments because of their relaxed approach. If you are of this personality type, be sure to truly live in the moment and be more aware on purpose. Remember, if you snooze, you lose a defining moment.

Competent (C) personalities are somewhat scripted or programmed and can be like a computer, Mr. Spock, or Data on Star Trek. Remember the football story earlier in this article? That was me and I am a strong C. On the positive side, Cs can be strong leaders where structure and strategy is needed. Once motivated Cs are persistent and will get the job done. However, because Cs are often “stuck” in their script, they often miss defining moments. Defining moments don’t ever fit the script and are usually outside the box. If you are of this personality type, learn to be aware, don’t hold on to your script as tight, and be ready and flexible to seize a defining moment.


The Bible is filled with defining moments and we can see what occurred when people acted in with character and leadership and we can see the consequences when they did not seize the opportunity. Here are a few examples:

  • – Adam missed the defining moment in Genesis 3 to provide leadership to prevent Eve from taking of the forbidden fruit. Instead he did the opposite of leadership and watched as his soul-mate ate of the forbidden fruit to see if she would die. Defining moments have positive and negative consequences.
  • + Hezekiah was informed of his imminent death and he seized the defining moment by praying to the Lord who could change the outcome. Hezekiah was given fifteen more years.  (2 Kings 20:1)
  • +/- David presents a mixed report regarding defining moments. In regard to his actions toward King Saul, David rarely missed a defining moment that took him higher in his leadership and influence. On the other hand there is Bathsheba. This event appears to define David’s moral character at the core. That’s also what defining moments do.
  • + The Apostle Peter seemed excel at times at seeing and acting on defining moments. For instance, he was the only one of the disciples to get out of the boat to walk on water.

Explore the Bible and identify defining moments. Doing so will help you recognize and react properly to “seize the day!”


  1. Write several defining moments that changed your life because you saw it and acted on it properly.
  2. Write several defining moments that you probably missed and the consequences.
  3. How does your personality type affect your ability to recognize and act on defining moments?
  4. In the comments section, share some of your defining moment stories.

SD Blessings,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece, The Disciplist

Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is a pastor, author, professional coach, leadership specialist, and is a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | Book | Coaching

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February 1, 2011 — Tom Cocklereece

You have heard of evangelists…well, I like to think of myself as a disciplist—one who is called to reach people on both sides of the Great Commission. I agree that evangelism is essential, but discipleship or teaching people what to do after they receive Christ is just as essential but much neglected. To this end I am using my blog that reaches hundreds of Christian leaders to offer my services for what I call Make Disciples Weekend Conferences. The conference may involve evangelism training, new Christian coach training, and a challenging discipleship message on Sunday morning.   Our goal is to multiply evangelists and disciplists in your church and ultimately create a Great Commission Resurgence in your community. The obvious benefit of a conference such as this is to saturate the congregation with practical evangelism and discipleship tools they can use. I encourage you to consider scheduling a Make Disciples Weekend Conference, whether you are launching the Simple Discipleship process or not. CONTACT DR. TOM COCKLEREECE TO DISCUSS DETAILS AND SCHEDULE ([email protected]). Here are some descriptions of available sessions for your church seminar:


Discipleship Special Ops Training is an intensive training unit that equips leaders to be disciple-makers. Using the book Simple Discipleship, The Disciple-Maker’s Toolkit, and online coaching, we provide Disciple Coach Training for leaders. From some of the Special Ops units of the military comes the motto, “Leave No One Behind. ” I assert that the church and therefore, Christians are special ops forces stationed in enemy territory. Perhaps a revival would result if we change the perspective of many churches and Christians. Every church is a stronghold of Christ with special ops forces that must not only hold their ground but make a beach head.

Consider training at least four people as Discipleship Coaches…one for each of the four domains of Simple Discipleship. Balance your Special Ops force with two men and two women who will provide New Life Christian Coaching for every new Christian and re-engaged Christian in your church within the next year.

A Simple Evangelism training session will equip your congregation to share Christ using a simple tool that is open-ended and adaptable to the individual’s sharing style. We will need 1 ½ to 2 hours for the session to allow for explanation, demonstration, instruction, and practice.  Discussed on page 92 of Simple Discipleship, Simple Evangelism is a method of sharing one’s faith in Christ that is easy enough for people of all ages and levels of spiritual maturity. The method is easy enough to share on a napkin (napkin evangelism).

