Knowing Your History

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Plutarch’s book, Parallel Lives, changed history. Born in ancient Greece in 46 A.D., Plutarch compiled more than 60 essays focusing on major characters from ancient Greece and Rome. The author of more than 200 other books, Plutarch traveled widely throughout the Roman Empire, gathering information and interviewing many firsthand witnesses.

More than just background, Plutarch provided observations, hoping audiences would study these examples and examine decisions that were made. He hoped his readers would learn from the successes and failures of the people he portrayed.

One of his major portraits was about Alexander the Great, who Plutarch described as a man with initiative, who didn’t just enjoy “days of pleasure.” To Plutarch, Alexander was a “great lover of all kinds of learning and reading,” and was “not easily to be diverted from anything he was bent upon.” In contrast, many of his followers became lazy, grew “tired of marching and fighting,” and developed bad attitudes.

Plutarch’s work was central to the education of countless men and women throughout time. Published in America for the first time on this day in 1699, Parallel Lives became the second most referenced source during America’s founding years (trailing only the Bible). It influenced the character of such men as Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson.

The influence of Plutarch’s book demonstrates why we should learn from the past, study biographies, and know our history.

The Bible is filled with references to knowing the past. It shows God’s work in action, and what happens when we obey Him (and disobey).

Ask God to help you know your past, and to understand history from His perspective, about your life, your heritage, and His people.