The Bible Literacy Quiz

RELIGION

Eric Totherow

6 Min Quiz

Image: Getty/Godong.

About This Quiz

Did you pay attention in Sunday School? Take this quiz to find out just how much you remember.

The Bible is considered by most Christians to reflect the word of God. The King James Version of the Bible is the translation used by the more than half of people in the United States who read the Bible. The King James Version was commissioned in 1604 by King James I of England, but it wasn't the first English translation of the text. The first translation into English was actually commissioned by Henry VIII in 1535 with instructions to the translators to ensure that the resulting version would be compatible with Henry's new Protestant ideology for the Church of England. 

The translation that resulted in the King James Version took a team of 47 scholars a total of seven years to complete the work of translation from the original texts that had been written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin. The final work had 80 books, including the 39 books of the Old Testament, the 14 books of the Apocrypha and the 27 books of the New Testament.

How well do you think you know the Bible? Find out if you can ace this quiz.

What was the first miracle Jesus performed?

Although it's only mentioned in the Gospel of John, Jesus changing water into wine at Cana is directly said to be the first miracle of his ministry.

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Who survived the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?

God let Lot and his wife escape the destruction, provided they didn't look back. Lot successfully escaped, but his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.

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When Elizabeth and Mary were both pregnant, Elizabeth's unborn son recognized Jesus in the womb. Who did Elizabeth's son grow up to be?

The gospels all present John the Baptist as foreshadowing Jesus' ministry, but Luke suggests this process began before either was even born.

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What virtue is personified as a woman throughout Proverbs?

Proverbs and the surrounding books are collectively referred to as the Wisdom Literature, and Proverbs in particular urges the readers to follow wisdom instead of worldly impulses.

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In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, who does Lazarus meet in the afterlife?

In the parable, the hedonistic rich man refuses to help Lazarus, a beggar. In the afterlife, Lazarus is rewarded alongside Abraham while the rich man is punished. Abraham explains that the rich man deserves this fate, and that additional revelations wouldn't have made him or his family change their ways.

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What city did Nahum describe as being destroyed, despite having been saved by Jonah?

Jonah had successfully convinced Nineveh to repent, staving off its destruction. By the time of Nahum, however, Nineveh had resumed its evil ways.

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Which of these miracles was NOT performed by Paul in the Book of Acts?

Jesus calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee, but Paul did not have this ability. Paul did survive a violent storm in Acts, but only after 14 days of desperate measures to avoid being shipwrecked.

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During his crucifixion, which book was Jesus quoting when he asked "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

The quote is from Psalm 22, which begins by mourning God's apparent abandonment but ends with an affirmation that God cares for humanity. The quote likely reflected Jesus' distress as well as his theology.

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Who oversaw the building of the first temple?

Solomon built the first temple, which stood until it was destroyed by Babylon. After the exile, the temple was rebuilt in the Book of Ezra.

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Which nation controlled the Promised Land when the Israelites arrived from the Exodus?

The land was described as the Land of Canaan, and the book of Joshua is largely focused on the battles between Canaan and Israel for control.

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Whose return was prophesied in the final verses of the Old Testament?

Malachi ends with a prophecy that Elijah will prepare the way for the Messiah. In the New Testament, the returned Elijah is identified as John the Baptist.

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Which ancestor of David did Ruth marry in the Book of Ruth?

Despite the condemnation of mixed marriage found in Ezra and Nehemiah, Ruth shows that David descends from a marriage between an Israelite (Boaz) and a Moabite (Ruth).

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In Romans 9, Paul contrasts God's love of Jacob with his hatred for who else?

Despite being brothers, Jacob and Esau are frequently contrasted. In Genesis, Jacob was given the name Israel and special favor with God, while Esau lost his blessing and sold his birthright. Paul cites God's hatred of Esau while contrasting God's sovereignty with human desire.

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Which prophets appeared at the Transfiguration?

At the transfiguration, God declared Jesus' authority to his disciples, with Moses and Elijah bearing witness.

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Besides Jesus, which prophet did God refer to as "Son of Man"?

Daniel had a prophetic vision of "one like a son of man," but the title was not applied to him. Ezekiel was referred to as Son of Man more than 90 times.

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Where did Jesus pray to avoid the crucifixion, asking "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me?"

Jesus prayed in Gethsemane shortly before Judas betrayed him. Despite hoping to avoid the crucifixion, his prayer ended with an affirmation that he would carry out God's will.

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Who was the first king of Israel?

Samuel and his sons ended the period of Judges, with Saul as the first king. David succeeded Saul after he died in battle.

