scripture in context: answer key


This is the answer key to yesterday’s quiz on memory verses and their context.  If you haven’t been there first, check it out: scripture in context — a 20-point quiz.  Remember, you get 1 point for each correct book, chapter, and verse you named — and 1 point for each correct multiple choice answer.

Total possible points:  20

1.  John 3:16 and C, Jesus with Nicodemus

That’s right, Jesus was pulling an all-nighter answering Pharisee Nicodemus’ questions.  And all us Church-of-Christers thought all they discussed was the importance of water baptism.

2.  Philippians 4:13 and D, contentment

The incredibly frequent misuse of this verse is one of my biggest frustrations in life. If you want to read about said frustrations (and said misuse), please see: finishing marathons and winning football games in the name of Christ.  The new NIV translation has helped out a lot, though.  It now reads, “I can do all THIS…” instead of “I can do everything…” or “all things.”  That’s a HUGE improvement.  Now if we can just get marathon runners to quit printing it on their T-shirts.

3. Ephesians 2:8-9 and A, our resurrection from death to life

We often use these verses as a proof-text that we can’t earn our own salvation — so often, in fact, that we forget the passage leading up to it has much to say on the subject as well.  It’s rather impossible for a dead individual to “earn” his way back to life, and that’s exactly the context of Paul’s discourse here.  In fact, not only are we saved by grace, but we are saved in order for God to demonstrate his grace.

4.  Galatians 2:20 and D, justification by the old law

We’re justified by faith and not by our flawless observance of the law.  When we died to our sins, we died to the law as well.  I want to stress here the bit about us being crucified WITH Christ — both our death and his are necessary.  If it was possible to gain righteousness through the law, none of us would have had to die — including Jesus.

5.  Romans 12:1 and B, Paul’s definition of worship

This one could have been considered a trick question, but I’ll get to that in a minute.  Paul says (in English translations) that our worship is to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God.  Several translations say this is our “spiritual service of worship.”  I used to think it was ironic — and I often preached it — that we call our Sunday morning assemblies “worship services.”  Because the only verse I knew of in the Bible that mentioned a service of worship was this one, and it was not about singing and praying together, but about offering our lives to God.

I don’t preach that sermon anymore, though.  Because now I realize the true irony in all of this: that the word “worship” never actually appears in this verse (in Greek).  Proskuneo is the word we’d be looking for — and it’s just not there.  The verse should read more like, “…for this is your reasonable service” or “your logical duty.”  I’m wondering now if what I’ve been referring to as “worship” all these years wouldn’t be better called “service” or “duty.” And maybe all those people having “worship” services on Sunday mornings are right.  The trick is very much on me, I think.

6.  Hebrews 12:1 and A, faith and discipline

Coming on the tail end of the famous faith chapter, this verse helps us transition from what faith looks like to how faith (and the faithful before us) enable(s) us to persevere in times of trial, temptation, and discipline from God.

7.  Romans 8:28 and C, Holy Spirit and the elect

Some of us are really anxious to quote this verse when a friend is going through hard times.  But we’re not so big on its relationship with predestination, the elect, and the chosen of God. That means we’re also probably glossing over the word “called” in verse 28 itself.  We need to at least be willing to deal with this if we’re going to use it so often.

8.  2 Corinthians 5:17 and D, our ministry of reconciliation

In Christ I’m a new person.  And, my relationship with God having been restored, I now function as a restorer in my community.  As the reconciled, we reconcile.

9.  Hebrews 4:12 and A, the Sabbath and rest

Somebody help me on this one, please? The Hebrew writer’s talking about the Sabbath and rest and how there have been many who didn’t enter true rest because of their disobedience; and we should be careful to not be like them.  Then he says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper…” etc.  What’s the connection? He’s not even talking about the Bible, is he?  Is he just saying that if we’re disobedient — even in our hearts — that God’s word will find us out?

10.  Ephesians 5:19-20 and B, the Spirit-filled life

In my opinion this is THE premier example of a verse being taken out of context.  My own religious tribe has traditionally been guilty of this.  “We’ve” exchanged an incredibly beautiful portrait of life in the Spirit for a prohibition of instruments in worship.  Seriously?!

