There are many great Bible stories that have been passed down for generations. These tales are full of adventure, excitement, and drama. They always teach us something important about God and His ways. In this article, we will look at some of the top Bible stories that are found within the pages of scripture. These stories are sure to captivate you!
The book that we call the Bible is actually a small library containing 66 books that were written over hundreds and hundreds of years concluding in the first century. Do you have favorite stories from the Bible? You certainly may have, but here are some of the most famous and popular stories from our scriptures.
It’s hard to limit yourself to name a set of top Bible stories to recommend. However, these may well include – The Creation and Fall of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, The Ten Commandments, Crossing the Red Sea, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion’s den, The Story of Joseph, Three Men in the fiery furnace, Jesus And The Samaritan Woman, Jesus Raises Lazarus, The Story of Zacchaeus, Jesus Walks On Water, Jesus Feeds Five Thousand, Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection, and The Conversion of Saul.
This is the first of a set of articles that highlights these and other famous Bible stories. They are not set forth in the order of importance. But they have been chosen because of their importance, the miraculous nature of the event, or how interesting the story is in the Biblical narrative.
If you are looking for Bible stories for yourself or some Bible stories for kids you can find plenty here. These famous stories are from God’s word and from the Old Testament days into the New Testament. Also, you certainly couldn’t have a collection of favorite Bible stories without including several about Jesus Christ and His actions when He came to earth.
Not Just Stories of Fables
A great story can obviously be fiction or non-fiction. At LivingPraying.com we believe that these are true. The Bible is one of the most researched and historically accurate ancient texts in the world. So, these stories are not only stories of interest to the human mind but also give life change to those who choose to embrace the Bible as the true word of the Living God. It also displays what Jesus Christ did to bring us eternal life and an opportunity to have a daily relationship with Him.
We will start our series by giving you some thumbnail descriptions of each of these top Bible stories from the Biblical account of scripture and also provide the linked reference so you can go and read the full story.
We might suggest that, if you are reading these as stories, rather than as Bible study, you might want to read from a modern version of the Bible like the New Living Translation. If you want them in a very modern and easily read narrative, you might want to read the stories from a paraphrased version such as The Message. Although it’s not a translation that we would normally suggest for personal Bible study, it does a good job of telling the stories of each book in the Bible.
So, let’s have a look at some top Bible Stories.
Top Bible Stories From the Old Testament
The Old Testament (or Old Covenant) is the time that begins with creation and doesn’t actually end until the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is largely a story about the Israelites (God’s Chosen People) through which the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would ultimately come.
1- The Story of Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve
In a list of top Bible stories, it would be hard to leave out the one that kicked things off. Found in the book of Genesis, chapters 1-3, this is a familiar story of “beginnings” that begins with the famous verse:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”Genesis 1:1
This starts a spectacular account of how God speaks creation into existence over the course of six days. During those six days, He created the earth, the sky, the seas, light, dark, and all of the living creatures on land and in the sea. On the sixth day, God created animals and the beings that were created in His own image. He created human beings – Adam and Eve. He told them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).
After seeing that all that He created was good, God set apart the seventh day as a day of rest. He blessed the seventh day, declaring it holy and making it a day of rest.
The Fall Of Man
Most of us have heard of the next part referred to in some way. We find that God had instructed Adam and Eve that they could eat anything that was growing in the luscious Garden of Eden – with the exception of the fruit from one tree.
“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”Genesis 2:15-17
Unfortunately, after being tempted by the Evil One in the form of a serpent, Eve succumbed to temptation and ate the fruit. Many portray it as an apple. This certainly appears to be untrue. Adam also joined her in this sin or rebellion against God. Although the curse of this “fall of man” did not bring about immediate physical death, it brought spiritual death that would only be taken care of by the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Adam and Eve were ultimately banished from the Garden and, to say the least, life became much harder – sin entered the world, and everyone on our planet, and our planet itself is still suffering from that “original sin.”
2 – Noah and the Flood
The story of Noah and the flood is a very popular of the top Bible stories widely read and found in Genesis, chapters 6-9. The story of Noah’s ark is one of the most famous stories in the Bible and has been read and told millions of times in sermons, Sunday School classes, or small groups across the globe. We seem to focus on the adventurous side of Noah’s Ark narrative and forget that all humans were destroyed unless they were on the ark with Noah.
In this Bible story account, we find that humans have become decidedly more and more wicked. We must remind ourselves of the outright holiness and righteousness of God whose nature won’t and cannot allow sin to go on forever unimpeded. Mankind had become so evil and sinned against God. Here we see the thoughts and statements of God concerning the massive amount of evil on the earth.
