Adam in Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
Adam was the first man created by God.
Adam's most popular quote comes after Adam and Eve become tempted and eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Adam is hiding from God when God calls to Adam “Where art thou?” And Adam replies:
“I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
— Adam, Genesis 3:10
The irony here is that Adam was naked all along. He only became aware of, and shameful of his nakedness after he ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Eve in Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
Eve was the first woman created by God and the wife of Adam.
In the story of the temptation by the serpent and the Fall, the serpent asks Eve whether she is allowed to eat of any of the tree in the Garden of Eden. So Eve tells the serpent:
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’”
— Eve to the serpent, Genesis 3:3
Eventually though, Eve does succumb to temptation and eats the forbidden fruit.
Abraham detail by József Molnár
Abraham was originally named Abram and was the first to be led to the Promised Land by God. God named him Abraham after he forms a covenant with him and promised he would be the father of many nations.
In the following quote, Abram and Lot are negotiating for land for their families to settle on and Abrams suggests:
“Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.”
— Abraham to Lot, Genesis 13:8
Eventually, to keep the peace between them, Abram settles on the less-favorable land that Lot does not want.
Moses with the Ten Commandments by Philippe de Champaigne
Moses was a prophet of God who led the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land.
In the following quote, Moses is 120 years old. God has told Moses “You shall not go over this Jordan.” (Deuteronomy 31:2). Moses then encourages the Israelites gathered across the Jordan from the Promised Land, who will enter after Moses death:
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
— Moses, Deuteronomy 31:6
Thus were the most famous last words of Moses. The man who led God’s chosen people out of captivity in Egypt to the doorstep of the Promised Land.
Detail from The Triumphant David by Matteo Rosselli
David was the third king of Israel after Saul and his son Ish-bosheth.
In his youth David fights the giant Goliath. After Goliath mocks the young, lightly armed and physically unprotected David, David replies to the heavily armed Goliath:
“Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”
— David to Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:45
David then proceeds to strike Goliath in the forehead with a stone from his sling and then beheads him with his own sword which leads to a retreat and defeat of the Philistine army.
Detail from The Judgment of Solomon by Peter Paul Rubens
Solomon was the fourth king of Israel and son of King David.
Solomon is traditionally cited as the author of the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 31 consists of the sayings of King Lemuel (thought by Jewish legend to be Solomon) whose mother, Bathsheba, taught him about the qualities of a wife of noble character:
“Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”
— Solomon, Proverbs 31:25
To read more about the qualities of a virtuous woman including chastity, justice, mercy, temperance and virtue see virtuous woman, Proverbs 31.
The Prophet Isaiah by Raphael
Isaiah was a Jewish prophet in the Old Testament.
Before God sent the Jews into captivity he made promises for their support and comfort during their time of hardship. These messages were prophesied by Isaiah:
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
— Isaiah 40:31
To see this verse in the context of the Book of Isaiah, see Isaiah 40.
Jesus by Heinrich Hofmann
Christ in the Wilderness by Ivan Kramskoy
Sermon On The Mount by Henrik Olrik
Jesus portrait by Heinrich Hofmann
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.
Jesus’ most famous quote is John 3:16 which is also the most googled verse in the Bible. In it, the Jewish ruler Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night to question him about his miraculous powers. Jesus explains his Gospel message Nicodemus, in part:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
— Jesus, John 3:16
To read the full conversation, see Jesus teaching Nicodemus, John 3:1-21.
Mary, Jesus' mother
The Virgin in Prayer by Sassoferrato
Mary was the mother of Jesus.
In Luke 1:26-38, Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel. She is informed she will conceive the Son of God through the Holy Ghost. Mary then replies:
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
— Mary, Luke 1:38
As a handmaid, or female servant, Mary signals her willingness to bring Jesus into the world. To read this verse in biblical context, see Luke 1.
John the Baptist
John in The Apparition of Christ to the People by Alexander Ivanov
John the Baptist lived near the Jordan river and baptized Jesus in the river before Jesus began preaching the Gospel to the world.
In John's most popular verse, he sees Jesus in the distance and proclaims to his followers:
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
— John the Baptist, John 1:29
To read this verse in biblical context, see John 1.
Appearance of Jesus Christ to Mary Magdalene by Alexander Ivanov
Mary Magdalene was a Jewish woman who traveled with Jesus as one of his followers.
She was present at the crucifixion of Jesus and the first to testify to the resurrection of Jesus. Her famous exchange with the resurrected Christ near his tomb is as follows:
Jesus saith unto her, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?” She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus saith unto her, “Mary.” She turned herself, and saith unto him, “Rabboni”; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
— Mary and Jesus, John 20:15-17
Satan in The Temptation of Christ by Ary Scheffer
Satan or the devil was a former angel of God who fell from the grace of God.
After Jesus fasts for 40 days in the desert wilderness, Satan tries to tempt Christ. Satan offers Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world”, and says:
Saint Peter in Tears by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Peter, St. Peter or Simon Peter was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ and a leader of the early Christian church.
Peter's most famous quote comes on the first day of Pentecost, the 50th day after Easter. On this day, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and thousands of Jews gathered in Jerusalem. Peter stood with the other 11 apostles and addressed the crowd as follows:
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
— Peter, Acts 2:38
Some 3,000 Jews were baptized that day and made believers in the Gospel of Jesus. To read the full story, see Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost.
Saint Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne
Paul the Apostle was originally a persecutor of early Christians before he underwent a dramatic conversion. Thereafter he became one of the most energetic and influential figures in the early Christian church teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in many parts of Asia Minor and Europe. He wrote up to 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
Paul helped establish churches including one in Philippi, Macedonia. To the Philippians people he wrote a letter which constitutes the Bible book of the same name. Towards the end, he thanks the Philippians for their gifts and support while reminding them of his greatest supporter of all:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
— Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:13
A few verses later, Paul reminds the Philippians they too can do all things through God and Christ writing in 4:19, “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” To read this verse in context, see Philippians 4 which contains other famous verses including 4:6, “Be careful for nothing…” and 4:8, “…whatsoever things are lovely…”.