Biblical Quizzes for Really Smart People
Quiz III--Movies II
Quiz VII--X rated
Quiz VIII--X rated
Quiz X- The Numbers
Quiz XXIX (Messiah)
Quiz XXX (Messiah II)
Quiz XXXI (Mess. III)
Quiz XXXII (Mess. IV)
Quiz XL--vivid images
Quiz LIX--weird doct.
Quiz LXV--doctrine II
Bible Quizzes for Smart People L
Bill Long 2/7/07
1. "Then they were glad because they had quiet..."
I think this ought to be the verse that every parent learns by heart! Or, maybe, someone skilled in weaving ought to make one of those biblical verse weavings, which people hang on walls or on their doors, with these words. Aren't you tired of those little weavings that just have verses in them like "Trust in the Lord with all your heart.." or "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord?" I think that rather than making a determined and bold statement of one's faith on these items, we ought to declare something biblical that we really want. Like this. "Then they were glad because they had quiet." We might also put some verses from the Song of Solomon on the wall, too....On a more serious note, the experience of quiet is something we all need, even though in the context where it appears, the passage doesn't speak of domestic tranquility. God had demonstrated the divine wonders in the deep, and the people in the sea "mounted up to heaven" (on the waves) and then "went down to the depths." Then they cried to the Lord (a theme of the passage where the verse appears) and "he made the storm be still." Jesus' ministry of stilling the storm imitates God's previous success at doing the same. So, where do you find this "quiet" verse?
2. "Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.."
While on the theme of water, I thought I would relate another verse that has watery connotations. Here the author seems to be speaking of his own experience of sinking in the waves. The waters are gradually coming up to his neck. Maybe he can't hold on much longer. Soon they might bring him to the "deep mire, where there is no foothold." The feeling of one who has lost a foothold in the waters and is in danger of being overwhelmed must be one of absolute terror. Most of us try to avoid circumstances of terror in life; yet the "cost" of avoiding them is that we don't understand fully the terror felt by the author of the text. But sometimes terror comes to us unbidden. It just swoops into our lives through a phone call we receive; through a scare in our bodies; through an automobile accident or something else. Just two days ago I was talking to a man who does some work for me, and he related how his wife hit the accelerator rather than the brake when coming into their driveway, totalling her car against their bigger truck and almost decapitating herself in the process. She (and he) felt a moment of absolute terror. Have you ever felt this way? Well, where do you find the verse?
3. "But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me.'"
I think I am not yet done with the waters yet. This passage came to mind as I was doing the others. It should be familiar to you because it appears in the story of Peter's attempt to walk on the water to Jesus (at Jesus' invitation). He did fine for a little while, but once he began to focus on his surrounding circumstances, he began to sink. In this situation, all he could do was to say, "Lord, save me." I learned a new word a while back--petrel. It is a bird which flies low over the sea and appears, at times, to be walking on the sea. It derives its name from Peter's experience in this passage. So, you see, if you learn your Bible you might also have an incentive to try to become a naturalist! The sky is really the limit. But where to you find this water story?
4. "A threefold cord is not quickly broken."
Well, we just had three verses on "waters." These three emphasize the dangerous nature of the waters, but also the theological significance of them. Thinking of the waters made me also think of the way that triple-anything really emphasizes the power of your point. Then, this Scriptural verse came to mind. Students of Greek philosophy might say that the threefold cord of a Socrates, Plato and Aristotle will not quickly be broken. Indeed, their thoughts have formed the basis of Western philosophy. Then you have, in early Christian Alexandria, Panaetius, Clement and Origen, a threefold cord of Platonic Christian thought that was not easily broken, influencing Augustine two centuries later and many people throughout the history of Christianity. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in one of his most intemperate opinions on the US Supreme Court said, in affirming the sterilization of Carrie Buck on account of her feeblemindedness, said that "three generations of imbeciles are enough" (i.e., if the state let her propagate, she would more than likely have "degenerate" offspring). So, we tend to think of threes, whether they are of teachers who establish a tradition or of generations of a family which establish patterns. Threefold things aren't quickly broken, says the Scripture. What else might it mean? But, more to the point for today, where do you find this verse?
5. "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever, to observe all the words of this law."
The immediate context of this verse is the judgment God will bring upon the people if they are unfaithful. Then, this verse appears. It doesn't seem as if the destruction God causes is one of the "secret things," though one might argue that the extent of God's judgment on the chosen people is a rather secret and inexplicable thing. However, I first learned this verse not in the context in which it appears in the Bible but at the hand of over-eager Evangelicals in the early 1970s. They tried to use it against me, as I think of it 35 years later, though I didn't recognize it at the time. To them this verse meant that there should be an end to questioning and that one should just "accept" in faith things that were unclear. Thus, people used to say to me, "This is one of God's secret things that God will keep to himself until the end. Why don't you just spend your time worrying about things that have been revealed to you?" Billy Graham had the same kind of approach to the Bible (maybe this is where my friends derived their advice), when he said, "I don't worry about the Biblical passages I don't understand; I worry about the ones I do understand." But I was full of questions and, at their urging, I dropped my questions, in order to be a "faithful" person. I never forgot, however, their encouragement to find confusing things to be an example of the "secret things" of God. And, when I fell in with the liberals through the next two decades things weren't much better. They didn't speak about the "secret things of God" (because many of them didn't want to be caught dead or alive quoting the Scriptures), but they did talk about "embracing mystery." I had no idea of what they meant, but I began to become disillusioned with both conservatives and liberals. I don't think, by any means, that I understand everything of importance in Christian faith. But I do know that I would rather not rush to mystery or proclaim that something is a "secret thing" of God. I would rather suspend judgment for now. Ok, so where do you find this little gem?
That's it for today.