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.