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
Bill Long 1/24/07
Where do you find the following verses in the Bible? Just to warn you--I am in an ornery mood today, and the verses and my comments on them probably reflect that reality. But, who says that you only should write when things are copacetic (origin unknown [possibly African-Americans in the south], first used in 1919)?
1. "And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground," KJV.
It really is too bad that the textual attestation for this verse is so weak, because it would be a nice verse to have in the Bible. Textual scholarship of the NT, historically known as "lower criticism" of the Bible, looks to various ancient MSS. to determine which is the "better," or more well attested, reading of any particular passage. This verse is absent from the text of most of the papyri (oldest records), as well as Codices Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus, two of the oldest complete MSS. of the NT. It is present only in the Western Text (D), a well-known expanded version of the NT. Hence, almost everyone "brackets" this verse in the modern translations. As I said, it is too bad for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that it prevents us from learning a new vocabulary word. The medical term for "sweating blood" is "hematohidrosis." We can see the word in the Greek words. "Hyperhydrosis" is excessive sweating and "hematohidrosis" is sweating blood. Conservative web sites can be found which quote doctors saying that when a person is under extreme pressure this may happen. But the phrase has entered into our common vocabulary to describe a person who has worked exceedingly hard at some task. S/he "sweats blood." There are more than 58,000 Google references to this phrase.
Care should be taken to distinguish "sweating blood" from "shitting bricks." The latter, you probably guessed, is not a biblical phrase, and is meant to express extreme fear. I found a Spanish language web discussion where they were trying to figure out what "shitting bricks" meant. Let me bring you into it.
"En ingles (al menos en Inglaterra) he escuchado la frase mucha "to shit bricks." Es decir, cuando alguien esta muy nervioso (por ejemplo, iantes de un examen oral!) se puede decir: 'I'm shitting bricks!" Es muy important recordar que la frase es muy coloquial y solamente se diria enfrente de los amigos. Hay una frase parecida en espanol?"
Thus, you can understand that I am only using the phrase here because I am "enfrente de los amigos." Oh, by the way, someone wrote in to suggest a Spanish equivalent of the term: "Cagando clavos," though they weren't sure. Well, thanks for letting me wander. Any idea where this verse comes from?
2. "The words of the mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream.."
This verse, composed in the traditional Hebrew parallelism, is similar to yesterday's thought--that our purposes are deep waters, but no mention is here made of the "intelligent" drawing them out. It is almost as if this proverb (oops!) is a "rough draft" of yesterday's, and reflects an earlier stage in the development of the tradition. How long does it take to come up with a proverb? I don't think they just roll off the tongue. Indeed, it is hard to see how the two half-verses here are parallel. Words being deep waters may just mean that the are confusing or hard to understand. So, there might not necessarily be a parallelism between the two parts of the verse. Indeed, maybe there is a contrast. Our words are deep waters (which are still); wisdom, in contrast, gushes forth. It's hard to have a life-changing verse, don't you think, if you don't know what is being said? Now you see why I want to write a book on Proverbs. They draw me on... Where is this one?
3. "Truly, you are a God who hides himself..."
This is probably an appropriate response to the first two verses I gave you for today. I guess I figured if God could "hide himself" and thus not be that clear about the world, so can I. Just trying to imitate God, you know.. But this verse actually has an interesting history in the development of Christian theology. It was the fountainhead of what was known as "apophatic" or "negative" theology, which formed the basis for medieval mystical theology. God was not a God about whom one could accurately make affirmations because God was beyond affirmations. Statements about God were so incomplete as to be inaccurate. Thus, the only way to "get to know" this God would be if God chose to vouchsafe an experience of union with Him, a union facilitated by recognizing that God, like the Platonic One, was beyond all human characteristics. But this verse is also useful for people of less lofty theological ambitions. Just as human ways may be deep, and possibly inaccessible, so the divine ways may be impenetrable. Instead of self-revelation, whatever that concept might mean, there is self-obscuration. So much of the Scripture seems to go against this concept (i.e., those who seek the Lord with all their heart are usually said to find God) that it may seem strange that it is in the Bible. But here it is, in a very prominent book. Where do you find it?
4. "everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!"
I bet this is a verse that President Bush, the day after his 2007 State of the Union address, wishes were true with respect to his political fortunes. But, it likely will not be the case for him. Well, the larger context of the verse is that if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation: everything old has passed away... The older I get the more I don't know exactly what a "new creation" is. Words like transformation, change, new beginning, etc. all have a ring to them which is not exactly hollow but is a bit tinny for me. Why? Well, people have used it "against me" in the past--assuring that things had become new when, in fact, they were quite "old." And, I think I know myself too well to embrace the thought without equivocation. But life does change and new vistas open for us when we round different corners in life. I still believe in fulfilling one's nature, or in discovering what one truly is. If that is becoming "new," I am all for it. But it often takes quite an effort to get to this place in life. This is not a "snap your fingers and it is done"-kind of thought. What is your perspective on things becoming new, and where do you find this verse?
5. "and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile."
When I was in my days of anguish in faith and life, I used not to like this verse. The reason? I said to myself, and others, 'What if the person who was doing the forcing wanted only to go one mile in the first place? That would mean that your gracious act would leave him in as bad a situation as when you first started.' Well, I get the picture; that you should put out "double effort," even when you might not be that interested in putting out any effort, but in my hyper-literalness, which sometimes plagues me, I became even critical of this verse and the person who uttered it. Where, by the way, do you find it?
Thanks for bearing with me through this day. I will do the same for you, I hope, some day.