Finding writing inspiration in the Bible isn’t confined to historical fiction or modern retellings of Biblical stories. Because the Bible contains all sorts of people, who faced all sorts of challenges, as well as discussions of human frailties, a writer can find limitless material for stories.
Need a Realistic Character?
Want to build a believable villain? Or a flawed hero? Study David, Solomon, Gideon, King Saul, King Ahab, Jonah, or any of the people mentioned in the Bible at length.
I’ve always found Abigail an intriguing person. She’s a woman in a difficult marriage. I admire how she handled what could have been a fatal decision on her husband’s part. She didn’t try to sweet-talk or harass him into changing his mind. She did what needed to be done and then told him.
Daniel is another fascinating person. I’ve just read Alister Begg’s commentary on the first seven chapters of Daniel, Brave by Faith, and gained a much better understanding of Daniel and God. From a fiction perspective, Daniel presents the building blocks for a unique rebel. In so many fiction stories about a country being invaded by another, the conquered people rise up and fight back in a military way. Daniel actually becomes one of the best administrators in Babylon–hard working and honest. But he is faithful to God. As Mr. Begg says, Daniel knows when it’s okay to do what the Babylonians ask and when it isn’t.
Even more surprising, Daniel always wants the welfare of his Babylonian overlords. When Nebuchadnezzar is warned by God to acknowledge Him or face the consequences, Daniel wishes the warning was for Nebuchadnezzar’s enemies.
Darius the Mede throws Daniel into the lion’s den. When he opens the cave and finds Daniel alive, Daniel’s first words are “May the king live forever!”. Not “You idiot, I hope my God gets you.” Not even “I resign from your administration”. He can be kind to the man who condemned him. Now that’s a refreshing approach to character building.
Need Family Drama?
The Bible is full of stories of families riven with conflict and tension, starting with Cain and Abel. Abraham, Sarah, and their descendants provide enough inspiration for millions of stories. One thing I find interesting is what a bunch of shysters Rebecca and her side of the family are. She tricks her husband Isaac into giving his blessing to Jacob, her preferred son, and Jacob goes along with it. Jacob also tricks Esau out of his birthright. Then Rebecca’s brother Laban tricks Jacob by marrying off his older daughter to him first, instead of giving him Rachel, whom Jacob loves. Rachel even tricks Laban when Jacob leaves Laban’s lands with his wives and children by stealing her father’s idols. And I haven’t even gotten to what Jacob’s kids get up to and the jealousy that leads to so much heartache.
All this double-crossing would seem excessive in a film noir. But the Bible shows that no matter how vile the act, there is the chance of redemption.
Who are your favorite people in the Bible? Or what story from the Bible has inspired your writing?