Can You Figure Out If This Book Is from the Torah, New Testament or the Quran?


By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Titian

About This Quiz

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are called the "Abrahamic" faiths; all grow out of the story of one man, called by God to leave the great city of Ur and become the father of a multitude. Christianity, once a splinter sect of Judaism, sees itself as the fulfillment of Judaism: according to Christianity, Jesus is the Messiah and the New Testament a description of God's new covenant with humanity, replacing the myriad rules of Torah. Islam, in turn, sees itself as the fulfillment of both faiths. Islam respects figures from Noah to Jesus as prophets, but rejects the Christian idea of Jesus as the actual son of God. 

The term "Torah" can refer to the first five books of the Jewish Bible (better known as the Chumash), the entire Hebrew Bible, or -- most broadly -- a way of living that is in line with the teachings of Moses and the prophets. Christianity absorbed all of the Jewish Bible into its own Bible, calling it the "Old Testament." Only the New Testament books are original to the Christian Bible. The Quran has the most books -- but technically, they are considered chapters, called "suras." There are 114 suras in the Quran, whose verses are called "ayat." 

We know this is all a lot to absorb! However, we're not testing you on overall knowledge of these scriptures. Instead, you just have to match the title to the holy book it appears in. Good luck!

1 Corinthians

You might be familiar with this book because of chapter 13. It is Paul's famous treatise on love: "These three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."


The Ants

Moses, Lot and Solomon are all mentioned in this sura, Solomon and his conversion of the queen of Sheba at the greatest length. This chapter takes its name from Solomon's ability to understand the conversation of ants, but the insects do not play a role in the narrative parts of this sura.



Not unlike Solomon, Daniel is known for his wisdom. He stayed faithful to God in a land that demanded idol worship, even when threatened with death - the famous story of the lions' den.



This book's full title, Acts of the Apostles, is a giveaway. It tells the story of the early church, with the focus initially on Peter, but gradually shifting to Paul.



This sura opens with a mention of the defeat of the Byzantines, a Christian people, by the Persians in 614 A.D. This was significant because the Persians were polytheists, and their victory over a monotheistic (Christian) people stirred up pride and resistance among polytheists in the Muslim world. This sura tells monotheists to stand firm and that God will be victorious in the end.


The Cow

This second sura contains stories which are spread across many books of Torah, from Adam's creation to the story of David and Goliath. It also tells of Abraham and Ishmael building the Kaaba.



This is the later writing of King Solomon. It is darker in tone than Proverbs, marked by the refrain, "All is vanity." Some of its poetic passages are read at funerals.



The story of how Esther saved her people is important to the Jewish faith, and commemorated in the festival of Purim. Esther was married to Mordechai, a prophet.



This is the 66th sura, and contains only 12 ayat (verses). Its topic is Muhummad's wives.



Though the figure of Abraham is key to all three faiths, there is no book named for him in Torah or the New Testament. Abraham or Ibrahim is the 14th sura of the Quran.



This book is the foundation of all three Abrahamic faiths, because it is in this book that we meet Abram and see him become Abraham, according to his covenant with God. We also briefly see Ishmael, who will become father of the Arab/Muslim nations.



Don't be fooled by the name: this is a book from the Christian Bible. The first Christians were also Jews, after all. Hebrews is a letter from an unknown apostle to Jewish converts to Christianity.



This book is not about paid employment, as the completely uninitiated might think! Job (pronounced "Jobe") is a righteous man whom God and Satan wager on, about whether he will keep faith if he loses all his earthly blessings. This book is a favorite among secular readers.



While the story of Jonah is included in The Twelve in Torah (a book about 12 minor prophets), the book of Jonah (or Yunus) in the Quran takes on many other philosophical topics. These include the divine inspiration of the Quran and arguments against polytheism.



John is the non-synoptic Gospel. This means that while Matthew, Mark and Luke share many passages and incidents ("synoptic" means "seen together"), John follows its own narrative course. This is clear in the opening, which does not start with the story of Jesus's conception and birth, but with an ethereal passage that echoes Genesis: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."



Yusuf is the 12th sura. It tells the story of Joseph, son of Jacob, one of the early patriarchs. It is notable for its narrative singularity, telling a story in a straightforward way, where other suras tend to be divided up into a number of narrative fragments and philosophical passages.



Israel did not start out as a monarchy; it was once ruled by judges. The book of Kings tell the story of the monarchic period, of the kings that followed Saul and David (the first two).



Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of the Temple in this book, hence its mournful name. The book of Lamentations is read in temple at the beginning of the month of Av, as a remembrance of the destruction of the First and Second Temples.



Leviticus is Torah's description of priestly duties and, more generally, rules for religious life. Chapter 16 lists the rites of Yom Kippur.



This sura takes its name from verse 35, which begins the parable of the light. It describes Allah as "the Light of the heavens and the earth." Light is an important concept in all three religions. Christians call Jesus "the Light of the World," and the Psalms say, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."



This book is named for a young follower of Jesus, whose full name was John Mark. Bible scholars are in agreement that Mark was written before Matthew and Luke, both of which draw from this briefer but important Gospel.



Mary, or Maryam, is the 19th sura; about the mother of "Isa" (Jesus). This sura rejects the Christian claim that Jesus is the son of God.



This sura is from the late Meccan phase. Noah is an important prophet in the Islamic tradition; the 71st sura is a warning about ignoring the prophets of God, as Noah's people disregarded his message.


The Night Journey

The title refers to Mohammed being transported by night to "the farthest mosque" (possibly the Temple Mount in Jerusalem). This sura also gives instructions for daily prayers and talks about the punishment awaiting nonbelievers.



Numbers takes its name from the census of the Hebrews who left Egypt under Moses's leadership. It also continues the story of their time in the wilderness, which began in Exodus.


The Opening

The Opening, or Al-Fatiha, opens with a summation of the precepts of the Quran and a prayer. This is different from the Torah, which immediately begins with a narrative, the creation of the world and the first man.


The Prophets

Don't be confused here: the Torah has a book called The Twelve, about twelve minor prophets. But The Prophets is the 21st sura, from the late Meccan period.



The Proverbs are attributed to King Solomon, who asked God for wisdom and received. Many of them are simple comparisons; that is, "A is wise, but B is folly."



One modern writer described this book as "King David's Blues." But they weren't all mournful, nor were they all written by Israel's most famous king. These poems are songs of praise and exultation, fear and repentance.



Known to Catholics as "the Revelation to St. John," this tells the story of the end of the world - a little light reading! Highly metaphoric, it contains disturbing passages about the Four Horsemen, among other things.



This one's pretty easy to identify as part of the New Testament. Rome is inextricably linked to Christianity by virtue of being the seat of the Catholic Church. Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome is lengthy and thoughtful, containing passages important to Christian theology and life.



Ruth means "gentleness," and the name is very apt. Joshua and Judges, the two preceding books, are full of violent death, often ten thousand or twenty thousand at a time. It's a relief to arrive at Ruth, the story of a woman who wielded no sword and led no army, but made her mark on Jewish history through faithfulness to her widowed mother-in-law.



Here's where the historical record of the Torah gets a little confusing. While there's a later book called "Kings," the story of Israel's first two monarchs is told in Samuel. That book is named for the prophet who tries to guide the wayward King Saul and who witnesses God's choice of a young shepherd, David, to be the first true king of Israel.


Song of Songs

This book is sometimes known as "Song of Solomon." It is an affirmation of the rightness of romantic love, as well as a metaphor for God's relationship with his people.


The Star

This is the 53rd sura. It tells the story of Mohammed's ascension to heaven in the Night Journey.


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