5 Bible characters who were thought to be mad!! (and the lessons we can learn from them)

 Welcome back Christian Damsel! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’! 

How about the subject of insanity? There are five characters I found in the Scriptures who were considered to be mad.

Now what could we possibly learn from them? Let's investigate...
Insane Bible characters


(1 Samuel 21:13-15)

No one wants to be thought of as mad. That’s a designation we all work to avoid. But in 1 Samuel 21:13-15, David wanted to be seen as mad.

When he first went before Achish, the king of Gath, he had hoped to find refuge from Saul. His hopes quickly turned to fear, when Achish’s servants recognised him.

Suddenly, all that mattered to David was his freedom.

David’s desperation for an escape caused him to feign madness - and it worked! Achish was convinced of David’s apparent insanity, thereby allowing him to escape (1 Samuel 22:1).


David is providing for us an example of the power of desperation. His time before the King of Gath represents our bondage of various sorts.

His pretending to be mad illustrates how desperation for true spiritual freedom will allow us to cast off pride and fear.

How desperate are you for spiritual freedom?

David was next in line to be the King of Israel, a position of nobility and prestige. But this same David “...let his spittle fall down upon his beard.”


How broken are you willing to get so that you too can escape all that wants your spiritual death?๐Ÿค”


One of the children of the prophets 

(2 Kings 9:1-11)

This son of the prophets was sent with specific instructions by his master Elisha. He was to:

  1. go to Ramoth-Gilead with a box of oil
  2. privately anoint Jehu with it
  3. proclaim him as the king of Israel
  4. then open the door and flee!

He did all as he was instructed by Elisha, including the fact that he fled.

He literally ran off!

With all certainty, Elisha would be pleased and satisfied with what he had done. 

But, to another audience, his strict adherence to his master’s instructions earned him the title “this mad fellow”. 

For the ignorant around him, the obedient son of the prophet was nothing but insane.


That’s what a true believer in Jesus will look like to the world.

That’s how you will come across to even other Christians who did not hear what God told you to do.

You will look foolish to those who were not there when God spoke to you.

You will look foolish to those who are carnal

In God’s eyes, you are anointed, but in their eyes, you are a fool. 

Before God, you are chosen, but in the eyes of the carnal onlookers, what you do makes no sense.

What you call ‘God’s will’, others may call ‘a wasted life’.

But one thing is for sure: if you do all that God bids you to do, you will be found pleasing to Him. And that’s what matters!



(John 10:20)

God Himself, in the Person of Jesus, was once accused of being mad.


The words of Jesus were known to offend many at times. His words cost Him many disciples at one go in John 6:66. 

(Talk about a church split!)

But here He was again in John 10 speaking what He knew were words of life and salvation. 

Unfortunately, instead of eager and receptive hearers, Jesus’ words caused a division.

In fact, it would seem that only the lesser part of the crowd ascribed any worth to Him: John 10 verse 21 declares that ‘Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil.’

This is in stark contrast to the ‘many of them’ who said Jesus was mad (John 10:20).

The majority had always seemed not to favour Jesus’ words, even to the point of assuming simple insanity.


Accepting and absorbing God’s truth cannot be left up to our carnal minds. His words will make no sense to our flesh.

God's truth is unacceptable to the carnal mind

Every encounter with the word of God must take place in a Spirit-led context or else we will miss the benefit of it. 

That includes reading the Bible, receiving prophetic messages, or listening to the word being taught or preached...even reading a blog like this...


(Acts 12:11-16)

James the apostle had been killed, and now the apostle Peter was on death row! The church was not going to lose another of their valuable and esteemed apostles if they had anything to do with it.

So, they prayed.

They prayed and prayed and prayed.

They were pressing into God for the deliverance of their beloved brother and spiritual leader, Peter.

Unfortunately, and rather comically, God’s answer to their prayers was passed off as madness!

When Peter showed up at their meeting place, young Rhoda thought that her news would spark joyous celebration.

In her logical mind, she assumed that all the fervent requests on behalf of Peter should cease when Peter showed up. 

She was in for a surprise!

Instead of faith-filled expectation of what God would do, Rhoda was accused of being mad! 

After all the intense and sacrificial praying, the answer to prayer was rejected in disbelief.

What a shame that the answer to their prayers was deemed so incredulous that their messenger was thought to be out of her mind.

Their response did not discourage Rhoda, though. She continued to tell them what she knew. She was finally proven right when the prayer team went themselves and opened the door to Peter indeed.

I wonder how embarrassed they must have felt before God! 


Our testimony of God’s truth and even what He has done for us, must never be weakened by the disbelief of others.

Let's be like little Rhoda, and not allow the faithlessness of others to shake us!

Paul the Apostle 

(Acts 26: 24-25)

The apostle Paul had not received a warm welcome from the Jews at Jerusalem, and had been brought before the Jewish Council. (Acts 21, 22, 23)

After a sharp division arose amongst them, and in order to escape their plan to kill him, Paul was taken to Felix, the governor at that time. (Acts 23)

Years passed in Caesarea, and a new governor was in charge. Again the case against Paul was mentioned and finally, it came time for Paul to defend himself.

He had been given the permission to speak before king Agrippa and governor Festus, in defense of the accusations of the Jewish council against him.

Although Paul was speaking “words of truth and soberness” (Acts 26:25), to the unconverted Governor Festus, Paul’s ideas were preposterous.

Governor Festus was convinced that Paul had made himself mad by learning too much. 

But Paul did not change his testimony to become more acceptable to his audience. 

He stuck to the truth.


We have in Paul an example of boldness under pressure. He knew what God had done for him and he knew what the Holy Spirit had revealed to him.

He understood that without Divine revelation, the things of the Spirit are foolishness to those who are in the flesh. 

Without Divine revelation, God's word is foolishness
He therefore did not allow Festus’ accusation to move him.

Related post:

8 things we miss when we are spiritually blind

Special Activity๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿฅณ:

  1. Name five Bible characters who were thought to be mad.
  2. Using one of those individuals listed in number one, state one lesson you have learned from that person.
  3. Fill in the blanks:
But the _______________ man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are ________________ unto him: neither can he know them, in because they are _______________ discerned.
(Hint: Second chapter of first Corinthians, KJV ๐Ÿ˜‰).

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