Set by Vernon Wilkins (an Englishman)
Which of the following are true according to the Bible,
and which of them are false?
Below is a list of features of the nativity/infancy/childhood stories of Jesus and his family which are (for the most part) popularly accepted. Perhaps, however, (let the reader beware!) one or more of them may not be true.
If you think any are partly but only partly ‘true according to the bible’, then deem them to be false.
1. Mary’s Immaculate Conception.
2. Mary rode into Bethlehem on a donkey.
3. Jesus was born in a stable.
4. It was bleak mid-winter when Jesus was born, with much snow round about, and the frosty wind was making 'much moan'.
5. Three kings from the East visited the baby Jesus in the manger.
6. These visitors were called Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar; the third of them was black; and they came from the ancient Persian city of Ori Entar (you know, like it says in the favourite carol We three Kings of Ori Entar.)
7. One of these visitors brought Gold to give Jesus, another Frankincense and the third Myrrh.
8. John alone of the four gospels omits the birth/infancy narratives, and John replaces them with a prologue describing Jesus’ eternal pre-existence.
9. The baby Jesus never cried (no crying he makes).
10. One of the stories of Jesus as a little boy relates how he once threw a handful of stones into the air, whereupon they turned into birds and flew away.
11. After the nativity/infancy narratives (i.e. after the return to Nazareth) there are in fact three or four stories of the boy Jesus, the best known of which describes Jesus being left behind in the temple by his family.
12. Jesus was born on 25th December.
13. Although Joseph was a descendant of David, on account of the virginity of Mary one of the two (very different) genealogies in the gospels traces Jesus’ descent from David via Mary rather than via Joseph.
14. Mary remained a virgin throughout her entire life, so that Jesus’ brothers were not younger brothers, but older, being step-brothers from Joseph’s previous marriage.
15. The name Jesus means Lord or anointed one.
16. It was his insistence on the name Jesus that led Zechariah to regain his sight.
17. Jesus was born in 0 AD (not 0 BC).
18. Sheep, and possibly goats and asses (but certainly not cows!), were present at the manger-side and worshipped Jesus along with his family and visitors.
19. To one’s great surprise holly, ivy and mistletoe are mentioned in the bible, albeit not in the nativity/infancy narratives (but there are certainly no pear trees!).
20. The bible tells us nothing at all about what Jesus looked like at any stage of his life, not even the slightest hint or suggestion anywhere.