Do You Actually Remember the Endings to These New Testament Stories?

Elisabeth Henderson

Image: DNY59 / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

While the New Testament of the Bible most commonly brings to mind the narrative of Jesus’ life, it covers a lot more ground than that. After the four gospels detailing the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the New Testament moves into the Acts of the Apostles—the story of what happened to Jesus’ followers after his ascent to heaven. Following that, a series of letters gives the inside scoop on how the growing church worked out who they were and what they believed. The Book of Revelation caps all this off with a cataclysmic climax, prophesying how the end of the world and the entrance into the heavenly kingdom will go down. 

OK, so do you have all that covered? Knowing the New Testament in and out is a lot more than remembering that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and died on Calvary. Besides the narrative of Jesus’ life, we’ll also grill you on your knowledge of the parables Jesus told, the fantastic adventures of the apostles post-Jesus, and the epic stories foreseen by John on the Isle of Patmos. 

Are you ready for this? Take this quiz to find out if your biblical training stands up to the test. 

Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff! 

Mary and Joseph were traveling home from a pilgrimage when Jesus was 12. A day into the journey they realized he was not with the group. What happened next?

A full three days after they realized he was missing, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple, discussing scripture with the elders. The elders were shocked at the knowledge he displayed as such a young boy. Jesus asked them, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house?” How do you respond to a kid like that?

Three Wise Men followed a star to find the new king who had been born. Where did the star lead them?

Contrary to the artistic convention which renders the wise men kneeling alongside the shepherds in the stable, the wise men in the biblical narrative did not actually go to the stable. As they were traveling from foreign lands, they didn’t arrive to immediately meet the newborn king. They met him later on, at home. Some even say it could have been up to two years later.

When Paul and Silas were imprisoned together, an earthquake shook the prison, opening all the doors and releasing their bonds. What did they do next?

Rather than make a run for it when the earthquake miraculously opened the jail, Paul and Silas stayed still. When the jailer was about to “fall on his sword” because he had failed to hold the prisoners, they stopped him, telling him that they were all present. The apostles told the jailer the story of the gospel, and he believed and brought them into his home.

After the woman at the well drew water for Jesus, and they had a conversation about the proper place to worship, what did Jesus reveal to her?

Following their conversation about the proper place of worship, the woman at the well says, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Jesus responds, “I who am speaking to you am He.” This marks the first time that Jesus openly reveals himself to be the Messiah, notably, to a woman who is Samaritan.

What happened after Jesus divided the loaves and fishes to feed 5,000 people?

After Jesus fed the multitude off of the meager ration of loaves and fishes, the disciples gathered up 12 full baskets of leftovers. One has to wonder, what happened next? The story doesn’t tell us who took the leftovers home, or whether there were any doggie bags handy.

The people brought the little children to Jesus, so that he could pray for them. Jesus’ disciples pushed the people back so they wouldn’t disturb him. What did Jesus do?

When the disciples pushed the children back, Jesus overrode their initiative and beckoned the children to himself. Not only did he welcome them, but he used the moment to make a declaration about the kingdom of God: “for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

In Revelation, John experienced a vision of a figure on a throne holding a scroll with seven seals. He wondered who would be able to open the scroll, and an elder told him, “The Lion of Judah...is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” What happens next?

Revelation 5 upturns the image of power as dominance. The passage inverts the expectation that the mighty God will appear as a lion, when instead “the lamb who was slain” appears and is given all the power. Because this lamb submitted to sacrifice, he is lifted up as “worthy to receive power and honor and glory.”

In the early days of the church, Ananias and Sapphira sold a plot of land to share the proceeds with the community, but they withheld part of the proceeds for themselves. What happens when Peter asks about the price of the field?

In contrast to the open-handed sharing of the early Acts community, Ananias and Sapphira wanted to keep a little on the side, so they were struck dead. Falling down dead seems like a harsh treatment for wanting to have a little vacation fund. Scholars attribute the severity of this story to the early church wanting to teach the urgency of true communal living.

A young man demands that he be given his inheritance early and rushes off to squander it on decadent living. When he runs out of money and finds himself eating slop with some pigs, he decides to return to his father to beg for work. How does his father receive him?

The prodigal son is perhaps the most well-known of Jesus’ parables. The tale of the unthinking waste of the father’s resources paired with the father’s joy at the return of his lost son paints a vivid picture of God’s mercy that resonates with people.

