The Old Testament Literacy Test

By: Tasha Moore
Image: Jewish Museum via Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

This Old Testament literacy quiz is a must for history bugs, as well as folks who want to refresh their knowledge of the epic time before Jesus. Take a moment to explore the ancient people who set the stage for the wondrous works to come in the New Testament.

This is a literacy test, so it commands basic knowledge of the vivid scenarios that construct Old Testament lore, such as Daniel in the lion's den, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Creation story, and many others. By the end of this challenge, you should walk away with a solid understanding of the most prominent names, places and dates in the Old Testament. 

Although there are 39 books in the Old Testament and many facts to cover, this quiz zeros in on the points routinely mentioned in a typical Bible study course. In preparation for this digital task, it might be helpful for you to recall facts concerning the first five Old Testament books. The major Old Testament prophets who surface later on are also a focal point here. Many of their prophesies manifest in the New Testament, a fact that should help New Testament know-it-alls to score big on this quiz.

The mission of this quiz is to help you lay a sturdy foundation as you begin or continue your knowledge journey of all things Bible. Most of all, have fun! The journey begins now. So scroll onward!


From which part of Adam's body did God create Eve?

The second chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis describes how God made Eve from Adam's rib. God "caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam" before God extracted the rib.

What type of bird was first released from the ark which went forth to and fro?

The second chapter of Genesis illustrates how Noah first released a raven. Noah also sent forth a dove three times.

Who authored the first five books of the Old Testament?

Moses is a major biblical figure of the Old Testament, and he is known to have authored its first five books. He was a great Jewish leader who set the Exodus in motion.

What weapon did David use to defeat Goliath?

The book of first Samuel recounts the famous tale of David and Goliath. The 17th chapter gives details on David's victory over Goliath: "David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone."

What is the name of Abraham's first son?

Ishmael's father was not called Abraham at the time of his first son's birth, which is described in the 16th chapter of the book of Genesis. In the 17th chapter of the book of Genesis, God changed Abram's name to Abraham.

Benjamin is the youngest brother of whom?

The 43rd chapter of the book of Genesis says of Joseph and Benjamin: "And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, 'Is this your younger brother of whom ye spake unto me?' And he said, 'God be gracious unto thee, my son.'" Rachel was Joseph and Benjamin's mother.

How many books are there in the Old Testament?

There are 39 books in the Old Testament, and there are 27 books in the New Testament. Some biblical scholars divide the Old Testament into four parts: Law, Poetry, Prophets (Major), and Prophets (Minor).

How many tribes of Israel does the Old Testament mention?

The Twelve Tribes of Israel were named after Jacob's 10 sons and Joseph's two sons. The names of the tribes are Levi, Judah, Asher, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun, Ephraim, and Manasseh.

The Old Testament was written in what language?

For the most part, the language of the Old Testament is Hebrew. The Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek at Alexandria in the third century for a primarily Greek-speaking Jewish audience. Ezra 4:8-6:18; Ezra 7:12-26, Daniel 2:4-7:2 and Jeremiah 10:11 are scriptures that were originally written in the Aramaic language.

Which tribe of Israel was a tribe of priests in the Old Testament?

The men of this tribe were called Levites and were set apart to maintain the tabernacle and minister to the people. Not all Levites were priests, but all the priests had to be of the tribe of Levi.

Which of these options is not a tribe of Israel?

The 48th and 49th chapters of the book of Genesis reveal information on how Joseph's sons' names became listed as the Twelve Tribes. Galatians is a New Testament epistle written by Paul the Apostle in defense of the religious principle that "a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ."

What are the first five books of the Old Testament called?

The Pentateuch is composed of five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Pentateuch records the time period from the Creation story to the end of Moses' time.

God instructed Abraham to sacrifice what?

The 22nd chapter of the book of Genesis details that God called upon Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The second verse of this chapter records what God spake to Abraham: "Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains."

Which book of the Old Testament mentions the Valley of Dry Bones?

The 37th chapter of the book of Ezekiel states: "The hand of the LORD was upon me and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones." The dry bones are symbolic of the Jews in bondage.

What body of water did Moses part so that the children of Israel could escape the Egyptians?

The 13th chapter of the book of Exodus states: "God led the people about through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt." In order to avoid fighting with the Philistines, Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea which is longer than the shorter route from Egypt to the Promised Land.

