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 XXIII
Bill Long 1/10/07
1. "It is zeal for you house tha has consumed me." NRSV. KJV has, "For the zeal of thine house has eaten me up."
I like the KJV version better, for some reason. It is reminiscent of another verse (where is this from?), "My zeal consumes me because my foes forget your words." Most people know that Jesus uses the bolded words, but he is quoting from the "original source," and I don't want you just to cite Jesus' words. The New Testament author has Jesus say these words when he has cleansed the temple; indeed his zeal for the proper ordering of affairs of the temple and the worship of God consumes him. I wonder sometimes about different "types" of people. Certainly personality theorists have a more "modern" word for it (I think they probably use "obsessive-compulsive" far too often, however) but I like the biblical word, as suggested by this verse. Such a person of tremendous focus or unwavering conviction would be called the "zeal-has-eaten-me-up"-type of person. Let's bring the biblical terminology into psychology. After all, modern psychology was birthed in Greek mythology. Why not have it celebrate its adolescence through biblical words? Ok, time's up. Where is this verse?
2. "Be ready in the morning."
Ok, this will probably win first prize in the list of obscure biblical verses that stick in my memory, but it did so through a semi-weird Christian whom I met in the early 1970s, when my mind (and now my memory) overloaded with too many things intellectual and spiritual. I say semi-weird because the guy wasn't dangerous, unlike my "foundation of God standeth firm"-type of guy. There is a story behind this verse. In Fall 1971 Campus Crusade for Christ ("CCC") set up its ministry at Brown University. Well, it isn't as if they just decided to "show up;" several of us from the Brown Christian Fellowship invited them to campus. They sent a staff member and wife who were pretty strongly mismatched for the job. After all, Brown prides itself on being a pretty high-powered intellectual school and, you have to admit, CCC just draws the short straw in that category. Indeed, in the early 1970s, it prided itself on its simple, straightforward approach to the Gospel. Using a booklet called "The Four Spiritual Laws" (the "Gold" book) and a less-known booklet which we called the "Holy Spirit" book (the "Blue" book), CCC-ers fanned out over campus to try to bring the Gospel to this secular intellectual paradise. Well, we didn't have much luck, but then again, you learn a lot when you are 19 and open to learning things. Well, one of the things we used to do was to go on retreats. At the retreat we would get the regional big wig or, if we were really lucky, we would draw upon a "national speaker," who would come in and tell us THE TRUTH. On one such occasion one of their senior staffers, who had "worked with Bill Bright" from the beginning (oh my, let me touch the hem of his robe!--oops! where is that from?), spoke to our conference. He wanted to emphasize the importance of "Quiet Times," as the called them. The phrase didn't originate with CCC (I wonder who coined it?), but it referred to a time of 30 minutes or so in the morning which you spent in uninterrupted prayer, Bible reading and study/note-taking. Actually, the concept isn't a bad one, but I, a person who never could do anything spiritual in moderation in those days, wanted to have "quiet hours" each day--like about six hours. Well, in encouraging us to start our day in the morning "with God," this Bill Bright epigone picked the verse that began "be ready in the morning." God spoke these words in the text, and since God spoke them, it must mean that we should be ready to "be with God" in the morning. That was the gist of his message. Of course, he wrenched the verse pretty badly out of context, but who cares, especially when it helps you make the point you want to make?
Before asking you to find this text, however, I want to tell you one more little story. This guy (I know his name, but want to leave his memory unsullied) also brought a message to us the next day (the conference was in the Spring, just before Summer break) on Acts 20:20. The Apostle Paul is speaking, "I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house.." His question to us was: "Will you have 20/20 vision this summer?" Using Acts 20:20, where Paul speaks and preaches the word as his basis, he stressed the importance of us having this 20/20 vision. I couldn't help but notice, as he exhorted us in this cute manner, that he was squinting through some pretty thick glasses as he spoke. Definitely not 20/20 vision there. But, spiritually speaking, all things are possible (whoops, where does that verse come from?), and I suppose that I wanted to have 20/20 "spiritual vision" for the summer. Thanks for bearing with me in my stories, but now you must tell me where this verse comes from...
3. "the very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me."
The reason I like this verse is because of its rhetorical structure. The thing that supposedly saves us actually condemns us. We can use this verse in all types of humorous, and not-so-humorous situations in life. We buy new techological gadgets to save time and make our life simpler. But, like the Sorcerer's Apprentice, the gadget soon takes over our life and reduces us to its slave. And, then, the gadget breaks, leaving us worse off than before. Or, we decide to follow the advice of some "expert" in decorating our home, in doing almost anything. Often the expert advice ends up costing us tons more money than we anticipated and then leaves us no better than previously. The very plan to bring us life proved to be death. So, I am attracted more to the human than to the theological dilemma presented by this passage. Where do you find this most useful verse?
4. "For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God," NRSV. I like the "yet" in the KJV: "For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God."
Again we have a rhetorical structure that emphasizes opposites. Instead of something good that eventuated in something bad, as in the preceding, we have something bad (crucifixion) that led to something good (life). The unexpected nature of the extreme contrast is at the heart of this verse's appeal. Whenever I now get into difficult situations, where it looks as if there is no way out, I say, "Yet he liveth." To me that suggests that things can have unexpected, and gracious, reversals in life. Ask any thinking person. S/he will tell you the same. Ok, where is it from?