ANSWERS CHRISTMAS BIBLE QUIZ

1) John the Baptist, who was to announce Christ's coming, was born to Zacharias and Elizabeth (likely Mary's cousin) six months before Jesus was born (Lk. 1:31, 36, 56-57, 76).

2) The prophet announcing the virgin birth, 700 years before the time of Christ, was Isaiah, in Isa. 7:14, a prophecy Matthew's Gospel says was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:18-23).

3) For answers to a Christmas Bible Quiz like this, you would need to go to Matthew and Luke. Mark's and John's Gospels say nothing of the events of Christ's birth.

4) It is "Silent Night" that is the most popular carol of all. The top three secular songs are: "The Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."), "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."

5) The name Jesus means Jehovah [the Lord] is Salvation, or simply Jehovah Saviour. ("Christ" means Anointed One. It is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Messiah.) Before His birth an angel told Joseph in a dream, "You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins" Matt. 1:21). Years later, when John the Baptist publicly presented Him, he said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn. 1:29).

6) The Roman government decreed that everyone had to go to his or her ancestral hometown to be registered in a census. Because they were both descendants of the family of King David, and Bethlehem was his birthplace, that is where they went (Lk. 2:1-5.)

7) It doesn't. That date of December 25th was chosen for the celebration of Christ's birth several centuries later. Actually, the weather in Palestine was often bad in December. The Romans would not likely have planned their census for then. Nor would the shepherds be grazing their flocks out in the open fields then. A more likely date for Christ's birth is some time late September.

8) Back at the beginning of the Middle Ages, on each day during the week before Christmas, there was a church service. What is called an antiphon would be sung then, with choral groups answering back and forth "antiphonally." The antiphon anticipating the advent of Christ consisted of a single word–a long, drawn-out "Oh!" Called "The Great O of Advent," it was intended to express a deep sense of longing for the coming of the Saviour. As time went by, other phrases were added to that "O," such as, "O Dayspring, come and give us light." Finally, someone thought of combining all the antiphons into a single Latin hymn. In 1851 this hymn was translated into English and became the carol, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

9) We do not know if Jesus was born in a stable. The Bible says there was no room for them in the inn at Bethlehem–likely because so many had come to register in the census. A manger is said to be the place the newborn Baby was laid, but there is no mention of a stable (Lk. 2:7).

10) It is "Silent Night" that says, "Silent night, holy night / Shepherds quake at the sight."

11) Actually, we are not told that the angels sang at all, though several carols give that impression. The Bible says, "There was...a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest' (Lk. 2:13-14). The Greek word translated "praising" (aineo) can include praise that is sung, but we simply don't know for sure.

12) The angel said He would be "wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger" (Lk. 2:12). Swaddling (or swathing) cloths were strips of cloth commonly used to wrap a newborn.

13) The carol is "Away in a Manger." In 1887, hymn writer and music publisher James Ramsey Murray (1841-1905) produced a book of children's music called Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses. "Away in a Manger" was included in the book, under this heading: "Luther's Cradle Hymn, composed by Martin Luther for his children, and still sung by German mothers to their little ones." It is a touching picture, but not historically accurate. Careful research has shown that the carol was likely written 400 years after Luther's time, by an anonymous Lutheran living in Pennsylvania.

14) Speaking of the Lord Jesus as "the Word" sent from heaven by God the Father, John's Gospel declares, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory" (Jn. 1:14). The carol that refers to this is "O Come, All Ye Faithful."

15) When the angels appeared to the shepherds, one of them announced the birth of Christ, then they all said, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace" (Lk. 2:11, 14). A carol that describes the incident using the Bible's wording almost exactly is "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night."

16) The carol is "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." Though popular, and found in many hymn books, the carol surprisingly says nothing at all about the birth of Christ! Even this line about the angels is not true to Scripture. Nothing is said there about harps!

17) The carol is "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Though the Bible says nothing about it specifically, it is quite possible the angels gazed upon the Son of God in the manger with "wondering love." The Apostle Peter says the gospel is something the angels "desire to look into" (I Pet. 1:12).

18) The lines come from Charles Wesley's great hymn, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." Loaded with references to Scripture passages, it is the most theologically detailed of our carols. Wesley leaves no doubt as to Christ's identity, saying, "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, / Hail the incarnate Deity, / Pleased as man with men to dwell, / Jesus our Emmanuel."

19) That is the original first line of Charles Wesley's carol, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing!" "Welkin" is an old word for the sky. But when it fell into disuse and was not widely understood, the line was changed to what we know now.

20) The carol "Angels from the Realms of Glory" in this way invites the wise men to follow the Bethlehem star, and go in search of "the King of the Jews" (Matt. 2:2).

21) The wise men went to the city of Jerusalem (Matt. 2:1-2), likely because they expected a "King" to be born in a palace in the capital city.

22) The Bible says, "He was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him" (Matt. 2:3). No doubt he feared that someone was plotting a political revolt. In the time between the Old and New Testaments, others had arisen claiming to be Israel's promised Messiah or new ruler.

23) It was the Jewish chief priests and scribes, who quoted the Old Testament words of Micah 5:2 that revealed the birthplace of the coming Messiah (Matt. 2:4-6).

24) Herod was hoping to destroy the baby Jesus (Matt. 2:13). To be sure he got the right baby, Herod ordered "all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under" to be slain (Matt. 2:16).

25) The lines are from "The First Noel." And since the wise men came from far-away Persia, they did not arrive in Bethlehem on the night of Christ's birth, but some months later. By then, the Bible reveals the family had taken up residence in a house, and Jesus is described, not as a baby, but as a "young Child" (Matt. 2:11).

26) After the wise men left them, the family fled to Egypt, where they remained until they learned of the death of Herod (Matt. 2:13-15.)

27) Noel means birthday. In the Middle Ages, especially in France, traveling troubadours would go from town to town, singing songs and reciting poetry. They also carried the news of the day. And a call of "Noel, noel, noel!" would indicate that an important birth was about to be announced.

28) We are not told how many wise men there were. The traditional thinking that there may have been three comes from the fact that three gifts were presented–gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

29) During His crucifixion, Jesus was offered a drink of wine mixed with myrrh (Mk. 15:23). It was used in this case as a sedative to somewhat dull the pain suffered on the cross. But the Lord refused to drink it. Myrrh was also one of the spices used in the wrapping of Christ's body at the time of His burial (Jn. 19:38-40).

30) The carol is "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," which expresses a longing for peace on earth. At the time when it was written, the American Civil War was raging. The author, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, had a son fighting in the conflict, and he was deeply worried about him.

ADD UP YOUR SCORE. If you got 25-30 correct, you may be a genius! If you got 15-24 correct, you did well. After you have tested your knowledge with this Christmas Bible Quiz and the questions about our carols, you can read the Christmas story in Luke 2:1-20, and Matthew 2:1-11.

To go to the question page, click on Christmas Bible Quiz.