“Ephraim mixes with the nations;
Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.
Foreigners sap his strength,
but he does not realize it.
His hair is sprinkled with gray,
but he does not notice.
Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,
but despite all this
he does not return to the Lord his God
or search for him.
- Hosea 7:8-10
If you look up the word “Presbyter,” you will find most of the etymology goes back to “old” and “man.” Thus, old man is the usual definition, but I had an old Presbyterian minister once tell be that “Presbyter” refers to the “old gray hairs,” meaning old men that have gray hairs.
As for this quiz, we are not talking about Presbyterians at all. We are talking about ten of the thirteen verses in the NIV that mention the word “gray.” All thirteen verses refer to gray hair.
Why are Presbyterians named after “old men?” It refers to their form of government, as opposed to what they have in their confessions and such. The U. S. Constitution, in part, was patterned after that form of government, a republican form of government. For Presbyterians, each church elects elders to serve on session. Each session selects an elder, usually, to attend the presbytery meetings along with the pastor. Each presbytery selects representatives from the presbytery to attend synod, and some from the synod are then selected to attend the annual general assembly. It is a representative form of government, and the idea is to elect the wise, Spirit-filled gray-haired people (some denominations allow women to serve, but not all). The theory was that with the right leadership, how could the church falter?
The Scriptures are quoted as the questions. The basic quiz question is “Who said the verse?” In most of these cases, the verse is from a bit of history, not necessarily from one of the history books in the Bible though. Thus, the answer is who spoke those words? But three are from the poetry / wisdom books of the Bible and one is from the prophecy books of the Bible. In two of those cases, the author of the book would be the answer. One of the others of those four cases (poetry/wisdom or prophecy) the answer is unknown. Thus, in this strange circumstance, the answer to that one question can literally be “I do not know the answer.” WOW! You never thought you could get the right answer by saying that!
With a few of these questions, I have added <“Whose Gray Hair?”> These can act as bonus questions along with: What are the two other references to “gray” hair in the NIV not used in the quiz and not considering the Hosea verse quoted above?
Your first clue… Wait! You haven’t started, and you want a clue?! Okay. Each verse that refers to gray hair comes from the Old Testament, all thirteen verses.
- Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
- Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained in the way of righteousness.
- … “My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow.” <“Whose Gray Hair?”>
- Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace. <“Whose Gray Hair?”>
- The gray-haired and the aged are on our side,
men even older than your father.
- Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
- In the street the sword will make them childless;
in their homes terror will reign.
The young men and young women will perish,
the infants and those with gray hair.
- But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.” <“Whose Gray Hair?”>
- Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day.
- If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.’ <“Whose Gray Hair?”>
This could be, in most cases, one of the most obscure quizzes yet. Some could be a little easier with a hint or two, and here are a few random clues.
- There are two verses that are almost identical, but they are not spoken by the same person. Although, in one case, the person speaking is quoting the other.
- Two other verses are rather similar, spoken by the same person (who might really be the answer to a third question – the “unknown” answer).
- One is in song form that is also part of some farewell addresses.
- Another is also part of a farewell address.
- The one with no author that is attributed is thought to be by the person who already is the answer to two of the questions – due to the subject matter of that “chapter” of the Bible.
- One is from the books of poetry / wisdom, but it is written clearly as being a certain person speaking the words.
I do not know if these clues helped answer any questions or if the “clues” helped to muddy the waters even more.
As for the Bible References below, this gives the verse where the word “gray” is located, but in most cases, you may have to read more of the story to find the person who said the word, maybe most of the chapter. The ellipsis used in question 3 above is used since three words are not quoted, one being the answer.
- From a book of prophecy, and the chapter and verse are 46:4 – not too many books of prophecy with that many chapters
- From a book of poetry / wisdom, and the chapter and verse are 16:31
- Genesis 42:38
- 1 Kings 2:6
- Job 15:10
- Psalm 71:18
- Deuteronomy 32:25
- 1 Kings 2:9
- 1 Samuel 12:2
- Genesis 44:29
Someone having gray hair does not mean that they are wise. Some people get premature gray hair. Some people may not gain wisdom over their countless years of life. And having business acumen may make you a decent Finance person, but does that person have Jesus in their heart and does that person listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit if they do?
Thus, it is quite possible to elect the wrong people with gray hair. These days, most that serve do not have gray hair. Not counting those who color it. Sadly, the gray-haired folks in many churches have been elders several times during their lives and they abdicate to the younger folks. That might get new ideas started, but it defeats the purpose of electing “elders.”
But, regardless of the mud slinging that I could do at this point, I will refrain. There is no perfect church until we are with Jesus, unless you consider the true believers that are scattered in various churches around the world. Even then, we could make some mistakes.
- Isaiah – who wrote what God inspired him to write
- Solomon, from Proverbs
- Jacob (Israel) – referring to how he would respond if anything bad happened to Benjamin, referencing his own, Jacob’s, gray hair
- David – in his charges to Solomon, in reference to Joab’s gray hair
- I do not know who wrote this psalm, but many commentaries attribute it to King David as David is on the run during the rebellion of Absalom.
- Moses – in song form after Moses had prophesied that Israel would turn away from God
- David – in his charges to Solomon, in reference to Shimei’s gray hair
- Samuel, in his farewell speech
- Judah, quoting his father, Jacob (Israel), thus Jacob’s gray hair.
I could have made question ten a little easier by using Genesis 44:31 which sounds more like a person worrying that a different person’s gray hair would be laid to rest over the tragedy of his favored son’s demise. It is at this point that Judah offers his own life, to become Joseph’s slave (although he did not know it was Joseph at that point). Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Tim Rice got this part wrong. In the musical, this was a large song and dance number by all the brothers, but in the book of Genesis, it is only Judah that steps forward. There is much written about how Reuben, Simeon, and Levi had done horrible things and each were disqualified from obtaining the kingly blessing. Reuben slept with Bilhah (Genesis 35), one of Israel’s concubines, and Simeon and Levi were instrumental in the attack and slaughter of the village where Dinah had been raped (Genesis 34). But God can forgive. He forgives us. I think the telling thing is this passage. Judah offers himself as a substitutionary sacrifice to save Benjamin, and his father in extension. Judah’s sacrificial offer mirrors that of Jesus, who was in the family line of Judah, dying on the cross for us. When my son played in the orchestra pit for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I was entertained, but that one mistake ruined the musical for me.
The other Bible verse not among the questions or intro is Proverbs 20:29, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.”
And since you did so well, or even if you did not, here is a song from the aforementioned musical, not the song that I referred to above. And yes, Joseph is played by Donny Osmund.
We mustn’t forget the old people in our lives. Mark Lowry is joined by the Martins in singing, Old People, written by Mark Lowry.
I could not have a quiz about old folks with gray hair without at least one song from a Gaither Homecoming. This one, The Old Country Church, really a medley of a few songs, features several in the Homecoming that are no longer with us, but oh how they must be singing in Heaven!
And this song brought a tear to my eye, even before the word on the sign in the photo was first seen. This is Remind Me Who I Am by Jason GRAY.
The signs are what we feel about ourselves, and the photos are what God sees in His elect, the true believers. As the song says, we too often forget what Grace is. If we could only see each other in the same way as the photos show how God sees us…
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.