Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How well do you know the Gospels?

About two years ago, I had the privilege of teaching the book of Hebrews to a fine group of Christians from the Milwaukee area, but after that study was complete, we needed to start something new. At that time I wasn't sure what book to teach next, particularly because I still had much to learn about the people in our small group. I wasn't quite sure which other books of the Bible were too theologically "heavy" for the group. I definitely wanted to offer something less heavy than Hebrews. And so my wife came up with the great idea of having a Bible trivia night to mellow things out a bit and provide room for discussing what book of the Bible we all wanted to study next. And as an extra bonus, the winner of the Bible trivia would get a prize! (The gift was a card to Half-price Books, the perfect gift idea for our small group because we all like to read books. And that was the idea of our great friend, Jenny Provost. Thank you Jenny!)

A bunch of people were interested in studying the gospels, and so I decided to narrow our trivia & discussion to the Gospels, and other general information relating to them. It was a very fun night, a night which I'll never forget, because I got to learn the perspectives of each and every person in our small group and just how much they learned (and didn't learn) from their Pastors or teachers in Sunday School.

Below are the 40 trivia questions I asked that night. (Fun fact: 40 is a biblical number for "testing".)

How well do you know the gospels? 
The person with the most correct answers wins.

  1. Which of the following is not a synoptic gospel: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?
  2. How many "gospel" books are there and who wrote the longest one?
  3. How many books of the New Testament were written by Gentile (non-Jewish) authors?
  4. Which gospel emphasizes Christ as a "king" the most, both in it's frequent use of that word, and in its literary structure?
  5. Which gospel frequently says that the words or actions of Jesus have taken place "to fulfill" the Scriptures?
  6. In which gospel does Jesus speak of "the days of vengeance"; and what city was Jesus preaching in when he spoke of those soon-coming "days"?
  7. Which author of the gospel mentions the last words of Jesus on the cross as saying, "It is finished."?
  8. Which gospel focuses the geographical scope of Jesus's life and ministry within Jerusalem?
  9. Which gospel does not mention the institution of the Lord's supper (i.e. "This is my body," "take, eat,...", "This is my blood of the covenant...", etc...)?
  10. Which gospel does not mention Jesus' Olivet Discourse?
  11. Which synoptic gospel does not mention the Lord's Prayer at all?
  12. Which gospel frequently emphasizes the "knowledge" of God and the way in which his readers "know" that Jesus' words are true?
  13. What is the only gospel that does not mention the veil of the temple being "torn apart" during the crucifixion of Jesus?
  14. What is the only gospel that mentions the graves of dead people opening and many dead bodies rising out of their graves?
  15. Which synoptic gospel contains more references and illustrations of the Holy Spirit's work than the other two synoptic gospels combined?
  16. What is the only gospel that records the words of the thief who was crucified with Christ?
  17. In which gospel are "the times of the Gentiles" mentioned by Jesus?
  18. When did "the times of the Gentiles" begin in history (i.e. what era of biblical history)?
  19. In which gospel do we find four, and only four, consecutive beatitudes?
  20. Which of the synoptic gospels gives us no information about Jesus' birth or his early childhood?
  21. Which author mentions Peter in his gospel more than any other disciple?
  22. Which author wrote his gospel with what scholars consider to be "elegant" and "proper" Greek?
  23. Which author wrote his gospel in the most grammatically poor and "common" style of Greek?
  24. Which author incorporates both Aramaic and Latin phrases in his (Greek) gospel?
  25. Which author incorporates the most Semitic (Hebrew/Aramaic) styles and phrases in his (Greek) gospel?
  26. Which gospel-author had the surname of Levi?
  27. Which gospel-author was the nephew of Barnabas?
  28. Which gospel is structured around five main discourses (i.e. topical speeches)?
  29. What is the repeated phrase that author (just mentioned) uses to indicate that his gospel is structured around five main discourses?
  30. Which gospel author emphasizes the "power" and actions of Jesus rather than his discourses (i.e. which author shows Jesus doing a lot of things, instead of saying a lot of things)?
  31. Which gospel mentions the "Kingdom of Heaven" the most (instead of "Kingdom of God")?
  32. What are the first words of Jesus recorded in the gospels?
  33. What is the first miracle of Jesus recorded in the gospels?
  34. What is the second miracle of Jesus recorded in the gospels?
  35. Which gospel contains the most quotations from the Old Testament (i.e. Genesis through Malachi)?
  36. Which gospel was written first, and why?
  37. Which gospel was written last, and why?
  38. To whom was John's gospel written: Palestinian Jews, Hellenistic Jews of the Dispersion, Gentiles, or all of the above?
  39. To whom was Matthew's gospel written?
  40. To whom was Luke's gospel written?

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