Can You Identify These Famous Bible Figures From a Short Description?


By: Beth Hendricks

6 Min Quiz

Image: D-Keine / iStock / Getty Images Plus

About This Quiz

Swallowed by a whale. Wandered in the desert for 40 years. Built a gigantic ark to save humanity from a worldwide flood. All in the course of a day's work for the heroes and heroines of the Bible. With names you might recognize, including Jonah, Moses and Noah, to monikers of lesser figures that might have you scratching your head—Seth, Boaz and Methuselah—the cast of characters that lived during Biblical times still find themselves being discussed, dissected and displayed as the star of their own life's story.

We meet our first Bible character just a few chapters into Genesis, with others woven throughout the Old and New Testaments. Some of these people plan an integral role in Scripture while others play a small, but noteworthy, part. After all, what would the story of Jesus' birth be without the unnamed innkeeper who gave them room in the manger?

It's time to see what kind of Bible scholar you are! Are you Entry-level Eve, who understands the basics? Or are you Master Moses, who can spout off the lineage from Jacob to Hezron? Put on your thinking cap and take a look at the clues in the following questions ... and tell us: Who do you think each of these facts reveals?

It's too bad this Biblical icon didn't have GPS. He spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness.

After securing the release of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, Moses led them through a 40-year period of wandering in the wilderness. This was punishment placed on them by God for their disobedience and unbelief.


Created from a rib, this woman brought destruction on all of humanity in the form of an apple.

The first woman in the Garden of Eden, Eve was created by God from Adam's rib. Her eating of the apple (the forbidden fruit) in Genesis 3 marked the beginning of the fall of mankind that Adam had been warned about.


This guy, who likes to count by twos, built a vessel 300 cubits long.

People in Noah's day were critical of his decision to build an ark ... until it started raining. Noah took two of every kind of animal on the ark, where they rode in safety for around a year, according to most estimates.


A king punished this character by throwing him in a den with lions, whose mouths were closed by God's order.

The story of Daniel in the lion's den is a popular one. He is thrown into a lion's pit by King Darius, against the king's better judgment. The next morning, the king rushes to the den and finds Daniel unharmed.


When this gentleman refused to obey God's orders, he sent him on a fishing trip ... as the bait!

God went to extreme measures to get the attention of Jonah, sending a big fish to swallow him up. Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale before repenting and being thrown up on shore by the whale.


Often described as a "seller of purple" in the Bible, this woman was Paul's first convert.

Though she doesn't occupy many pages of the Bible, Lydia's story is an important one because it details her experience as Paul's first conversion and her subsequent baptism. She was also a businesswoman, engaging in her own cloth-selling trade.


Jesus predicted this man's future, including three instances of him denying the pair's friendship.

Though he fought Jesus on the prediction that he would deny Him three times in the hours after the crucifixion, Peter did just that. Tradition holds that when Peter died, he was crucified upside-down at his own request.


This Bible character committed the ultimate betrayal for a mere 30 pieces of silver.

One of Jesus' 12 disciples, Judas (or Judas Iscariot, as he is also known) betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders of the day for 30 pieces of silver. He acknowledged Jesus to the authorities with a kiss on the cheek.


This Biblical man was christened with a new name, at the age of 99, which meant "father of many nations."

Born Abram, God bestowed the name Abraham on this man at the age of 99, promising to make him the "father of many nations." Abraham thought it comical because he had no children, until he fathered Isaac (with his wife) and Ishmael (with his handmaiden).


Discussed in both the Old and New Testaments, this man was well-known for his career as a prophet.

Among his many prophetic visions, Elijah warned Ahab of a famine if his people did not repent. Ahab's wife, Jezebel, did not appreciate Elijah's prophecy and wanted to kill him, but the famine came nonetheless.


This popular Bible character is perhaps best known for taking down a bully with only a slingshot.

David has a very storied history in the Bible, including his run-in with the giant Goliath, his illicit affair with Bathsheba, and his prowess as both a talented writer and musician. Most of the Book of Psalms was his work.


A popular children's tune calls this Biblical character a "wee little man" who climbed up in a tree so he could see Jesus.

A tax collector, Zacchaeus was believed to have been a pretty short fellow. Upon hearing that Jesus was passing through, he climbed a sycamore tree so that he would have a birds-eye view of the visit.


This prophet was ahead of his time predicting the arrival of Jesus 700 years before He was born.

Isaiah is well-known in the Bible for his prophetic visions, including the promise of a coming Messiah. He is believed to have written most, but not all, of the book of the Bible that bears his name.


The woman at the center of the Virgin Birth was chosen because she "found favor with God."

Bible scholars differ on how old Mary was when the angel appeared to her and told her she would carry the Son of God, but she was receptive to the plan. She and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, where she gave birth in a manger.


Another Biblical character who earned a new name, this guy also turned from persecuting Christians to following Christ.

Saul's conversion on Damascus Road included a temporary blindness that eventually helped him see right from wrong. From that moment, he became Paul, an apostle and one of Jesus' disciples.


One of the Bible's most controversial figures, his life was ultimately cut short at 33 in a crucifixion.

