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 XLI
Bill Long 1/28/07
1. "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
This was one of the benedictions they taught us to say to our future congregations when I was taking Preaching Clinic in theological seminary. Since you had to memorize your benedictions, however, most guys (and there were very few "girls" at the time) just said the shorter one: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you." By the way, where do you find this shorter benediction? As I said, we were encouraged to do the longer one, but most students' memories or energy flagged and they couldn't. But actually, once you get going with the words, the phrases sort of tumble over themselves in rapid and ever-growing luminescence. [Oh, I love the definition of luminescent in the OED: "emitting light otherwise than as a result of incandescence." That could be a slogan of an artificial-light movement: "Luminescence not Incandescence." I can see a political platform already developing now. Well, before getting carried away with this idea, where do you find this verse?
2. "Oh yes, you did laugh..."
This verse really belongs with the preceding quiz, but I ran out of space there. This is the last line in a rather ludicrous and comedic exchange between God and a biblical character. God first says, "Why did XXXX laugh and say...." God seemed to take umbrage at the person's laughter because God then said, "Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?" Then, as is the human wont, the human wanted to deny laughing, and the text says, "I did not laugh," to which God rejoined, "Oh yes, you did laugh." There is an old Italian proverb, "He who laughs last laughs best," but I don't think this was God's point here. Some person sophisticated in narratology or deconstruction ought to be able to tell us the literary heft of such a conversation, but it escapes me at present. In any case, it is one of those biblical verses that you just ought to learn as an indication that your mind has become saturated with the Scriptures.
3. "I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father."
This, really, is one wonderful verse. It more than "makes up" for the playfulness of the last verse. It so much caught the attention of George Fox (1624-1691) that he formed a group called the Friends of Truth, which later became known as the Society of Friends. Opponents called them the Quakers because of their often agitated state when they seemingly were drawing revelatory insight from the Spirit. This verse enhances the theological significance of Fox's choice to call his society the "Friends," for it suggests that they too, like the first disciples, have access to everything Jesus heard from the Father. Interesting it is how one can take or undestand this verse. It could, for example, be the inspiration for all kinds of Gnostic movements--movements of people who say they have special "knowledge" of God because of a unique relationship to Christ. This relationship with Christ need not have been formed by actual presence with him during his earthly ministry; one can also claim a special revelation or appearance of the risent Christ (like Paul, who, however, opposed Gnostic theology). Where do you find this verse?
4. "for God is not a God of disorder but of peace."
This verse appeared in an argumentative context where the author was trying to convince his hearers that there was a proper "order" in the church that had to be observed by all. The gifts of the Spirit were to be encouraged, but they were also hierarchically arranged. That is, prophecy was "above" speaking in tongues or even healing. Just before the verse that is bolded above, the author made one of his final "church-order" points: "And the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets." This means that even those with the highest spiritual gifts must submit their gifts to the "committee" of others with them. The author will have no "lone ranger" Christians; no people so unusually gifted that they aren't in some way connected to and subject to the authority of the community. That is probably a good idea, because communities of all sorts need rules for inclusion, exclusion and control of members. That is why some people have a hard time with communities of any kind--they don't like this structural arrangement. Well, I have gotten afield from this verse, but it suggests a theological rationale for mutual submission in the Body of Christ--because God prefers peace rather than disorder. Gordon Fee mentioned that this was one verse that hit him with tremendous power as he was writing his epic-length (880-page) commentary on 1 Cor. Oops, I gave it away again. Where do you find this verse?
5. "The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse--who can understand it?" NRSV. The KJV has: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and despearately wicked: who can know it?"
I actually prefer the KJV to the NRSV, but both of them get the point across pretty clearly. The context of the verse should be noted. The author presents oracles from God which contrast those who trust in "mere mortals" ("cursed are those") and those who trust in the Lord ("blessed are those"). Those, for example, who trust in the Lord "shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream." Sounds a lot like Psalm 1, doesn't it? But it isn't Psalm 1. Go through your mental rolodex now to the other appearance of that thought in the Bible. The verse bolded above appears a verse or two after it. Is this a true thought? Someone asked me the other day if I "believed" the Bible. I said that the part of it that rung most true to me was a verse like the one bolded above. Certainly thee are longings for the divine in the human heart, and there are "good people" out there. But somehow the verse seems to ring true to my experience. And, I like people. This is the kind of verse that can keep a discussion going for hours among imaginative people. Where do you find it?