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 XXXIV
Bill Long 1/20/07
1. "For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near."
I used to intone this verse when I learned thousands of others, in the early 1970s, but it was only a few years after that when I realized that what the verse teaches is patently obvious. Today I can't get the verse out of my mind, and it really means nothing, I think. Why would someone have penned a verse like this? Since we became believers in the past and are living now and "salvation" (the coming of Christ again) will be in the future, isn't it patently obvious that it is nearer now than it was years ago? It is like saying, 'hm, I think Saturday will come after Thursday this week.' Maybe I am being too harsh on the writer, but do you interpret it differently? Well, maybe also there is a "truth" in this Scripture for those who memorize, and that is that you just can't help having many sentences of dubious importance in your brain. Where do you find it, and what is the context in which it appears?
2. "Truly, with stammering lip and with alien tongue he will speak to this people..."
Well do I remember the first time I heard someone refer to this verse. It was in the middle of the "charismatic controversy" that I faced in the early 1970s, when all things had become new (where is that from?) to me. Evangelical Christian groups on campuses at the time were influenced primarily by Campus Crusade for Christ (my group) or InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Both of these were "anti-charistmatic" groups in the early 1970s. But, "charismatic renewal" had begun about a decade earlier, and names like Dennis Bennett, Everett Fullam, Rodman Williams and others were floating around our discussions like halos around angels. Was the "gift" of tongues something that needed to be rediscovered and reexperienced in our day? It was a fascinating debate, now that I reflect on it. Some of the more "radical" charismatics felt that tongue-speaking was de rigueur, though they wouldn't have known what de rigueur meant. I was in a meeting with some charistmatics once and I asked for an explanation of the necessity of tongue-speaking. One offered the verse bolded above. I did a double-take. That verse? That verse, I would learn later (when I had deeper biblical knowledge under my belt), dealt with exile for the people of Israel--being led away by those whose language they didn't understand. It had nothing remotely to do with speaking in tongues. It was not the first, and definately not the last, time I was introduced to ridculous ways of reading the Bible. Ok, where do you find it, and whom does it describe?
3. "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult (the KJV has "man," but we have changed the word because we are sensitive to sensitivities), I put an end to childish ways."
This is an easy one, though when you look at it for a long time in its context it seems not to fit that easily. The argument in the text in which it is embedded speaks of the permanence of love. But then it shifts slightly to the partialness or incompleteness of our knowledge and the fullness of the revelation of something (unstated) that is to come. Things are incomplete now; they will someday be complete. We were children once; we will be "adults" some day. That is how things flow. Where do you find it?
4. "The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word," NRSV. The KJV has, "The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary."
That word "season" in the KJV was a favorite word of old-time Evangelicals to express their piety. I recall a professor I had in seminary talking about his delight in meeting students, talking about their lives, sharing a "season" of prayer, and then sending them on their way. The OED informs us (definition 12) that "season" can mean a "time" or "period," such as in the sentence, "Calamity is unhappily the usual season of reflection." Well, now that we have that out of the way, we can move to the verse. I wrote a paper in the early 1990s, published in some teacher's journal for Christian higher education (I was teaching at Sterling College in KS at the time), referring to this passage, which I entitled "Faithful Listening and Instructed Speaking: A Biblical Image for Christian College Teachers." My goodness, it is even online. I think the approach to teaching I laid out there still works. Even though the passage describes the "Servant of God" who is given for the people, I have derived more joy from it when I apply it to myself as a teacher. Note that the primary task of the teacher seems to be to sustain the weary. That is a challenging thought. So, where do you find this little jewel?
5. "I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your decrees are my meditation."
I had the unfortunate experience of learning this verse when I was 19 and believing it. That is, I put it from my mind to my heart, meditated constantly on the Scriptures, and then thought that I had more understanding than my (Ivy League) professors. I really did. As I think back on my life in those days, I don't believe that conviction was ever shaken. After all, I was taking the Scripture at its face value. I don't think I treated the teachers as if I had more understanding than they, but I definitely believed it. Don't you believe if you are in a "Bible-believing" Church that you ought to approach the text as I used to? I can't see any way around it. However, if you have that approach, I hope you are older than 19 when you learn this verse. Proclaiming that you believe it, when you are a student, can sometimes get you into more trouble than you bargained for, especially among your teachers. But there it is. Where do you find it?