Jesus tells this parable: A king invited all his friends to the wedding of his son, but they didn’t show up. So he sent servants to bring them to the feast, but they still did not come. What was the king’s next move?

This parable shows the abundant, overflowing nature of God’s love. God doesn’t just invite those who are already in the club, but goes and gathers the outcasts and brings them in. It also shows, though, that you have to be prepared to come to the feast. You can’t be part of it if you don’t show up. You do have to wonder what those friends were up to.

At the wedding of Cana, Mary the mother of Jesus tells him that they have run out of wine. What does Jesus do?

The story of the Wedding at Cana is most famous for the miracle of Jesus turning the water into wine. It’s also, though, a wonderful story for the interaction between Mary and Jesus. When she tells him they’re out of wine, Jesus says, “What does this have to with me?” and implies that it’s not time for him to do miracles yet. Mary, though, just says, “Do whatever he tells you.” Like, listen son, this is important.

After Jesus’ death, the disciples cowered in an upper room with all the doors and windows shut. Jesus appears in their midst. What does he say?

Jesus appears to the disciples and simply states, “Peace be with you.” It’s like he knows that beyond all their grief and all their fears, what they really need is peace. After he brings them peace, he asks for a bite to eat, showing that he’s really a physical body.

After Jesus’ ascent to heaven, the disciples were all gathered in one place. They heard a sound like a strong wind, and then what happened?

In the story of Pentecost, the disciples hear the sound of rushing wind, and tongues of fire come to rest on their heads. They could speak and understand many languages. This story creates an image of the Holy Spirit coming to be with them, as Jesus had promised. It also brings resolution to the story of the Tower of Babel, where the single language was garbled into many languages.

When Jesus is walking on an urgent errand, a woman who had been hemorrhaging blood for many years reached out and touched his garment. Jesus stopped in his tracks and asked: “Who touched me?” What happens next?

When the woman approached Jesus, he told her that her faith had made her well. The moment she had touched his garment, the hemorrhaging had stopped. Some translations call this hemorrhaging “an issue of blood.”

When Jesus was stopped by the woman with the “issue of blood,” he was on his way to heal the daughter of Jairus. Before he could get there, though, a servant came to tell them that she had already died. What did Jesus do?

When Jesus arrived at the house, he told them she wasn’t dead, just sleeping. He went into her room and told her to get up, just like any little girl on a school day. And she did. Jesus then advised them to get her something to eat.

A man found a treasure buried in a field. What did he do?

This very short parable is prefaced with “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field.” This metaphorical comparison opens the meaning of the small story to speculation about what kind of treasure this kingdom is and how someone can find it.

After the Holy Spirit had come to the believers, and they were beginning to speak the word in boldness and adding many to their number, what did the early church look like?

The early church had a radical view of property—no one was entitled to it. They weren’t required to give away their possessions; rather, the story shows them giving everything of their own free will.

When Jesus was being crucified, he had one thief on his right and one on his left. One of them laughed at Jesus, telling him to save himself if he was so powerful. The other asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. What was Jesus’ response?

Jesus’ response to the thief, “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” gives hope to everyone who senses they’ve done something wrong. The thief’s words have been used as a chant-like meditative song.

After Stephen told the Sanhedrin that they had killed the righteous one, they stoned him to death. As he was dying, what did he say?

As Stephen breathed his last, he prayed that God would not hold this sin against those who were stoning him to death. Sheesh. What a request. He was the first martyr and sets up the whole type of what makes a martyr.

After the women met the angel at Jesus’ empty tomb, Mary Magdalene tarried nearby. What happened to her?

In a moment of great dramatic irony, Mary Magdalane encounters Jesus and thinks he is the gardener. She asks him what he has done with the body, showing she wasn’t entirely taken with the angel’s story. But when Jesus says, “Mary,” she wakes right up to her new reality.

When Jesus was watching the place where offerings were made, many people came and left large sums of money. But a widow came and gave a few copper coins, not worth much at all. What did Jesus comment on her action?

Jesus commends the widow because she gives everything she had to live on. She gave from a place of poverty, not of wealth. This comment shows that what matters in the kingdom is not quantity but quality of intention.

A shepherd had 100 sheep and one went missing. What did he do?

In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus tells the story of a shepherd who goes out looking for the one lost sheep. The moral of the story is that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine who need no repentance.” The kingdom is for the lost.

When Saul was traveling to Damascus, Jesus appeared to him as a bright light. What happened to Saul?