Napkin Evangelism

A new part of Simple Evangelism is Napkin Evangelism…oral sharing of the gospel supported by limited drawings and text. The rising real and functional illiteracy rates in the U.S. and world indicates a need for the orality gospel. Many Christians have become too dependent on tracts and have used them passively to the point that many Christians do not know how to share their faith. Train your church to share their faith in a more natural way that is individualized and grows them to be disciple-makers. Napkin Evangelism is included in our disciple-maker’s conferences. It is one more way to encourage all of your church members to share the gospel…actively.

New Life Christian Coaching: Imagine that the same individuals who are sharing Christ took responsibility to provide the basic “first step” discipleship for those they win to Christ. That is what New Life Christian Coaching provides. We will need 1 ½ to 2 hours for the session to allow for explanation, demonstration, instruction, and practice. Discussed on page 94 of Simple Discipleship, the New Life Christian Coaching provides the first baby steps for new Christians so that they know how to get started. It is also open ended and adaptable to your church and the sharing style of the spiritual coaches trained in the session.

Spiritual Vitality Survey:  The SD-360⁰  Survey will provide a spiritual vitality snapshot of your congregation, otherwise known as a balanced scorecard. The report will also present your leadership with a Community Missional Footprint giving a visual illustration of your church’s connection to the community. The survey is discussed in the book at length, but suffice it to say that it is based on biblical foundational values and expectations. While the survey is subjective, the rationale behind the survey increases confidence in the results.

Simple Discipleship 2009

Simple Discipleship training: If your church is implementing the Simple Discipleship process this training will enhance success and the smooth startup of your new discipleship plan. The full training requires at least six hours or a one day session. Training sessions include:

  • What is Simple Discipleship and how it will benefit your church
  • The primary values and expectations of Simple Discipleship
  • The SD-360⁰ Survey rationale and use of the survey
  • The twelve steps to starting and sustaining Simple Discipleship

J.U.M.P. Sports training: We have built a simple sports ministry on Simple Discipleship principles. The ministry is designed as a minimum structure and low volunteer requirement sports ministry. It is ideal for churches with a gym. The process involves major community outreach and includes pickup games such as basketball and/or volleyball and soccer. Virtually any game may be adapted for JUMP Sports.  However, the mission of JUMP is to provide a relevant connection and opportunity to share Christ as well as basic steps for new Christians. The process is designed to share the gospel as well as help participants grow as disciples. JUMP Sports may be used as a seasonal ministry, an ongoing ministry through the year, and it may be adapted to backyard Bible clubs and summer sports camps. The training requires a half-day of 3 to 4 hour session.

RENEW Wellness Ministry training: (Available in 2012) A new ministry under development that will reach church members and unchurched people, meet their needs, and grow your church. It is of course built of Simple Discipleship principles. RENEW Wellness ministry is designed to help people struggling with disease, despair, and distress. It includes a Heart-of-Hope Healing Worship component and a small group component.


The Disciple-Maker's Toolkit

We have developed a new tool for Simple Discipleship training that will help your church members become better evangelists and disciple-makers.  Understand how the four personality traits affect how disciples make disciples. This profile will help leaders make disciples in a more balanced approach as discussed in the book Simple Discipleship. The Disciple-Maker’s Toolkit is a valuable resource for Discipleship Weekend Conferences as well as for churches at any stage of launching or sustaining the Simple Discipleship process. Simple Discipleship DISC will motivate your people to connect with your disciple-making process. (6/1/2011…AVAILABLE NOW! Disciple-Maker’s Certificate Training. Go to the “Online Discipleship” tab on this page to learn more as well as the following link:



We will work with you on any of the training you desire. Our goal is to help you launch a discipleship revolution and a Great Commission Resurgence in your church and community. Inquire of details and schedule a conference with Dr. Tom Cocklereece using the contact links below. Keep in mind that weekend dates are limited so call today!


Simple Discipleship: How to Make Disciples in the 21st Century was published and released by Church Smart Resources in November 2009. It is not a self-published book. To learn more about Simple Discipleship and to order the book, follow the link below:


Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC

Author “Simple Discipleship,” contributing writer L2L Blogazine
He is a pastor, an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | Book | Coaching Ministry

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Featured Characters - Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, Ryken L., Wilhoit D., Longman T.

