The “What is the Bible? quiz” is a fun way to learn about what the Bible is and how we should view it. This quiz covers topics of inspiration of scripture, authority of scripture, textual criticism, and errors in the bible.

1. T  F  God gave us the Bible.

2. T  F  God inspired the Bible.

3. T  F  The humanity of the Bible’s authors introduced errors.

4. T  F  The scribes made errors as they copied the manuscripts.

5. T  F  Today’s Bible is different from the original manuscripts because scribes rewrote parts of it.

6. T  F  We no longer have an accurate copy of the Scriptures.

7. T  F  It is possible to be too literal in Bible interpretation.

8. T  F  There are three meanings to every passage of scripture.

9. T  F  The distance of time, space and culture does affects our understanding of the Bible.

10. T  F  All you need is the Bible and the Holy Spirit to understand the Bible. All other books are a waste of time, money, and trees.

11. T  F  There is no interpretation to the Bible. Just read it and believe it.

12. T  F  The more you can understand the biblical setting and culture, the better you can understand the Bible.

13. T  F  The Bible is a good book but has no real authority today.

14. T  F  The Bible is equal to the Koran.

15. T  F   The Old Testament of the Bible is useless to us today.

16. T  F  The Book of Revelation was written in a code, and we have lost the "key" to unlock its meaning.

17. T  F  The Davinci Code is true and tells us things the Bible leaves out.

18. T  F  There are also other God inspired scriptures besides the Bible.

19. T  F  I read the Bible once and that is enough.

20. T  F  The Bible is complete now.

21. T  F  Modern prophets know more than the Bible tells us about our future.

22. T  F  We expect no new revelation from God.

23. T  F  If God wanted us to understand Bible prophecy, he would have said it plainly and clearly.

24. T  F  The Bible tells us everything we need to know.

25. T  F  The Bible is the ultimate authoritative rule for life.

Answers

TRUE 1. God gave us the Bible.

Inspiration: God gave us the Bible by choosing the people who would write it and telling them what to write.

TRUE 2. God inspired the Bible.

Inspiration: God verbally inspired the Bible which means God told the authors what to say. It is also plenarily inspired meaning God inspired all the Bible. This makes the Bible God’s word.

FALSE 3. The humanity of the Bible’s authors introduced errors.

Inspiration: The Bible’s authors wrote exactly what God wanted them to write without errors.

TRUE 4. The scribes made errors as they copied the manuscripts.

Textual criticism: Yes, the scribes made errors. We see the errors when comparing the manuscripts to each other, but we can in most cases correct the errors with a high degree of certainty by comparing the manuscripts to each other. Textual Criticism is the process of comparing manuscripts to each other. This process produces a very accurate text called a “critical text” that we can use with confidence when translating or studying the Bible. Critical texts are in the same language as the manuscripts, not English.

FALSE 5. Today’s Bible is different from the original manuscripts because scribes rewrote parts of it.

Textual criticism: The authors made multiple copies of each manuscript and it would be difficult for anyone to make a change and the alteration go unnoticed. No one could have covered up what the original manuscripts had said. Scribes sometimes made copying errors. Sometimes they would leave out or add a portion of a line by inadvertently skipping to a similar word. Other times scribes added notes in the margins which later scribes would inadvertently include in the text thinking it was a correction. We find these changes when comparing manuscripts to each other. Scholars can confidently make corrections when they compare the manuscripts.

FALSE 6. We no longer have an accurate copy of the Scriptures.

Textual criticism: Some of the manuscripts available to scholars are from the time when the original manuscripts were still in use. We now have what we call a critical text from comparing many manuscripts to each other.

People have sought to recover the text of the original autographs by comparing and analyzing many manuscripts to sort out the scribal errors and additions. This has worked well. The resulting critical text is approximately 99.95% accurate and has improved the quality of our modern Bible translations considerably.

Scholars are not able to confidently correct all different readings in manuscripts. Lucky, these variances do not affect any major doctrine. Today’s current literal (formal equivalent) translations of the Bible are quite reliable translations that very closely conveying the message of the original authors. Even though the statement is only 0.05% true, the 99.95%. False carries this one.

TRUE 7. It is possible to be too literal in Bible interpretation.

Method of Interpretation: We generally want to be quite literal in our interpretation of Scripture; however, there are times when an author intends for us to not read his writing, or part of it, literally. It is usually fairly clear when to understand the Bible in a figurative sense. If a person takes figurative language literally, it would be too literal for that passage and lead to a misunderstanding of the passage’s intended meaning. The Bible uses many figures of speech, and we need to recognize them and understand them the way the author intended. Most of the time literal interpretation of the Bible is best, but we must be careful to know when the language is figurative or a figure of speech.

FALSE 8. There are three meanings to every passage of scripture.

