Balancing the Sword - A comprehensive study guide to life's manual
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Definition of word.

characters (literary)

The characters are the individuals, groups, or personified non-humans who comprise one of the main elements of literature. The interaction of the characters within the setting unfolds the plot. Characters provide dialogue and actions. Well developed characters demonstrate emotions, feelings, motives, ethical convictions, ideas, knowledge, personality, age, physical characteristics, physical skills, family relationships, social position, economic position, history, etc.  Collectively, the aforementioned qualities create the character's point of view.

In the biblical books, we are introduced to hundreds of chief characters (or, primary, main, or lead characters) and secondary characters (or, supporting characters). Students of the Bible can distinguish the main characters from the secondary characters by identifying whether a particular character would materially alter the narrative if omitted. The main characters receive primary attention, that is, many words are from the main characters or about the main characters. One notable quality of scriptural characters is their realistic portrayal of morality. The beloved principle figures, such as Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul, demonstrate imperfections and limitations. We read of their struggles to choose between good and evil.

The static characters of the Bible are presented and remain unchanged; the dynamic characters of the Bible change in awareness, motivation, morality, physicality, etc. For example, Matthew and Luke introduce Jesus Christ as a baby. As a child, we read that Jesus "grew, and waxed strong in spirit" (Lk. 2:40). "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Lk. 2:52). However, Jesus is largely portrayed as a static character during His three-year ministry.

The men, women, nations, and even angels and demons of Scripture are all presented as nonfictional characters, apart from rare exceptions, such as the spirit who purportedly visited Eliphaz in the night (Job 4:15). Although some readers have questioned whether Adam and Eve existed, we are given their genealogical records all the way to Jesus (Lk. 3:23-38). Thus, biblical characters are substantiated with more definition than fictional figures of mythology.

See protagonist and antagonist.

Author: Allen B. Wolfe

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Balancing the Sword is a structured study guide for every chapter of the Bible.