Keep the Fires Burning is a Bible Study series of the minor characters of the Bible that can teach us major lessons. Each episode will introduce you to a new character and help you understand why they are mentioned. You might have met some of these characters in your life recently. You might find that you have a lot more in common with these characters in your own walk of faith.
Introduction | 23 min
This introduction sets the stage for our study and get in the right mindset to read their stories.
Boaz (Session 1) | 55 min
In this episode we get to meet Boaz from the book of Ruth.
Thumbnail Photo by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, National Gallery, London, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=536505. Stock Music provided by mv_production, from Pond5
Bartimaeus (Session 2) | 43 min
We find Bartimaeus on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem blind and pleading with Jesus to heal him. Most won’t remember him outside of this short encounter with Jesus, but there is a lot we can learn from him.
Thumbnail painting by Jan van’t Hoff from Gospel Images, https://www.gospelimages.com/paintings/34/a-blind-beggar-receives-his-sight. Stock Music provided by mv_production, from Pond5
Jude (Session 3) | 28 min
Jude, the author of the book of Jude in our New Testament, was likely a half-brother of Jesus. In his short book he addresses the readers with urgency about salvation and the problem created by the Gnostics who were perverting grace.
The Young Armor Bearer (Session 4) | 29 min
This week’s character doesn’t even have a name, but he plays an important role in our lesson. An armor bearer carries additional weapons for their commander or king. What made this armor bearer different to be mentioned?
Shamgar (Session 5) | 38 min
Before the age of Kings in Israel was the time of the Judges. Shamgar is a forgotten hero who defeated 600 Philistines and saved Israel according to the book of Judges. Most would expect Israel’s Judges to be Hebrews but Shamgar’s background is quite unusual. This lesson is from our series Keep the Fires Burning.
The Oracle of Philippi (Session 6) | 41 min
An oracle in ancient Greece and Rome was a message from the gods. It was also the name of the person giving the message. Paul and Silas meet such an oracle in Philippi as a young slave girl. She follows the men around but Paul decides to cast out the demon from her and pays for it.
Hanun (Session 7) | 29 min
King Hanun’s story is a cautionary tale about jumping to conclusions. Hopefully you won’t follow such bad advice. But what do you do when it’s too late? How do you make things right?
Baruch (Session 8) | 27 min
Baruch is a little-known friend of the prophet Jeremiah. He is mentioned as an errand boy, a scribe, and a messenger for the prophet in the book of Jeremiah. This episode will take you through his various appearances in scripture and what we can learn from his choices.
Balak & Balaam (Session 9) | 49 min
Balaam and his “talking” donkey is a famous children’s Sunday school story. The real Balaam from the Bible was a prophet for hire who tried to curse Israel at the behest of Balak, King of Moab. The kingdom of Moab was the next stop on the Israel Exodus. Having just destroyed the Amorites, King Balak decided to stack the deck in his favor, including any possible divine decks. Find out how that worked out for them.
Korah, Dathan, & Abiram (Session 10) | 37 min
Israel had just left Egypt under miraculous circumstances under God’s chosen leader Moses. But all is not well within the Israelite camp. Enter Korah, Dathan, and Abiram who come to challenge Moses for his position. Who were these men? How did their mutiny unfold?
The Prophet who goes to Ahab (Session 11) | 43 min
How good are you at wearing a disguise? What motivates you to serve God? The prophet in our story today is unidentified but exposes the true nature of Israel’s leaders and the state of their faith. Consequences ensued.
Nadab & Abihu (Session 12) | 33 min
Just pick up any recent news headline and you’ll notice that God’s Word and modern culture are rarely in sync. Current Christian thinkers and influencers will disagree on what God’s Word “really means” or even claim that modern cultural mores demand an updated interpretation of scripture. This social media driven phenomenon we see in our day is actually an age old problem. Nadab and Abihu are two characters from the time of Moses that learned the hard way what God thinks about our cultural re-interpretations. This story should serve to us as a warning and as a lesson on what not to do with God’s Word.
Jehoiada (Session 13) | 48 min
Are you the same employee in front of your boss and behind closed doors? Are you the same person with and without your friends? Are you the same person in and outside of church or youth group? Accountability is a hard principle to live by which is why two are better than one for those seeking to live with integrity. Jehoiada was the best accountability partner you could ask for. Jehoiada guided young King Joash in the ways of God to restore the kingdom after the terrible reign of his idol worshipping grandmother. When Jehoiada eventually dies, Joash’s accountability goes with it. How do we avoid going of the rails like Joash?
Aaron (Session 14) | 37 min
Everyone experiences peer pressure at some point in their life. Peer pressure can come from work, friends, family, religious and political groups, and other social communities we frequent. For example it’s easy to be Christian and behave in step with biblical principles when living in short term Christian communities like Christian camps. But it’s a lot harder to live out those values when surrounded by other communities that don’t share those values or beliefs. It becomes easier to compromise a little here and a little there to keep our social status within these communities. What are the consequences of giving into this peer pressure and can it be overcome? Aaron’s story from the Bible can give us insight into this problem.
Jadon (Session 15) | 48 min
Who gets to define truth? Who gets to define was is just? Is it the government? Is it a community leader? Does everyone get to claim their personal “truth”? During the time of Israel’s Kings, Israel went through many periods of changing their minds on what was true and right. God sends his man Jadon on a mission as a prophet to call the people and the king to repentance. But Jadon was also sent with specific instructions that gives us insight on God’s expectation of truth.
Lot (Session 16) | 40 min
Lot was a man full of youth, wealth, and opportunity. He wasn’t so different from many young people today looking to make their way in the world (except maybe for his wealth). However in trying to establish a place for himself and his family, he traded God’s values for the values of the local culture overtime. He became complacent and invited a host of troubles for his future.
Gehazi (Session 17) | 28 min
Gehazi was the Prophet Elisha’s helper and servant. He gets to witness many miracles and the power of God firsthand. He has seen people’s lives being changed and witnessed fantastic teachings about God from Elisha. He was chosen to serve Elisha and be a part of the prophet’s ministry but something changes seeing the opportunity for great wealth. Gehazi gets his priorities mixed up, much like we can get our priorities mixed up when it comes to our own faith and living for God. How do we keep our priorities straight?
Ehud (Session 18) | 39 min
Have you ever felt like an oddball? Are you just a little weird or out of place? Are you a complete outcast? The Bible is full of oddballs and outcasts like Ehud, a tax collector called by God to be a Judge. God has a long history of using oddballs and outcasts in His service and He can use you too!
Mary (Session 19) | 46 min
Martha asks Jesus to reprimand Mary for sitting and listening to Jesus teaching instead of helping her host the house guests. Instead, Jesus supports Mary’s choice. Sitting at a Rabbi’s feet was not insignificant in the first century, especially for women. Our cultural standards are not Jesus’ or God’s standards. But that’s not the only reason Jesus commended Mary’s choice.
Thumbnail painting By Erasmus Quellinus II, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43167365. Stock Music provided by mv_production, from Pond5
Martha (Session 20, final session) | 32 min
Mary and Martha’s story often singles out Martha as being in the wrong. Is this the correct perspective? Martha is hosting and serving Jesus and his following and fulfilling the responsibilities of a good host. She clearly is working very hard and should be commended on what she does right. Her error seems to be in her motives. How can we avoid doing a good thing for the wrong reason and get our motivation in the right place? This lesson is from our series Keep the Fires Burning, a Bible study series of the minor characters of the Bible that can teach us major lessons. Each episode will introduce you to a new character and help you understand why they are mentioned.