Bible Story Summaries (Index)

Old and New Testament Bible Stories

This collection of Bible story summaries highlights the simple yet profound truths found in the ancient and enduring stories of the Bible. Each of the summaries provides a brief synopsis of Old and New Testament Bible stories with Scripture reference, interesting points or lessons to be learned from the story, and a question for reflection.

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The Creation Story

Earth from Space
Earth from Space. H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The simple truth of the creation story is that God is the author of creation. In Genesis 1 we are presented with the beginning of a divine drama that can only be examined and understood from the standpoint of faith. How long did it take? How did it happen, exactly? No one can answer these questions definitively. In fact, these mysteries are not the focus of the creation story. The purpose, rather, is for moral and spiritual revelation.

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The Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden
ilbusca / Getty Images

Explore the Garden of Eden, a perfect paradise created by God for his people. Through this story we learn how sin entered the world, creating a barrier between men and God. We also see that God had a plan to overcome the problem of sin. Learn how Paradise will one day be restored to those who choose obedience to God.

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The Fall of Man

The Fall of Man
The Garden of Eden (1530). Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images

The Fall of Man is described in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and reveals why the world is in such terrible shape today. As we read the story of Adam and Eve, we learn how sin entered the world and how to escape God's coming judgment on evil.

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Noah's Ark and the Flood

Noah and his family prepare to enter the ark. Getty Images

Noah was righteous and blameless, but he was not sinless (see Genesis 9:20). Noah pleased God and found favor because he loved and obeyed God with his whole heart. As a result, Noah's life was an example to his entire generation. Although everyone else around him followed the evil in their hearts, Noah followed God.

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The Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel

To build the Tower of Babel, the people used brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar. They used "man-made" materials, instead of more durable "God-made" materials. The people were building a monument to themselves, to call attention to their own abilities and achievements, instead of giving glory to God.

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Sodom and Gomorrah

Lot and his family flee Sodom. Getty Images

The people living in Sodom and Gomorrah were given over to immorality and all sorts of wickedness. The Bible tells us the inhabitants were all depraved. Although God mercifully desired to spare these two ancient cities even for the sake of a few righteous people, none lived there. So, God sent two angels disguised as men to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Learn why God's holiness demanded that Sodom and Gomorrah be put to ruin.

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Jacob's Ladder

In the dream of Jacob's Ladder, angels ascended and descended from heaven, and God extended his covenant promise to Jacob. Getty Images

In a dream with angels ascending and descending a stairway from heaven, God extended his covenant promise to the Old Testament patriarch Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. Most scholars interpret Jacob's ladder as a demonstration of the relationship between God and man—from heaven to earth—showing that God takes the initiative to reach down to us. Learn the true significance of Jacob’s ladder.

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The Birth of Moses

Public Domain

Moses, one of the most prominent figures in the Old Testament, was God's chosen deliverer, raised up to free the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Yet, analogous to the Law, Moses, in the end, was unable to fully rescue the children of God and take them into the Promised Land. Learn how the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Moses foreshadow the coming of the ultimate Deliverer, Jesus Christ.

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The Burning Bush

God spoke to Moses through a burning bush. Morey Milbradt / Getty Images

Using a burning bush to get Moses’ attention, God chose this shepherd to lead his people out of bondage in Egypt. Try putting yourself in Moses' sandals. Can you see yourself going about your daily business when suddenly God appears and speaks to you from the most unexpected source? Moses' initial reaction was to get closer to inspect the mysterious burning bush. If God decides to get your attention in an unusual and surprising way today, will you be open to it?

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The Ten Plagues

Ten Plagues
The Plagues of Egypt. Print Collector / Contributor / Getty Images

Relive the unbeatable power of God in this story of the ten plagues against ancient Egypt, which left the country in ruins. Learn how God proved two things: his complete authority over all the earth, and that he hears the cries of his followers.

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Crossing the Red Sea

Crossing the Red Sea
Google Images

The crossing the Red Sea may be the most spectacular miracle ever recorded. In the end, Pharaoh's army, the most powerful force on earth, was no match for almighty God. See how God used the crossing of the Red Sea to teach his people to trust him in overwhelming circumstances and to prove that he is sovereign over all things.

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The Ten Commandments

Ten Commandments
Moses receives the Ten Commandments. SuperStock / Getty Images

The Ten Commandments or the Tablets of the Law are the laws that God gave to the people of Israel through Moses after leading them out of Egypt. In essence, they are a summary of the hundreds of laws found in the Old Testament Law and are recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. They offer basic rules of behavior for spiritual and moral living.

