Can You Pass This Basic Sunday School Quiz?

Torrance Grey

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About This Quiz

The Bible: It's a long, complex book -- but we start breaking it down for little kids while they're as young as five years old! Maybe you were one of those kids, sitting in a church classroom with construction-paper Bible verses and gospel illustrations on the wall. Maybe you've moved on, as an adult, to teaching Sunday school yourself. 

We save the sticky points of theology for later in life. (What does all that crazy stuff in Revelations really *mean*, anyway?) Sunday school is, instead, full of tales of Jesus's love for children and the innocent. It's also about the righteous men and women who heard God's call, and who were rewarded for it. People like Joseph, the young son of Jacob who turned his slavery in Egypt into a chance to give wise counsel to the Pharaoh, and to stave off a national fame. Or the Moabite woman -- we can't name her here, as one of the questions is about her -- who showed great loyalty to her Jewish mother-in-law, and who is honored with her own book of the Bible. 

It's time to see if you paid attention on all those Sunday mornings when you might rather have been sleeping in or playing outside or in "real church" with the adults! Take our quiz and show off your Bible knowledge now!


True or false: Did Adam and Eve eat an apple in the Garden of Eden?

Genesis says that Adam and Eve ate the fruit "from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." The type of fruit is not specified.

Which animal tempted Eve to eat the fruit?

Today, many children are taught that the Devil took the form of a serpent. But Genesis 3:1 seems to blame the animal itself, saying "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals that God had made."

What did Adam and Eve make clothes out of in the Garden of Eden?

Genesis 3:7 says that Adam and Eve "knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together to make loincloths." To this day, body language experts refer to a person standing with their hands folded over the region of the groin as "fig leaf position." It suggests a feeling of being exposed and wanting to protect oneself.

Who said "Am I my brother's keeper?"

This is a famous phrase, from the story in Genesis 4 in which God confronts Cain about killing Abel. "Brother's Keeper" has been used as the title for both books and films.

Where did Cain settle after being banished?

"The Land of Nod" is sometimes used to mean sleep or bed (as a reference to "nodding off.") But originally, it was a land "east of Eden" where Cain settled.

How long did the Great Flood last?

This is sometimes phrased more poetically as "forty days and forty nights." However you say it, it was long enough that "everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died." (Gen. 7:22).

In what units was Noah's ark measured?

God gave instructions for the ark to be three hundred cubits long, fifty wide, and thirty high. In feet, this is about 450 by 75 by 45.

What kind of branch did the dove bring back to Noah?

This might be symbolic of God's peace-making with humanity, as the olive branch stands for peace. First, the dove brings one back to the ark; the next time it is sent out, it does not return at all.

Which of these is NOT a son of Noah?

Noah had three sons. Abednego was part of a famous trio later in the Bible, the three faithful youths who were thrown into the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar.

For what did Esau trade his birthright?

The story in Genesis 25 says that Esau came in from hunting extremely hungry and wanted the stew Jacob had made. Jacob asked for Esau's birthright (his standing as firstborn), which Esau gave him. This might be history's first written example of how low blood sugar affects judgment!

What was the name of Abraham's wife?

Both Sarah and Abraham underwent a minor name change at God's behest. Abram became "Abraham," meaning "father of a multitude," while "Sarai" became "Sarah," meaning "princess."

Who was given a coat of many colors?

You might know this from the musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Joseph was his father's favorite, and the gift of the coat only fanned the flames of his brothers' jealousy.

What service did Joseph perform for the Pharaoh in Egypt?

The Pharaoh had dreams of seven fat cows swallowed up by seven thin cows, and then seven healthy stalks of grain that were destroyed by seven thin, unhealthy ones. Joseph interpreted this as seven years of prosperity that would be followed by seven years of famine, and advised Pharaoh to make plans for the lean years.

Which of these is NOT considered a patriarch?

Seth was the third child borne by Eve. As such, we can assume he played a role in the peopling of the earth, yet he is not considered one of the Bible's patriarchs.

Who found Moses in the reeds of the river?

The pharaoh of that time was probably Seti. Ramses was his successor. But it was the daughter of the Pharaoh who found the infant Moses in a basket and raised him as her own.

Which of these was NOT one of the ten plagues of Egypt?

