How Much Do You Know About Christianity?



By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Few religions have as widespread a following, and such cultural diversity, as Christianity. How much do you know about this important world religion? Find out now with our quiz!

According to most forms of Christianity, God is a ______.

In most denominations, God has three aspects: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Denominations that do not believe this are called nontrinitarian.


Is Christianity one of the monotheistic religions?

Okay, this can be a little confusing. Christianity does believe in a triune God -- but that's still one God; He just has three aspects. A polytheistic religion is one with many gods representing the different facets of the universe (like Hinduism).


According to Christian tradition, Mary was what when she conceived Jesus?

Mary was a virgin, so her pregnancy caused a certain amount of consternation for her fiance, Joseph. Contrary to what many people believe, in the "Immaculate Conception" it was Mary who was immaculate -- made retroactively sinless in order to be a worthy mother to the savior.


Jesus' last name was _______.

"Christos" is a Greek word meaning the "chosen" or "anointed" one; it was never part of Jesus's name. Secular scholars tend to refer to Jesus as "Jesus of Nazareth," which makes clear they are treating him as a historical figure, not a god.


How many gospels are there in the Bible?

The four gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The first three are called "synoptic" gospels as they are more historical and tend to contain much of the same material, with small differences in the writing. The book of John is considered more mystical, starting, "In the beginning was the Word ..."


Are there other gospels that are not included in the Bible?

Not all accounts of Jesus' life made it into the Bible. In recent decades, there's been a lot of interest in the "infancy gospels," like the gospel of Thomas, which recounts episodes from Christ's childhood. However, these are not considered by Biblical scholars to be reliable.


Is there any Jewish scripture in the Christian Bible?

In fact, all of what Christians call the "Old Testament" is the Jewish scriptures, from the Pentateuch (the first five books), through the wisdom books and the prophets. Both religions use the world "Bible" in reference to the scriptures. However, it's a faux pas to refer to the "Old Testament" when speaking with a Jewish person.


Which animal represents the Holy Spirit?

You'll often see a descending dove in stained-glass windows in churches. This comes from the story of Jesus's baptism, in which "the spirit of God descended in the form of a dove."


What city is inextricably linked to Catholicism?

In fact, the Catholic Church is also called the Roman Catholic Church. This is despite the fact that its headquarters are in the Vatican -- which is legally a separate jurisdiction from the city of Rome.


Who is the head of the Catholic Church?

The Pope is the highest authority in Catholicism. (Sidebar: Sorry, Joel Osteen -- we really don't have anything against you, but the idea of you as the pope is just intrinsically funny!)


The Orthodox Church is the primary Christian church in what part of the world?

The Eastern Orthodox Church dates back to the 11th century. That was the era of the "great schism," when the unified Church broke into two bodies.


Who nailed 95 theses to a church door?

The 95 Theses took issue mainly with the selling of indulgences for sin. Luther believed that this practice got in the way of true repentance. (Fun fact: A roundup of "Students' funniest term-paper goofs" includes an item about a student writing that "Martin Luther nailed 95 theocrats to a church door." Ouch!)


The movement Luther founded was called the _________.

It could easily have been called the Second Schism. The Reformation gave rise to Protestantism, a widespread alternative to Catholicism.


Which of these is not a major Protestant denomination?

The Baha'i faith is a middle Eastern tradition that considers Jesus one of the earthly avatars of God. Despite this respect for Christ, it is not considered a Protestant denomination.


Which of these Christian communities rejects modern conveniences?

In the U.S., the Amish have settled mostly in Pennsylvania. They do not connect their homes to the power grid, use telephones, or drive cars. They do, however, welcome visitors from mainstream America, who come to buy baked goods and fresh churned butter at their shops.


The approximately 40-day period of repentance many Christians observe is called ______.

Lent is the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Watch closely -- when you see restaurants roll out fish specials on their spring menus, you'll know it's a nod to the number of Christians who choose to give up meat (i.e. beef, pork and poultry) during this time.


The beloved verse John 3:16 starts with _____.

This verse is famous in part for the tendency of particularly devout Christians to hold it up on a sign during televised sports events. We're not sure how many nonbelievers have been brought to the Lord by this tactic, but we give them an A for effort.


Whom did Jesus famously raise from the dead?

