While searching for an interesting way to instruct my college writing class about the concept of writing a biographical sketch, I found this idea: Write a biography in six words. When asked to do this, Pulitzer Prize winner Ernest Hemingway wrote this poignant bio: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.” Imagine the sad story behind those six words.
As I thought about this concept, I wondered if we could find any six-word biographies of people in the Bible. What I discovered was astonishing. Many of our scriptural heroes have already been described that way. For example, David, of whom God said: “A man after My own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). Or Paul’s self-description: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:1). Or Paul’s description of Timothy: “My true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2 NIV). And consider these words about Mary: “The virgin shall be with child” (Matt. 1:23). And about Jesus: “Became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
This exercise in precise descriptions of people of faith should cause us to wonder: What six-word description would best describe me? Would it be positive or negative? Would it be “Not an easy person to love” or “A shining light for the Lord”? What would your bio say?
In character, actions, and will,
For You are the potter and I am the clay—
Your purposes I would fulfill. —Fitzhugh