Ryken L., Wilhoit D., Longman T. (book of non-Orthodox authors)

Dictionary of Biblical Images



Original: djvu20Mb

Separate articles are devoted to the brightest actors in this dictionary, and here we will mainly talk about the classification of characteristic characters and their reduction into a certain system. The concept of characteristic characters is associated with the theory of archetypes - realities and phenomena that are regularly encountered when reading literary works, including the Bible. Of course, archetypes are present in literature and in the Bible insofar as they exist in life. nine0003

The two main components of a literary work are undoubtedly the plot and the characters. When reading, we pay attention not only to the development of events, but also to the people who take part in them. We evaluate the veracity of literary images by their individual portraits drawn by the author, as well as by those features in them in which we see ourselves, our friends or enemies. The element of recognition is sometimes so pronounced that it seems as if we are reading the description of a typical hero, that is, a person who, despite all his individuality, has features that are repeated over and over again in literary works. nine0003

Understanding the character traits is useful because it makes the material more familiar to us. Archetypes are the basic components of literary works, including the Bible. The idea of ​​them makes clearer the meaning of the text that we are reading at the moment. In addition, since archetypes are found throughout the Bible, they become one of the main tools by which the Bible appears to us as a single Book.

It is also important to note that many characteristic characters are shown in a dialectical variety, that is, we see their good and bad examples. There are ideal and despotic husbands, ideal and grumpy wives, exemplary and capricious children (see LOVED CHILD). Along with benevolent kings, there are despots, and the image of the virtuous grandmother Timothy is opposed by the impious queen Athaliah, who exterminated the entire royal family (2 Kings 11:1). A saintly person is shown as the exact opposite of a sinner. nine0003

In accordance with the same dialectical principle, a distinction is made between the hero and the villain among character characters. Regardless of the moral and social role that a particular character plays in the categories shown below, the deep structure of reality underlying this scheme reflects the urge to do good or evil. The reason we have not included a separate topic for heroes and heroines in this article (see HERO) is because, with the exception of people who clearly fall into the category of villains, almost everyone else, as shown in the Bible, can be called heroes in one way or another. Heroic deeds can be performed by kings, mothers, fathers and priests. This list is not limited to people in high positions, as is often presented in extra-biblical literature. Stories and parables show ordinary people, servants, singers or farmers who have a moral and spiritual predisposition to perform heroic deeds. nine0003

Assigning a character to a certain archetype does not mean that it loses its individual features and its uniqueness. This expresses only the identification of the hero at the level of general perception, based, among other things, on his personal qualities. The “rival brothers” who belonged to the same genus—Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers—each in their own way expressed their hostility in family relations. Linking a character to a certain type can even highlight his individual traits, showing us the features of the embodiment of his role model in him. Characters are not just images, but at the same time serve as their concrete expression. Although the image cannot replace a certain personality, we still understand biblical characters better if we place them in the appropriate category of the archetype. nine0003

As with storylines, there is no one general scheme in which we could arrange all the characteristic characters. If there is any general principle in the categories shown below, then it lies in the meaning of the functional role when included in one or another category. A side principle is the impact of moral experience (leading to the appearance of characters such as the proud or the liar) and spiritual experience (manifested in such characters as the penitent and the sinner). nine0003

Family role models . If we have doubts that the Bible is a book about and for families, then these doubts should be dispelled by the sight of a wide range of characters expressing family role models. The basic family unit consists of a wife and a husband. With the advent of children (see DAUGHTER, SON), functional models of mother and father, as well as brother and sister, arise. More specific images fall under categories such as the barren wife, the fertile wife, and the widow. Children are divided into opposite groups, consisting of loved and unloved children, older and younger children, exemplary and capricious or difficult children. The theme of rivalry between brothers or sisters also occupies an important place in the Bible. nine0003

