Quizzes can fun. Just take a look at Facebook; every day there’s a new quiz that people are taking, ranging from how well you remember cartoons from the 70’s to which Disney character you are most like.
So since we seem to like quizzes, I thought I’d give a little “pop quiz” of my own. These five questions are on fairly familiar Bible stories, so they shouldn’t be too hard to answer. See how well you do, then stick around for the application.
1. Who was Esther’s uncle?
2. Who cut Samson’s hair?
3. Who was taken up into heaven in a chariot of fire?
4. In which gospel account’s record of the birth of Jesus do we read about the innkeeper?
5. Which apostle doubted the report of Jesus’ resurrection?
Okay, so you finished the quiz? The answers are in the final paragraph of this article. I’m putting them there so that you wouldn’t inadvertently see the answers in this paragraph as you read the questions above. So, take a moment and read the last paragraph, then come back up and we’ll pick up here.
While these questions come from fairly well-known stories, probably most of you missed several of the answers. Someone might say, “So what? What difference does it make? It’s not like life and death or Heaven and Hell hing on these questions.” And of course, that’s true, they don’t. But here’s what I want us to think about, and why I offered this little quiz. The next time you are tempted to say about your religious neighbors, “How in the world do they believe what they believe; don’t they read their Bibles?” you might remember this little quiz. Chances are, they embrace errors for the same reasons we embrace errors (e.g. failure to read carefully, accepting tradition, trusting that what we’ve been told is the truth without doing our own research, etc.).
What I want this short quiz to do is to motivate us to be better students of the Bible and have a more patient and understanding attitude toward our religious neighbors who are in error. Their mistakes may be more consequential than not knowing who Samson’s wife was (who by the way, wasn’t Delilah. Look it up for yourself), but we struggle with the same weaknesses in Bible study that they do.
So don’t judge motives. Don’t conclude they don’t love the truth as much as you do. It’s more than likely they’ve simply made the same mistakes you’ve made with regard to Bible study and need a kind and gentle friend to help guide them.
So how did you do? Did anyone get them all correct?
If you answered 1) Mordecai, 2) Delilah, 3) Elijah or Elisha, 4) Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and 5) anyone less than all eleven of the apostles you were wrong. (I’d give you 1/11th of a point on question “5” if you answered “Thomas.”). Mordecai was Esther’s cousin, not uncle (Esther 2:7). Delilah didn’t cut Samson’s hair, an unnamed Philistine did (Judges 16:19). No one rode a chariot of fire into heaven, but a chariot of fire did separate Elijah and Elisha, then a whirlwind took Elijah away (2 Kings 2:11). There is no mention of an “innkeeper” in any of the gospel accounts. And all of the apostles were guilty of not believing the reports of Jesus raising from the dead, not just Thomas (Mark 16:14).