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 XL
Bill Long 1/27/07
Most of the following are interesting and even arresting verses primarily because of the vividness of words or images used.
1. "Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart," NRSV. The language of the KJV is similar, but may be more familiar: "For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
When I was in my "Bible-crazy" phase in the early-mid 1970s, one of my favorite subjects of verses to memorize (when I wasn't memorizing whole books) was "Bible-type" verses. I spent hours meditating, for example, on Psalm 1, or Josh. 1:8 or Ps. 119. I think I did so because I felt that Biblical mastery would, in some ways, "protect" me in life and also "guide" me in the making the difficult decisions faced by any young person. I memorized this verse in those days not so much for that reason but because I wanted something that confirmed for me that the Bible was the greatest force in the world, more powerful than massed armies. I wanted to feel that by spending some time internalizing its message I had at my disposal the most potent force in the world. This, then, would explain why I spent Friday and Saturday nights, along with lots of other time, poring over the Bible with maps, guides, taking copious notes, mastering contents, exploring themes, memorizing words, speaking them back to myself, recording them into a microphone, listening to them in my bed. It was all because I took a verse like this and applied it to my heart. Where do you find this verse? Have you ever been "bitten by the Bible" as I have described?
2. "And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, 'Who touched my clothes?'" KJV. The more familiar NRSV has: "Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my clothes?'"
The Oxford English Dictionary lists at least a dozen separate usages for the word virtue. The oldest (and first on their list) defines virtue as follows: "The power or operative influence inherent in a supernatural or divine being." This usage, which the dictionary declares is archaic or obsolete now, goes back to the 13th century. Early usages emphasized the connection of "virtue" with Jesus Christ. For example, from 1483 we have: "After the passion of Jhesu Chyst..he was transported from Infirmyte to Vertu." Or, from the 1557 Geneva Bible, there appears: "In his owne vertue he rose agayne." Thus, when the KJV translators faced the word "dunamis" in this passage, which normally is translated "power," they translated it as virtue because it was connected to a divine being--Christ. The NRSV becomes "modern" by rendering it "power." But I rather like the KJV here precisely because of the other connotations that attach to the word virtue (such as moral power, ability, etc.) in our world. Thus, by continuing to use the term virtue we provide a richness in understanding this action that was perhaps much more than intended by the translator. So, where do you find this verse? You already have a big clue, don't you?
3. "Moab is my washbasin;/ on Edom I hurl my shoe.."
Now isn't that an apparently useless Scripture verse? I think God has a tremendous sense of humor because this verse appears not once, but twice in the Scripture (double points for finding both appearances). It is almost as if God is saying, 'Don't forget that I wash my hands in Moab and throw my shoe on Edom' (oh, God is the subject of both clauses). The verse expresses God's supremacy over the nations but it doesn't do so in the "gilded language" brilliance of Isaiah. If someone had gone to the author of Is. 40-66 and said, "write me a verse about the transcendent power of God over the world," the author would have thought about it and written something like,
"I am God and there is no other;/ I am God and there is no one like me;/ declaring the end from the beginning/ and from ancient times things not yet done,/ saying, 'My purpose shall stand,/ and I will fulfill my intention,'/ calling a bird of prey from the east,/ the man for my purpose from a far country./ I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;/ I have planned, and I will do it."
Now that is Isaiah, isn't it? Where, by the way, do you find those verses? I figure if you get extra credit for the dual references to washbasins and shoes, you ought to be able to go the extra mile (where is that from?) and identify this bolded indented block of text. Actually, I first learned the verse (# 3) above from my first Biblical teacher in college--Prof. Ernest Frerichs, at Brown University. In Fall 1971 I inaugurated my "scholarly" biblical career by taking his survey of the Old Testament. Prof. Frerichs, a lover of Brown University, had first attended it as a student in 1942 and then returned to it in 1953, after the War and completion of his divinity and doctoral degree (at Methodist Boston University). He was a professor in the department of religious studies until his retirement in the 1990s, and he became one of the most visible faculty members in what one might call the management of the university. He was the secretary of the Faculty, the carrier of the "mace" at each of the annual university convocations for years, the one who always had loads of stories about almost every conceivable subject. In his OT lectures he used to love to quote obscure and vivid verses, though I forget the contexts in which he would quote them. In any case, whenever I think of this verse, I cannot separate it from Ernest Frerichs in my mind. I have so much enjoyed the little opportunity to relive my days with him. Time's up. Where is this verse?
We didn't make much "progress" today, but thanks for allowing me to integrate autobiography with Bible verses. There is no better way to go...