Joseph: Bible Character Study

joseph old testament bible

  • The Meaning of Joseph – “God adds”.
  • Eleventh son of Jacob and the elder of two sons of Rachel (Genesis 30:24)

Joseph’ life: I -  Genesis 37: 1-4

Q. What can we learn about Joseph in the bible?

  • Joseph was seventeen years old. He was a shepherd.
  • He did not participate in his brothers’ misconducts. In fact, he brought reports of their mischief to his father.
  • He was the favorite of Jacob. Jacob loved him more than all his brothers. Jacob made a coat of many colors for him.
  • His brothers hated him for this reason and could not even talk with him well.
  • Joseph was rather naive to tell his dreams to his brothers about his future supremacy and his brothers’ submission to him. That intensified their hatred towards him.
  • So, when the opportunity came at Dothan, they planned to kill him. But Rueben tried to rescue him by persuading them not to kill him. His brothers sold him to the caravan of Ishmaelite going to Egypt.
  • His life was changed in a moment, from being the beloved son to the slave in an unknown land, Egypt.

Joseph at the Potiphar’s House: II – Genesis 39:1-20

Q. What can we learn about Joseph from this passage?

Temptation of Joseph:

  • He was young and handsome. He was the head of the house. None would have known if he’d have given in to the temptation by Potiphar’s wife.
  • He had a healthy fear of God. (Gen 39:9)
  • His temptation period was long.
  • He tried to resist her as much as he could, but when time came he had to flee from the place. (How to overcome temptation, Temptation of Jesus Christ in the Wilderness)
  • Due to false accusation of Potiphar’s wife, he was cast into prison. (Gen 39:20)
  • Once again, he paid the price for being righteous!

Joseph in the Prison: III – Genesis 39:20 – 41:37

  • Once again, God was with him in all his trials.
  • One may argue, why did God not rescue him from his troubles? But God’s plan and purpose are higher than ours. We may see the immediate, but God sees at our future.
  • Joseph continued to be faithful, he did not give up.
  • The Lord again blessed him in all his work. The Jailer gave him charge of all the other prisoners.
  • In prison, he helped the chief butler (cup-bearer) to restore his position in Pharaoh’s office.  But the cupbearer forgot his promise to mention about Joseph’s innocence to the Pharaoh.
  • After two years, when Pharaoh had two dreams, the cupbearer remembered Joseph and his skills to interpret dreams.
  • So when Joseph was brought to Pharaoh, he interpreted dreams about seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
  • He suggested the preparation for the famine by storing food during the good harvest years.

Joseph: The Chief Minister (Governor) of Egypt: IV – Genesis 41:41-56

  • The Pharaoh liked his proposal. And he made Joseph the Head of state to implement his plans for upcoming famine.
  • He was given egyptian name and was married to egyptian priest’s daughter.
  • He was 30 years old. So after 13 years of suffering and struggle, God made him the most influential person in all known world at that time.
  • His wisdom and planning saved lives of people from not only Egypt but many other nations.

Joseph’s Life: The Unusual Family Reunion: V – Genesis 42-50

  • The famine brought all people from different nations to Egypt for help, including his brothers from Israel.
  • They could not recognize him, but he knew them. He remembered the dream he had, when he was a young boy.
  • Joseph, after testing them in different ways, made him known to them. (Gen 45:1-15)
  • He forgave them and persuaded them to settle in Egypt with their father, Jacob.
  • Joseph lived for 110 years. (Gen 50:26)

Lessons learnt from Life of Joseph:

  • God’s plans and purpose are greater and better than ours!
  • God’s providence and favor to the righteous
  • Suffering to God’s people is not always bad!
  • Self control in youth
  • Patience and perseverance in the time of troubles
  • Honesty, strong work ethics
  • Fear of God and Faithfulness to God

Key-verse for Life of Joseph:

  • “The Lord was with Joseph”. (Gen 39:2, 39:21)
  • “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Gen 50:20)

Joseph in the Bible as the Type of Christ:

Old Testament often represents metaphors, symbols or characters which points to Jesus Christ and God’s plan of Salvation, these are called ‘Type of Christ”. (Check out Moses as Type of Christ) Life of Joseph in many ways resembles to the life of Christ.  Here are some of the type of Christ in Joseph’s life.

  • He was loved by his father.
  • Rejected by his brothers
  • Turned to gentiles
  • Unjustly tried
  • Suffered
  • Was exalted with honor and glory
  • Married a gentile bride
  • Returned to his family and was accepted
  • Delivered his people from death

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Comments

  1. B says

    Joseph is a great example of someone that grows stronger in their faith, because of the trials they go through. I think enduring trials knowing that God is still with you is one of the hardest things a Christians does. I think that Christians always come out stronger and more faithful with facing these trials, by trusting and staying true to their faith.