Method of Interpretation: In the past, some Bible interpreters thought there were three or four meanings to every passage of Scripture. This does not happen when using proper methods of interpretation. When the New Testament quotes from the Old Testament, the New Testament writer may use it differently, but that is okay because God inspired them to write the Bible, whereas God has not inspired us to apply passages to a new situation the way He inspired the New Testament writers. There is usually only one meaning for a passage, though there are cases where ambiguity exists. Bible prophecy is an exception as it can have a present meaning and a future meaning. That is, a message or fulfillment for the people at the time of the prophecy and a message or fulfillment for people of a later time.

TRUE 9. The distance of time, space, and culture affects our understanding of the Bible.

Method of Interpretation: Times have their own political situations, technologies, and ways of doing things. Some things are determined by the location where a person lives. Cultures tend to vary by people-groups and languages. It becomes clear when all this is all taken into account, how easily misunderstandings can occur between people of our times, location, and culture and the people of ancient Bible times. In this case, the Bible speaks to us from an ancient time, a faraway place, and a vastly different culture. People of biblical times cannot learn to understand us, but we can learn to understand them. When we do, we are in a better place to understand the Bible correctly.

FALSE 10. All you need is the Bible and the Holy Spirit to understand the Bible. All other books are a waste of time, money, and trees.

Method of Interpretation: I have heard people claim this, but Bible study requires additional resources. As we try to understand the Bible, we want to understand it in the same way the authors intended when they wrote it and the way the original readers or hearers would have understood it. Since customs have changed over time and across cultures, we need additional resources to help us understand what their culture was like so we can understand the Bible in the context of the situation of the biblical hearers and the writer. We need to avoid putting our own thoughts and context into the Bible and read the Bible for what it means. For example, Ezekiel 24:23 (KJV) says, "And your tires shall be upon your heads." Does this make you think of a big black doughnut on their head, like a car tire? To the author and the original hearers, it meant wearing a turban on their head indicating proper attire.

A person must be careful with books about the Bible because some of the biblical scholarship today is the result of “over-use” of the most recent tools for analyzing literature which produces unsatisfactory results. Some scholars use “Higher Criticism” to discount the supernatural in the Bible. Therefore, one should avoid “Higher Criticism” of the Bible. However, there is much benefit to availing oneself of the work and insight of others along with one’s own careful Bible study and prayer. A single person cannot know everything necessary to interpret the Bible correctly, i.e., ancient languages, culture, history, technologies etcetera. It is good to stand on the shoulder of Christians who have come before us rather than reinventing the wheel again, so to speak. Let’s not forget the Holy Spirit, we should pray for God’s help to understand the Bible when we read and study it.

FALSE 11. There is no interpretation to the Bible. Just read it and believe it.

Method of Interpretation: The Bible is a complex document that involves many genres (styles, forms of writing.) Although it is important to understand the Bible, the task becomes difficult because of the language, cultural, geographic, and technological differences from our own. Interpretation involves crossing all these barriers and more. So, yes there is interpretation to the Bible.

TRUE 12. The more you can understand the biblical setting and culture, the better you can understand the Bible.

Method of Interpretation: Some things simply will not make sense until a person sees it through the eyes of the original audience. Other times, it may make sense to us although still misunderstood. Cultural and geographical insights are often quite enlightening.

FALSE 13. The Bible is a good book but has no real authority today.

Authority of Scripture: Though the Bible, often affectionately referred to as “The Good Book,” is much more than “a good book.” It is the word of God and is accurate in everything it says. All so-called contradictions are a result of misunderstandings. It could be our misunderstanding or the translator’s misunderstanding that makes it appear as a contradiction. The Bible’s authority comes from God, and it will always have that authority because everything God says He will do, He will do.

FALSE 14. The Bible is equal to the Koran.

Authority of Scripture: We seek to understand the Bible as the original authors intended. The understanding of the Koran depends on the interpretation of their latest teachers. The accepted meaning of the Koran has changed over the years. Though there are similarities at some points with Christianity, the two do not say the same thing and only one of them can be the true word of God. The Bible is much more specific in what it tells us, and it gets its authority from God rather than the latest teachers. The meaning of the Bible does not change, only our understanding of it improves.

FALSE 15. The Old Testament of the Bible is useless to us today.

A person will not understand the New Testament without knowing the Old Testament. We need both testaments to understand God’s message to us. The Old Testament foreshadowed many New Testament topics and points us toward the New Testament. This helps us to understand the message of the New Testament and the full meaning of God’s gift to us.

FALSE 16. The book of Revelation is written in a code, and we have lost the "key" to unlock its meaning.

People have used four different approaches to interpreting the book of Revelation. Scholars still do not agree on which approach to use. If God inspired it, and I believe He did, people can understand its meaning. It may be that it simply is not the right time for us to understand some of it as it may be for those who will live through some of the events mentioned in the book. It is much easier to understand prophecy after its fulfillment than before the events prophesied occur. So, keep studying so you are ready when the time is right.

