The Bible holds ancient texts which are held sacred to those of the Jewish and Christian faiths.
For Jewish people, the sacred texts includes the first five books of the Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books are known as the Pentateuch (which means "five books" in Greek), or the Torah (meaning "law" in Hebrew).
Even though the Torah means "law," within these books, and the other 61 books held sacred by Christians, there are great stories of passion, perseverance, betrayal, violence, and ultimately faith in God. Most people were everyday, normal folks who were living their lives and were called into stories bigger than themselves.
The characters that come from these books may seem larger than life now. But before these stories were written down by priests, they were told via the oral tradition. They have been handed down to capture part of the history of the Jewish people as well as new Christians in 1st century Palestine.
So are you ready to test your biblical knowledge of the major characters of the Bible? Go ahead and take this quiz and hopefully you won't need divine intervention.
We hope you have a heavenly time! Good luck!
The name Adam comes from the root word adamah which means earth. God created Adam from the earth and breathed life into him.
Eve's name means "living one," and she is seen as the mother of all. And yes, she is the one who is first tempted by the serpent to eat fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Her and Adam's disobedience of God caused them to be thrust out of the Garden of Eden.
According to the creation myth, Cain was the son of Adam and Eve, so also the first human born. He murdered his brother Abel because he was jealous that God favored Abel's offering over his. God punishes Cain to wander in the land of Nod (which means wandering).
Methuselah lived to be 969 year old. His name has become synonymous with living into old age.
Some take this verse in Genesis about Enoch literally, suggesting that he never died: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24). That claim is supported by this verse in the New Testament book of Hebrews: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death..." (Hebrews 11:5)
Noah is famously known for building the ark, enduring 40 days of rain, and receiving the promise of a rainbow that God would not flood the earth again. But after the flood, Noah grew vineyards and, according to myth, would have been the first person to know what it was like to be drunk.
Abraham was told by God many things that were hard to believe but he eventually did: that he needed to move to another land and that he would be the father of many people; that he and his wife would have a son in their old age; that he needed to kill his son as a sacrifice to God. He is seen as a patriarch of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
Sarah was in her 80s when God told her and Abraham that she would be pregnant with a child. Sarah thought this would happen through her servant, Hagar, with whom Abraham had his firstborn, Ishmael, who is viewed as the father of Arabs. Sarah eventually had her own son.
Isaac was a miracle child for Sarah and Abraham, who both laughed that it was prophesied that he would be their son. Isaac's wife, Rebekah, was thought to be barren, just like his mother. But after Isaac prayed for divine intervention, Rebekah was able to have children.
Jacob is the son of Rebekah and Isaac, and younger twin brother of Esau, whom he hustled out of his birthright by pretending to be him. Jacob, whose name later became Israel and is the father of the 12 tribes of Israel through his 12 sons. Rachel, Jacob's second wife, also had fertility issues (just like Rebekah and Sarah), but she finally had two sons of her own.
Joseph was most famous for having been Jacob's favorite and having a multi-colored coat. His brothers sold him into slavery, but after working his way up and enduring a false accusation and 13 years of prison, he became the second only to the pharaoh. Joseph's prophetic dreams not only saw him rising in power, but they also foreshadowed a famine, which he prepared for and was able to save his family.
Moses' story is full of drama: adoption, murder, a burning bush, 10 plagues with an angel of death, the parting of the Red Sea, the creation of the 10 Commandments, manna from heaven. Moses is probably most famous for delivering the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. He helped to shape much of the religious beliefs and practices of the Israelites, including writing the Torah, or the first five books of the Bible.
Joshua's main mission was to secure the land of Canaan for the Israelites. The Battle of Jericho is famous for Joshua leading the Israelites to march around the city's thick walls for seven days, and then blowing horns and yelling, and the city's walls crumbling.
"Rahab the harlot" is how she is commonly known in the Bible, but it's most likely that her prostitute services were of a religious manner. She housed the 12 spies of Israel which included Joshua, who came to see if Canaan could be conquered. She is revered as a woman of virtue.
David killed Goliath the Philistine with just one stone in his slingshot, which caused the other Philistines to flee. Besides being fierce in battle, David is also known for his intimate friendship with King Saul's son, Jonathan. One significant event in the history of the Israelites: David conquered Jerusalem and made it his capital.
Solomon is known as the author of several books of the Bible including Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. Solomon would be the last king of a unified Israel due to his drifting away from the monotheistic faith.
