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 XXXVI
Bill Long 1/22/07
1. "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up."
The precision of the reference probably gives it away, but I don't care, since I want you to know the verse. I actually became the more interested in this verse after I visited Edinburgh in 1992. Over the door of the Scottish Presbyterian Church General Assembly building are three Latin words that make reference to this passage: "nec tamen consumebatur," translated as "nevertheless not consumed." These three words aren't actually the words of the Vulgate translation but they are vivid nevertheless. I use the first several words of the verse often in my speech these days when something of interest swims into my ken. I say, "I must turn aside to see this great sight," or something like this. Most people think I am being quaint or a little weird, but I tell them that there are far weirder things in the universe than I. When I returned from Edinburgh, I preached a stirring sermon on this verse. One man was so moved he wrote a song to my sermon and played it for me when I joined him and his wife for lunch a few weeks later. So, where do you find it and what is the larger context of the verse?
2. "Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith..."
The popular hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," comes to mind whenever I think of this verse. The first verse goes like this:
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace."
I don't sing this song very often these days, but the sentiment and memories of singing it are very vivid in my mind. I like this verse because it speaks of the importance of focus in life. Here the focus is expressed in terms of "looking to Jesus," and that is helpful, but I also like the idea of focus on work, writing, another person, the task at hand, etc. Once you burn your eyes into another person, or into a task, you truly know the meaning of focus in life. So many people are scattered, distracted, living a sort of "ADD-life" that focus is impossible. I now have the "luxury" of focus, and I am grateful for it every day. Where do you find this verse?
3. "who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself.."
When I was in grad school studying the history of earliest Christianity, scholars referred to this verse as being part of an "early Christian hymn." The theological word used to describe the concept referred to here was "kenosis," or "emptying." Christ is the one described here who didn't take advantage of his equal prerogatives with God but became a servant for us all. This is not only good news for us, but is our inspiration too. It is model behavior that we should imitate. Give oneself for the life of the world. That is the model of Jesus. It is a challenge to know how to do that today, but the model of Jesus alway sticks in my mind. Where can you find this verse?
4. "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full," NRSV. The KJV has: "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again."
One of the reasons I love the Book of Proverbs and am thinking of writing several essays on it after I finish these 66 quizzes, is the pithy, clear and often arresting way that Proverbs teaches lessons about life. The wisdom of Proverbs is not "theological" wisdom--i.e., it doesn't expressly invoke God as the one who stands behind it. On the contrary, it simply gives advice gleaned from long experience and observation of life. This particular proverb brims with encouragement and confidence. Sometimes we think that our kindness to those who cannot repay is wasted. Well, you don't really do kindnesses to people because they will repay you, but we are smart enough to know that the social and business order in which we live is "greased" by the "oil" of kindness or unmotivated acts of good will. The one receiving the expression of good will is then under a sort of obligation to respond in kind. But when we do good things to someone who has no possibility of repaying our friendship or kindness, well, is not this just "one-way" giving? This verse solemnly tells us that it is not. In fact, if we give to the poor we are really lending to God. And, as we all know, God is the most amazing giver in the world. I would imagine that God would repay such a person not simply in kind but also with interest and maybe even a double bonus. So, this verse may be written for our "weakness," in order to encourage us not to be weary in well-doing (where do you find that verse?). Still, it is the exceptional person rather than the normal one who heeds this verse.
5. "For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure," NRSV. The KJV has it: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
I recall using this verse before I really knew it or myself very well. It was the summer of 1974. I just had had a knee operation (still cleaning up a bit from my 1968 operation), and I was at a church social/party reclining in a chair. I sat next to an older woman (in her 70s), who was married for years to the President of a Bible college not far away, a woman who knew her Scriptures well. Instead of talking to all the younger people around me, I wanted to talk about the Bible with her. She asked me about my knee. I downplayed it with the verse bolded above. Indeed, I called it a "slight momentary affliction." I talked about a "weight of glory" that I would inherit. Thirty-three years later I look back at that young man with a mixture of bemusement and understanding. I knew what I was trying to do. I was trying to internalize all of life, Scripture and practical, in my mind at one time--sort of trying to "fast-forward life" so that I would have a bottomless fund of stories and insights for my speaking and teaching. But I really didn't know either my body or the toll that the injury took on me very well. The injury (in 1968) shortened what had started out as a pretty significant athletic career. Perhaps other distractions would have come along. But I tended to deny the cost that the injury exacted from me, and my quick quotation of the Scripture verse was an indication of this. Yet, the text is there, and is beautifully expressed by the author. Who is the author and where does it appear?