According to Religion News Service, about one in five people read the Bible on a regular basis, and 77 percent of Americans see the work, and the lives of popular biblical figures, such as Jesus, Peter and David, as important for daily life.
But for every Jesus, there’s a Shamgar — a character you’re unlikely to be familiar with who played an important role in the Bible. This topic has been discussed by many writers, including Lance Wubbels, who wrote the book “Bible Nobodies Who Became Somebodies,” and can be an interesting way to expand your knowledge of the scriptures.
As a result, we've compiled a list of five biblical figures that you might not know about, but have unusual stories.
Shamgar's story is simple, but powerful, mostly because of his ability to overtake 600 Philistines with a farming tool and only get one verse in the Bible, according to a Pathoes writer. The only verse that mentions him reads, “After him came Shamgar son of Anath, who killed six hundred of the Philistines with an ox-goad. He too delivered Israel.”
Shamgar's story, according to Fred Clark of Patheos, is significant because of its brevity. So many people and heroes go unnoticed in the world, Clark wrote. But Shamgar's inclusion gives people hope that even their personal story will be remembered, no matter how insignificant it may be.
What’s most memorable about Jabez isn’t the man himself, but the prayer that he delivered. According to Unlock the Bible, Jabez asked God to answer one of his prayers — and God actually answered in what is now called the "Prayer of Jabez."
The prayer reads, “‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’” He serves as a reminder to believers that if you ask God earnestly for the things you need, He can and will deliver.
Everyone gives Goliath all the praise for being the Big Man on Campus. But Og is no small figure. According to Remnant of Giants, Og — the size of a giant — was listed as the last of his kind, which may reveal something about man's stature during biblical times.
Og is referred to the last of the "Rephaites" ("Rephiam" means "giant" in Hebrew) in the Bible verse Deuteronomy 3:11. According to Bible Gateway, the Rephaites were taller, bigger people who eventually faded away when God wanted to "make room" for Ammonites, average-sized people who lived in Israel.
Moses was the source of guidance for many Israelites. But it was Jethro that helped Moses organize his leadership a little more efficiently. According to Unlocking the Bible, a Biblical information website, Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, instructed Moses on how best to divide the people he was leading to accomplish God's will more easily. All these years later, the proper division of labor is still popular in businesses and companies across the world. And it all started with Jethro.
This may make you think of Apollo, the son of Zeus, but the Apollos of the Bible is much different. According to Got Questions, Apollos spent much of his time in Egypt, where he preached and spread the word of God. He helped build churches both in structure and political stature, and may have even authored books on the Hebrews. Apollos is remembered for his humble service to God, and for helping out in every way he could to help preach and promote truth about having faith in the Lord.