The central character of the entire Bible, Jesus' time on earth is chronicled from his birth in Bethlehem through his earthly ministry, his crucifixion and his resurrection from the tomb three days later.


This man's jealousy prompted a manhunt for a baby that he feared would take his throne.

King Herod attempted to locate the infant Jesus in an effort to kill Him, for fear He would eventually seize Herod's throne. He used the three wise men to glean information he could use to find the newborn, but ultimately failed.


The firstborn son in the Book of Genesis, he is also history's first murderer.

Blinded by jealousy over his brother's more favorable sacrifice to God, Cain went down in history of the world's first murderer—killing his own brother, Abel. God later issued a two-part punishment for Cain's actions.


The grandfather of Noah, this man holds the title of "longest-living human being."

In recorded history, Methuselah is said to have lived the longest number of years—a whopping 969! The Bible says he did not have his first son until he was almost 200 years old. His passing is stated simply in the Bible: "... and he died."


A twin, the Bible described him at his birth as red all over, like a hairy garment.

Esau was the first born of the twins, with his brother, Jacob, coming second and clutching his older brother's heel. Later in life, with their mother's help, Jacob tricks their father into thinking he is Esau, in order to steal a family blessing.


This female is the only one whose age is mentioned in the Bible, probably because she gave birth in her early 90s.

The wife of Abraham, Sarah conceived and birthed the couple's child, Isaac, when she was in her early 90s. Sarah also endured Abraham's affair with his handmaiden when Ishmael was conceived.


Think you're having a bad day? This Biblical figure endured skin sores and the deaths of all of his children in the same day.

Job's testing in the Bible is perhaps the most severe recorded, including the deaths of his children, servants and livestock, skin sores, and his wife's encouragement to curse God. Yet, Job is faithful and is later rewarded for that faith.


This woman prayed for a son and then gave him to the temple to serve God.

Hannah spent years childless, begging God to give her a son. She promised if she were given a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord. She later made good on her promise, taking Samuel to the template to serve the Lord all of his days.


This king was infamous for throwing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into a fiery furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar was likely surprised to see that not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive their trip to the fiery furnace after failing to bow down to him, but that there was also a fourth figure in the blaze—the Son of God.


One of the most memorable moments in this character's life involved him washing his hands.

When Jesus was brought before Pilate just before his death, Pilate washed his hands in front of the crowd, attempting to absolve himself of responsibility in Jesus' crucifixion. According to some historical accounts, Pilate, racked with guilt, later took his own life.


The Biblical character's name is frequently attached to the word "doubting."

Jesus' disciple, Thomas, is often referred to as "Doubting Thomas" throughout history. Thomas doubted Jesus' resurrection until he was able to see Jesus' physical wounds from the crucifixion.


This man had the honor of baptizing Jesus Christ himself in the River Jordan.

Born six months before Jesus, John the Baptist was able to baptize Jesus later in life, an event that is described in Matthew 3. John was later thrown into prison and subsequently beheaded, his head delivered to Herod's stepdaughter on a platter.


David was one-half of this friendship, described as one of the greatest in the Bible.

David and Jonathan became fast friends in the Bible and were so close that the Scripture refers to David loving Jonathan as "his own soul." The two were said to have made a covenant out of their friendship.


You can't hold this character down. He returned from the dead with Jesus' simple command: "Come forth!"

Lazarus' resurrection is recorded in the Bible as one of the miracles Jesus performed during his time on earth. The telling of the story also includes the shortest verse in the Bible, "Jesus wept," which He did in response to seeing the grief of Lazarus' family over his death.


This individual in the Bible was the first person Jesus appeared to after his resurrection.

Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection. In her excitement, she rushes to tell His disciples, who do not believe her until Jesus appears to them also. Mary Magdalene is also believed to have been among the first to find the empty tomb where Jesus was laid.


This man alone was responsible for taking Jesus down from the cross and burying him.

Though not a disciple, Joseph of Arimathea did demonstrate love for Jesus in his actions following the crucifixion. Joseph went to Pilate and asked to care for Jesus' body and to bury Him in the tomb.


A wealthy landowner, this man became the husband of Ruth after she was widowed.

Boaz and Ruth met in a grain field that Boaz owned, and he encouraged Ruth to take what she needed to provide for herself and her also-widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. The pair later married and had a son, Obed.


The sometimes forgotten third son of Adam and Eve, this character's name means "set in place of."

Born after his brother Cain killed their brother, Abel, Eve believed Seth to represent a replacement of his deceased sibling. Seth, like Abel, was righteous in all his ways. He later has a son he names Enosh.


This man is mentioned only once in the entire Bible, and that's in the beginning of the book that bears his name.

Though little is known about Joel the person, the Book of Joel is an important starting point for many of the prophetic statements about the impending apocalypse and "day of the Lord."


Scandalous! This woman was employed as Sarah's maid when she had a baby by her husband.

Tired of waiting for a son of her own, Sarah encouraged her husband, Abraham, to have a child with her maid, Hagar. Hagar later bore Ishmael, who became the older half-brother of Abraham and Sarah's son, Isaac.


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