Types of professional activities . In literature, as in life, the category to which a person belongs is predetermined by his professional activity. Usually this belonging is based on the functions that he performs in accordance with his vocation. There are many images of servants and managers in the Bible, not only because they reflect the peculiarities of the social structures of the Ancient World, but also because the Bible emphasizes the image of service as an example of the relationship between creatures and between believers, as well as the fulfillment of duty to God. With this approach, even a slave can be a positive image, although more often slaves appear in the usual role of oppressed people. The Bible is called the Book written by workers about workers and for workers (see WORK), because in it we see a great variety of representatives of various professional groups, including shepherds, nannies, farmers, hunters, fishermen, artisans and merchants. A scribe in the Bible can be either a palace worker or a religious worker. A poet can also either work at the palace as a professional, or be an independent writer (usually of spiritual poetry). The military world has its own group of distinctive characters, including warriors (see BATTLE), scouts (see SPEED STORIES), guards, and messengers or couriers. At the royal court, we also see a number of officials performing professional duties. nine0003

Persons in authority . A small but important category of actors consists of representatives of power (see HUMAN POWER). The most prominent place among them is occupied by kings and, more rarely, queens. We also see the political significance of courtiers - advisers to the king or ruler, for example, Joseph, Mordecai and other persons mentioned in the Old Testament historical annals. It is not surprising that in a book that emphasizes divine and human judgment, the image of the judge appears as an expressive and fearsome figure. And the archetype of the servant or manager corresponds to the image of the master. Beginning with the Book of Exodus, we encounter images of various leaders, including national figures like Moses, as well as elders among the itinerant Israelites during the Exodus and the period of the Judges. A reformer can also be considered a power figure if the reform ends successfully. nine0003

Religious area . The Bible is a religious book, and this is confirmed by the position occupied in it by the actors associated with the religious sphere. The first group includes people who perform professional duties or follow a vocation. Among them we see prophets/prophets, priests, elders of the church, deacons/deaconesses, singers in the temple, disciples, missionaries, sages, pilgrims and teachers or rabbis. The second group is characterized more by a spiritual position than a vocation. In it we see the Martyrs, the Suffering Servant, converts (see CONVERSION), penitents (see REPENTANCE) and saints. nine0003

Public Relations . A large group of role models is also associated with the sphere of public relations. Among the easily recognizable characters in this regard, one can name, for example, a lover and a beloved, or a bride and a groom. The matchmaker or mediator and the girl are interrelated characters. Position is also determined by age, which usually places people at opposite ends of the age ladder and divides them into young and old. Other characteristic characters in the realm of social relations include the neighbor, the host (see HOSPITALITY), the guest, the property owner (see PROPERTY), and the witness. nine0003

Another group of losers. These include beggars, fugitives, outcasts, prisoners (see DEPENDENCE AND FREEDOM, SLAVED, PRISON), and wanderers. In a more dual position are strangers or strangers (see Wandering), exiles and travelers (see TRAVEL).

Characters with a special functional role . The position of a given group of characters is determined by the special functional role they play in the development of a storyline or story. For example, a sly one or an eavesdropper. The same applies to a person who is in an unfavorable position compared to others, and to an avenger. A special role in the story is also played by a substitute, a liberator (see DELIVERANCE), a seeking nature and a sufferer. Among the characters devoid of idealized features, one can name a dupe (a person who is easily deceived), a giant, a person who refrains from participating in holidays, and a tempter. A common character is a friend or confidante of a hero or heroine. This role, of course, is often played by spouses, but there are other examples, among which are Aaron in relation to Moses, Jonathan in relation to David, Mordecai to Esther, Elisha to Elijah, the disciples to Jesus. nine0003

Villains . The last category is comprised of different types of villains. Some characters in biblical stories appear in our imagination as villains simply because they are rivals of goodies, but the images of most villains express specific traits or vices, as well as their social role or function in certain situations or actions. Typical villains in the Bible include harlots, seducers/seductresses, adulterers, traitors, rebels, murderers, oppressors or persecutors, despots, domineering fathers/husbands, domineering mothers/wives, thieves, tricksters, robbers, hypocrites or deceivers, liars, flatterers , cowards, fools (see STUPIDITY), drunkards, capricious children and false religious teachers. Whatever the specific vice it expresses, the villain ultimately belongs to the archetype of the sinner. nine0003

See also: STORY LINES.



Source: Dictionary of Biblical Images Ryken L., Wilhoit D., Longman T. (ed.) - Dictionary of Biblical Images. Year: 2005 Author: Raiken L., Wilhoit D., Longman T. (ed.) Translator: Skorokhodov B. A. (Aaron's rod - Spot), Rybakov O. A. (Springs of water - Zion) Publisher: SPb: Bible for All ISBN: 978-5-7454-1053-6, 0-8308-1451-5, 0-85111-753-8 Language: Russian Format: DjVu Number of pages: 1424

Hero, Heroine - A Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, Ryken L., Wilhoit D., Longman T.

