Quiz: Scripture or Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare Portrait     This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Arguably, behind the King James Bible, no English literature has been as celebrated as Shakespeare’s works. But can you tell the two apart? Which of these passages are verses from the Bible and which are quotes drawn from Shakespeare’s plays? (Highlight to reveal the answers.)

  1. “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
    ● Archangel Raphael in Tobit 5:23
    ● Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream ◄◄◄
  2. “For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition…”
    ● Judas Maccabeus in 1st Maccabees 4:19
    ● King Henry in King Henry V ◄◄◄
  3. “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
    ● Psalm 119:103 ◄◄◄
    ● Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
  4. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
    ● King Solomon in Proverbs 16:18 ◄◄◄
    ● Brutus in Julius Caesar
  5. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
    ● King Solomon in Proverbs 22:6 ◄◄◄
    ● Lady Macbeth in Macbeth
  6. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend…”
    ● King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 6:13
    ● Lord Polonius in Hamlet ◄◄◄
  7. “…Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things…”
    ● Jesus Christ in Matthew 25:23 ◄◄◄
    ● King Lear in King Lear
  8. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
    ● Jesus Christ in Mark 8:36 ◄◄◄
    ● Antonio in The Merchant of Venice
  9. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    ● St. Stephen in Acts of the Apostles 6:16
    ● Prince Hamlet in Hamlet ◄◄◄
  10. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up…”
    ● St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 13:4 ◄◄◄
    ● Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing
  11. “Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee, and for thy maintenance commits his body…”
    ● St. Paul in Ephesians 5:34
    ● Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew ◄◄◄

So how did you do? Leave a comment and, as it is written somewhere“Do the part of an honest man in it.”

9 Responses to “Quiz: Scripture or Shakespeare?”

  1. Jason LaVoy Says:


  2. TJL Says:

    Arguably, yes. The Douay-Rheims Bible is older than the King James (Authorized) version of the Bible, and has been read, and read from, by over a billion more people. It was also the primary source of information during the creation of the King James version, which is only widely popular with some Protestants and misinformed Catholics. Most Protestants do not use the King Kames version, and Catholics should avoid it. The Douay-Rheims was the only official English translation used by the Church until about 50 years ago, and is still only used by traditional Catholics. The Church has more that a billion members, the groups that use the KJV are in the low millions. The KJV may be popular in some circles, and has been heard of, but rarely used by most. There are over 100 English versions and very few translations, but, yes, the name of the KJV is well known by many today, but not used by most Bible readers. So, a Catholic should compare the old English of Shakespeare to the Old English in the Douay-Rheims.

  3. elizdelphi Says:

    Great, great quiz.

  4. Jeremy Cox Says:

    Got all of them right. I read too much.

  5. Joan Says:


  6. Miss Theresa Says:

    Nailed it. 100%

  7. James Keely Says:

    Keely O’Keely: Great quiz. Thanks for doing it. Shakespeare, as you stated, died in 1614, only 3 years after the King James Bible was published. During Shakespeare’s life, the most read English Bible was the Geneva Bible, published in 1560 and quoted hundreds of times by Shakespeare in his plays. From 1560 to 1644, there were 144 editions of the Geneva Bible published and it was more popular than the King James Bible decades after 1611. In 2016, what a joy it is that we have so many and various versions of the Bible to help us obtain a fuller and more complete understanding of God’s Holy Word. Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as you dig into scripture.

  8. Howard Says:

    This was really not that hard of a quiz. I also got 100%.

    @TJL — It depends on the use of the King James Bible. For accuracy, I’d probably go with the RSV-CE. For poetry, in places I would go with the Douay-Rheims, but in other places I would, with caution, prefer the King James Bible. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want,” will always sound better to me than, “The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing.” As for the NAB, I know of no circumstances where it would be my choice. It drops the ball already in the second verse of the Bible when it replaces “the Spirit of God” with “a mighty wind”.

    I think Catholics who speak the English language should be familiar with the King James Bible for literary and cultural reasons.

  9. Richard A Says:

    Agree with Howard. Not that hard. I got the 100%

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