The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”
- Exodus 13:1-2
This quiz may truly be trivial, but maybe not. When I told my wife the premise, she said I had truly gone insane. I am not referring to various times that a first-person pronoun is mentioned in the Bible. No, how about a quiz that asks a simple question: Who is the first person mentioned by name in each book of the Bible (NIV)?
I chose the picture only because it shows a lot of people, but as it turns out, depending on how you answer this quiz (at least three alternate answers in some cases), You might find about 23 answers among those in the picture (with some language variations), and the mothers of more.
Even with something so simple, we need some ground rules. First, angels do not count, nor any reference to God in any person of the Trinity, except Jesus, when the name Jesus is mentioned. Thus, if the angel Gabriel is mentioned first, skip that and go to the first human being. Jesus is fully human, but if He was referred to as “the Word” that does not count either. No pronouns or titles count, thus if the author of the book says something like “I greet you,” the “I” and the “you” do not count. And referring to God as Lord does not count. If a name of a person is in the context of a nation or group of people, it does not count, as in “Israel” being the descendants of Jacob. And I think the notations that say that the psalm is a Psalm of David should not count.
Warning: I am sure that there will be repeat names. It would really be a nightmare if we used a name in one book and you had to find the first non-duplicate name in the next book.
I will give a single table of each book of the Bible and then give the chapter:verse and then the first letter of the person. And to be honest, I dreamed up this idea and wrote these rules before ever looking anything up. This may be a blast to write or a nightmare. And now that I have finished, “yes” to both blast and nightmare. I do not guarantee accuracy. The part that was both blast and nightmare led to speed reading entire books of the Bible to find a name and then researching names that might refer to a person instead of a place. In the process, I might have missed one. If you find one that I missed, let me know.
|Old Testament||Chapter:Verse||First Letter (for a hint)|
|Song of Solomon||1:1||S|
For a very big hint, the first name might be the name of the book. In those cases, I tried to find another name to add in the answers. In many cases, but not all, that will be the name of the book writer’s father. In the answers, I have given, in some cases, three names. 1) You can answer this quiz to be only the first person listed by name. 2) You can answer this quiz from Genesis to Revelation listing the first person unless the name has already been listed. This rule eliminates at least one of the epistles. 3) To add more complexity, you can answer the questions to avoid repeated people and/or names that are the same as the book they are in. In this last case, that eliminates a couple of prophets, since the prophet’s name is the only given name mentioned.
The interesting thing is that the results are kind of odd. The answers list a couple of notorious people and a couple of kings of foreign, conquering lands. Yet, from the kings to the people who have been lost to history, they illustrate that the Church is made up of all kinds of people. When you see one person’s name mentioned at the beginning of two different books in the Bible, you might think that this person was important. In one case, he may well have been, but these were the only two references. Some people were very important, but their work was behind the scenes, maybe teaching others and supporting the mission work from afar.
|Old Testament||Chapter:Verse||First Letter (for a hint)|
|Exodus||1:1||Jacob (note that “Israel” is before Jacob, but as the group of people.|
|Numbers||1:1||Moses, the first non-duplicate is Aaron (1:3)|
|Deuteronomy||1:1||Moses, the first non-duplicate is Sihon king of the Amorites (1:4), Moses mentioned twice by this point|
|Joshua||1:1||Moses, the first non-duplicate is Joshua, son of Nun (1:1)|
|Judges||1:1||Joshua, the first non-duplicate is Adoni-Bezek (1:5) who led the Canaanites and Perizzites.|
|Ruth||1:2||Elimelek, the husband of Naomi|
|1 Samuel||1:1||Elkanah, husband of Hannah and father of Samuel|
|2 Samuel||1:1||King Saul|
|1 Kings||1:1||King David|
|2 Kings||1:1||King Ahab|
|1 Chronicles||1:1||Adam, the first non-duplicate is Seth (1:1)|
|2 Chronicles||1:1||Solomon, son of David|
|Ezra||1:1||Cyrus, king of Persia|
|Nehemiah||1:1||Nehemiah, son of Hakaliah|
|Job||1:1||Job. Job’s wife is not named, and the next person mentioned are the three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (2:11).|
|Psalms||18:50||David, the first non-duplicate is Jacob (20:1): See Note below|
