What Bible Stories Are Represented in These Famous Paintings?

By: Jules
Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Bible stories are already powerful with their strong characters, moral dilemmas and lessons learned. Once painted on canvas, these Bible stories come to life -- the triumphs and tragedies within the scenes evoke passionate emotions. These feeling are further heightened by the visual interpretations from the artistic masters of the times. From Rembrandt to Chagall to Salvador Dalí, the masters apply light, color, and perspective to draw viewers in and take their breath away. 

Historically, these paintings held an important role in society. Biblical images were valued both as lessons for the unlettered and to enhance the experience of the faithful. In a society that laid great emphasis on religion, artists performed an indispensable service. Thankfully, they had many narratives from which to choose. The accounts and testimony from The Old Testament and The New Testament are numerous, with subjects that were as delicate as an angel, or as anguished as Abraham when sacrificing his only son. 

It's amazing how some scenes can invoke an entire biblical story -- Noah's Ark, The Crucifixion, Cain and Abel -- to name a few. Test your knowledge and your recall of your favorite Bible stories. You'll also be enchanted at the paintings that depict them. Challenge yourself by taking this quiz right now. 

Rembrandt painted The Blinding of Samson in 1636. It depicts Delilah, who has just cut off Samson’s hair, which makes Samson lose his power. It also shows Delilah's accomplices pouncing on the weakened Samson and blinding him.

The Wedding Feast at Cana, by the Italian artist, Paolo Veronese, is a representational painting that depicts the biblical story of the Marriage at Cana, at which Jesus converts water to wine.

The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden is found in the Book of Genesis Chapter 3. The scene depicted is a fresco by the Italian Early Renaissance artist, Masaccio.

Susanna and the Elders is an oil on panel painting by the Dutch painter, Rembrandt. He represents the story of how a fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs as recounted in the Book of Daniel.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Bathsheba is most known for the narrative in which she was summoned by King David who had seen her bathing and lusted after her. She was the mother of Solomon, who succeeded David as king, making her the Queen mother.

As told in the Book of Moses, Abraham sent his servant to Mesopotamia in search of a wife for his son, Isaac. When the servant, Eliezer, stopped by a well to refresh himself and his camels, he prayed to God for guidance. God told him to bring home the next woman who demonstrated an act of kindness.

The story of Tobias is told in the Book of Tobit in the Old Testament. The book of Tobit (or Tobias) is part of the Catholic Old Testament. The story decribes Tobias the Father, an Israelite of the Northern Kingdom who suffers blindness, and Sara in Medes, who suffers torment. Because of their good life and prayers, God sends the Archangel Raphael to help them.

In Genesis 6-7, the Bible describes Noah, the ark, and God's command to gather animals in pairs and load them onto the ark before the rains and floods come. This scene depicts the organized and good behavior of the selected pairs.

The books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe how The Last Supper took place on the first day of Passover. During the meal, Jesus noted that one of the 12 of them would soon betray him. He offered the bread as a symbol of his broken body and the wine as his blood.

This Bible story describes how Nebuchadnezzar sent his general, Holofernes, to subdue his enemies, the Jews. The Jews are besieged in Bethulia and rapidly lose all hope of victory. Judith hears of a possible surrender. She sneaks into the camp, seduces Holofernes with her beauty, waits until he is thoroughly drunk, and cuts off his head.

The Creation of Adam is a fresco painted by Michelangelo from 1508 to 1512, which forms part of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling. It depicts the Bible​ story from the Book of Genesis in which God gives life to Adam, the first man.

This Bible story is told in Luke's Gospel, 1: 26-38. In this painting created by Fra Angelico, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

Sodom and Gomorrah were cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and throughout the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. These notoriously sinful cities were destroyed by “sulfur and fire” because of their wickedness.

The Good Samaritan is a parable told by Jesus in Luke 10:25–37. It is about a traveler who is stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead alongside the road. While others traveling the road avoided him, a Samaritan happens upon the traveler and tends to his injuries.

In Genesis 37 the Bible explains how Joseph was the favorite of his father, Jacob. However, he angered his family by reporting dreams indicating that his brothers and his father would all bow down to him. Joseph was thrown in a well by his brothers and sold into slavery.

The Sacrifice of Isaac was painted by Rembrandt in 1635. It depicts the story of how God tested Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his only son, Issac. Abraham proved his faith in God and at the last moment, God stopped Abraham from killing Issac. Instead, a ram was sacrificed.