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Balaam and the Donkey

Balaam and the Donkey
Balaam and the Donkey. Getty Images

The strange account of Balaam and his donkey is a Bible story that's hard to forget. With a talking donkey and an angel of God, it makes the ideal lesson for a children's Sunday School class. Discover the timeless messages contained in one of the Bible's most peculiar stories.

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Crossing the Jordan River

Crossing the Jordan River
Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

Spectacular miracles like the Israelites crossing the Jordan River happened thousands of years ago, yet they still have meaning for Christians today. Like the crossing of the Red Sea, this miracle marked an all-important change of course for the nation.

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Battle of Jericho

Joshua sends spies into Jericho. Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

The battle of Jericho featured one of the most astounding miracles in the Bible, proving that God stood with the Israelites. Joshua's strict obedience to God is a key lesson from this story. At every turn Joshua did exactly as he was told and the people of Israel prospered under his leadership. An ongoing theme in the Old Testament is that when the Jews obeyed God, they did well. When they disobeyed, the consequences were bad. The same is true for us today.

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Samson and Delilah

Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

The story of Samson and Delilah, while belonging to times long past, overflows with relevant lessons for Christians of today. When Samson fell for Delilah, it marked the beginning of his downfall and eventual demise. You will learn how Samson is just like you and me in many ways. His story proves that God can use people of faith, no matter how imperfectly they live their lives.

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David and Goliath

Young David in Goliath's Armor
David sits in Goliath's armor after defeating the giant. Sketch by Pastor Glen Strock for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Are you facing a giant problem or impossible situation? David's faith in God caused him to look at the giant from a different perspective. If we look at giant problems and impossible situations from God's perspective, we realize that God will fight for us and with us. When we put things in proper perspective, we see more clearly and we can fight more effectively.

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Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Fiery Furnace
Nebuchadnezzar points to four men walking in the fiery furnace. The three humans are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Spencer Arnold / Getty Images

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were three young men determined to worship the One true God only. In the face of death they stood firm, unwilling to compromise their beliefs. They had no assurance they would survive the flames, but they stood firm anyway. Their story in the Bible speaks a strong word of encouragement especially to young men and women of today.

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Daniel in the Den of Lions

Daniel's Answer to the King by Briton Rivière (1890). Public Domain

Sooner or later we all go through extreme trials that test our faith, just like Daniel did when he was tossed into the den of lions. Maybe you are going through a time of serious crisis in your life right now. Let Daniel's example of obedience and trust in God encourage you to keep your eyes on the true Protector and Deliverer.

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Jonah and the Whale

Jonah and the Whale. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The account of Jonah and the Whale records one of the strangest events in the Bible. The theme of the story is obedience. Jonah thought he knew better than God. But in the end he learned a valuable lesson about the Lord's mercy and forgiveness, which extends beyond Jonah and Israel to all people who repent and believe.

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The Birth of Jesus

Jesus is Immanuel, "God with us.". Bernhard Lang / Getty Images

This Christmas story gives a biblical account of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. The Christmas story is paraphrased from the New Testament Books of Matthew and Luke in the Bible.

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The Baptism of Jesus by John

Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

John had devoted his life to preparing for the arrival of Jesus. He had focused all of his energy toward this moment. He was set upon obedience. Yet the very first thing Jesus asked him to do, John resisted. He felt unqualified. Do you feel unqualified to fulfill your mission from God?

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The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness

Satan Tempts Jesus in the Wilderness. Getty Images

The story of Christ's temptation in the wilderness is one of the best teachings in Scripture about how to resist the Devil's schemes. Through Jesus' example we learn exactly how to fight the many temptations that Satan will throw at us and how to live victoriously over sin.

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The Wedding at Cana

Morey Milbradt / Getty Images

One of the Bible's most well-known wedding ceremonies is the Wedding at Cana, where Jesus performed his first recorded miracle.This wedding feast in the small village of Cana marked the beginning Jesus' public ministry. The crucial symbolism of this first miracle might easily be lost on us today. Also tucked in this story is an important lesson about God's concern for every detail of our lives.

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The Woman at the Well

Jesus offered the woman at the well living water so that she would never thirst again. Gary S Chapman / Getty Images

In the Bible account of the Woman at the Well, we find a story of God's love and acceptance. Jesus shocked the Samaritan woman, offering her living water so that she'd never thirst again, and changed her life forever. Jesus also revealed that his mission was to the entire world, and not just the Jews.

