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Bible Definitions and Etymology Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
Bible Definitions and Etymology Quizzes, Trivia

Bible Definitions and Etymology Trivia

Bible Definitions and Etymology Trivia Quizzes

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With all their talk of who begat whom and what was graven where, some translations of the Bible require a very specialized vocabulary in these modern times! Test your knowledge of the stranger words and names in the Bible: what do they mean? Where do they come from?
8 quizzes and 85 trivia questions.
  More Biblical Definitions   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
As a follow-up to my most popular quiz, I present more definitions of Biblical words. Again, these come from my New King James Version study Bible.
Average, 10 Qns, cat_brat63, Mar 06 16
2995 plays
  Rooted In The Bible - Origins of Popular Phrases   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Many of the words and phrases that we commonly use in the English language today have their roots in the Bible. Here are questions about 10 of them.
Average, 10 Qns, darksplash, Feb 02 22
Feb 02 22
867 plays
  King James vs. Douay-Rheims editor best quiz    
Match Quiz
 15 Qns
Match the name of each book of the King James Bible (KJV) published in 1611 with the name of the book as it appeared in the Douay-Rheims (D-R) Bible published in 1582-1609.
Average, 15 Qns, gracious1, Mar 04 19
gracious1 gold member
Mar 04 19
269 plays
  Biblical Words    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Do you know the meaning of these words? Often, Christians are unable to give a clear meaning. See if you can.
Tough, 10 Qns, Jepson, Feb 02 22
Feb 02 22
3259 plays
  What's In A Name?    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Here are the meanings of some of the names of folks in the Bible. References are King James Version and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.
Tough, 10 Qns, logcrawler, Dec 22 10
logcrawler gold member
821 plays
  Strange words in the Bible    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
I just read the King James Version of the Bible, and found some really strange words. Do you know what they mean?
Tough, 10 Qns, Donna39, Apr 26 10
1010 plays
  Bible: A Little Old, A Little New, A Lot of Fun    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Some unique words and names found in both the Old and New Testaments, and their meanings. (KJV and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance used in creation of quiz.)
Average, 10 Qns, logcrawler, Mar 31 24
logcrawler gold member
Mar 31 24
777 plays
  What can this mean?   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
There are words in the King James Bible that have intrigued me. I thought I would find out what they might mean, and share them with you.
Difficult, 10 Qns, Gandi, Mar 25 23
Mar 25 23
1539 plays
trivia question Quick Question
In the King James Version, I found the word "Matrix." What does it mean in this translation of the Bible?

From Quiz "Strange words in the Bible"

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Bible Definitions and Etymology Trivia Questions

1. Kiss of death: This phrase has its origins in the Bible. To what event does it refer?

From Quiz
Rooted In The Bible - Origins of Popular Phrases

Answer: The betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot

The New Testament tells us that Judas led soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane and identified Jesus to them by kissing him. In modern times it is often used to refer to a singular incident that damned an action or person to failure or disaster. (For example: "Gordon Brown's description of a grandmother as a 'bigoted woman' was the kiss of death for Labour's re-election chances in 2010.")

2. In the King James Version, I found the word "Matrix." What does it mean in this translation of the Bible?

From Quiz Strange words in the Bible

Answer: The womb

"And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the matrix being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem." - Exodus 13:15 (KJV)

3. In the Psalms one often sees the word "Selah" at the end of a verse. There is some controversy, but which is generally agreed upon as the closest meaning?

From Quiz What can this mean?

Answer: Stop and consider.

As a lot of the Psalms were accompanied by music, it is also thought to be a suspension of the music.

4. What word, found in English translations of the Bible, means "to ask" as in a prayer?

From Quiz More Biblical Definitions

Answer: entreat

We find in Ruth 1:16 that Ruth earnestly makes this poetic plea to Naomi: "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following you. For wherever you go, I will go..." A common practice in the Old Testament was for the people to raise uplifted hands to God while expressing their petitions to Him. They believed that God would fill their empty hands with blessings.

5. Corban is found in Mark 7:11. What does corban mean?

From Quiz Biblical Words

Answer: an offering dedicated to God

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for ignoring the intent of the law while demanding strict letter of the law. Corban was practiced to subvert the law. By giving the inheritance to corban one could say it belongs to the Lord and not be obligated to help a needed parent. The Pharisees were said to have nullified the commandment to honor the parents by allowing a child to declare his possessions devoted to God so that the parents would have no claim. How do you see Numbers 30:2 in relation with Mark 7:11?

6. Feet of clay: This phrase has its origins in the Old Testament. Which king dreamt of a statue that had feet of clay?

From Quiz Rooted In The Bible - Origins of Popular Phrases

Answer: Nebuchadnezzar

The King of Babylon dreamt of a statue that had a head of gold, a torso of silver, a belly of bronze and feet of iron and clay. The prophet Daniel interpreted that as meaning a character weakness or flaw. A modern example might be: "Richard Nixon portrayed himself as a man of principle, but his attempts to clear himself of any blame over Watergate showed he had feet of clay".