A hero or heroine cannot simply be equated with a character in a story, as characters can be secondary characters and not necessarily the main characters. Also, not all characters are heroes. Heroes and heroines differ in at least five characteristic features:

1) they are typical representatives of their cultural environment; nine0003

2) their trials and struggles are understandable in the conditions of a given culture and thus empathize in it;

3) they embody the values ​​and virtues that this culture seeks to affirm;

4) although they do not need absolute idealization, nevertheless, in the main they are examples worthy of imitation;

5) they attract wide attention. Accordingly, they perform in their culture, first of all, two functions - they inspire people and affirm cultural and spiritual values. nine0003

The image of a hero or heroine is created by the imagination based on the facts of real life. Life itself provides the materials from which people create their heroes, but in real life, heroes never exist in their pure form. The literary hero is the quintessence of the available material, and the process of highlighting the image requires selection and giving it weight. The creation of heroes and heroines is one of the most important products of society, in part because it serves as the medium through which society communicates its values ​​and moral categories. nine0003

The main literary genre devoted to heroic deeds is the heroic story, and the Bible is an anthology of such stories. Heroic images are also found in such genres as lyric poetry, parables and prophecies. In addition, although heroic traits may be the basis for assigning hero status, most often in the Bible (as in literature in general) the position of the hero is determined by his role, with which human virtues are often associated. The review of biblical heroes and heroines offered below is based on the usual images of heroes in their usual sense. nine0003

High ranking heroes . The ancient world admired the strength and power possessed by the rulers. The main literary source for expressing this heroic image is the palace chronicles, which recorded the main public (and sometimes personal) events in the life of kings and queens, as well as epic poems dedicated to glorifying the deeds of the people, including by exalting the role of the ruling class. We see this theme in full measure in the Old Testament (in the New Testament it is barely indicated). Above all stands the figure of David, the king, most often represented as a model for evaluating the deeds of his successors, and more broadly, in the annals of the palace, the conviction is expressed that kings and rulers are the most significant persons in society and should inspire awe before the power they personify. In the ancient world it was believed that the fate of a people was entirely determined by the ruler that the people represented, and in the Old Testament this belief is reinforced by the premise that the king is the person through whom the covenant is either kept or not, with the resulting blessings or misfortunes. Of course, the king could be not only a hero, but also a villain, and a remarkable feature of the Old Testament palace chronicles is that many kings are represented in them by no means as heroes, but as wicked ones. nine0003

Tsars and queens often became candidates for the role of literary heroes due to the power in their hands. This principle extended to other influential figures on the public stage, and it is especially noticeable in the Old Testament. One of these groups belonged to the heads of clans, in particular, the patriarchs. In Genesis, a triad of heroes is shown, consisting of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Luther called them "next in importance to Christ and John the Baptist...the most outstanding heroes the world has ever known.") Only one step behind them are the sons of Jacob, who became the founders of the tribes of Israel. Moses and Joshua are the heroic leaders of the exodus and conquest of the earth. In the Book of Judges, the figure of a judge rises to the position of a hero. But in order to become true heroes, all these biblical characters were required to meet certain moral and spiritual qualities. These include discretion, firm leadership, adherence to the true religion, coupled with aversion to idolatry, piety, and obedience to the commandments of God's covenant. But the decisive place among these qualities is the correspondence to the role of the leader. nine0003

In the ancient world, not only rulers and leaders, but also warriors were elevated to the rank of heroes (see BATTLE, COMBAT ACTIONS). Although the Old Testament pays less attention to this topic than in parallel ancient literature, this image of the hero also finds expression in it. With the exception of the patriarchs, the Old Testament leaders were also warriors and generals; and some of them are known to us more for their military exploits than for the deeds of government. The battle stories are dominated by men, but sometimes their ranks are filled with women, such as Deborah and Jael (Judg. 4-5). Heroes are distinguished by such traits as courage, physical strength and dexterity, as well as superiority in the use of tactical techniques. It should also be noted that in military literature it is considered an axiom that the decisive events of history occur on the battlefield. Moreover, the Old Testament writers take it as an indisputable truth that victory is achieved not due to human qualities in themselves, but due to the help of God. In some Old Testament stories of victories, God is depicted as the actual victor (see HEAVENLY WARRIOR). nine0003