The story of Lazarus's resurrection gives us the shortest verse in the Bible: "Jesus wept." Though short, the verse shows us a human Jesus who feels grief, and then acts on it, raising Lazarus not necessarily because he would go on to do great things, but simply because Jesus loved him.


What makes Good Friday good?

The first "good Friday" actually sounds terrifying to have lived through. The gospels describe darkness at mid-afternoon and the dead rising to walk in the streets.


Whom did Christ forgive on the cross?

In Luke 23, Jesus says of the people, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." He also forgives one of the two thieves hanging next to him, because instead of mocking Jesus, he asked Jesus to remember him when he entered the kingdom of heaven. Jesus tells him, "This day you shall be with me in paradise."


In whose tomb was Jesus laid?

Joseph of Arimathea is described as a wealthy man "waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God." A folk tradition in Christianity says that Joseph of Arimathea later spread the gospel to the British isles, though this is almost certainly just legend.


After Jesus' death, the disciples became known as what?

"Disciples" is the word used to describe the twelve during Jesus' time on earth, when they were learning from him. "Apostles" is the term used in speaking about the period after Jesus' ascent to heaven, when they began spreading the gospel.


The season of preparation for Christmas is called ______.

Many Christians have fond memories of making advent wreaths with five candles as children. One is lit each week as Christmas approaches, and the fifth, the "Christ candle," is lighted on Christmas Eve.


Among Christians, is Christmas considered to be a more important holiday than Easter?

Easter is widely considered the most important holiday in Christianity, because it commemorates the fulfillment of Christ's mission on Earth -- to die for humanity's sins and then rise from the grave. Put another way, the risen Christ is a more important figure than the infant Jesus.


Other than the gospels, the only book of history in the New Testament is _______.

"Acts" is short of "Acts of the Apostles." It describes the growth of the early church and spread of the gospel after Jesus' time on earth. Everything that follows is epistles (instructive letters) and prophecy.


The final book of the New Testament is called _________.

The full name is "The Revelation to St. John," and it tells the story of how the world will end, though in highly-symbolic language. It's not easy reading for a beginner to Bible study.


Where was John when he received his revelation?

John was exiled to Patmos for refusing to address the emperor, Domitian, as a god. Imagery from the book he wrote there has inspired artists and writers from William Blake to the creators of "Sons of Anarchy."


Which disciple was called "the rock" on which Christ would found his church?

The name Peter comes from the Greek word "petros," meaning "rock." Jesus said of him, "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."


What did Pontius Pilate famously do before handing Jesus over to be crucified?

Pilate, the Roman governor, did not agree with the chief priests of Jerusalem that Jesus' crimes against the state merited execution. So he publicly washed his hands to show that he was guiltless of Jesus' blood.


Where, according to the gospels, was Jesus born?

Because there was no room at the inn in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary spent the night in the inn's stable, where she gave birth. Christmastime scenes that depict this are called "manger scenes," because Jesus' first cradle was a manger, a hay-filled rack from which barn animals eat.


Which apostle was converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus?

Once known as "Saul," he was a zealous persecutor of the early Christians. After seeing a blinding light on the road to Damascus and hearing the voice of Jesus, he became Paul, the prolific evangelist who wrote many of the letters in the New Testament. He's an example of the saying, "The greater the sinner, the greater the saint."


In which book is the famous passage about love that ends, "... the greatest of these is love"?

You'll find this passage in First Corinthians, chapter 13. Or crash any wedding where the couple getting married are religious enough to want a scripture reading. This one's a perennial favorite.


Are Mormons Christians?

The church's very name is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." However, good luck convincing evangelicals or other very traditional Christians of that. With their own scripture (the Book of Mormon) and a history of polygamy, Mormons can seem very foreign to mainstream Christians.


Does Christianity have a tradition of meditation?

It's a popular belief today that meditation is only found in Eastern religions. In fact, early Christian saints and mystics retreated to cells in a monastery or to the desert to devote themselves to silent contemplation of God and his attributes. Some Christians still do today, though mainstream Protestant and evangelical churches do not put an emphasis on meditation.


What is the very appropriate last word of the New Testament (and the Bible overall)?

"Amen" is a Hebrew word meaning, "be it so." Revelations 22:21 concludes the Bible with, "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen."


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