The Bible is a book of contradictions. It's the bestselling book in the world -- and, possibly, the least likely to be read cover-to-cover. Even devout Christians put on the spot, would be hard-pressed to tell someone what happens in the Old Testament book of Obadiah, or the difference in the philosophical messages of Ephesians and Galatians.
Well, in everyone's defense, the Bible is a long and dense book. For that reason, what people often focus on is individual verses which they find meaningful. Even if you're a nonbeliever, you probably know some of them. For example, you've undoubtedly seen "John 3:16" signs held up at sporting events, and you can probably finish the verse itself, which begins, "For God so loved the world ..."
There are profound and meaningful verses in all books of the Bible. The Old Testament starts with history books, then proceeds through the Psalms and Proverbs into the books of prophecy. Here you'll find Cain's famous statement about his brother Abel, well-known verses from the beloved 23rd Psalm, and Isaiah's predictions of the coming of Christ. The New Testament gives us the gospels, the letters of the apostles, and one remarkable book of apocalyptic literature. Here you'll find Jesus's words from the Sermon on the Mount, including the Lord's Prayer, Paul's reflections on love in 1 Corinthians 13, and more.
If you have a favorite verse, you're likely to find it in this quiz. Along the way, see how well you remember other important verses in the Scriptures! Good luck!
This is John 3:16. It is famous for being held up at on signs at sporting events (usually the chapter and verse reference, not the full quote.)
The 23rd Psalm is a favorite of Christians, especially as a text at funerals. In this context, "want" means "be in need." The phrase is sometimes replaced with "I will lack nothing."
This is also found in the 23rd Psalm, verse 3. You might have heard it quoted by Kanye West in "Jesus Walks."
It has to be said, much of the philosophy of the Old Testament is of the "It is not enough that I win; everyone else must lose" school. Likewise, Psalm 23:5 stresses that the psalmist's enemies witness that the Lord favors him.
This verse, Genesis 2:23, is the Old Testament at its most poetic. It is found just after God creates Eve from Adam's rib.
This is Genesis 3:19. Adam and Eve have just eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Lord curses them ... or, at least, tells them how their lives will change because of this sin.
In Genesis 4:9, what Cain claims he does not know is the whereabouts of his brother, Abel. Actually, Cain has just killed him; he has certainly not been responsible for his brother's well-being.
This is Genesis 4:16. It gave its name to one of James Dean's three movies, "East of Eden."
Proverbs 15:1 is the Old Testament's version of "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." It is often taught in Sunday schools.
This is Proverbs 13:24, which essentially means "does not spank," and is quoted as a justification for corporal punishment. The now-defunct website Television Without Pity adapted it as, "Spare the snark, spoil the networks."
The full text of Isaiah 40:31 is, "Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall soar on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
This famous verse, 1 Corinthians 13:13, concludes Paul's famous soliloquy on love. In fact, people can get so fixated on "love" that they forget the first two!
This verse is famous -- you'll hear it quoted in fiction, e.g. "It's time to put away childish things." Less well known is that it's part of 1 Corinthians 13, the famous chapter about love. (It's 1 Corinthians 11).
This is Philippians 4:13. Christian athletes tend to find this verse inspirational.
This is Hosea 13:14, quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:55. It is sometimes used as an epitaph on gravestones.
This is Romans 8:28. It goes on to add, "... who have been called according to His purpose."
Job 19:25 has been adapted into a popular hymn. Job seems to be referring to God, but in the Jewish tradition of that time, a "redeemer" was a family member who would defend your honor and cover your debts.
The Jewish faith puts a great deal of value on intellect and education. Proverbs 3:23, part of the Jewish scriptures, might have been a warning against pride in one's intellectual abilities.
Hebrews 11:1 is sometimes quoted in the science-versus-religion debate. It justifies, to Christians, the ability to believe in things that cannot be witnessed, or even those that are contradicted by evidence.
Ah, the great faith-versus-works debate. James takes it up in James 2:14, suggesting that faith is very little without good works, like giving alms.
Yikes! We should mention that we've cut Romans 6:23 short, though: The full verse continues to say, "... but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
This is Matthew 11:28. In it, Jesus demonstrates his concern for the laborers and those who struggle in life, as opposed to those with wealth and status.
Exodus 3:14 introduces the name YHWH, or "Yahweh," for God. The word can mean "I am" or "He causes to be." Either way, it indicates God's position as eternal and a creator.
In Isaiah 1:18, the prophet quotes God as speaking to a sinner. The verse uses the common imagery of sin being red, like blood, and innocence being white.
James 5:20 isn't one of the Bible's most famous verses. But it gave English a famous phrase, "covers a multitude of sins." This phrase is used casually about everything from good cooking to a sense of humor.
Matthew 6:13 is the last line in the Lord's Prayer (though Protestants add a line about "For thine is the kingdom ...") Some Bible scholars translate "evil" as "the evil one," meaning Satan.
If you want to be old-school, quote Matthew 6:24 using the King James term "Mammon," for money. Alternately, "money," "riches" or "wealth" will do.
In Matthew 6:28, part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the disciples not to worry about how they might afford clothes. The lilies do not sow or reap, Jesus points out, but "Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these."
In Matthew 6:3, "take pride in" would work as well, because Jesus is talking about how the "hypocrites" love to show off their alms-giving. But the correct choice is "know" -- that's how secret your gift-giving should be.
Matthew 10:34 is part of the Great Commission, the sending out of the disciples to preach to the rest of Israel (the spreading of the word to the Gentiles came later, after the resurrection). Jesus is telling them that this will not be an easy task.
Isaiah 9:6, although part of the Old Testament, is often quoted at Christmastime. Several key verses in Isaiah prefigure the birth of Christ.
In the gospel story, it's important that Joseph is part of King David's line. It fulfills a prophecy that the Messiah will also come from that line. This verse, Luke 1:4, makes that clear.
God is speaking in Job 38:4. He is saying, essentially, "Who are you to demand answers of me?" but ultimately he approves of how Job held up under his testing, and restored his wealth.
This is from the profound (and sometimes disturbing) book of Ecclesiastes. Pete Seeger adapted it into a folk song, "Turn, Turn, Turn."
For most of this quiz, we've used the modern language of the New Oxford Annotated Bible. But here, Ruth 1:16, we use the old King James phrasing, which many people are familiar with. It's been adapted into a song and used in wedding vows.