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 XXXVII
Bill Long 1/23/07
Let's begin with some references to "deep things," and see where we go from there.
1. "for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God."
I have been fascinated for decades by the phrase "the depths of God." The KJV calls them "the deep things of God." What might those be? Well, I take heart from the same text that the same Spirit that searches out these deep things communicates them to us. "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him"--these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit." So, the Scripture says that the "deep things of God" have something to do with God's plans for those who love God. God, thus, is a God of the future, one who draws us not only to Himself but draws us into a future chock full of possibilities and promise. The Spirit searches the God who does this for us, and reveals this to those who love God. That is what this verse teaches. It almost makes you want to get in on the conversation, doesn't it? Some people are satisfied with the simple words of salvation or of God's love. Others want to probe this God and try even to enter into the depths of God. Is that really possible? Well, I am not sure, but I do know it is possible to identify this verse. Where do you find it?
2. "The purposes of the human mind are like deep water, but the intelligent will draw them out," NRSV. The KJV has: "Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out."
Like God, like humans. We have our depths, even if we characterize ourselves as simple, even if others try to "explain" us with simple-sounding phrases, even if the psychologists of our lives neatly put us into one of the DSM-IV categories. Well, let's put it slightly differently. I don't think that everyone is always deep. Most of our motivations and desires are explicable to anyone who takes some effort to understand the human mind and heart. But at times we confuse ourselves. The contradictions in our lives are so evident and so intractable that we don't have any idea about how to "resolve" them. Our purposes are not clear to us or to our loved ones. It is at this point that the Scripture just quoted makes most sense. Our purposes are like "deep water." Yet, the hopeful word is that there are others (the intelligent) who are able to draw them out, to help make clear the muddy, to help bring to light the things that are buried in murkiness. I embrace both ends of this aphorism: our depth and the ministry of the person of understanding. Where do you find this verse?
3. "They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory."
I live in the land of tall trees. Douglas firs and redwoods bedeck my town. The forests are to the west and the east. A few years ago I even drove through a tree in Northern California which had been hollowed out about 70 years ago for people like me who wanted to drive through it. Oak trees also proliferate. I have one in my front yard. It spreads its branches so wide that in the summertime my home is 5-10 degrees cooler than the surrounding homes. It not only stands foursquare against the wintry storms, but it provides shade, ornament and enduring pleasure for me. The verse just quoted uses the image of the oak tree to communicate the idea of righteousness. But, according to this Scripture, we don't just become oaks of righteousness by sitting around. We respond to the gracious acts of the servant of the Lord who comforts all who mourn. The servant brings the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. The servant enables us to become oaks of righteousness. Where do you find this scintillating thought?
4. "But if you do not do this, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out."
This rather dire warning comes from a text in which the issue is the joint responsibility of the people of God to each other. More than that I won't say. If people are not true to their covenant responsibilities, they will not just "let the others down," as we might say. It is a grievous error, and an error which will "find them out." This notion of sin actually finding out a person is especially apt for our day. We live our lives in privacy, and we try to "hide" a good deal of what we do. A good deal of it, admittedly, should remain private. But often we cook up the weirdest schemes. We have schemes to defraud, to dishonor, to elevate ourselves above others, to take credit when it is due to another, to oppress those who ought not to be oppressed, etc. If the plans of the human mind are deep, some of these depths are brackish and unhealthy. When I read this verse and hear it saying that "your sin will find you out," I shudder. Not only will the executives of Enron be smoked out, but lots of other people will be exposed, if not now and if not before human courts, then in other venues that are probably even more terrifying. If the Spirit searches the deep things of God, then sin also searches for us. Let's hope it has no need to find us. Where do you find this "searching" verse?
5. "I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
In my experience this verse has been more beloved of liberals than conservatives. The God of the liberals is the one who loves to do new things. I don't quite know why that is the case, unless liberals think that their primary mission in life is to be appealing to the culturally advanced, the ones who are always longing for the next new cultural fix to add to their already-crowded lives. Conservatives aren't so worried about new things, though they don't like to be considered backwards. But this verse comes from a biblical author who is speaking to the people of Israel in exile when a promise of new things was a most welcome word. Victor Hugo called the book from which this is taken one of his six most powerful and appealing books of all of Western literature (he also loved Aeschylus, Dante, Shakespeare and a few others). Where do you find it, and are you a "new thing"-type of person?