“So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.”Genesis 6:6-7
However, God is a God of love and He always provides a way to escape His wrath. Some of the best Bible stories are ones that illustrate this principle. In this story, we find a key verse.
“But Noah found favor with the Lord.”Genesis 6:8
Out of all of the people on the earth at that time, God finds someone who was a righteous man who believed in and was in fellowship with God. So, God tells Noah that He is going to destroy all living creatures on earth.
Well, that wasn’t good news. But also He gives Noah specific instructions about how He was to build a boat (the ark) for his family and representatives from the animal kingdom to survive a worldwide flood that was coming.
So, the adventure has begun. Even the most conservative of estimates consider that it probably took decades to complete the massive ark with the primitive tools of the day. However, since God was giving the master plan and instructions, who knows?
Noah’s family and the animals that were to go with them boarded the ark before the rains became to come. At this time, we don’t believe it had ever rained because the Bible had previously stated that the earth was watered by great springs of the deep.
So imagine how people responded when Noah begged them to come with him because it was going to rain and cause a massive flood.
So, long story short, the family on board the ark along with the animals aboard survive and carry on with civilization. For those who are more interested, there is a lot of information that points to a worldwide flood from those who consider themselves a part of the growing creation science movement.
3- The Ten Commandments
You can find this top Bible story in Exodus 19-20, but the story actually continues through several other chapters as more details of the laws of the Israelites were given. It’s hard to find someone in our culture who hasn’t heard of the Ten Commandments, even if they are a nonbeliever. Even for irreligious people, these can serve as a moral compass in your dealings on this earth.
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Tablets of the Law, are God’s instructions to the Israelites after Moses led them out of Egypt. The Ten Commandments are the ten fundamental laws of the Old Covenant, although there are hundreds of other laws in which they were given The Ten Commandments are considered foundational for moral, spiritual, and ethical behavior for both Jews and Christians.
Moses went up on Mount Sinai on behalf of God’s people to receive the commandments from God on tablets of stone. The Bible says that the commandments were written by the “finger of God.”
“When the Lord finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant written by the finger of God.”Exodus 31:18
The story of Moses and the Ten Commandments is fascinating and a pivotal point in the story of Israel and the Old Testament.
4- Parting of the Red Sea
We find this amazing and certainly recognized as a top Bible story in Exodus, chapter 14. After being enslaved in Egypt, the Pharoah eventually allows the children of Israel to be free but then changes his mind and the Egyptian soldiers are in hot pursuit of the Israelites. This wasn’t a band of a few hundred people. Historians and Theologians debate how many people there were at the Red sea crossing – some as high as 2 million people or so. At any rate, it was a lot.
Moses found himself along with countless other people with nowhere to go. The Egyptians were behind them getting closer and the massive Red Sea was in front of them. As the situation became very dire, God spoke to Moses.
“Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.”Exodus 14:16
And they did cross in one of the most spectacular scenes in the Bible.
5- David and Goliath
Found in 1 Samuel, chapter 17, here is a bible story that has been used countless times to motivate people to conquer the proverbial “giants” in their lives. The Israelites had drawn up their battle line with the Philistines nearby and each was in their own camps, each occupying hills on the opposite sides of a valley.
The Philistines kept sending out a giant of a man, named Goliath, to taunt and make fun of the Israelites. However, each of the Israelite men was terrified.
David had proven himself as a young boy, a shepherd boy, who was deadly with a sling, simply came to give food to his brothers as he was too young and small for the battle ahead.
However, as he saw the giant speaking against His God and the Israelites he decides to face down the giant himself in a gripping story of courage as he faces and defeats this enormous foe and delivers Goliath’s head.
6- Daniel in the Lion’s Den
This compelling story is found in the book of Daniel, Chapter 6. Daniel was a faithful servant of God. To get rid of Daniel, administrators under King Darius devised a plan that for thirty days no one would be allowed to pray to any God other than the King himself.
Violation of this law would be punished by the offender being thrown into the lion’s den. They made the law in such a way that it could not be revoked.
Of course, that did not affect Daniel as he continued to pray to God three times per day. Although the King did not want Daniel to be harmed he could not find a way out of the order he had signed into law. Daniel was caught and thrown into the lion’s den. The story is one of great faith as Daniel spends an entire night in the presence of these ferocious beasts.
The next morning they found Daniel as he clearly explained the situation.
“My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”Daniel 6:22
However, the fate of those who had set Daniel up was not quite as good as the fate of Daniel.
