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 VI
Bil Long 12/28/06
Having Fun Yet?
I want to reiterate that the verses or portions of verses I select are those that have a literary or theological meaning extending far beyond their use in the Bible. They are phrases that are useful to ruminate on and apply to one's life, in serious and humorous situations alike. I think you really aren't biblically "literate" until the language of the Scripture so suffuses you that it becomes your speech and your thought. So, here are six more phrases/verses. Good luck.
1. "And the Lord spake unto XXXX face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend," KJV. Or, in the NRSV, "Thus the Lord used to speak to XXXX face to face, as one speaks to a friend."
This verse is enormously suggestive, even as it presents some interesting theological problems. In fact, our attempt to understand, as well as identify, this verse can take us to many other verses which I also want you to find. Thus, this is verse is the fruitful mother of children, to use an Augustinian phrase. Is this the way that God speaks to us today, or does God speak with a still small voice? Where is that phrase from? Maybe the Lord speaks in a loud voice, by breaking the cedars of Lebanon (where is that from?). But, there is another Scriptural verse that says that no one can see God and live. Where is that? So, identify the bolded quotation above, and for extra credit, solve this theological problem. And, while you are at it, write an opera.
2. "time would fail me to tell..."
Sometimes people don't think that there is enough time to say all that they have to say. They speak rapidly, with words cascading out of their mouths like springtime waters crashing down the mountains. Often there doesn't appear time enough to tell our joys or our griefs or our losses or our hopes. As a teacher I get to the end of a semester and realize that I haven't even scratched the surface of the subject I was supposed to be teaching my students. "Time would fail me to tell" all the stories I want to tell about Jurisprudence, about the Book of Job, about Shakespeare's language, about all the beautiful and interesting words there are in English, of the way that life "works" for me and others. The biblical author had this experience, too. He told some great stories. But then "time would fail" him, and he stopped. Well, who was it?
3. "All who came before me were thieves and bandits..." "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers," KJV.
I learned to apply this verse to people when I was in graduate school. I had a professor who was the world's authority on Judaism in Late Antiquity. He was brilliant, irascible, intolerant, charming, impatient, hard-working, and a host of other things that time would fail me to tell. But he had a view about all those who studied Judaism in Late Antiquity before he started studying it. They were, basically, misguided. They might have understood a few things but, fundamentally, they got it wrong. Maybe they screwed up because they were Christians trying to study Judaism; maybe they didn't treat issues historically enough. For whatever reason, I got the impression that all that came before him were thieves and robbers. This applies to lots of folks in our world today. They are the authority. No one else quite understands the issue as they do. Everyone else is either benighted or is a "thief and robber." Oh, by the way, who said this, and in which context?
4. "and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
Whenever I hear or read this verse, I confess, I tear up. I do so because the verse expresses such a valiant, brilliant and seemingly unrealizable hope. Its hope is that there actually will be healing among nations, that the ravages of war, famine, murderous human ambition, ethnic strife, religious warfare, and disease will not be the last word to describe the human condition in life. Everytime I see pictures of ravaged countries and people, or hear of soldiers or civilians dying needlessly in war, I think of this verse, and I long, and I mourn. Would that it could be true that the leaves of the tree would effect the healing of the nations. Would that there would be peacemakers among us to help that happen. Would that it were that the tree in stained glass, where I first learned this verse, become the tree planted in every garden and heart of the world. It is worth learning this verse. Where is it from?
5. "and much study is a weariness of the flesh," KJV. The NRSV is very similar.
You may be feeling that precisely at this moment. What, indeed, is the value of study, when it leads to lots of weariness and often not much progress? I recall reading stories of the fabled 18th-19th century geniuses, who walled themselves up in their unheated garrets, plunged deeply into the history of human thought, wrote their eloquent or tortured expositions, became prematurely ill and died in penury (I guess Nietzsche is the prototypical example), and I felt alternatively repulsed and charmed by their stories. Perhaps, I thought, you actually can get to the bottom of things by patient, continuous and unremitting study. But this Biblical author recognizes that study wears you out. It does. I think if you gave a person the option of studying and writing all day for $100 per day or doing almost anything else for $100 per day, the person might at first choose the study but, if given a chance to recant, would change his/her decision. Where do we find this verse?
6. "He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me."
Strong words these are, especially if you realize that they were spoken in reference to God. Well, that may give it away to you, or at least give away the book of the Bible, but perhaps not. There are so many people who have suffered so much grief in life that I believe it would be spiritually liberating for them to be able to say about God, "He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me." That is the felt experience of many people. I know. I have met them. So, where does it appear, and in what context?
That's all for today. Enjoy your day with the Scriptures and other things.