Elijah is known to have done many miracles including resurrecting a widow's son, praying for rain to stop, and praying for rain to come. He is also known to have left Earth in a fiery chariot that ascended to heaven. Like Enoch, it was fabled that he never tasted death.
Elijah prophesied that Elisha would have a double portion of his anointing as a prophet. Elisha performed double the miracles Elijah had done. Even a dead man who was touched by his bones was resurrected.
Deborah is the only female judge mentioned in the Bible, and her rule brought 40 years of peace. Most notably, she prophesied a victory for Barak over Canaan's army. when the female Jael was able to give the final death blow to Sisera, Canaan's general, by driving a tent peg through the temple of his head as he slept.
Isaiah was a counselor and adviser to the kings of Judah. His prophecies not only have great significance to Christians, but they also have literary importance. The Book of Isaiah has vivid, memorable imagery, foreseeing a restoration of peace on earth.
After the sacking of Jerusalem, Daniel, a young Jewish nobleman, found himself in the courts of the King Nebuchadnezzar. He refused to eat Babylonian food (only eating vegetables), was thrown in the lions' den, and his friends, known by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were thrown in a fiery furnace. Neither Daniel nor his friends were harmed.
Jonah is famous for his three-day odyssey in the belly of a big fish after disobeying God. He eventually made it to Nineveh, told people to repent (which they did), but Jonah was not pleased--he wanted their destruction. He sat and sulked under a plant while God chided him for lacking compassion.
The Book of Job is about a wager between God and Satan--will this man give up his faith if everything is taken from him? At the end of his trial, Job remains firm (despite friends tell him to curse God and die) and is given more than what he had before.
Esther becomes the queen of Persia because of her beauty and overhears an order by King Ahasuerus' adviser, Haman, to kill all Jews in Persia. She was able to convince the king to reverse the order, and he gives her permission to allow Jews to defend themselves from anyone who attacks them. In Judaism, this event is celebrated as the holiday Purim.
Jesus, also known as Jesus of Nazareth, was a polarizing figure in first century Palestine, especially within his own family and with the Jewish scholars and rulers of the day. Jesus was known for his relatable story-like teachings (parables), his miracles and healings, and for being resurrected from the dead after being crucified. By his followers, called Christians, Jesus is seen as the Christ (Messiah)--a path to salvation and eternal life.
Mary, also known as the Virgin Mary, was Jesus's teenage mother who had been betrothed to Joseph, Jesus's father. The Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth are cornerstones to the Christian faith, affirming Jesus's divinity. In the Catholic Church, Mary is highly revered as the Mother of God.
John is the writer of some of the epistles of the Bible including the Gospel of John, the First, Second, and Third Epistles of John and, possibly, the Book of Revelation. John is considered be one of the founders of the early Christian church.
John the Baptist was known to wear camel hair and ate locust and honey. In the Gospel of Mark, John the Baptist is connected to the prophecy of Isaiah as "a voice crying in the wilderness," and in Christianity, he is seen as Jesus' predecessor.
Peter, also known as Simon Peter, was one of Jesus's first disciples. He was also the first disciple to enter Jesus's empty tomb after the resurrection. Even after denying knowing Jesus, Peter became an integral part of the early Christian church and is seen in the Catholic Church as the first Pope.
This disciple has the nickname "Doubting Thomas" because he wanted to feel the wounds of Jesus after his resurrection. Thomas became an apostle and preacher and went as far as India to preach the Gospel. He became a martyr in 72 A.D.
Mary Magdalene traveled with Jesus and has many mentions in the Gospels, more than most of his disciples. Mary Magdalene witnessed Jesus's crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Her witness is one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith--the resurrected Christ.
Pontius Pilate was the prefect or regional governor for Roman Judea. Possibly unconvinced that Jesus was any threat, Pilate was wary of crucifying him and hoped that the crowd during Passover would choose to release him. Instead they chose Barabbas, and Jesus was crucified with the placard "Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews."
Lazarus was a follower of Jesus and brother to Mary and Martha--two other followers. The death of Lazarus and grief of his sisters evoked the famous pithy line in the Bible: "Jesus wept."
Stephen was a deacon in the early Church who taught and performed miracles--and his growing fame stirred up concerns about heresy. He was brought before the Sanhedrin and gave a long speech. He angered the rulers and the crowd and was stoned to death as he prayed for forgiveness for those who were stoning him.
Saul (also known as Paul) of Tarsus had a dramatic conversion, typically called a "road to Damascus" experience. He became an apostle and missionary, traveling across Asia Minor and in the Mediterranean as far west as Spain. His letters to the various churches comprise a large portion of the New Testament.