Many Bible studies of the book of Ruth focus on the life and character of Ruth herself. Ruth takes a more comprehensive view of the book as a whole. While the book is named for Ruth, and she is prominent in the action, other significant players populate the drama: Naomi, Elimelek, Mahlon, Kilion, Orpah, Boaz, an unnamed guardian-redeemer, reapers, elders, neighbors. All have their share of importance in the historical narrative.
What does the book of Ruth have to do with us today? Although Ruth and Boaz are mentioned in the New Testament only in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5), Christians have long seen in the book of Ruth a foreshadowing of our redemption through Christ. As Ruth and Naomi were destitute, with no status and no hope, we were in spiritual poverty and could not rescue ourselves. Like them, we were in need of a guardian-redeemer who would come to our aid. As Boaz in love intervened and took responsibility to save Ruth and Naomi, Christ in love has become our ultimate Redeemer who assumes the burden of our need and gives us a place in his kingdom.