Pub Quiz

These questions are all about The Bible. Google not and see how many you can get correct – post your scores and any comments at the end. Correct answers and scoring key after the jump.

1. The Byrds 1965 mega-hit Turn, Turn, Turn was written by Pete Seeger, who lifted its lyrics from which book of the Bible?

2. The Bible was originally written in what three languages?

3. Which has more books, the Old Testament or the New Testament?

4. George Washington was the first person to take his Presidential Oath of Office with his hand on The Bible. What President broke the tradition?

5. In 2009, Barack Obama also did something different than George Washington by being sworn into Presidential office with his hand on TWO Bibles. Who were the original owners of these two Bibles?

6. Two apostles shared a first name and are thus distinguished patronymically in The New Testament. What was the shared first name?

7. The expression “The left hand didn’t know what the right hand is doing” is now generally used to describe something negative, such as a political scandal or complete disorganization. But this phrase derives from a Biblical verse which actually recommends that the left hand not know what the right hand is doing. What is the context in which this recommendation is to be practiced?

8. During the time of Jesus’ preaching, who was the ruler of the region of Galilee?

9. Many people misquote Proverbs 16: 18 as “Pride goeth before a fall”. What is the correct wording?

10. Many people think “God helps those who help themselves” is from The Bible, but it actually comes from what other famous book?


1. One point for Ecclesiastes

2. One point each for Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic

3. One point for the Old Testament

4. One point for Theodore Roosevelt or for John Adams (see comment by Ckbryant below and my response. This turned out to be a bad question).

5. One point each for Abraham Lincoln and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

6. One point for James.

7. One point for the recommendation that charity should be anonymous.

8. Two points if you guessed Herod Antipas (That was tough, most people guess Herod the Great, but he was dead by then and his son replaced him)

9. Two points if you get “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” exactly right, one point if you get it mostly right.

10. One point for Poor Richard’s Almanac

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

18 thoughts on “Pub Quiz”

  1. I'm 3d generation "unchurched," and had no Biblical training as a child. Just a reasonably well-educated American in his 60s. I scored a 5.

    1. Well done! I intentionally did not make it particularly theological so that many people could participate.

  2. John Quincy Adams took the oath with his hand on a "volume of law" (, and Herod the Great's son was also named Herod, and is referred to as such throughout the Gospels–Luke 23:11 "Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked [Jesus]," inter alia. Otherwise, fun quiz, and I didn't know that about Ben Franklin. The grading on 9 is too harsh.

    1. Thank you ckbryant! Herod the Great's son was Herod Antipas. I have edited the answer key to reflect this. I have also edited the answer to the Presidential Oath question to give credit for John Adams (Reading more in response to your comment, I see that some sources say we have little evidence on what a number of early president swore, so this was in retrospect not a good question but alea jacta est).

  3. 13, and I should have done better. I missed the MLK bible for Obama and didn't get the Proverbs quote quite right.

        1. That may be WHY you had an excellent score, but it’s still excellent.

  4. Questions 1, 2, and 3: all 5 points

    Question 4: no idea, no point

    Question 5: more below

    Question 6: 1 point

    Question 7: couldn’t remember, no point

    Question 8: Didn’t the Romans effectively rule all of Palestine? No points.

    Question 9: I knew this, and get 2 points. But this is the wording of the King James Bible, which you don’t actually specify. And if it’s the King James Bible, as published in 1611, to get it exactly right it should be “Pride goeth before destruction: and an hautie spirit before a fall.”

    Question 10: 1 point.

    Leaving aside question 5, then, I get 9 out of 15.

    On question 5, surely Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office with his hand on the Koran. I’m pretty sure I’ve read that in more than one place. (Some people say he took the oath on a copy of the Communist Manifesto, but I don’t believe that.) How many points do I get for the Koran?

    1. Best summary of a score yet! No points for the Koran answer, but you do get your own cable TV chat show.

      1. In something approximating fairness, Congressman Keith Ellis of Minnesota was sworn in (at the photo op) using Thomas Jefferson's Koran (on loan from the Library of Congress). Ellis is a Muslim. I guess if you watch too much Faux News, all "those" people look alike.

  5. Only a 4, which I blame on my Catholic education. We basically skimmed the Old Testament.

    We were taught the James as James and James the Less.

  6. Ugh. Nine points. Raised Southern Baptist; as such, was sternly reminded that “Hell is for Homos” twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday. Reluctant atheist now because I love cathedrals and sacred music.

    The easiest question for me was Biblical languages because instead of listening to the sermon I read and reread the highly engaging Biblical encyclopedia at the back of my father’s ten-pound encyclopedia, which was presented as a scholarly rather than a religious work. Also made the correct Herod and the two Jameses question a piece of cake.

    Knew the Obama bibles instantly because I watched that inauguration with rapt attention.

    This was fun.

  7. Cradle Catholic. Score: 8. Missed all of the ones involving US presidents.

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