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 XVIII
Bill Long 1/7/07
1. "for you are just a boy.."
I could give a longer quotation, but this ought to be enough. I just realized that this Bible Quiz game is a literary version of "name that tune." There used to be a TV show in the 1970s so named, where people would bet they could "name a tune" when only a few notes were played. So, this is a sort of "name that verse"-type of quiz. I chose this verse because it captures a sentiment, often a debilitating one, said by elders to younger people to keep them from pursuing their dreams. 'You can't do THAT,' people say. Maybe it is because they don't think you have the training, the skill, the money, the desire, or whatever, but people always used to say that to me. "You are just a boy," then, was a statement that served to discourage action. It also can breed resentment and have the opposite effect on the person advised. They now want or need to get out and prove wrong the prognosticators. Ok, time's up. Who said this and in what context?
2. "let no one despise your youth.."
This verse is a perfect foil to the preceding, isn't it? In this latter case the young man was told how to handle a situation where people might despise his youth..."set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." I recall when I first learned this Scripture--around 1971, when everything Biblical seemed literally to wash over me--I was elated beyond measure. I didn't really know how to "set an example" but I sure tried. I am sure it had mixed results. I zealously focused on spiritual things probably to the exclusion of mastery of other more useful and practical life skills. Yet we do what we do, and this verse motivated me to try to be faithful. Where do you find it?
This is by far my shortest quotation (I am not going to give you "Jesus wept"). Here is what I wrote elsewhere about this word:
"Shibboleth is not used terribly frequently in our conversation, but when used it generally means "a catchword or formula adopted by a party or sect, by which their adherents or followers are discerned." Thus, in today's speech, it is a code word or slogan. In political speech today it often is used synonymously with mantra--an oft-repeated, and often seemingly meaningless, slogan which is intoned by the faithful. For the last twenty-years the Republicans have been using the mantra of "no new taxes" or have characterized the Democrats as "tax and spend." They have been less successful today in describing Democrats as "cut and run," with respect to the Iraq War, principally because almost everyone in the country now wants to devise a way to get our troops out of that country. Actually, I think that mantra is gaining on shibboleth and will supersede the latter, principally because shibboleth takes too much work to pronounce."
The last word, 'pronounce,' gives us a clue to its original meaning and appearance in the Bible. Where was that and what was the significance of the word 'shibboleth'?
4. "Can God spread a table in the wilderness?" NRSV. The KJV has, "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?"
For some reason, whenever I read or think about this text, I am forced back to my reading of Virgil's Aeneid where the Trojans are prophesied to and then finally have to 'eat their tables.' I long to get back to Virgil so that the reference will have a hyaline clarity to me. But here no one is eating tables; rather, tables are furnished. The tone of the text, however, is a mocking one. When some of the people of Israel doubted whether indeed God could deliver them, they did so through these words--"can God spread a table in the wilderness?" The beautiful theological point about all of this is that Ps. 23 might have partially been written to rebut the sentiment floating down through Israelite history for hundreds of years--whether God could, indeed, have furnished a table in the wilderness. The Psalmist goes one step further by saying that God sets up a table for us not in the wilderness but in the midst of our enemies (you know that verse, don't you?). Isn't that almost too much to bear? The restless questioning of the heart is answered with words that more than trump the fears that can be expressed. "Before they call, I will answer" (where is THAT from?). I think I should quit here... So, where is # 4 from?
5. "let us run with perseverance the race that is before us..."
Life isn't long for everyone. In fact, the life of some seems like a sprint rather than a marathon; they are like shooting stars rather than soft-glowing heavenly bodies. But sometimes life is long. Thus, in my mind, one of the most important characteristics to develop is perseverance. I have often told my students that one of the most overrated characteristics in law school is intelligence. Intelligence may get you places and can be used for your advantage, to be sure, but it is the one who gets up daily, plugs away at a problem, and refuses to give up, who truly has understood a basic lesson of life. I told my students that their attitude toward learning ought to be, "I don't yet fully understand X," rather than "I must be dumb; I will never understand X." I told my students that the best way to approach learning is to say, "there really isn't anything too difficult for me to understand; I just need to find my particular and peculiar "angle" on it to learn it." Thus, when this Scriptural author tells us to "run with perseverance" the race before us, he has captured what I believe is crucial to good living. People burn out all the time, in almost every endeavor. We, too, may do so. But just as we saw that "those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength" (where is that from, by the way?), so we see that running the race with perserverance "looking to Jesus," as the text goes on to say, has its rewards. Where from?