The Catholic Bible Literacy Quiz



By: Ryan Choate

6 Min Quiz

Image: Image Source / Image Source / Getty Images

About This Quiz

There are hundreds of versions of the Bible printed in many different languages. There is the Old Testament and there is the New Testament, the books of the Bible written before and after the birth of Jesus Christ, respectively. The Catholic church has combined both Testaments, with additional books based upon a recommendation from the pope. It is up to a particular denomination to decide which version of history to include in its Bible. Protestant versions of the Bible exclude certain books, including those of the Christian Old Testament.

The question of why there are so many versions often comes up when discussing the Bible. We have to remember that the original versions of the Old Testament were written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. Some versions are a more literal translation of words and stories and others choose to paraphrase to capture an idea or ideology, What is referred to as the King James Bible, written in 1611, is considered a precise translation with a majestic writing style. That Bible was written to align with the Church of England but was translated by people, not all familiar with Hebrew. While the main difference between the King James Bible and the Catholic Bible is the addition of books to the Catholic version, we can firmly state the message is the same. 

Do you have the Gospels down pat? Say a Hail Mary and take this quiz to see how much you know about the Catholic Bible!

To which city was Saul traveling when he encountered Christ?

Acts chapter 9 says that Saul was on his way to Damascus. An angry Saul wanted to murder the disciples of Jesus. Saul would later become King Saul, ruler of the Israelites as they battled the Philistines.


Which Gospel was written by a doctor?

It's the third Gospel, the book of Luke. Luke was an early adopter of Christianity and he was also a physician. Luke never met Jesus, but he went out to spread the good news of Jesus' resurrection as instructed by God and to spread the word of his miracles.


What was the name of Adam and Eve's third son?

Seth was the third son born to Adam and Eve after Cain and Abel. Eve believed Seth was born to replace her murdered son, Abel. Abel was murdered by his brother, Cain, after God favored Abel's sacrifice to Him over Cain's.


What did John the Baptist eat while in the desert?

John the Baptist traveled through the desert. He ate locusts and wild honey to survive, the verse says. John was on a mission to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. His name does not refer to the modern sect of Baptist. It means, "one who administers the rite of immersion."


According to the Bible, who is the prince of the air?

Satan is considered to be the prince of the air. Satan has control over some things in the living world but the power has been given to him by God, and God has the ultimate authority. The air is believed to be the area between heaven and where Satan and his demons dwell.


The first murderer in human history was ___________.

Cain and Abel were brothers and the first two sons of Adam and Eve. Both made sacrifices to God in order to be more prosperous. God favored Abel's sacrifice so Cain murdered his brother and was punished by God to a life of wandering.


What two people asked Jesus if he should rain fire down on a Samaritan village?

When Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, he sent word through James and John to a village of Samaritans. The village did not want to welcome Jesus. James and John asked if Jesus wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume the village. Jesus rebuked the request.


Saul saw Jesus as a bright light on his way to where?

Saul was on his way to Damascus when he saw a light. It was believed the light was the spirit of Jesus and it changed Saul's life. A voice called out to him and his associates. His associates heard the voice but only Saul saw the light.


Who was caught up to heaven in a whirlwind?

Elijah was a prophet of God. When Elijah’s work as a prophet came to an end, a chariot and horses of fire appeared and Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. Troops were administered to kill Elijah before he was sent to heaven but they were killed when fire rained down from the sky.


The Ark of the Covenant contained three items, according to Paul, including which of the following?

It is widely believed that the items in the Ark of the Covenant were the word of God in the form of the Ten Commandments, manna which is a food that sustained the Israelites, and the Rod of Aaron which sprouted leaves as a sign from God.


Before he was a disciple of Christ, what did Simon Peter (St. Peter) do for a living?

In the book of Matthew, it is said that Peter is a fisherman. His brother Andrew is also a fisherman. Peter is considered the first Pope and is one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. He is from Bethsaida, near Lake Tiberias.


Who takes Jesus's body off the cross?

In all four books of the synoptic Gospels, Joseph of Arimathea was tasked with removing Jesus' body from the cross and burying him. Jesus' mother, Mary, was at the cross and is believed to have received her son's lifeless body as it was removed from the cross by Joseph.


Which prophet foretold that Jesus would be born of a virgin?

Some suggest that Isaiah’s statement refers to a ‘young woman’ (not necessarily a ‘virgin’) of his day, who would conceive and give birth to a child, and that this event would be a sign to Hezekiah. It is then further said that Matthew took that text and applied it to Jesus’ birth, though, supposedly, this was not the passage's original meaning.


This person went to the Witch of Endor to get her to conjure up Samuel from the dead.

King Saul was surrounded by Philistines ready to attack Israel. Saul wished he had the advice from the great prophet Samuel. Samuel had died a few years earlier. Saul went to a woman who supposedly could speak with the dead to see if she could summon Saul's spirit.


Who was the prophet who foretold Jesus would be born in Bethlehem?

Micah was born some 700 years before Jesus, but he had a prophecy that, "from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days." (Micah 5:2) Jesus was born in Bethlehem.


The two tribes of ancient Israel in the southern kingdom are collectively known as _________.