Religious heroes . People could also receive the status of heroes by virtue of their fulfillment of their religious duties. In some cases, they were part of an elite social group, comparable to the position of the political leaders of society, simply by virtue of the performance of these functions; in other cases, their heroic deeds were determined by the choice of God to play a heroic role. In the Bible we see four main categories of elevation to the position of religious heroes. The first group of the recognized religious elite of society included the Old Testament priesthood, whose main duty was to represent God's people through the sacrificial system. In later Old Testament history, the most prominent religious heroes were the prophets, who gained fame for their courage in bringing God's word of judgment to apostate people and nations. The New Testament church elevated the missionary to the position of a prophet. The essence of heroic missionary work is evangelistic zeal combined with tireless energy in the traveling evangelistic work. Another New Testament group includes disciples who, in the gospels, appear at times somewhat obtuse and unreceptive, and yet, by virtue of their special calling by Jesus, play the role of His first followers and companions, and subsequently proclaim the Good News about Jesus (and in some cases write about her). nine0003

Ordinary people as heroes . Despite the ancient (or perhaps timeless) habit of paying homage to prominent public figures, the positions of heroes can also be reached by people standing on the lower rungs of the social ladder. Literature idealizes, for example, the pastoral image of a shepherd. In the biblical pastoral tradition, Abel comes first, and the patriarchs also look like almost pastoral figures. But in our imagination, the heroic pastoral personality remains primarily David, especially in connection with the glorification of the ideal Shepherd in Ps. 22. Wisdom literature, despite its refined manner, also pays tribute to the shepherd (Prov. 27:23-27). And the apotheosis of the image of the heroic shepherd is Jesus in the story of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18). nine0003

In a broader sense, the Bible also notes the farmer (“plowman”) as a figure worthy of honor and imitation (see AGRICULTURE). The first examples were Adam and Eve, who were placed by God “in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). After settling in Canaan, the Bible reflects the agrarian atmosphere, and its characters are peasant families. Even King Saul is depicted as a plowman (1 Sam. 11:5), and the prophet Elisha received his calling when he plowed a field with “twelve pairs of oxen” (1 Sam. 19:19). In the parables of Jesus, the industrious peasant is portrayed as a figure worthy of respect.

In ancient literature, the praise of a devoted servant is not very common, and in general this role does not evoke heroic associations. In the Bible, the position of a servant is exalted, especially in the metaphorical sense of the believer's relationship with God. But we see the images of the heroic servant in the Bible even on a human level, for example, in the images of the servant of Abraham, who organized the correspondence acquaintance of Rebekah and Isaac (Gen. 24), Naaman's maid, who played a role in his healing from leprosy (2 Kings 5: 1-14 ), and faithful servants in the parables and sayings of Jesus. nine0003

A special place in the hearts and imaginations of people has always been occupied by young heroes, and the Bible in a number of cases satisfies such an addiction. The main example is David, a homegrown giant slayer who accomplished his feat with the help of a sling and a stone. In the same category is the young Samuel, chosen by God to deliver a prophetic message to his master, the priest Eli. Josiah was only eight years old when he began the godly administration of Judah (2 Kings 22:1–2). The Virgin Mary reached her heroic position by agreeing to fulfill her assigned role in the story of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-56). We see a number of heroic images of young characters in the Bible, although they are not completely told about them - in stories about them that are not fully disclosed, for example, Miriam, when her brother, baby Moses, was entrusted to the waters of the Nile, or twelve-year-old Jesus, who surprised rabbis in the temple (Luke 2:46–47). nine0003

Changing heroic conventions . Human conventions in the Bible are often reversed, for example, the younger is exalted over the older, or it is stated that strength is in weakness. This principle that subverts generally accepted concepts also applies to some images of heroes (see ANTI-HERO). In particular, martyrs are idealized in the Bible because they represent the highest degree of devotion to God. The prototype is the righteous Abel, who was killed by his brother precisely because his deeds were righteous (1 John 3:12). Since then, “the blood of the righteous Abel” has become the source from which comes “all the righteous blood shed on the earth” (Matt. 23:35; cf. Luke 11:50–51). List of heroes of faith in Heb. 11:35–40 includes a moving picture of the martyrs, who are also highlighted in Revelation (Rev. 6:9-eleven).

