Can You Guess If These Verses Are From Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus, a Pharisee ruler of the Jews, went to Jesus to inquire about the miracles Jesus had performed. Jesus responded with an admonition concerning the necessity of being born of water and the Spirit in order to enter into the Kingdom of God.
"Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John."
This verse is about the birth of John the Baptist. His father, Zacharias, was a priest ministering in the temple when angel Gabriel appeared to announce John's upcoming birth. Zacharias doubted the angel's prophecy and was struck dumb until after John's birth.
The gospel of Luke gives another version of the story found in the book of Matthew about how Jesus began to denounce the many cities that rejected him. Among other cities, Jesus denounced Capernaum, saying, "thou...which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell."
"Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
Jesus had sent 70 of his followers to various cities where he would later join them. The book of Luke states that "the seventy returned with joy," reporting that even the devils were subjected by his power.
"Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught."
Jesus asked Simon to thrust his ship out from the land so that he could teach the people, who were standing at the shore. Jesus uttered the referenced words to Simon after Jesus finished teaching. Once Simon did as Jesus had instructed, they caught such a great multitude of fish that the net broke.
"...there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Jesus taught his disciples that "the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind." Angels shall come and "sever the wicked from among the just" and cast the wicked into the "furnace of fire," where there will be great suffering.
"...to every man according to his several ability."
While answering the disciples' questions at the Mount of Olives, Jesus spoke this verse in reference to his parable of the talents. According to the parable, a traveling man gave goods to his servants "according to his several ability," before the man began his journey.
"...the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."
The referenced verse concerns Jesus's response to the Pharisees, who questioned the alleged forbidden act of gathering food, which the disciples had done while going through a corn field on the sabbath. Jesus proclaimed to the Pharisees: "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath."
"O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
While baptizing people in Jordan, John the Baptist preached about repentance for the remission of sins. He spoke these words to the multitude as they approached him to be baptized.
"Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away."
Jesus was hungry and came upon a fig tree with his disciples. The tree did not yield fruit, so Jesus cursed it, saying, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever." The next morning Jesus and his disciples found the fig tree "dried up from the roots."
"...so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it."
Jesus communicated these words while explaining the parable of the mustard seed to his disciples. The book of Mark details that the grain of mustard seed "is less than all the seeds that be in the earth," but when it's planted "it groweth up, and becometh greater than all the herbs."
"Go, wash in the pool of Siloam."
The story that includes these words is only mentioned in the gospel of John. Jesus spat on the ground to make clay, which he then applied to a blind man's eyes. After the man washed the clay from his eyes as Jesus had commanded, the man received sight.
"...thou hast kept the good wine until now."
John's gospel gives the only account of the wine made out of water at the marriage in Cana. The wine ran out at the feast, and Jesus ordered the servants to "fill the waterpots with water" and "bear unto the governor" of the feast, who made the referenced comment.
"...to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."
Jesus posed the parable of the creditor and two debtors to the Pharisee Simon after Simon had thought Jesus would spurn a sinner woman who tried to wash Jesus's feet with her tears. Jesus responded to Simon's thoughts saying, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much."
"What went ye out into the wilderness to see?"
John the Baptist, who was in prison, sent two of his disciples to question Jesus, who asked if they went to see "a man clothed in soft raiment." Jesus went on to assert that John the Baptist was "more than a prophet."
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor."
When he uttered this verse, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue at Nazareth, which is where he was raised. In the synagogue, Jesus was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah, and from the book Jesus read these words.
"They that are whole need not a physician."
Religious scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus's disciples, who attended the feast of Levi the publican: "Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?" Jesus replied that he "came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Jesus compared sinners to "they that are sick."
"...for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."
In Luke 21:26, Jesus speaks with his disciples about the time of the return of the Son of man. Jesus warned that "there shall be signs...for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." Hebrews 12:26, Haggai 2:21 and Isaiah 13:13 mention similar details.
"Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me."
These are the words of "blind Bartimaeus," as recorded in the gospel of Mark and recounted in Luke and Matthew. The blind beggar, who "sat by the highway side begging," cried out to Jesus as Jesus and his disciples went out of Jericho.
"...in thee I am well pleased."