|Proverbs||1:1||Solomon, son of David, the first non-duplicate is Hezekiah (25:1)|
|Ecclesiastes||1:1||David, and there is no other given name in Ecclesiates. According to the rules, Teacher, son of David, only yields “David,” since teacher and son are not given names, even though both refer to Solomon.|
|Song of Solomon||1:5||Solomon, the first non-duplicate is Tirzah (6:4). This is our first female, referring to one of the daughters of Zelophehad that were redeemed in Numbers 26:33. It is a place name, but in this context, it counts.|
|Isaiah||1:1||Isaiah, son of Amoz|
|Jeremiah||1:1||Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah|
|Lamentations||N/A||I found nothing, only pronouns and place names that were once people.|
|Hosea||1:1||Hosea, son of Beeri|
|Joel||1:1||Joel, son of Pethuel|
|Amos||1:1||Amos, then King Uzziah|
|Obadiah||1:1||Obadiah, then possibly Teman|
|Jonah||1:1||Jonah, son of Amittai|
|Micah||1:1||Micah, then King Jotham|
|Nahum||1:1||Nahum, no other name|
|Habakkuk||1:1||Habakkuk, no other name|
|Zephaniah||1:1||Zephaniah, son of Cushi|
|Zechariah||1:1||King Darius, then Zechariah, son of Bereziah|
|Malachi||1:1||Malachi, then Esau|
|Mark||1:1||Jesus, the first non-duplicate is John the Baptist, since Isaiah was the first name in Isaiah|
|John||1:6||John (the Baptist), the first non-duplicate after Moses is Elijah (1:21)|
|Acts||1:1||Theophilus, the first non-duplicate after John is Peter (1:13)|
|Romans||1:1||Paul, but for a non-author name and not used before, Abraham (4:1)|
|1 Corinthians||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate Sosthenes|
|2 Corinthians||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate Timothy|
|Galatians||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate Cephas (1:18), but that is Peter, then Barnabas (2:1)|
|Ephesians||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate Tychicus (6:1)|
|Philippians||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate after Timothy, Epaphroditus (2:25)|
|Colossians||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate after Timothy, Epaphras (1:7)|
|1 Thessalonians||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate Silas|
|2 Thessalonians||1:1||Paul, only names mentioned are Paul, Silas, and Timothy|
|1 Timothy||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate after Timothy, Hymenaeus (1:20)|
|2 Timothy||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate after Timothy, Phygelus (1:15)|
|Titus||1:1||Paul, the first non-duplicate Titus (1:4), then Artemus (3:12)|
|Philemon||1:1||Paul, then Timothy, Philemon, and the Apphia (another woman)|
|Hebrews||2:11||Jesus, and for the first non-duplicate Melchizedek (5:6) followed by Abel (11:4)|
|James||1:1||James, the first non-duplicate Rahab (2:25)|
|1 Peter||1:1||Peter, the first non-duplicate is Sarah (3:6)|
|2 Peter||1:1||Simon Peter, the first non-duplicate is Noah (2:5)|
|1 John||1:4||Jesus, the first non-duplicate is Cain (3:12)|
|2 John||1:3||Jesus, only name mentioned|
|Jude||1:1||Jude, the first non-duplicate is Balaam and Korah (1:11)|
|Revelation||1:1||Jesus, the first non-duplicate is John the Apostle (1:4)|
Note: For the Psalms, I thought my rules would get me into trouble and I may have missed one. In Psalm 14:7, Jacob and Israel are both mentioned, but I understood that to be different names for the people of Jacob / Israel. I could have missed a name along the way also. Psalm 18 ends with mentioning David and his descendants, thus, the individual and the descendants would refer to the family. The non-duplicate name would then be Jacob in the first verse of Psalm 20, referring to the God of Jacob, but that could be a family in some people’s thinking. So, if you think of David as a “family” and God of Jacob as the family of all Israel, you also must exclude the God of Abraham in Psalm 47:9. That takes you again to David (Psalm 72:20), son of Jesse. The verse says that it concludes the prayer of David, son of Jesse. Again, I may have missed someone. My eyes were getting blurry. Maybe this is why the Psalms are so beautiful. They hardly mention people, only praises and prayers to God.
In Obadiah, Teman is mentioned as being afraid, verse 9, but is that the town of Teman, or the clan of Temanites, or the leader of the clan, Teman himself. Yet, if you do not care that the answer is the name of the book, then Obadiah would be the answer.
Since you did so well or even if you did not do too well, give yourself a politicians applause. Raise your right hand. Bend your arm at the elbow so that your hand in behind your back. Then pat yourself on the back. You might even add the words, “Job Well Done!!”
If you like these Saturday morning Bible quizzes, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Saturday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.