Five Benefits of Good Biographies

“Murdered in the jungle…carrying babies across the mountains…trekking through the jungles…surviving abuse in prison…

Everyone likes a good summer read…or do they?  In a world that’s gone visual, reading sounds like drudgery to some, yet the benefits to yourself and those you are discipling are well worth taking the plunge.  This is not about reading the latest novel or political thriller, but it is every bit as exciting.  This is about reading the biographies of missionaries and other believers who have blazed a trail by following Christ in tremendous adversity.

Five Benefits

1).  Learning about the adversity and hardships faced by believers throughout history help us understand that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  For those who are suffering, it is encouraging to read about brothers and sisters who have gone before and suffered well for Christ.

2).  Most of us come away from reading a missionary story realizing how easy and comfortable our lives are. This can be especially helpful for anyone you know who may be struggling with the “poor me” syndrome; the realization that we should not be trying to build our own “heaven on earth” is a valuable take-away. Evaluating you own life compared to these individuals should foster a grateful heart.

3).  It is so encouraging to see the power God in other cultures. Your faith gets a great boost seeing God build His kingdom globally throughout history, while you gain an appreciation for the differences in cultures around the globe.

4).  The power of the Word of God is brought to life. Many of these noble believers memorized large chunks of Scripture and continuously applied it in their trials, giving testimony to the living, enduring Word. The Holy Spirit used what they had memorized over and over to strengthen, encourage, correct, and instruct them.

5). The tremendous dedication and sacrifice and risk detailed in their lives gives rise to the question, “What am I sacrificing, dedicating, and risking for the Gospel?” The frivolity of much of what we pursue is blatantly exposed as we learn about the focus and determination of others.

“Murdered in the jungle…carrying babies across the mountains…trekking through the jungles…surviving abuse in prison…all real people and real-life situations that point us to our Great God.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight , and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…  Hebrews 12:1-2

Suggested Reading

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose

They Call Me Mama by Margaret Laird

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. Howard Taylor

Susan BlakeSusan Blake
Susan Blake has been married to Joe since 1981. They are the parents of five children and have three grandchildren. Susan is a certified biblical counselor with the ACBC and she counsels in various ministries at Faith Church.