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Jesus Feeds the 5000

Jodie Coston / Getty Images

In this Bible story, Jesus feeds 5000 people with only a few loaves of bread and two fish. As Jesus was preparing to perform a miracle of supernatural provision, he found his disciples focused on the problem rather than on God. They had forgotten that "nothing is impossible with God."

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Jesus Walks on Water

Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

Though we may not walk across water, we will go through difficult, faith-testing circumstances. Taking our eyes off Jesus and focusing on the difficult circumstances will cause us to sink under our problems. But when we cry out to Jesus, he catches us by the hand and raises us above the seemingly impossible surroundings.

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The Woman Caught in Adultery

Woman Caught in Adultery
Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery by Nicolas Poussin. Peter Willi / Getty Images

In the story of the woman caught in adultery Jesus silences his critics while graciously offering new life to a sinful woman in need of mercy. The poignant scene delivers a healing balm to anyone with a heart weighed down with guilt and shame. In forgiving the woman, Jesus did not excuse her sin. Rather, he expected a change of heart and presented her with a chance to begin a new life.

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Jesus Is Anointed By a Sinful Woman

Luke 7:36-50 - Jesus Is Anointed By a Sinful Woman
A Woman Anoints the Feet of Jesus by James Tissot. SuperStock / Getty Images

When Jesus enters the house of Simon the Pharisee for a meal, he is anointed by a sinful woman, and Simon learns an important truth about love and forgiveness.

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The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan
Getty Images

The words "good" and "Samaritan" created a contradiction in terms for most first century Jews. Samaritans, a neighboring ethnic group occupying the region of Samaria, were long-hated by Jews mostly because of their mixed race and flawed form of worship. When Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, he was teaching a crucial lesson that went far beyond loving your neighbor and helping those in need. He was zeroing in on our tendency toward prejudice. The story of the Good Samaritan introduces us to one of the most soul-challenging assignments of true kingdom seekers.

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Martha and Mary

Martha and Mary
Buyenlarge / Contributor / Getty Images

Some of us tend to be like Mary in our Christian walk and others more like Martha. It's likely we have qualities of both within us. We may be inclined at times to let our busy lives of service distract us from spending time with Jesus and listening to his word. While serving the Lord is a good thing, sitting at Jesus' feet is best. We must remember what is most important. Learn a lesson about priorities through this story of Martha and Mary.

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The Prodigal Son

Fancy Yan / Getty Images

Take a look at the Parable of the Prodigal Son, also known as the Lost Son. You might even identify yourself in this Bible story when you consider the closing question, "Are you a prodigal, a pharisee or a servant?"

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The Lost Sheep

Peter Cade / Getty Images

The parable of the Lost Sheep is a favorite of both children and adults. Probably inspired by Ezekiel 34:11-16, Jesus told the story to a group of sinners to demonstrate God's passionate love for lost souls. Learn why Jesus Christ truly is the Good Shepherd.

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Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead

Tomb of Lazarus in Bethany, Holy Land (Circa 1900). Photo: Apic / Getty Images

Learn a lesson about persevering through trials in this Bible story summary. Many times we feel like God waits too long to answer our prayers and deliver us from a terrible situation. But our problem couldn't be any worse than Lazarus' — he had been dead for four days before Jesus showed up!

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The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration of Jesus. Getty Images

The Transfiguration was a supernatural event, in which Jesus Christ temporarily broke through the veil of human flesh to reveal his true identity as the Son of God to Peter, James, and John. Learn how the Transfiguration proved that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets and promised Savior of the world.

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Jesus and the Children

Jesus Blesses the Children
Print Collector / Getty Images

This account of Jesus blessing the children illustrates the childlike quality of faith that unlocks the door to heaven. So, if your relationship with God has grown too scholarly or complicated, take a cue from the story of Jesus and the little children.

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Mary of Bethany Anoints Jesus

Mary Anoints Jesus
SuperStock / Getty Images

Many of us feel pressured to impress others. When Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, she had only one goal in mind: glorify God. Explore the poignant sacrifice that made this woman famous for all eternity.

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The Triumphal Entry of Jesus

Circa 30 A.D., Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Getty Images

The Palm Sunday story, Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem before his death, fulfilled ancient prophecies about the Messiah, the promised Savior. But the crowds misinterpreted who Jesus really was and what he came to do. In this summary of the Palm Sunday story, discover why Jesus' triumphal entry was not what it appeared, but was more earth-shaking than anyone could have imagined.