7. In the Old Testament, what were "stacte, and onycha, and galbanum"?

From Quiz Strange words in the Bible

Answer: Sweet spices

"And the Lord said unto Moses, "Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight." - Exodus 30:34 (KJV)

8. Jesus accused the scribes and Pharisees of making "broad their phylacteries" in Matthew 23:5. What was a phylactery?

From Quiz What can this mean?

Answer: A leather case containing a piece of written scripture.

Sometimes the scripture writings were also sewn into a piece of cloth; these were then carried on the person's arm or tied to his forehead. There is very interesting information on phylacteries online at if you would like to know more about the meaning, whys and wherefores.

9. "To make holy" or "to set apart" are definitions of what word found in several passages of the Bible?

From Quiz More Biblical Definitions

Answer: consecrate

When we dedicate or declare distinct an object or person to the holiness of God, we consecrate him, her or it. The Bible says that God consecrated the nation of Israel by delivering them from the bonds of slavery in Egypt. Christians believe that they have been consecrated or delivered from sin through Jesus' death on the cross.

10. In theological terms, conversion is:

From Quiz Biblical Words

Answer: a process involving faith and repentance

Many people have faith in God. However, true conversion is more than this in the view of theologians. As the term suggests (it is derived from words meaning turn around), it requires a change of state which leads one into a new faith. Most Christians use it exclusively to refer to the process of turning from sin to God, through faith in Jesus Christ. It can, however, be applied to any change of faith. The act of conversion is often recognised through the sacrament of baptism, but it is not the same thing as baptism. Likewise, following a conversion one might attend church more often, and feel a profound faith in God; those are products of conversion, rather than conversion.

11. Forbidden fruit: To which incident in the Bible does this phrase allude?

From Quiz Rooted In The Bible - Origins of Popular Phrases

Answer: Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge

God forbade Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent persuaded Eve to eat it and she persuaded Adam. As a result of this defiance, God cast them out of the Garden of Eden. In modern use, a forbidden fruit is something that is pleasurable but at the same time wrong, illegal or immoral. ("Forbidden Fruit: Microsoft Workers Hide Their iPhones" was a "Wall Street Journal" headline in March 2010.)

12. In the New Testament, what in the world is a "firkin"?

From Quiz Strange words in the Bible

Answer: A liquid measurement

"And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins a piece." - John 2:6 (KJV) This is the water that Jesus turned into wine.

13. There is a creature, a leviathan, mentioned in Job, Psalms, on two occasions, and Isaiah that sounds fearsome! In Isaiah he is described as a "_____ _____"(Isaiah 27:1, King James Version).

From Quiz What can this mean?

Answer: "piercing serpent"

The definition in the Strong's concordance is "a wreathed animal, a serpent". In modern Hebrew it means simply "whale". I would not wish to meet him!

14. What Biblical word that today has come to mean any happy festival actually meant a special feast celebrated every fiftieth year?

From Quiz More Biblical Definitions

Answer: Jubilee

Literally translated from Hebrew, Jubilee meant "ram's horn" or "ram" or even "trumpet". This was because of the blowing of a ram's horn trumpet to signify the fiftieth-year celebration. During this feast, slaves were delivered from bondage, debts were forgiven, land was left fallow and family property was redeemed. A brief description of Jubilee is given in Leviticus 27.

15. Shibboleth: In our modern world, a shibboleth is described by some dictionaries as "A custom, belief or particular use of language that characterises members of a particular group." From which Biblical episode did the word originate?

From Quiz Rooted In The Bible - Origins of Popular Phrases

Answer: The victory in battle of the Gileadites over the Ephraimites

The Gileadites knew that because of a difference in their dialect, the Ephraimites could not pronounce the Sh sound in Shibboleth; instead they could only say Sibboleth. Anyone claiming to be a Gileadite after the battle was asked to say the word to establish their identity. Today, we might use it to describe a slogan, platitude or a term spoken in reverence. For example: "Words like seasonal, local, or best of all, green market, were shibboleths for every self-respecting cook from potato peeler on up" (from 'Time' magazine, February 2010.)

16. In the Old Testament, who or what were "Nethinims"?

From Quiz Strange words in the Bible

Answer: Assistants to the Levites

"Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the prince had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name." - Ezra 8:20 (KJV)

17. What is a "habergeon"?

From Quiz What can this mean?

Answer: A short sleeveless coat of mail

Habergeon is spoken of three times in the Bible: twice in Exodus 28:32 and 39:23, and also in Job 41:26.

18. This Hebrew name for "Lord" (only the "L" is capitalized) first appears in Genesis 15:2. When spelled as "lord" it means ruler, sir, man. What is this Hebrew name?