Total your points.  If you scored…

  • 0-5, I’m in possession of some comparatively economical real estate on the coastline just north of Mt. Hermon.  Wait, how rude of me — I should say I’ve got some really cheap ocean-front property in Damascus.
  • 6-10, you know that verse in the New Testament where it says that every February you must tithe to a foreign missionary’s work?  Do you have plans for those funds yet?
  • 11-15, congratulations!  You’re going to be in the express lane into heaven.  But brush up on your Greek — because that’s what everyone else in that line’s going to be speaking.
  • 16-20, would you please stop reading my blog? It makes me nervous when really smart people read what I write.
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17 Comments

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17 responses to “scripture in context: answer key

  1. I only saw the post on my phone, so answering was a big tricky, and I don’t really have any idea what I scored. But I didn’t want you to feel ignored 🙂 It’s a good quiz, and very indicative of the tricky issue of context. I find it “humorous” that John 3:16 was spoken to ONE man, not in one of Jesus’ great sermons to the multitudes. So were his extremely powerful comments to the woman at the well. The things that we consider most important weren’t part of His preaching, but of His personal encounter ministry.

    • thanks for being concerned about my feelings, bernard. though i don’t generally feel ignored when people don’t comment. it just tells me that wasn’t the kind of post they like… which is not bad to know. of course, it also doesn’t mean i’m going to quit posting those type things. i write as much for myself as for anyone.

      i’ve never thought about the point that you bring up. you should blog about that. it’s pretty interesting that many of Jesus most important sayings were in one-on-one discussions. although the sermon on the mount stands on the other side as a great example of his public teaching. maybe another lesson we can take away is simply that we ought to be talking about spiritual things all the time?

  2. Zee

    i am pathetic – only 8 out of 20… most of the times, i knew the verses but i got so used to my Bible (and otherwise the abilities of Google) that i know where to find those, even on what side of the page this or that verse is, yet i don’t know what book it was… and the last one i was not familiar with at all – possibly in Russian it will make sense.

    thanks for making me think 🙂

    • zee, i’m fairly sure that’s not pathetic. i don’t know what my score would have been, because i used a bible while writing the quiz. but the context bit would have gotten me for sure. and i had a huge advantage in the memory verses because the way i selected them was from memory. and the ephesians 5 text is probably more of a memory verse in the churches of Christ than in other groups. sad.

  3. The Hebrews 4:12 verse is a small slice out of a longer application of Psalm 95:7-11 which is quoted numerous times in Hebrews 3-4. You have to understand what David is doing with the Exodus experience in Psalm 95. Then you have to understand what the Hebrew writer is doing with it in the first century. Then you can likely apply it to 21st century Murfreesboro or Geita.

    • thanks, john. that will be one of my bible studies for this week.

      oh, and — even though i kind of don’t like it — it’s nice to be encouraged to study the text myself instead of you having just given me an answer…

      • You are quite welcome–even if you don’t like it! This is one of the great challenges when you are calling others to discovery type studies, especially if you were heavily schooled in becoming “the answer man” (as I was). Asking questions, rather than giving answers, seems to have been one of Jesus’ favorite strategies. I am trying to become better at doing that, or suggesting larger contexts for people to dig out their own answers. Blessings.

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  5. Daniel

    I was doing so well until you tripped me up with Air Supply. They are the greatest band ever.

  6. I loved these posts. Pitch perfect. And you’re spot on in your assessment of our lack of context with these “T-shirt” verses. Well said, my friend.

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  8. Jen

    Hey Brett. I am gonna give you my take on the Hebrews thing, but no worries, still do your study, because it is by no means an answer, just one person’s thoughts.
    I think it is about faith and having the faith to accept the things of God. I think Sabbath is God’s gift to His kids and also a taste and forshadowing of the ultimate rest. If we don’t have the faith to even embrace the one day a week gift, how can we embrace the eternal gift. His word can divide what we do by faith versus what we do by works to attian “righteousness.” Kind of like in Romans 9:30-33. I am not sure that even makes any sense….it does in my head….well, kind of. anyways, great post. Not sure where I scored, but loved it!

    • jen, thanks for the thoughts. i’m withholding my own until i’ve had time to go back and study a bit. so please don’t think me rude for not engaging with yours… i’ll be back at some point.

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