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Jesus Clears the Temple of Money Changers

Jesus clears the Temple of money changers. Photo: Getty Images

As the Passover Feast neared, money changers were turning the Jerusalem Temple into a scene of greed and sinfulness. Seeing the desecration of the holy place, Jesus Christ drove these men from the court of Gentiles, along with sellers of cattle and pigeons. Learn why the expulsion of the money changers triggered a chain of events leading to Christ's death.

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The Last Supper

Painting of The Last Supper by da Vinci showing one-point perspective
The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci, 1495-1498. Wikimedia Commons

At the Last Supper, each of the disciples questioned Jesus (paraphrased): "Could I be the one to betray you, Lord?" I would guess at that moment they were also questioning their own hearts. A little while later, Jesus predicted Peter's three-fold denial. Are there times in our walk of faith when we should stop and question, "How true is my commitment to the Lord?"

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Peter Denies Knowing Jesus

Peter Denies Jesus
The Second Denial of Peter by James Tissot.

SuperStock / Getty Images

Although Peter denied knowing Jesus, his failure resulted in a beautiful act of restoration. This Bible story underlines Christ's loving eagerness to forgive us and restore our relationship with him despite our many human weaknesses. Consider how Peter's poignant experience applies to you today.

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The Crucifixion

Pat LaCroix/Getty Images

Jesus Christ in all four gospels

Crucifixion was not only one of the most painful and disgraceful forms of death, it was one of the most dreaded methods of execution in the ancient world. When the religious leaders came to the decision to put Jesus to death, they wouldn't even consider that he might be telling the truth. Have you, too, refused to believe that what Jesus said about himself was true?

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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
small_frog / Getty Images

There are at least 12 different appearances of Christ in the resurrection accounts, beginning with Mary and ending with Paul. They were physical, tangible experiences with Christ eating, speaking and allowing himself to be touched. However, in many of these appearances, Jesus is not recognized at first. If Jesus visited you today, would you recognize him?

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The Ascension of Jesus Christ

The Ascension of Jesus Christ. Jose Goncalves

The ascension of Jesus brought the earthly ministry of Christ to a close. As a result, two outcomes paramount to our faith occurred. First, our Savior returned to heaven and was exalted to the right hand of God the Father, where he now intercedes on our behalf. Equally important, the ascension made it possible for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit to come to earth on the Day of Pentecost and be poured out on every believer in Christ.

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The Day of Pentecost

Apostles receive the gift of tongues (Acts 2). Public Domain

The Day of Pentecost marked a turning point for the early Christian church. Jesus Christ had promised his followers that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide and empower them. Today, 2,000 years later, believers in Jesus are still being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot live the Christian life without his help.

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Ananias and Sapphira

Ananias and Sapphira
Barnabas (in background) giving his possessions to Peter, Ananias (in foreground) being struck dead. Peter Dennis / Getty Images

The sudden deaths of Ananias and Sapphira form a spine-chilling Bible lesson and terrifying reminder that God will not be mocked. Understand why God would not let the early church be poisoned with hypocrisy.

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Stoning Death of Stephen

The Stoning Death of Stephen. Public Domain Courtesy of

The death of Stephen in Acts 7 distinguished him as the first Christian martyr. At the time many disciples were forced to flee Jerusalem because of persecution, thus causing the spread of the gospel. One man who approved of Stephen's stoning was Saul of Tarsus, later to become the Apostle Paul. See why the death of Stephen triggered events that would lead to explosive growth of the early church.

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Conversion of Paul

Public Domain

The conversion of Paul on the Damascus Road was one of the most dramatic moments in the Bible. Saul of Tarsus, a rabid persecutor of the Christian church, was changed by Jesus himself into his most enthusiastic evangelist. Learn how the conversion of Paul brought the Christian faith to Gentiles like you and me.

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Conversion of Cornelius

Cornelius and Peter
Cornelius Kneeling Before Peter. Eric Thomas / Getty Images

Your walk with Christ today may be in part because of the conversion of Cornelius, a Roman centurion in ancient Israel. See how two miraculous visions opened the early church to evangelizing all the people of the world. 

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Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
The Baptism of the Eunuch by Rembrandt (1626). Public Domain

In the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, we find a religious outcast reading the promises of God in Isaiah. A few minutes later he is miraculously baptized and saved. Experience God's grace reaching out in this poignant Bible story.

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Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Bible Story Summaries (Index)." Learn Religions, Sep. 20, 2021, Fairchild, Mary. (2021, September 20). Bible Story Summaries (Index). Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Bible Story Summaries (Index)." Learn Religions. (accessed June 3, 2023).