7- The Story of Joseph
Even. without the incredibly spiritual meaning, just in terms of simple and compelling storytelling, we consider this one of the top Bible stories. The incredible and epic story of Joseph begins in Genesis, Chapter 37, and doesn’t conclude until Genesis Chapter 50.
It is indeed one of the most intriguing and detailed accounts of any one person in the Old Testament. With Joseph having dreams and interpreting dreams, being the favorite son of his father, Jacob, and adding in some jealous brothers, it would be hard to write a story more gripping with as many twists and turns as this one.
As a result of His brothers’ plot to get rid of Joseph, he is sold into slavery and eventually ends up in the house of Potiphar, who was in an incredibly powerful leadership position in Egypt. As a wise man who trusted God, Joseph’s character and work ethic helped him gain Potiphar’s trust. However, he was eventually thrown in jail because Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of making unwanted advances toward her.
The details of how he handles the extreme ups and downs of his life, including how he finally gets free from prison and eventually becomes a person of great power himself is a legendary and riveting Bible story.
8- Three Men In The Fiery Furnace
Now we are back in the exciting book of Daniel, chapter 3. King Nebuchadnezzar had made a gold statue that was very large. At 90 feet tall and nine feet wide it must have been quite a sight. the instructions were given that when the horns and quite an assortment of other instruments sounded then everyone must bow before the large golden idol.
Along with this decree was a punishment for those who refused. They were to be thrown into a blazing furnace of fire to be burned alive.
So, at the sound of the instruments, the people bowed before the golden idol. However, three men – Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego who were worshippers of the true God were found and they weren’t obeying the command to bow before a false god. The King was tremendously angry and ordered the three men thrown into the fire.
You may remember what happened. The fire was so hot that it killed the soldiers who threw the three men into the furnace. Yet, remarkably, the King looks and sees not only three, but four men walking around in the fire unharmed. King Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed:
“I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”Daniel 3:25
Well, why did the fourth person appear as a God? It seems that the true and living God was there to protect them!
It’s an amazing story of God’s protection and is certainly one of the top Bible stories that’s worth a read!
9- The Birth of Jesus
We won’t spend a lot of time summarizing this story as it is one of the most well-known stories since we base our Christmas holiday around these familiar Bible verses found in Luke, Chapter 2. Also, parts of it are found in the book of Matthew, chapter 2.
You might recall that an angel appeared to the virgin, Mary. The angel told her that God chose her to give birth to baby Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah. God’s plan was in motion and Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. Mary and Joseph were on the front lines of history.
Mary and Joseph had journeyed to Bethlehem because of the Roman census. Mary who was supernaturally pregnant as a result of the Holy Spirit has the baby Jesus in a barn.
In one portion of the story, we see the angel chorus celebrate. Later we see the visit of the wise men. It is a wonderful story of love, joy, and the fulfillment of what God promised the nation of Israel.
10- The Story of Zaccheaus
The story of Zaccheaus found in Luke 19 presents us with a tax collector who had become very rich, with a bad reputation, and on top of that apparently every short in stature. Jesus was walking through Jericho and the short tax collector could not see above the crowd. So, as one might do, he climbed up into a tree that happened to be a sycamore so that he could have a peek at this man who had become the talk of the town.
To the surprise of Zaccheaus and everyone around, Jesus had a laser-like focus on this tree-climbing tax collector and called him down from the tree. He informed him that He would be coming to his house on that day.
Zaccheaus was more than happy to have Jesus as a guest. Zaccheaus believed in Jesus as the Messiah and vowed to repay all of those who he had cheated four times as much. Total life change and the gift of salvation had come to this man who had been a greedy tax collector.
11- Jesus Raises Lazarus
This story of life, death, and resurrection is found in John, chapter 11.
While Jesus was away with His disciples ministering to others, his dear friend, Lazarus, had become sick. Lazarus’ sisters sent word to Jesus that he was sick. However, Jesus didn’t come immediately saying that Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death and it was for God’s glory.
However, Lazarus succumbed to his illness and physical death. Jesus finally arrives on the scene finding everyone in mourning. At the sight of his friends in such grief, the Bible famously shows us the compassion of our Lord and gives us the shortest verse in the bible.
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35
The conversation between Jesus and the family was very interesting, as is the entire story. Ultimately, Jesus puts an end to all of the grief by restoring life to Lazarus, and those around saw a man who had been dead for four days walk out of his tomb.
This is one of the remarkable miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
12- Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Here we find another of Jesus’ miracles found in Matthew 14:13-21. Thousands of people were gathered to be healed, encouraged, or taught by the Son of God. the number that day was about 5000 but that only included the men, there would have been several thousand more if you include the women and children.
