Excerpt from the Preface to Christ’s Faithful Servants, copyright 2023

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

—Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

I originally wrote these short biographies for my high school Sunday school class as a way of blending church history with inspirational stories about faithful Christians. My choices of people to include are admittedly subjective, but they were far from arbitrary.

To warrant inclusion, the most important criteria was that the person had to be a faithful, sincere Christian, as demonstrated by the life they lived. Any hint of hypocrisy sufficed for exclusion. A corollary was that enough information about their life had to be available to enable me to make that evaluation. Of course, all had flaws, especially prior to their conversion to Christianity, but all lived faithful lives.

Next, I looked for Christians whose lives were both interesting and historically significant. Thus, I selected people who had a profound impact on either history or Christianity, or both, but I did not include anyone who lived so recently that their historical significance is still hard to measure.

Finally, I deliberately chose individuals across a wide spectrum of time so that I could include a lot of church history. That history is critical to provide the context of these people’s lives and the world they lived in.

Most of the Christians I chose come out of western Christianity, and that may be proof of my bias in favor of the west over the east. But it is also a reflection of the fact that most of Christianity’s growth and expansion has been the result of the efforts of Christians from Western Europe and the Americas, possibly because Western Europe largely escaped the ravages of invasion from the Mongols and the Muslims, which probably stunted Christianity’s growth in the east.

My first two books (Beyond Blind Faith and Beyond Shallow Faith) focused primarily on New Testament topics. My next two books (The Old Testament Made Simple, Parts 1 and 2) summarized most of the Old Testament. This book explores post-biblical history and the “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) who lived lives of faith. . . .

Christ’s Faithful Servants is available on