The ten plagues on Egypt were the pollution of the Nile, frogs, gnats, flies, boils, a plague on cattle, boils, thunderstorm, locusts, a thick darkness, and, finally, death of the firstborn Egyptians. There's some speculation that the plague on cattle might have been an early form of anthrax.

The Lord parted the ______ so that the Israelites could cross.

The Egyptians who attempted to follow them were drowned when the walls of water came back down. Moses celebrated this victory with the song of praise in Exodus 15: "I will sing unto the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously/The horse and rider he has thrown into the sea."

The walls of which city fell before Joshua's advance?

You might remember a Sunday School song about Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho. According to the story, the walls simply fell down flat after a ram's horn was blown and the Israelites raised "a great shout." Sonic warfare, millennia before the modern era!

What was the name of the beautiful woman who was Samson's undoing?

Delilah is often called a Philistine woman, but the Bible only says that she lived "in the valley of Sorek." She could have been an Israelite - though she was certainly cozy with the Philistines.

What was the secret to Samson's great strength?

Samson was a Nazirite, meaning that, among several other practices showing his devotion to God, he was not supposed to cut his hair. In Samson's case, this was the key to his great strength -- and when Delilah shaved his head, he lost it.

Which of these was the first king of Israel?

It's easy to think of David as the first king of Israel, but Saul came first, chosen by lots. This followed a period in which the Israelites were ruled by civic figures called judges. Having a monarchy was a sort of "step up" for them as an established nation.

What was David's job, when we first read about him in the book of Samuel?

David was one of eight brothers from the town of Bethlehem. Early in Samuel, he is seen playing music for King Saul, and also guarding flocks of sheep for his family.

Where did God call Jonah to preach?

Nineveh was the Assyrian capital, a city of great wickedness, according to the book of Jonah. The prophet does not believe that the people of Nineveh deserve redemption, and at first flees from God's command, by ship. We all know how that works out.

Which of these swallowed Jonah?

This is another case where you have to pay attention to the details. Though many Bible stories for children say "a whale," the actual book of Jonah says "great fish."

What is the name of the woman who showed great loyalty to her mother-in-law?

Naomi was the mother-in-law in the book of Ruth. She was a Jew, and Ruth a foreigner who married into the family. So Ruth's loyalty to Naomi can be interpreted as fidelity to God and the Jewish people overall, which is rewarded.

Into which of these was Daniel thrown?

This is a favorite Bible story for children. Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, where he was unharmed. It's a metaphor for the protections that God gives to those who serve him.

What guided the three wise men to Jesus's place of birth?

The star is described as moving while the wise men follow it, then stopping over "the place where the child was." Astronomers have puzzled over the exact nature of this celestial phenomenon -- a nova? A slow-moving comet?

Which of these is NOT a gift the wise men brought the infant Jesus?

The gifts of the three wise men are celebrated in Christmas carols. Probably the best known of these is "We Three Kings," which promotes the "wise men" of the Bible to royalty.

What form did the Spirit of God take when it descended at Jesus's baptism?

This happened after John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the river Jordan. Ever since, the Holy Spirit has often been portrayed as a dove in stained glass and other religious art.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is known as the __________.

Jesus includes this in the lengthy, philosophy-rich Sermon on the Mount. Interestingly, it's closely related to Immanuel Kant's Universal Principle, which asks, "What would it be like if everyone practiced this behavior?"

What kind of men did Jesus first call as his disciples?

The story of their calling is found in Matthew 4. James and John were mending nets with their father when Jesus called them, and they left immediately. (We imagine Dad wasn't too happy about this!)

What good thing did the good Samaritan do?

In Jesus's parable, a man is attacked by thieves while traveling, robbed, and beaten. Several parties who would be considered "righteous" pass him by, but it is the heathen Samaritan who stops to help.

What did Jesus walk on, that amazed the disciples?

Jesus walks out to a boat that the disciples are in on the Sea of Galilee. When Peter attempts to walk out to him, he succeeds until he notices the power of the wind and waves, gets frightened, and starts to sink. This is when Jesus, rescuing him, says, "O ye of little faith." It's a phrase that has stuck with us until this day.

Jesus correctly predicted that Peter would deny him three times before what happened?

Jesus made this statement on the evening before his crucifixion, at the Last Supper. As the events of Jesus's arrest and trial unfolded, Peter did deny knowing him three times.

In what book of the Bible would you find the famous passage ending with "the greatest of these is love"?

"And now abide these three: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13).

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