    At some point you realize that all you can do is to continue following God and trusting in your faith. When you have done everything you can to preserver, the only thing you can keep doing is continue to act righteous and stay true to the narrow path.

    For many people, hard times causes them to stray from any righteousness they have, but a Christian uses hard times to dig deeper into their faith and grow stronger in their faith. It is much easier to go astray from the righteous path, but much more honorable and rewarding to grow your faith to endure tuff times.

  2. Emma Jacob says

    I am really encouraged and blessed when going through these studies. I have shared Christian Discipleship with some of my sisters that I usually share with and encouraged. I have even shared the fellowship with God with my kids and encouraged them too. I would request if you could email me some messages regarding life of women in the bible both in the old testament and new testament. Women like Deporah, the widow that fed Elijah, Eunice & Louis (mother and grand mother of Timothy) and others.

    Thank you so

    E.Jacob

  3. focus says

    was looking for a bible characters to teach my teenager in church , when i come across this wonderful, explicit passage, am happy, would like to have more of this write ups on other bibilical characters men and women that teenagers can emulate as role model.
    thank you for this great job. as i wait in anticipation for your reply.
    God bless you,
    FOCUS,

  4. says

    I like this lesson about Joseph. I watched the film called Life of Joseph Film on YouTube. I recommend watching it.

  5. Bible Student says

    Found the outline on Joseph quite useful. Not quite sure how the following two types of Christ have been established from Joseph’s life:

    ?Married a gentile bride
    ?Returned to his family and was accepted

  6. tearzajoy says

    Thankyou so much for this study. I am just starting to study men in the Bible with my 3 teenage boys in family devotions. There are so few role models these days. I have known Christian men and women who drink alcohol! I am a single Mom and wish I could find men and women who really believe the Bible and are living out their faith to be examples to my boys. To the faithful Godly men out there- Keep being faithful to God and tell God’ truths. We need the truth not watered down half-truths.Thankyou!

  7. Oviangbede temini joy says

    Is great,we hardly see a man like joseph today,every youth will like to give the body what neede,if all our youth can learn from joseph we would all live a successful life,one of the things @ sin that destroy youth today is fonication.i really thank God am change first.

  8. Fola says

    @Bible Student- here is the analogy to Christ you were looking for:
    - Married a gentile bride – We are the bride and Christ is the Bridegroom. While we were yet sinners, he love us as Gentiles.

    - Returned to his family and was accepted – after Christ was crucified, he died and resurrected and the same people who crucified him now accepted him as the true son of God.

  9. robert says

    joseph also was very good forgiver,he was trying to punished his brothers and then forgive then to be learn that their act was wrong.

  10. Philip says

    This is higly great & educative to million of those taste for approval.may the gud Lord continually enriched u & ur minitry.

  11. Tee says

    Hello,

    I hope you are well.

    We were asked to study about Joseph in my cell meeting (a small part of Church) and to share with the group.. and all I knew about Joseph was everywhere… This just made it VERY easy and in one place..Oh and the references really helped. Thank you very much – very much appreciated.

    Kind Regards,

    Tee.

  12. Steve Ngoloh says

    The life of Joseph is a perfect model for a today’s young person. It brings about the real truth in Jeremiah 29:11 and much more there is a conspicuous message of hope to us who are believers. Thanks and God bless you much.

  13. says

    The story of Joseph’s life teaches so many angles of human endeavors. Especially I can appreciate the young man ‘s resilience in resisting temptation. I think the whole lot of his story borders on one God directs and one who decides to wait upon the Lord to refine and polish for his Glory. How I wish most Christians would imitate and leave according to the Lord’s leading. I’m impressed with this lesson. Kindly send more. God bless you and the ministry. Thank you.

  14. R Garza says

    I’m 53 and facing some serious “Down Time” due to medical reasons.
    Today’s news programs and the world’s entertainment leaves me unsatisfied
    and empty. I grave helpful, Biblical knowledge. I have to admit that sometimes I get confused with who was who in regards to the Bible characters Daniele and Joseph, so http://www.bibleseo.com is where I came for a clear distinction and understanding.

  15. ISAAC WAIRANGU says

    He is a life example of any christian who desires to win the battle and reign again with christ .

  16. arnold fabillar says

    Joseph’s life is a good example of unquestioning obedience. Despite the many dangers and inconveniences he suffered, he was steadfast in his faith in God. The ups and downs of his life can be summarized as follows:

    1. From pit to pinnacle
    2. From slave to supervisor
    3. From prisoner to prime minister

    God has yet to see a person like Joseph who is fully yielded to God no matter what!

  17. ewusie says

    the life of joesph very blessing for us a christian..it wil serves us good to imitate it and also tells God will never reject a true servant.

  18. says

    I have enjoyed all the Bible studies, that you have too offered and I know this will lead the people to learn and grow in the Lord! Thank you and Bless you richly!

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