What type of wood did Noah use to make his ark?

The sixth chapter in the book of Genesis states: "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch." Modern scholars believe that gopher wood is now called cypress wood.

Who was not one of Noah's sons?

The tenth chapter in the book of Genesis states: "Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah -- Shem, Ham, and Japheth..." Semites are the descendants of Shem. According to Biblical scholars, Canaan, Egypt, and throughout Africa is where the descendants of Ham settled, and the descendants of Japheth settled in the area that encompasses Asia Minor and Europe.

In which book can you find the following scripture: "And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female."

The sixth chapter of the book of Genesis contains this scripture. Pairs of every animal joined Noah in the ark. Some scholars claim that almost 45,000 animals could have fit into the ark.

What weapons did Gideon not use to defeat the Midianites?

The seventh chapter of the book of Judges details Gideon's ordeal: "And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers." Gideon was Israel's fifth judge and a military strategist who was an expert on the element of surprise.

According to the book of Genesis, in what state did Ham discover Noah?

The ninth chapter of the book of Genesis recounts how Ham discovered Noah: "And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without." Some Biblical scholars insist that Ham's actions revealed a profound lack of respect for his father and for God.

According to the book of Exodus, when Moses and Aaron went unto Pharaoh, Aaron cast down his rod which turned into what?

The seventh chapter of the book of Exodus sheds light on this event: "When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, take thy rod and cast it before Pharaoh and it shall become a serpent." Some Christians refer to Aaron's staff as the "rod of life" or the "rod of the priest."

Where did Pharaoh's daughter discover baby Moses?

There are two popular explanations for who Pharaoh's daughter was. Some scholars believe that she was Hatshepsut, the wife of Pharaoh ThutmoseII. Others insist that she was the daughter of Raamses II, who was a particularly barbaric Pharaoh.

What is the name of the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God?

After escaping Pharaoh's Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and traveling through the desert, the children of Israel were led to the holy mountain of Sinai. It was at Mount Sinai that the children of Israel received the Ten Commandments through their leader, Moses.

What is the name of Adam's third son in the book of Genesis?

The fourth chapter of the book of Genesis records the moment that Seth was born: "And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth." Cain and Abel were the first two sons of Adam and Eve.

In which Bible book can you find this verse: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth"?

This scripture comes from the 22nd verse in the first chapter of the book of Genesis. As parents of the human race, Adam with his wife, Eve, were commanded by God to take command over the earth and its inhabitants.

The animal that swallowed Jonah whole in the book of Jonah is described as what?

The first chapter of the book of Jonah recounts his epic experience: "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." The Bible states these events as factually as any other biblical story. Jonah's trial with the "great fish" is not framed as a vision or a dream.

What is the name of Abel's brother in the book of Genesis?

Cain murdered his brother, Abel. He also lied to God and became a vagabond.

What is the first word of the Bible?

The first verse of the first chapter in the book of Genesis reads, "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." This verse establishes that God set in motion all things that occurred in the Bible and beyond.

How did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah?

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is recorded in the 19th chapter of the book of Genesis. Brimstone is another word for the chemical element, sulfur.

In the book of first Kings, what did the ravens deliver to Elijah?

The 17th chapter in the book of first Kings explains Elijah's special delivery: "And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook." Elijah had prophesied that a drought was on the way, and then he hid from King Ahab by brook Cherith where the ravens delivered him food.

On which day of creation in the book of Genesis did God create man?

Man's creation takes place in the 27th verse of the first chapter of the book of Genesis: "So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Many Christians believe that humans did not evolve from another species, in accordance with this verse.

Which book of the Bible tells the story of Lot's wife?

The 19th chapter of the book of Genesis mentions the story of Lot's wife: "But [Lot's] wife looked back from behind him." Lot's wife looked back to view the burning city of Sodom.

Who was thrown into the lion's den?

The sixth chapter of the book of Daniel records Daniel's terrifying punishment: "Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions." In biblical times, lions were routinely used to kill prisoners.

On what day did God rest during creation?

The second chapter in the book of Genesis confirms that God rested: "And on the seventh day, God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made." For many people, this verse proves that God requires that all people rest from their labor at some point.

According to the Old Testament, Jeremiah and Isaiah both held what Divine occupation?

Jeremiah was God's prophet for Judah. Isaiah is commonly referred to as the "Evangelical Prophet."

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