Closely connected with the image of the martyr is the Suffering Servant, a figure who experienced undeserved suffering, which played a redemptive role in the lives of other people. Other examples include Joseph (surviving calamities that saved his family and freed the world from famine), Moses (a persecuted leader who interceded with God for his people), and Jeremiah (a wailing prophet who was viciously attacked for his bold report God's Word on Judgment). The first epistle of Peter is a small treatise on the high honor of suffering for Christ's sake. This archetype reaches its apogee in the four songs of the Servant in Isaiah and in the redemptive life and death of Christ. nine0003

Intellectual heroism . In world heroic literature, attention is mainly paid to physical achievements. The alternative is a hero or heroine, who differ mainly in mental abilities. Apparently, the interpreter of dreams can be considered an ancient analogue of the modern detective. Two biblical characters who rise to the heroic level through the ability to interpret dreams are Joseph and Daniel. The most common type of intellectual hero in the Bible is the sage, that is, a person with a deep understanding of life. The wise man is often a rabbi or teacher, another heroic figure in the Bible. nine0003

Of course, teachers need students, and the Bible commends those who learn and appreciate the benefits of knowledge and instruction, as evidenced by the Book of Proverbs and the example of Jesus' disciples. The main protagonist of the Book of Proverbs is the sage, or teacher, but in general, in the literature of wisdom, the hero is a person who listens to the advice of the sage and follows them in life, in other words, behaves wisely. "Who is how wise?" – the author of Ecclesiastes asks a rhetorical question (Eccl. 8:1). Or else: "Wisdom is better than weapons of war" (Eccl. 9:eighteen). Solomon's glory was based not only on his material prosperity, but also on his wisdom (1 Kings 10:1–9).

We also see examples of the attitude towards the contemplative as a hero - in the psalms, extolling the ability to think; in stories about Jesus being alone on a mountain or in a desert; in the stories of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who wrote the words of Jesus in her heart, and Mary, the sister of Martha, who sat at the feet of Jesus.

Another quality that was highly valued in ancient cultures was oratory, and we may well speak of an eloquent hero. When the young David was recommended to Saul, he was described not only as a "strong and warlike man" but also as "wise in speech" (1 Sam. 16:18). Moses was afraid that his lack of eloquence would prevent him from becoming a leader (Ex. 4:10), so God gave him Aaron to help him, thus confirming that the ability to speak articulately is a necessary trait of a hero leader. One of the most obvious gifts of the prophets in the Old Testament and Paul in the New Testament was their oratory, and Jesus too was a master of public speaking and witty replies in dialogue and argument. nine0003

Beloved as heroes . Heroism is usually associated with actions, but in the literary tradition, the heroic position is sometimes achieved through feelings. This theme occurs mainly in love literature (see LOVE STORIES), but the image of the beloved as a hero also figures prominently in literary history in general. The most striking example in the Bible is the beloved in the Song of Songs, who are the epitome of attraction, the ultimate expression of romantic love and the poetic meaning of romantic feelings. In narrative places, Adam and Eve, Jacob and Rachel, Boaz and Ruth, Joseph and Mary, who are all to some extent idealized as lovers, appear as analogues of these lyrical heroes. nine0003

In this connection, it is worth noting, by the way, that although the Bible expounds moral and spiritual concepts of heroism, it does not ignore the human tendency to exalt outwardly attractive people. Indeed, although female beauty can be deceptive and vain (Prov. 31:30), and God looks at the heart, and not at the appearance of a person (1 Sam. 16:7), we nevertheless meet examples of heroes who excelled in that number and its impressive appearance. Sarah attracted people with her beauty (Gen. 12:14), Rebekah was “beautiful in appearance” (Gen. 24:16), and Rachel was “beautiful in shape and beautiful in face” (Gen. 29:17). Abigail was “very clever and beautiful in face” (1 Sam. 25:3), and Esther became a contender for the role of queen, since she met the requirements to be “beautiful” (Esther 2:2-3).