When it started getting late Jesus’ disciples were getting antsy because it was about time to eat and they knew that there was no way to feed all of these people.
They wanted Jesus to send the people on their way. However, Jesus had another plan. He asked His disciples to see what food was available. What they found was a boy who had only five loaves of bread (small pieces in those times) and two fish.
In what could only be a mind-blowing event, Jesus took the two fish and five loaves, prayed over them, broke the bread, and started distributing it to the multitude of people.
He multiplied that food enough so that when the disciples picked up the leftovers, there were twelve baskets of food left.
13- Jesus Walks On Water
This is a Biblical event in the life of Jesus that is referred to, taught about, and spoken about in Bible studies, churches, songs, etc., around the world. It is found in Matthew 14: 22-36 and also in a couple of other places in the Gospels. The story of Jesus walking on water is quite remarkable.
After Jesus did the miracle of feeding 5,000 people, He sent his disciples on ahead in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. After several hours in the boat, the disciples encountered a rather fierce storm on the water and they were frightened. However, in the middle of the storm, they were perhaps even more frightened because it appeared that they were seeing a ghost out upon the water.
However, it was not a ghost. It was the Lord Jesus Christ, in the flesh, but supernaturally defying the natural laws and walking to them on the surface of the water. Peter actually asked to go out to meet him. He stepped onto the water, however, he took His eyes off of Jesus and began to sink.
Jesus rescues Him and seals this story as one of the most compelling stories in the Bible about trusting Jesus and keeping your focus on Him through troubling times.
14- Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection
The account that is found in Matthew is in chapter 27:11- Mathew 28. I will have to discipline myself not to write pages and pages about this event because this is, quite actually, the pivotal point in the history of mankind if you live with a Biblical worldview. Without a single doubt, we would not only consider this one of the top Bible stories but the most important of all time. Our life and salvation hinge on the truth of this narrative and what Jesus accomplished.
Jesus had been taken into custody and sentenced to be beaten and then killed by the most brutal and torturous method of the day – crucifixion. By the time He actually made it up to the cross on Golgotha, he was apparently unrecognizable from the beating and continued abuse.
His mother, Mary along with Mary Magdalene, and others were on the scene at this horrible event. Jesus suffered on the cross for about six hours before he died and was placed in a tomb provided by a rich man who was a follower of His.
It seemed that everything that the followers of Jesus were clinging to was gone. It was over. What had happened? It appears that they had not picked up on Jesus’ own indications that he would rise again.
However, on that Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene came early to visit the tomb. After a great earthquake, they faced an angel who had rolled away from the stone of the tomb. The angels told the women to not be afraid, that Jesus was risen from the dead just like He had said.
Even though they were still frightened, they ran with great joy to tell the others and the risen Christ greeted them on the way. What an incredible victory! What incredible joy. Our salvation was secure. the penalty for the sins of all believers was met.
This is the most joyous and compelling story in all of human history.
The Conversion of Paul
In the time after the death of Jesus, the name “Saul” could strike fear into the hearts of the early believers who trusted Jesus as Savior. Saul was a brilliantly studied Hebrew who wielded enough power and prestige that he could persecute the followers of Christ with a vengeance.
He vigorously persecuted and was responsible for the killings of many, many Christians. He was on his way to the city of Damascus to capture more Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem.
“However, on the way to Damascus, he was blinded by a great light.
“He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
So, there was the conversion of Saul, now named Paul, and this began the journey of the most successful missionaries of the gospel who penned a majority of the New Testament, and his writings profoundly affect billions of Christians today.
It is quite a remarkable story of redemption and Pauls’s life would be considered one of the top Bible stories in scripture.
We hope that you have been encouraged to read and perhaps study these wonderful stories.
These are some of the top Bible stories in the scripture. However, there are so many more. There a plans to make this series into several parts and we hope you will take a look at those as well.
A great study Bible can help you as you read and study these great stories. Check out our recommendations for men’s study Bibles and women’s study Bibles.
Also, if you want to read through the Bible in more a story form, in chronological order, it can be a very interesting way and exciting way to read the Biblical story and journey.
- Hardcover Book
- English (Publication Language)
- 2220 Pages - 10/01/2012 (Publication Date) - Tyndale House Publishers (Publisher)
The Bible is a library of the most important stories in the world. We hope that you will take every opportunity to read them.
Brian is a Christian Blogger and website developer and has served over 35 years as a Pastor of Worship and various Associate Pastor roles in several churches in the state of Georgia. He earned his Education degree from North Georgia State University and attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife live in southern Hall County, GA.
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