Judah was known as the southern kingdom of ancient Israel and consisted of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. These two tribes later became the Jewish people. The southern kingdom was conquered by Babylon around 586 BC.


Jesus appeared to his unknowing disciples after the resurrection on the road to __________.

Jesus made appearances in various forms to his disciples after the resurrection. Two of his disciples had this experience on their way to the city of Emmaus. Emmaus was a town mentioned in the book of Luke, and its geographic location is not known today.


What was the name of a tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus?

Zacchaeus was a tax collector who was short in stature. He climbed a tree so he could see Jesus when he passed through Jerusalem. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree, he told him to come down and that he would stay at his house during his stay in Jerusalem.


Who is Stephen in the Acts of the Apostles?

Stephen was a preacher of the gospel in Jerusalem. He was not welcome to preach and was ceremoniously dragged into the streets and stoned to death. He is known as the first to be killed because of his religious beliefs, or the first martyr. He is known today as Saint Stephen.


The Liturgy of the Hours draws mainly from which biblical book?

The Liturgy of the Hours is a set of prayers and hymns mostly taken from the book of Psalms. This is a process undertaken by priests and deacons to obey the Lord's command to "pray without ceasing." Psalms is the first book in the third section of the Hebrew Bible.


How many of the 12 tribes of Israel were in the northern kingdom?

The 12 tribes of Israel are the traditional division of ancient Jewish people. Ten of the 12 tribes were located in the northern kingdom. The tribes were descended by the 12 sons of the patriarch Jacob.


In 722 BC, the northern kingdom was taken captive by the ___________.

The Assyrians, a powerful people from northern Mesopotamia, invaded ancient Israel in 722 BC. The northern kingdom was dismantled and the Jews were dispersed to other parts of the Assyrian empire.


Who was the prophet who foretold Jesus would be sold for 30 pieces of silver?

Zechariah was the 11th of the 12 minor prophets. He prophesied that Jesus would be sold for 30 pieces of silver, the amount which it is said for which Judas betrayed Jesus.


Which passage in Psalms foretells the crucifixion of Jesus?

Passage 22 in the book of Psalms foretells the crucifixion of Jesus. It contains the famous passage, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It is disputed by some biblical scholars but has a detailed description of what might happen to a person who is crucified.


In which order is Jesus a priest forever?

The order of Melchizedek means king of righteousness. Melchizedek was both a king and a priest. Melchizedek is a foreshadow of the future messiah as an eternal priest. In Psalms 110, David is heard to say, "you are a priest forever," referring to Jesus.


Which king, a biblical type of the antichrist, in 2 Maccabees desecrated the Jewish temple?

King Antiochus was a Greek king who considered himself the living embodiment of Zeus. Since he considered himself godlike, he wanted to manipulate other religions. He invaded Jerusalem in 168 BC, marched to the temple and erected a statue of Zeus, thereby desecrating it.


Who chopped off the head of General Holofernes, saving Israel?

The Jews were besieged and close to surrendering to the King of Nineveh. Judith sneaked into a camp, seduced General Holofernes and returned with his severed head, inspiring the Jews to fight back and save Israel.


The Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary is what?

This mystery is commemorated during the Christian holy day of Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter. It marks the day the spirit of Jesus descended on the apostles and other followers after Jesus' Ascension into heaven. The Descent of the Holy Spirit is described in the Acts of the Apostles.


What does Bethlehem mean?

In Hebrew, Bethlehem is two words. Beth means “house” and lehem means "bread." Bethlehem is better known as the birthplace of Jesus. It is just south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is also the birthplace of David, Israel's second King. Today it is a popular destination for worshipers to visit.


Pope John Paul II instituted a new set of mysteries to the Rosary called the _____________.

These new mysteries were instituted in 2002 and proposed by the church to be said on Thursdays. These mysteries include prayers about the baptism of Jesus, Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist. They are also known as the Mysteries of Light.


The name "Maccabee" means what in English?

Maccabees means hammer in Hebrew. It is used to describe a family in ancient Israel that battled Greek King Antiochus who desecrated the Holy Temple. The family was formerly known as the Mattathias family but changed their name after battling with the Greek King Antiochus.


According to 2 Maccabees, who buried the Ark of the Covenant containing the 10 Commandments?

According to the book of 2 Maccabees, Jeremiah took the Ark of the Covenant to Mt. Nebo prior to the invasion of the Babylonians. This version of the disappearance of the ark is disputed by scholars.


What are the writers of the gospel known as?

They were itinerant preachers, having it as their special function to carry the gospel to places where it was previously unknown. The writers of the four Gospels are known as the Evangelists.


The Feast of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple, attended by Jesus in John 10, is known today as ___________.

Hanukah means "dedication" in Hebrew. It celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It involves an eight-day feast with daily lighting of a menorah, thus it is also known as the festival of lights.


The first Christian in the New Testament, as well as the first evangelist, was ___________.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is considered the first Christian and the first evangelist. She did not belong to an organized Christian church because it simply didn't exist at the time. However, she is credited with giving birth to Jesus through the miraculous conception and accepted her son's divinity and that his teachings came from God. Mary was also at the crucifixion to accept Jesus when he was taken off the cross.


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