An Odd Couple
We’ve all seen odd couples and wondered to ourselves, “How did they end up together?” This same thing happened to me this past semester when my Business Communications professor took an interest in my involvement with Bible quizzing. Business Communications and Bible quizzing: an unlikely couple, don’t you think? My professor was intrigued at the first mention of Bible quizzing in my introduction assignment and continued to ask throughout the semester how it was going. It was actually my professor’s idea for me to do my final project on Bible quizzing. Our final project was a formal report—basically a scary name for an extensive informative paper with strict parameters. What you’re about to read is the less extensive and hopefully less scary version. I call it my de-formalized report of Bible quizzing.
Bible quizzing is a program designed to put the Word of God into the hearts of young people. It’s challenging and extremely competitive but very exciting. How does Bible quizzing work? To start, there are three levels: beginner, junior, and senior. Senior quizzing has two divisions: intermediate and experienced. All of these levels are divided by age and number of verses in the material. I quiz in the senior experienced division for those between the ages of fifteen and eighteen. We learn 500 plus verses every season.
Some may think it is impossible for a person to remember hundreds of verses, but the way a quizzer memorizes one verse is the same way he retains hundreds of verses. The key to memorizing these verses is repetition. In quizzing, we call this repetition “quoting.” Quizzers who quote more often become extremely familiar with their material. This familiarity is tremendously beneficial because it makes it easier to study charting. Charting is an in-depth study of the verses, the words, and phrases that have something special or similar about them. At the senior level, charting is an incredible tool quizzers use to help them answer questions during a quiz.
What is a quiz? In the senior division, each quiz has twenty questions. As the question number increases, so does the point value. Each question is worth ten, twenty, or thirty points. Typically, the more points a question is worth, the harder it is. A question is what the quizmaster (official determining correct or incorrectness of the answer) reads to the two teams playing. There are many different types of questions: one part questions, multiple part questions, quotation questions where the verse(s) must be quoted verbatim, and cross-reference questions—where the answers come from two or more verses.
To spice things up a little, quizzers are allowed to interrupt the question before the quizmaster has finished reading it, but they must finish and answer the question correctly within thirty seconds to receive the points. If the question is finished or answered incorrectly, half the point value is taken from the score of that team, and the other team has a chance to answer the question. Whichever team has the most points at the end of the quiz wins!
These quizzes take place at tournaments held once a month from January until June, and in June or July, each state holds their own state finals. Finals determines whether or not a team qualifies for the NABQT: North American Bible Quiz Tournament, or as we call it, nationals. Nationals is the final and biggest tournament of the year. It’s the tournament every team strives to reach. Nationals for Bible quizzers is the equivalent of the Superbowl for football players.
So far, Bible quizzing has been described to you as a game. I’ve told you of the competition but not of the benefits. We all love to be rewarded, and Bible quizzing is one of the most rewarding programs to join. The benefits are incredible! Bible quizzers gain personal satisfaction after committing large portions of Scripture to memory, and because of the hundreds of verses they’re memorizing, their memory capacity actually increases!
Through Bible quizzing, I have met some of my greatest friends. I have friends scattered throughout Missouri, the United States, and even Canada. Bible quizzing creates a special bond between all those involved. Young people are introduced to other young people with the same passion they have, creating not just a community, but a family. Bible quizzers are avidly hiding the Word of God in their hearts every time they spend time working on these verses. The relationship with God that Bible quizzing helps establish is by far the best benefit.
Bible quizzing is not just a program, but a ministry. As a program, Bible quizzing is incredibly beneficial, but once a quizzer can take this program and turn it into a ministry, it becomes life-changing. Bible quizzing is hard work. No one is going to deny that, but all the hard work pays off. I invest my time and energy into Bible quizzing because it invests so much more back into my life. I don’t do it just for the trophies and awards because, though they are nice, they eventually go to the attic.
I quiz because I love everything it offers to those who tap into it. I love Bible quizzing because of all the friends I have made and places I have gone. But most of all, I love it because I am hiding God’s Word in my heart and mind. Having all these verses in my head has enriched my life and my walk with God. Bible quizzing is my passion, and I believe every young person should have the opportunity to be involved. As a Bible quizzer, you have a special advantage: you are equipped with the infallible and unchanging Word of God, and you too will have the opportunity to create an “odd couple.”
Celina Dummer attends Lakeview Pentecostal Church, pastored by Scott Smith, in Blue Springs, Missouri. She has been a Bible quizzer for nine years and plans to continue her involvement in the quizzing ministry. Celina works and is also a full time student, graduating this fall with her associates degree.