From Quiz Biblical Words

Answer: Adonai

Adonai (Lord) is almost always in a plural possessive form that gives it a strong connection of the trinity and deity of God. When Adon is used in the singular form, it is always used as man. Abraham is called lord in Genesis 23:6. Lord is most commonly used in the New Testament, because Jesus is Christians' Adonai, the Lord, master and owner of all. When all capitalized letters are used (LORD or GOD), it usually signifies that the Hebrew says Jehovah.

19. Fig leaf: When we speak of a fig leaf in modern times, we think of something that is used for concealment. Where do the biblical origins lie?

From Quiz Rooted In The Bible - Origins of Popular Phrases

Answer: The leaves that Adam and Eve used to hide their nakedness

After eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve realised they were naked and used kilts of fig leaves to cover themselves. An example of the modern usage is: "China's growth is no fig leaf for the real source of CO2 emissions: the UK". This headline from 'The Guardian' newspaper online went on to say: "China is blamed for soaring carbon emissions and used as an excuse for the west to do nothing on climate change - when in fact we are exporting our emissions there." (February 2010).

20. In the New Testament, what does it mean to "eschew"?

From Quiz Strange words in the Bible

Answer: To shun

"For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it." - 1 Peter 3:10-11 (KJV)

21. Many people in the Bible have been guilty of transgressing. What does the word "transgress" mean?

From Quiz More Biblical Definitions

Answer: to step over

Often the word is used to describe something done willfully or maliciously; however, transgressions are frequently committed unintentionally. Transgressions are mostly against God, but may also be committed against other individuals or entire communities. 2nd Chronicles 12 details what happened when the people of Jerusalem had transgressed against the Lord. It comes from a Latin word (transgredi) which means "to step across, or step over", in the same sense as we today say that someone has "crossed the line".

22. Maranatha is a word in 1 Corinthians 16:22. What does it refer to?

From Quiz Biblical Words

Answer: it means "Our Lord come!"

This Aramaic word was used in prayers, or to end prayers, and to express a desire for the Lord's return. It is translated different ways by Christians: "until He comes" or simple "come", and "come Lord Jesus".

23. Armageddon: It was sometimes said that a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the West would lead to Armageddon. The word appeared in the Bible, but only once. Where?

From Quiz Rooted In The Bible - Origins of Popular Phrases

Answer: The Book of Revelation

"Then they gathered the king together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon" - Revelation 16:16. The word became associated with any final or decisive confrontation.

24. The Old Testament gives us this word: "Ouches." What on earth could that mean?

From Quiz Strange words in the Bible

Answer: Settings for gems

"With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold." - Exodus 28:11 (KJV)

25. This spice was brought by the three wise men to the baby Jesus as a gift with gold and frankincense in Matthew 2:11.

From Quiz What can this mean?

Answer: myrrh

Myrrh is a fascinating! It is a reddish brown substance, dried tree-sap. It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. It was used often as a gift to show homage, as above. Jacob also sent some with his sons when they went to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph during the famine (Genesis 43:11). In Esther we hear of it being used as a beauty preparation for the King of Persia's harem women (Esther 2:12). It is mentioned frequently in Song of Solomon where it is used as a perfume. It was traded by the Ishmaelites in Genesis 37:25. It was used in the temple with other spices (Exodus 30:23). It was also mingled with wine in a cup and offered to Jesus on the cross (Mark 15:23).

26. The name of what heavenly creatures, which are only mentioned twice in Scripture, is derived from a verb meaning "to burn with fire"?

From Quiz More Biblical Definitions

Answer: seraphim

In Revelation 4:6-8 we read about the seraphim that surround God's throne. Seraphim are supposedly of a fiery appearance, which is related to their role in purification. These beings purified Isaiah's lips with a live coal in Isaiah 6:6.

27. Some congregations have a priest; others a bishop, a rabbi, a pastor or an elder. All are perhaps considered a type of minister. What does the word "minister" mean? Clue: see Mark 10:45 and Isaiah 53:11-12 (KJV)

From Quiz Bible: A Little Old, A Little New, A Lot of Fun

Answer: servant

Interestingly we find that the word minister means "to serve". By extension then, aren't all who serve God considered his ministers, not just the leaders of the congregation?

28. In the New Testament, what is the word "charger" used to mean?

From Quiz Strange words in the Bible

Answer: A platter

Matthew 14:8, in the King James Version, tells us that the daughter of Herodias danced before King Herod at his birthday party. The king was pleased with her, and promised her anything that she asked for. "And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, 'Give me John Baptist's head in a charger.'"

29. The word "hin" is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament as a liquid measure. Approximately how much was a "hin"?

From Quiz What can this mean?

Answer: About 3 - 4 litres

12 'logs' were equal to one 'hin', and 6 'hin' were equal to a 'bath'. The 'bath' was also the equivalent of an 'ephah'.

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