When Saul encountered Jesus as a bright light, he fell to the ground and became blind. Jesus asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” Saul was notorious for persecuting Christians, including endorsing them being killed. Meeting the one they proclaimed as God was certainly a shock.

The disciples were with Jesus on a boat in a storm, and Jesus slept soundly. They finally woke him up, saying, don’t you care that we’re perishing? What did Jesus say?

When they wake him, Jesus calms the storm, then asks why they have no faith. The story of Jesus calming the storm is one of the classic dramas of the New Testament. It’s comical from the outside—the disciples freaking out, while Jesus takes a nap. Yet, who can’t relate to the feeling of being utterly out of control in a storm?

When Ananias, a Christian, received a command to meet Saul, a well-known persecutor of Christians, and lay hands on him, what happened?

Ananias followed his visionary instructions, even against his own premonitions. Thanks to his faith, Saul’s sight was restored, and he became one of the greatest proponents of Christianity.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples on the beach, what did he ask them?

When Jesus appeared on the beach, he asked the disciples if they had anything to eat. He tells them where to catch fish, they bring in a huge load, and he grills it over a charcoal fire.

After Jesus had been arrested, Peter straggled at a distance. When three people asked him if he was with Jesus, what did he do?

Peter’s denial of Jesus is one the most uncomfortable and iconic stories of the New Testament. The crowing of the rooster adds just the right goosebump-inducing chill to the tale of betrayal.

When a rich young ruler inquired of Jesus what he could do to gain eternal life, Jesus instructed him to sell all he had and come follow him. What did the young man do?

When the rich young ruler walked away sadly, Jesus commented with a haunting response: “How difficult it is for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God!” Those around him caught on to the implication of what he was saying and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus tossed them some hope, saying, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Ten virgins were instructed to wait for the bridegroom. Five were prepared and brought enough oil to keep their lamps lit, and five didn’t bring enough. When the bridegroom was on his way, the ones who didn’t have enough asked the five wise virgins to share some oil, but they didn’t have enough to share. The virgins who were ready went in to the wedding banquet. What did the bridegroom say to the ones who were left out, begging to get in?

Jesus finishes this parable by drawing a connection to being prepared for the last days to arrive at any time: “Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour.”

The Pharisees asked Jesus for his opinion whether or not it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar. Jesus asked for a coin and asked whose picture was on it. They responded that it was Caesar’s. What did Jesus say?

Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees that the Jews ought to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” gives a clear way to separate religion from politics.

When Paul was on a journey at sea with a ship full of 276 people, a storm rose against them and kept them from reaching their destination for 14 days. The crew began to despair that they would survive. What happened next?

In this tale in the Acts of the Apostles, having the Apostle Paul aboard the ship is like having a clairvoyant on the voyage. Paul has a vision in which he learns that they’ll wreck the ship, but all will survive. After that first vision, he seems to have access to the future. Several things happen that lead Paul to warn that if they continue, they’ll lose their lives, but if they follow his advice, they’ll be saved. Who can argue with that?

The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by bringing him a woman caught in the act of adultery. They reminded Jesus that, according to the law of Moses, she should be stoned. They asked him what should be done with her. Jesus knelt down and drew in the dirt. Then, what did he say?

After Jesus tells them that they should begin with the one who has never sinned, the story offers the poignant detail, “And they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest.” The elders knew best that they had no business claiming perfection.

Jesus tells a story of a man who comes to his friend’s house at midnight asking for bread. The man at home tells him to leave him alone since they’re all in bed. What does Jesus say will happen if he keeps pounding on the door?

Jesus predicts that if the one knocking is persistent enough, the friend will eventually come around and give him what he needs. Jesus uses this story as a jumping-off point to launch into his invitation, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened.”

A man was waylaid by thieves and left on the side of the road. Several people passed and went around him. Then a Samaritan saw the injured man. What did the Samaritan do?

The good Samaritan is such a familiar story that it has become synonymous with doing good deeds. The context of the story opens up the action of the Samaritan to an everyday calling. Jesus tells the parable in response to the question “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus is spending some quality time with the disciples when someone brings news that their good friend Lazarus is sick. The group tarries a while, and Lazarus dies before Jesus gets there. What does Jesus do when he arrives?

The narrative in John where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead contains the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” Those two words carry profound significance for believers—that God empathizes with human struggle to the point of tears, even though Jesus knows he’s about to make everything right. They also affirm that it’s OK to cry.

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