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 XXI
Bill Long 1/9/07
1. "Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped..." NRSV. The KJV has "proud waves be stayed," which I like better.
Actually, the sentence ends with a question mark, because it is the culminating line or two in a three or four verse question being posed to one of the Biblical characters. You are the one to tell me which one, of course. But before you do so, I want to explain why this verse always makes me smile. Several years ago, when I had a place on the Oregon coast, I used to go there with my (then) young kids and wife and occasionally even wade into the frigid surf. I recall on one occasion that I would try to shout above the undulating and resounding din for the waters to "Stop," before I was overwhelmed by the same waters. My futile effort to stop the ocean made me think of this verse, where the divine majesty is here indicated by the ability to tell the proud waves to be stayed right where they are. The thought is significant for the flow of the passage quoted, too. Where is it, who is speaking and how do these words "set the tone" for the next several verses or chapters?
2. "and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand," KJV.
Abraham Lincoln forever immortalized this verse for American political rhetoric in his Springfield, IL speech of June 16, 1858. Here is his opening paragraph:
"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South."
As was Lincoln's brilliant tendency, he used Scriptural words to frame important public policy issues. This was especially evident in his Second Inaugural Address just a month before his assassination in 1865. Here he speaks of the House as the Union, a Union divided by the bitter pill of slavery. He was right, of course, that we could not live permanently half slave and half free--but at the time we were heading right into the maw of a most vicious beast. So, who spoke the words originally, and in what context?
3. "Great is thy faithfulness."
Yep, that is all. I think there are few hymns more beloved to more Christian people today than "Great is Thy Faithfulness." I have it playing in the background now as I am writing this section. It was written in 1923 and is considered to be the unofficial school hymn of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. But the words come from the Scripture, though not in a place you might expect. They are not from Paul, who spoke about God's faithfulness in several places. They are not from the Psalms, the most likely place where many would go, even though the Psalms pullulate with words of trust and confidence in God's faithfulness. Ok, time's up. Where do you find this verse?
4. "I will pull down my barns and build larger ones," NRSV.
If there is any verse that summarizes America's home-building craze in the 1990s, this is it. You could have driven through any wealthy subdivision in a major suburban area last decade (and into this decade, too) in America and seen the following: homes that were 30 years old were being torn down, to be replaced by McMansions. The irony is, of course, that the home built in the 1950s or 1960s probably housed a family with four children, while the twice-larger McMansion built in the 1990s housed a family with one child or two children. We halve the family size and double the space "needed" in which to live. We decided, in the words of the Scripture, to pull down our barns and build larger ones. Why? Possibly status. Possibly because the baby-boom generation drunk in materialism along with its mother's milk. In any case, we did it, and we still do it. We have our fawning press, which can't wait to goo and gah over the latest show of wealth. And so we do it. The only problem, as I can discern, is that the person who speaks in the Scripture decides to do this just before his "life" was demanded of him. He was called, in the words of Scripture, a "fool." Far be it from me to call foolish those of us who are building the big houses; indeed, these folk seem to be the quintessence of rational and wise choosers. But, where can this Scripture be found?
5. "In my father's house there are many dwelling places," NRSV. Don't you love the KJV better: "In my father's house are many mansions..."
Well, in view of the passage I just quoted in # 4, there may be some irony in God's building mansions for us, but I will let others solve the irony. These words are beloved of preachers who quote them during memorial services. When I conducted memorial services long ago when I was a pastor, I never used this verse, because it never really seemed to affect me the way it affected some people. Knowledge that there is a place prepared for me, such as a heavenly room with my name on it, like a spiritual office or bedroom, wasn't nearly as important for me as trying to understand what the presence of God meant for me in the world today. Well, there are hymns galore quoting or alluding to this verse: "I've got a mansion, right over the hilltop, in that great land where, we'll never grow old..." I recall singing that hymn ad nauseam in my earlier days. Yet, the thought here is a very sweet one. Where is it from and who speaks it?
That's all for today...see you tomorrow.