In Luke 15:32, the prodigal son returns and seeks forgiveness and a place in the family from his father. Although the older brother disapproves, the father explains, "But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brot​her, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found." This painting was created by Rembrandt in 1669.

This painting by Bartolomeo Manfredi depicts the action taken by Cain when God favored Abel's sacrificial lamb rather than Cain's grain and fruits. Cain was filled with resentment and killed his brother. God banished Cain and put a mark on him.

Marc Chagall painted "Moses and the Burning Bush" from The Story of Exodus. In this Bible story, God speaks to Moses under the guise of a burning bush and gives Moses instructions to write down the Ten​ Commandments on a tablet.

The Baptism of Christ is a famous painting made by Leonardo da Vinci's master, Andrea del Verrochio. This was early on in Leonardo da Vinci's career​ so that da Vinci only painted and finished the details of some of this masterpiece, particularly the angel. The rest of the painting was completed by Verrochio.

Moses held out his staff and God parted the Red Sea. The Israelites crossed on the dry sea floor, followed by the Egyptian army. Moses again moved his staff once the Israelites were safely on land and the sea closed again, drowning the Egyptian army.

There are many famous paintings that depict the Tower of Babel recounted In Genisis 11:1-9. In the story, God did not like the pride and arrogance in the hearts of the people. God caused the people to suddenly speak different languages so they could not communicate and work together to build the tower that would reach Him.

The Seventh Plague of Egypt by John Martin is displayed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The painting depicts the seventh plague, "And Moses stretched forward his rod toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire rained down onto the earth.”

The Raising of Lazarus, painted by Rembrandt with oil on panel, can be found at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The painting shows Lazarus re-awakening from death. He begins to rise from his tomb as Christ calls him, while Mary watches in awe.

Christ of Saint John of the Cross is a painting by Salvador Dalí finished in 1951. It depicts Jesus Christ on the cross in a darkened sky, floating over a body of water with a boat and fishermen.

William Brassey Hole was the artist who created this painting of Jesus appearing to the disciples after his resurrection. According to Luke 24:35-48, Jesus said, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”

Rembrandt painted The Ascension Of Christ with oil on canvas in 1636. The painting depicts Christ rising into the heavens.

The Adoration of the Golden Calf painted by Nicolas Poussin depicts the story of​ how the Israelites built an idol and worshiped it during Moses' absence. On his return, Moses was so angered by this that he smashed the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.

Balaam and the Ass is a 1626 painting by the Dutch artist, Rembrandt, and can be seen in the Musée Cognacq-Jay in Paris. The painting depicts the biblical account of the talking donkey debating with diviner, Balaam. Balaam was sent to curse the Israelites and God stopped him and his donkey.

Baroque painter Caravaggio, who was accused of murder, painted David with the Head of Goliath and used his self-portrait as Goliath's head. The biblical story demonstrates that character and courage are​ most important when choosing a leader for the Israelites against their enemies.

Marc Chagall painted Rahab and the Spies of Jericho in 1960. The Bible story revolves around Rahab and how she hides the Israeli spies from the King of Jericho. She feels she must do that, as well as protect them, because the Lord has given Israel the land of Canaan.

The Trinity was created by Russian painter Andrei Rublev in the 15th century. It depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre, but the painting is interpreted as the Holy Trinity.

This painting illustrates the story of Jesus walking on the water. In the story, Peter tries to walk on the water but when he takes his eyes off Jesus and worries about the water he begins to drown. Although Jesus saves Peter, the story is a powerful reminder that we need to have faith in life's storms and trust that Jesus is enough.

Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. This nativity scene by Fra Angelico shows the birth of Christ, the manger and the three wise men.

The Temptation of Christ was Botticelli's trial fresco for the Sistine Chapel. After being baptized, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the Judaean Desert. During this time, Satan appeared to Jesus and tried to tempt Him. The painting shows three different ways the devil tempted Him.

The Transfiguration by Raphael shows how Christ's personal appearance changed into a glorified form, and His clothing became dazzling white. The purpose of the transfiguration of Christ, at least in part, was so that the “inner circle” of His disciples could believe it had happened.

In this painting Jesus faces the skeptical townsfolk of Nazareth. They took exception to one of their own making such grandiose claims that Jesus was the One anointed with the Spirit.

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