The same applies to some of the male heroes of the Bible. Joseph was “handsome in body and handsome in face” (Gen. 39:6). When Samuel mistakenly thought that God had chosen Jesse's son Eliab as king because he was a respectable man and was instructed not to look at appearances, we nevertheless read that the youngest son David was "blonde, with beautiful eyes and a pleasant face. " » (1 Sam. 16:12). nine0003

Domestic heroes . Wives and mothers rise to the position of heroes in the Bible. In Proverbs. 31:10-31 a virtuous wife is shown as a model to which any woman should strive, and in this connection it is worth noting that physical attractiveness is perceived as something suspicious (Prov. 31:30). We see portraits of the ideal wife and mother in the stories of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and Anna, the mother of Samuel. David had every reason to marry Abigail immediately after the death of her ungrateful husband, since she was worthy to become the wife of any man (1 Sam. 25). nine0003

Exemplary personalities as heroes . In addition to the characters noted above who perform certain functional duties in society, the Bible shows many people who have heroic traits and are worthy of emulation simply because of their personal qualities, which usually appear in deeds in the course of the story (in accordance with the character traits that their author). One of the most common literary themes in the Bible is to present a typical and exemplary human experience in the form of a story about individuals who take actions in specific life situations that reflect an understanding of the difference between good and evil, between truly valuable and worthless. In a sense, every biblical story serves as an "example," according to the statement in 1 Cor. 10:11 that historical events in the Bible are "recorded for our instruction." The Bible story, like any other, instructs us in two complementary ways: showing positive examples of behavior worthy of emulation and negative examples that should not be imitated. In positive examples, images of heroism are expressed. In some cases, we see full-blown pictures of heroic behavior, such as Ruth's devotion, Elijah's faithfulness to his prophetic calling and his resourcefulness in times of danger, and Daniel's courage, purity, and devotion to God. But the Bible is distinguished by a special literary composition, in which the characters are periodically highlighted, as if from the side, by flashes of kindness, moral or physical strength, devotion, perseverance, faith, wisdom, and many other heroic traits. The Bible exhibits consistent realism, interspersing heroic deeds with manifestations of human weakness. (There are only a handful of perfectly idealized characters in the Bible.) But the weaknesses of heroes and heroines only set off their heroic traits and deeds and show the reader that a person does not need to be perfect to become a hero. nine0003

The characteristic image of a hero appearing on the pages of the Bible is a saint, distinguished, first of all, by faith in God and the fulfillment of God's commandments. Typical traits of a hero or heroine are submission to God, a life of prayer, piety, trust in God, Repentance, humility and faith. This image in many cases conflicts with the image of an ordinary literary hero, whose characteristic features are pride, self-confidence, the desire to achieve power, material well-being, sexual satisfaction and self-affirmation. The position of such a holy hero is available to every believer, but the biblical stories exalt heroes and heroines who demonstrate these qualities with extraordinary courage and boldness in adverse or difficult circumstances. The heroes and heroines of the Bible are reflected in people like Joseph, Elijah and Paul or Ruth and Esther in this world. nine0003

Heroic stories. The description of "hero" and "heroine" reflects the concept of a certain personality, but these names do not fully reveal the meaning of the genre of heroic stories. Such stories are built around a typical and exemplary character who, in a certain sense, embodies the life experience and ideals of his culture. The main way of interpreting a heroic story is the empathy of the events taking place in it by a certain observer and fellow traveler of the hero or heroine. The accompanying storylines, almost always present in the heroic story, are connected with the Trials, which provide the hero with the opportunity to demonstrate and assert his true self. In addition, if we bring the heroic stories together, several typical scenes can be distinguished, including the story of the hero's birth (see BIRTH STORIES), his Initiation, Calling and meeting with God (see MAN'S MEETING WITH GOD). Many heroic stories end with the death of the hero. nine0003

Jesus as a hero . From the foregoing, it becomes obvious that Jesus personifies almost all the heroic images shown in the Bible. His life path followed the usual course of events characteristic of heroic stories, including a miraculous birth, a call to a special role in life, initiation into this life, achievement of a goal, and a remarkable death. In the case of Jesus, there are also additional stages - resurrection and ascension to heaven. In addition, the life of Jesus corresponds to specific hero images such as leader, priest, prophet, shepherd, martyr, suffering servant, sage, teacher, debater, and poet. In the moral and spiritual sense, Jesus is also a model of moral virtue, obedience to the Father, self-sacrifice and a life of prayer. nine0003

Conclusion . The Bible shows a whole gallery of memorable heroes and heroines. It contains almost all existing images of heroes. Two prominent examples can be singled out.

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