The purpose of this quiz is to point out how we commonly accept ideas about Jesus’ birth [as well as many other assumptions we make] based on traditions rather than on what the Bible plainly states.
- What is a manger? A: (a) stable; (b) room in a stable; (c) cattle trough; (d) crèche.
Answer: [c] A manger is a kind of box for feeding animals, i.e. trough. There is no mention of a stable in the story. A crèche is a model or tableau of the Christ child’s birth. Where was this trough? Since an inn needs a shed to keep guest’s donkey’s, it’s quite likely Jesus was born in an early version of a garage.
- True or False Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus and remained so the rest of her life. Answer: False There is a doctrine, held sacred to some, that Mary died a virgin. This notion not only debases the marriage bed, which the Bible blesses, it puts an unimaginable strain on Mary, not to mention Joseph. It also portrays God as a prude. The Bible record states Mary and Joseph beget many children, evidence that they did not live together in celibacy . “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? (Matt 13: 55-56 ESV)
- True or False. The magi’s names were Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior. Answer: False. Here is Matthew’s actual account. After Jesus’ birth, wise men[ from the east arrived in Jerusalem. This verse shows how inaccurate our traditions can be. Matthew nowhere records a] the wise men’s (magi’s) names, b] there were three of them; c] that they arrived at his birth with the shepherds. Later Matthew does write “they entered the house and saw the child with his mother. (v. 11) Jesus was clearly not lying in a manger.
- Which is not correct regarding Mary and Joseph (a) They were both of the tribe of Judah; (b) Joseph descended from David, Mary did not; (c) Mary’s ancestry was traced back to Adam. (d) Joseph’s ancestry was traced back to Abraham. (e) Joseph had a Gentile, a harlot and an adulteress in his ancestry. Answer: (b) Matthew records Joesph’s ancestry in the first chapter. We read (a) He was of the tribe of Judah, (b) descended from David; (c) traced back to Abraham; (d) Three women: Rahab, the harlot; Ruth, the Moabite Gentile and Bathsheba, David’s partner in adultery, were especially singled out. Luke gives us Mary’s ancestry in the 3rd chapter, where we read: (a) She was of the tribe of Judah; (b) like Joseph, she was descended from David; (c) her ancestry was traced back to Adam.
- How many magi visited baby Jesus? (a) 3 (b) No # given. Answer: (b) 6. True or False. An angel visited Joseph as he did Mary saying to take her as his wife. Answer: False. He didn’t visit her as Gabriel did with Mary, an angel appeared to him in a dream.
- In A Christmas Carol, what is the first name of the main character? Answer: Ebenezer Scrooge
- True or False. Luke wrote Mary and Joseph made the journey to Bethlehem alone. Answer: False. We assume this is true from the stories and movies, but let’s examine Luke’s account. …there went out a decree… that the whole world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem. [Luke 2: 1-4) Here, again, the writer doesn’t say they were alone. We may, in fact, assume they weren’t, since Caesar decreed the census would apply to ALL the world. This would include Joseph and Mary’s families. In another account of Luke’s, we find families traveled together. After traveling for a day, Mary and Joseph started looking for Jesus among their relatives and friends. (Luke 2:44) 9. True or False. Of the three gospel writers, only Mark says nothing of Jesus’ origins. Answer: True Matthew emphasized the Magi; Luke the shepherds; John wrote of Jesus as the Logos or Word, who was in the beginning with God and was God and that he was made flesh. Mark begins his gospel with John the Baptist.
- True or False. Matthew wrote the magi worshiped Jesus while he lay in a manger. Answer: False. (See answer to question 3)