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Test Your Bible Power

Number Crunching

Polls and statistics fascinate us, but God's capacity for numbering things is truly amazing. "He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name" (Psa. 147:4), "and even the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matt. 10:30). While such accounting is beyond our capabilities, test your skill with some other biblical numbers. The questions get increasingly more difficult as you go along.

Answers (some may not be used, others may be repeated):

2 , 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 40, 70, 77, 300, 490, 500

1. How many plagues did God send against Egypt before Pharaoh finally set the Israelites free?

2. Jesus fed 5,000 people by multiplying ___ loaves and ___ fish.

3. David needed one stone to kill Goliath, but how many stones did he place in his pouch?

4. Jesus said we must forgive our enemies this many times.

5. As punishment for not worshiping a golden statue, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a furnace heated how many times hotter than usual?

6. How many living creatures did Ezekiel see in his vision by the Kebar River, and how many faces did each one have?

7. Paul told the Corinthians how he'd suffered for Christ, receiving lashes ___ times, was beaten with rods ___ times, and was shipwrecked ___ times.

Answers to Test Your Bible Power

1. 10 plagues (Ex. 7-11). The plagues demonstrated God's power and mocked Pharaoh's gods. The Nile, worshiped as the god Hopi, turned to blood. Frogs, a symbol of the goddess Heqt, filled the palace. Livestock, used to represent the gods Apis, Mnevis, and Khnum, died. Darkness hid the sun-god, Ra. Pharaoh relented after the death of his firstborn, who was revered as a god.

2. 5 loaves and 2 fish (John 6:9). Since the prophets foretold that the Messiah would feed his flock, many people believed in Jesus after this miracle. But when skeptics asked Jesus to produce manna, he said, "I am the bread of life."

3. 5 stones (1 Sam. 17:40). Sling stones were baseball-sized rocks that weighed at least a pound and traveled 90 to 100 miles per hour. Israel's skilled warriors "could sling a stone at a hair and not miss" (Judg. 20:16). Perhaps David carried the other four stones because he knew about four other giants, later killed by his men (2 Sam. 21:19-22).

4. 77 times (Matt. 18:21-22). Some translations render it "seventy times seven" or 490 times. The number seven signified completion. Peter expected Jesus to agree that forgiveness is complete after seven times. Jesus meant that we are to forgive repeatedly, as God does (Psa. 130:3, 4).

5. 7 times hotter (Dan. 3:19). Furnaces were used for firing bricks and pottery, or for smelting ore. In Scripture, they sometimes symbolize God's judgment (see Matt. 13:42), or the testing of faith (Isa. 48:10). God's protection didn't wilt in this instance, despite the increased heat.

6. 4 creatures, each with 4 faces (Ezek. 1:5-6). The four creatures, or cherubim, had the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle, representing the mightiest of wild animals, domestic animals, and birds. John also saw cherubim in his vision in Revelation (4:7).

7. 5, 3 , 3 (2 Cor. 11:25). Jewish law forbid giving 40 lashes or more at one time. Beating with rods was a Roman practice and was illegally administered against Paul, a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25). One of Paul's three shipwrecks is recorded in Acts 27:27-44.

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