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Which prophet did Jesus cite as a sign that he would rise after three days?

In Matthew 12:40, Jesus compared his coming death and resurrection to the three days Jonah spent in the belly of a fish.

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Which of these was not one of the plagues of Egypt?

The final plague was the death of the firstborn, with no mention of age. The death of newborns was commanded by Pharaoh when Moses was young, and the death of children under the age of two was later commanded by Herod the Great.

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Ezekiel begins with a vision of celestial "living creatures" with the faces of a man, lion, eagle and ox. Which prophet later has a similar vision?

The beasts, sometimes thought to represent the four evangelists, are described in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4.

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Which two books of the Bible famously never mention God?

God's actions are implicitly responsible for Esther's success in saving her people, but he is never directly mentioned. Song of Solomon is often viewed as a metaphor for God's relationship with people or the church, but again, God does not explicitly appear.

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In Matthew 19, Jesus quotes from Genesis: "The Creator made them male and female ... For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife." What does Jesus use this quote to argue against?

Many Christians have interpreted this passage (and Jesus' support of it) as implicitly rejecting all three, but in context Jesus was specifically arguing against divorce.

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In Revelation, how many Israelites are said to receive the seal of God?

The seal is given to 144,000 in total: 12,000 members from each of the 12 tribes.

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Which group captured Samson after his hair was shaved?

When Samson's hair was shaved, his Nazirite vows were broken and he lost the strength he received from God. The Philistines captured him and tied him to the pillars of a temple, but he regained his strength through prayer and brought the temple down from within.

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When Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, what did he say a statue made of many metals represented?

The metals represented the kingdoms that would succeed Babylon, such as Persia and Greece, culminating in the kingdom of God.

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In the Book of Ezra, which king gave the order to rebuild the temple?

The temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Once Persia defeated Babylon, the Persian king Cyrus allowed the temple to be rebuilt. Interestingly, the Bible refers to Cyrus as God's anointed one, paralleling language later used to describe Jesus.

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What plague was described by the prophet Joel?

There is some debate over whether Joel was describing literal locusts or using a metaphor for opposing armies. Either way, the first half of Joel lamented the destruction they caused

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In Matthew 10:34, Jesus says: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but..." what?

Despite Jesus' reputation as the Prince of Peace, he openly predicted that his message would divide people and lead to strife.

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Chronologically, which of these events happened last?

Abraham was aware of God well before the Binding of Isaac, and he involved himself in the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah by begging God to spare the cities, but the famous test of his willingness to obey God came later.

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After Cain was exiled for killing Abel, what land did he eventually settle in?

After years of wandering, Cain eventually settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

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How many people survived the Great Flood?

Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their three wives were the only ones to seek refuge on the ark.

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Who successfully asked God to stop the sun in the sky?

Joshua prayed for more daylight to finish a battle against the Amorites, which God obliged.

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How many people did Jesus raise from the dead before his crucifixion?

Jesus raised Lazarus (John 11), the widow of Nain's son (Luke 7) and Jairus's daughter (Luke 8).

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At Mount Carmel, Elijah arranged a contest between God and which rival deity?

God rebuked the worship of all four dieties, but only directly challenged Baal. Elijah prayed for God to light a fire, while rival priests prayed for Baal to do the same. Despite the clear result of the test, it failed to end Israel's apostasy.

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Besides Joshua, who survived the Exodus and entered the Promised Land?

Moses was allowed to see the Promised Land but not to enter it, as punishment for his lack of faith. Only Caleb and Joshua completed the full journey.

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To symbolize Israel's rebuke of God, God commanded Hosea to marry a woman who had committed what sin?

Throughout the latter half of the Old Testament, Israel's abandonment of the covenant is compared to adultery. Hosea acted as a symbol of the defiled relationship between Israel and God.

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Which of the minor prophets directly challenged God about how he could tolerate evil?

The book of Habakkuk consists of an exchange between the prophet and God. Once God explains his plans for Israel and Babylon, Habakkuk retracts his criticism and offers praise.

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Which of these trials was NOT inflicted on Job by Satan?

Despite his torments, Job's wife encouraged him not to rebuke God.

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In the Old Testament, who was the last king to rule a united Israel?

After the kingdom started to decline under Solomon, it finally split in two during the reign of his son Rehoboam. Manasseh and Ahab both ruled later, each over half of the divided kingdom.

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Read in modern canonical order, which book contains the Bible's first direct mention of Satan?

Satan is first mentioned tempting David to conduct a census before battle, rather than trusting God to provide him with the necessary manpower. Revelation 12:9 is often read as implying Satan was the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but this association was not made in Genesis itself.

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