Luke 3:22 describes what occurred after Jesus sought to be baptized by John the Baptist. While Jesus was praying, "Heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him," then a voice spoke the referenced words.
"...if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
The devil spoke these words to Jesus after Jesus had fasted 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus was subsequently hungry, and the devil tried to tempt him, taking Jesus up a high mountain and "sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world...and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee..."
"I send you forth as lambs among wolves."
Jesus sent his disciples "two and two" into cities where he would visit later. He advised them that, "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few...go your ways." This account can also be found in the gospel of Matthew.
"...behold, the world is gone after him."
People had heard that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to feast with Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha, so they "took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel..." The Pharisees reacted with the words, "Behold, the world is gone after him."
"...all men did marvel."
In addition to Mark, the books of Matthew and Luke tell the story of the man with an unclean spirit who dwelt "among the tombs." After Jesus drew the spirits out of the man and into a heard of swine, the man told of "how great things Jesus had done for him."
"...could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock."
Luke's verse concerns Jesus's parable where he speaks of a house built on a rock. Jesus assures a multitude to whom he gave the parable that whoever goes to him "is like a man which built a house...and laid the foundation on a rock." Flood or stream "could not shake it."
"Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost."
Luke is the only gospel that tells the parable of the woman who finds a lost piece of silver and cries, "Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost." Jesus advised the Pharisees that, "likewise, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
"And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."
All the gospels offer a version of how Judas hanged himself after betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Judas returned the silver pieces to the chief priest and elders, saying, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood."
"Young man, I say unto thee, Arise."
Near the city of Nain, Jesus had compassion for a widow whose only son had died. Jesus told her, "Weep not," and he touched the funeral bier while commanding the referenced words. The widow's son sat up and began to speak.
"Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed."
Matthew's gospel also illustrates the tale of the sick servant of the centurion, who did not deem himself or his servant worthy of Jesus's presence. The centurion sent word to Jesus before he arrived not to bother coming to his home to heal his servant, but instead to just "say in a word."
"I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
Jesus gave this response while teaching his disciples and responding to Peter's question concerning forgiveness, which was: "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" Another version of this teaching is found in the book of Luke.
"And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was."
While Jesus was in Capernaum, many gathered to hear him preach and there was no room to receive everyone. However, four men who brought "one sick of the palsy" dismantled the roof where Jesus preached and "let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay."
"Stretch forth thy hand."
Matthew and Mark also give accounts of how Jesus restored a man's withered right hand while Jesus taught in a synagogue on the sabbath. Pharisees and scribes had watched Jesus to see if he would heal on the sabbath, so "that they might find an accusation against him."
"Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."
Before Passover feast and after supper had ended with his disciples, Jesus prepared to wash their feet. Simon Peter protested, "Thou shalt never wash my feet." Jesus responded, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
Joseph and Mary left Nazareth for Bethlehem to be taxed, as Caesar Augustus had decreed. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus, her firstborn son. This account of Jesus's birth can also be found in the gospel of Matthew.
"Seven, and a few little fishes."
This verse is from Matthew, but the story about the feeding of the four thousand is also found in Mark. In the story, Jesus healed a multitude of people who went to see him upon a mountaintop near the Sea of Galilee. Jesus wanted to feed the crowd and asked his disciples, "How many loaves have ye?"
If you can ace this Bible test, you should be teaching Bible class somewhere. This test isn't for the faint of heart. New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are so similar that it takes a true Christian genius to distinguish among the verses. Do you have what it takes to guess the sources of verses that we send your way? At least you can narrow down your guesses to four Bible books, beyond that things can get tricky.
A good hint to know as you take on these verses is that the gospel of John has a distinct writing style different from the other Matthew, Mark and Luke gospels, which are called synoptic gospels due to their similarity in language style and order of narratives. John's gospel contains stories that the other books don't. So if you encounter an unfamiliar verse, chances are that it's from the book of John. But don't take what Matthew, Mark and Luke have to offer lightly. Luke, for example, tends to give incomparable insight into Jesus's early life. Mark doesn't deal with Jesus's birth (major hint!), and Matthew casts Jesus in more of a divine light than the other gospels.
Armed with these helpful hints, you should be ready to prove your level of gospel wisdom!
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