My children don’t have difficult names, but I guess they are slightly unusual. For me and my husband, we were excited to name our boys after influential people in the Bible. Yes, we are that family.
When people I know who have no biblical background do their best to hide their real opinion of my boys’ names and simply say, “Oh, that’s an interesting name,” I don’t even think twice about it.
But when Christians ask how we came up with the names Silas and Titus, I’m a bit shocked. Not that I expect every Christian to remember every name of every person in the Bible. But I thought Silas and Titus were a bit more familiar. I’m surprised at the reality that my son’s names are incredibly foreign to just about everyone we meet, Christians included.
Not that this bothers me enough to change the names of my children, but it made me understand that there are far more influential people in Scripture that will never make the top 20 biblical names list.
Of course, we know Paul and the many ways he influenced and paved the way for the early church. But we don’t equally know Silas, who was with Paul for just about all of his ministry. There are many other noteworthy people who were worth being mentioned in the Bible that we just forget about.
Here are eight Bible characters I think we should pay a little bit more attention to and learn from.
Josiah: 8 Going on 80
We really don’t expect much out of kids. But God does.
The first noteworthy person on the list of people you may not know about in the Bible is King Josiah.
Quick refresher on the timeline of the kings: so there was King Solomon (David’s son), the guy who started off really strong but then fell into idol worship after being influenced by his literally hundreds of wives. After Solomon died, the kingdom split into two opposing nations: the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah). Sixteen kings later, our boy Josiah makes it onto the scene.
Josiah became king of Judah after his father, Amon was killed.
Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years…He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. (2 Kings 22:1-2)
For as young as Josiah was, he ruled better than 70 percent of the rest of the kings throughout the history of Israel and Judah. Somehow, some of the Books of the Law written during the time of Moses were misplaced. Josiah found them, read them, and began a reformation in his kingdom. The bible actually says that Josiah grieved and was angered by the way his ancestors had disobeyed the laws of God. At this time, he was about 27 years old and leading the people of Judah back towards who they were always meant to be—the people of God.
As young as Josiah was during the time of his kingship, he led with a sense of boldness and humility. I don’t see many Christian leaders twice the age of King Josiah leading themselves or those following them with the same sense of passion and conviction for righteousness. King Josiah was not flawless, but he goes down as one of the very few good kings to lead the nation of Judah.
The Daughters of Zelophehad: Five for Justice
It’s no secret that the infrastructure within many societies has not been good at supporting or empowering women. Whenever change is made, it is because of the hard work and courage of women to make things right.
That’s exactly what happened for the daughters of Zelophehad. Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah were brave women, especially for their time. In biblical culture, women were seen as second class citizens without any rights or power. There were no laws or social structures to protect them from abuse or abandonment. There was certainly no opportunity for them to pave their own way to even survive, let alone succeed, apart from a husband or father.