FALSE 17. The Davinci Code is true and tells us things the Bible leaves out.

To say The Davinci Code is true is to say the Bible is false. Some people give The Davinci Code more credence than the novel deserves simply because some of the details in the plot have been around for years, centuries, even millenniums.

In early Christianity, back in the times of the New Testament, there was a sect called Gnostics. Some of the biblical authors combated the erroneous teachings of the Gnostics. There exist extra-biblical Gnostic books that The Da Vinci Code uses. “The Da Vinci Code” made use of these false ideas. The Da Vinci Code is not a reliable source of information because it is a fictitious novel. It used some interesting, though false, ideas that go against the Bible. It is as untrue as the false ideas it uses. There are several books out that explain where the Davinci Code ideas came from.[1]

FALSE 18. There are also other God inspired scriptures besides the Bible.

Inspiration: This question is a little tricky. As a person studies the books of Corinthians, they become aware that there was another letter Paul wrote to the church at Corinth which we do not have today. See 1 Corinthians 5:9. Since St. Paul wrote much of the New Testament, that missing epistle might be consider inspired by scholars if archeologist dug up one day. Other than that possibility, Christians consider the Bible complete, and includes all God inspired scripture. Based on Revelation 22:18, no one can add anything to the inspired record, so the Bible does include all inspired scripture. This rules-out the Koran, The Books of Mormon, and the other writings that may claim divine inspiration.

FALSE 19. I read the Bible once and that is enough.

This might be true if you are only reading the Bible as literature for entertainment. But if you read it as the word of God, once is not enough. It takes many times of going through the Bible; hearing, reading, and studying the Bible to really absorb what it says and understand it well enough to apply God’s word to one’s life. Unless you have a photographic memory and can perfectly recall it, contemplate it, meditate on it, understand it, and apply the Bible to your life, you will need to keep reading. We read our bibles to feed our spirits, as well as to gain knowledge of God and His will for us.

TRUE 20. The Bible is complete now.

We consider the Bible to be complete and contains everything God has revealed to us through “special revelation.”

FALSE 21. Modern prophets know more than the Bible tells us about our future.

Completeness of Scriptures: Many Christians do not even believe there are prophets today. If there were no modern-day prophets that would quickly make this question false. On the other hand, if a person believes there are prophets today, all prophecy must be tried and tested by the word of God, and it must also bear witness with one’s own spirit. And then again, we do not expect any new revelations since that would be adding to the Bible. So, this question is still false. When talking about prophecy one must make a distinction between foretelling (telling the future) and forthtelling (proclaiming).

TRUE 22. We expect no new revelation from God.

Completeness of Scriptures: We do not expect God to reveal anything new to us. We consider the Bible as the complete revelation of God. The Bible contains everything we need to know from God.

FALSE 23. If God wanted us to understand Bible prophecy, He would have said it plainly and clearly.

Sometimes we would like everything to be handed to us on a platter ready for digestion. But just as Jesus spoke in parables so that not everyone would understand. Only those who were ready to understand the parables could understand them. God has given us biblical prophecy in the same way. Those that are ready, prepared in their hearts, will understand it at the proper time. Biblical prophecy will serve God’s purpose whether we fully understand it or not. It is easiest to understand prophecy after the fulfillment.

FALSE 24. The Bible tells us everything we need to know.

It is true that the Bible tells us everything we need to know about God or from God. But it does not tell us everything we need to know on every subject to live life today. Studying the Bible will not turn one into a doctor, scientist, or accountant so in that sense it does not. So, this question is false.

But in the sense of understanding God , once we understand the Bible, it does tell us everything we need to know about God. But we may need other resources to help us understand it since our culture and language is different from that of the biblical authors, original hearers, or readers of scripture.

TRUE 25. The Bible is the ultimate authoritative rule for life.

Authority of Scripture: The Bible should serve as our ultimate authoritative rule for life in all subjects it speaks to. The Bible should serve us as an unchanging measure by which to judge our culture and ourselves, so we can live a godly life pleasing to Him. The Bible should be our ultimate authoritative rule for life as we serve the Lord. The Bible is always right, even if anything speaks counter to the Bible. Sometimes our understanding of the Bible is incorrect but still the Bible and what it says is always right. Remember English Bibles are translation which are not perfect renderings of the original languages. What the scriptures say in the original languages is what matters. That is the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts.

Hope you enjoyed the quiz!

 

Footnotes and Bibliography

[1] Burstein, Dan (2004). Secrets of the Code) CDS Books

And

Book Darrell L. (2004). Breaking the Da Vinci Code. Thomas Nelson, Inc.