Quizzing the game

Whoever developed the game of Bible quizzing was brilliant! It’s not a new game, dating back to at least the 1950s. More than a dozen denominations and church groups throughout North America run quizzing leagues. While rules may differ from one group to another, they have one thing in common. Questions based on the Bible text are asked in a certain way that points to one specific verse and only that verse. A question is considered to be “key” at the point where only one answer satisfies the question because the word or word combination appears only once in the Scripture portion we are studying. Prepared quiz questions indicate when the question is “key” with “>>,” sometimes called the jump mark.

Types of questions

There are several types or categories of questions.

  • Quote (Q, Q2): The chapter and verse numbers are given to the quizzer who then quotes that verse word-perfect. Some quote questions are quote-two. This occurs when the verses individually do not provide a complete thought, for example, the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, 23.

Quote Question: Quote Acts chapter 2 verse 38. »

Answer: And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Finish-the-verse (FTV, F2V, FT, FTN): Up to the first five words of a verse are given to the quizzer, who then quotes the rest of the verse word-perfect. Also in this category are: finish-two-verses when the verses individually do not provide a complete thought; finish-this when the last part of a verse forms a complete thought and starts a new sentence; finish-this-and-the-next when the last part of a verse starts a new sentence and the next verse is needed to complete a thought.

FTV Question: And Peter said to them, »

Answer: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

FT Question: “Repent and » be baptized every …

Answer: One of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

  • Straight forward or interrogative (INT): These are often short questions that require short answers. The question must include key material within the first five words of the question. Key material can be a word, a two-word phrase or a three-word phrase that appears only once in the quizzing material. Some question writers, further classify these questions as “INTI,” a straight-forward question beginning with a “w” word (what, who, where, when, why), and “INTF,” a straight-forward question that doesn’t begin with a “w” word.

INT question: Repent and » be what?

Answer: Baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

INT question: The forgiveness » of your what?

Answer: Sins.

  • Multiple answer (MA): This is similar to the straight-forward question, but the answer has at least two parts, often distinguished by “and.” Multiple-answer questions include lists.

MA question: For the promise is » for whom?

Answer: You and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

  • Reference (CR, CVR, MA CR, MACVR): There are several sub-categories of reference questions. In each case, the question includes a word or phrase that appears more than once in the quizzing material. The answer to the question varies based on the reference given. When quizzers jump before the quiz master finishes asking the question, they must finish the question in addition to providing the answer to be called correct.
  • Chapter reference: The question includes a word or phrase that appears more than once in the material, but only once in that particular chapter.

CR question: According to Acts 2, you » will receive what?

Answer: You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Chapter verse reference: The question includes a word or phrase that appears more than once in the material and more than once in that particular chapter, which triggers the need for the question to include the verse number.

CVR question: According to Acts 2:38, » the name of whom?

Answer: The name of Jesus Christ.

  • Multiple answer chapter reference: This is similar to a chapter reference question, but the answer has at least two parts.

MA CR question: According to Acts 1, for he » was what?

Answer: For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.

  • Multiple answer chapter verse reference: This is similar to a chapter verse reference, but the answer has at least two parts.

MA CVR question: According to Acts 2:17, » who shall prophesy?

Answer: Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.

  • Situation (SIT): This type of question appears in narrative books only: the Gospels and Acts. The question includes a quotation spoken by a person or entity, and the quizzer is asked to identify one or more aspects: who said it; to whom was it said; about whom was it said; when was it said; how was it said; why was it said. If quizzers jump before the quiz master completes the quotation, they must finish the quote and answer the question.

SIT question: Who said it. “Repent and » be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Answer: Peter

Answering Questions


Regardless of the type of question, questions are asked in a certain form once the question type is introduced:

“Question number one. Question. (Insert actual question).”

As soon as a quizzer jumps, the quiz master stops asking the question. The quizzer then must answer the question. If the quiz master did not finish the question, the quizzer must provide the information in the question as well as the answer. The information does not need to be given in a question-and-answer format except in the case of a reference question.

The 2017 Bible Quizzing Rule Book states:

Only the first answer of the quizzer will be considered, however, if the information given by the quizzer is within the context of the material and is not incorrect, the quizzer will be allowed their full 30 seconds to give the additional information necessary to satisfy the question and the answer.

“Context” is five verses above and below the verse that includes the question and answer. The “context” rule does not apply to quotation, chapter-verse reference, and any variation of finish-the-verse questions.

Quiz masters will use their discretion to determine if the answer given by quizzers are incorrect or if they will give quizzers an opportunity to try their answer again. If quizzers provide an answer by quoting material and within the 30-second time limit provides the correct answer, the correct answer may be accepted by the quiz master, even if it is not the first information given.

As a general practice, encourage your quizzers to answer straight-forward and multiple answer questions by quoting the verse where the question and answer are found. If a mistake is made in quoting the verse, quizzers will have time to fix the mistake. If, however, quizzers give a one-word answer and that answer is not correct, they will not have an opportunity to fix the mistake because their first answer was incorrect.

The Deity Rule is fully explained in the 2017 Bible Quizzing Rule Book. In summary, the correct person of the Deity must be given and quizzers cannot move between persons of the Deity when answering. “Jesus” and “Christ” may be interchanged. Quizzers cannot move from a specific person to “God” when “God” is the answer. However, quizzers can start with “God” and then move to the correct person of the Deity when a specific person is required.

Rules of the Game

  • Officials: a quiz master reads questions, an answer judge listens for correct answer, a scorekeeper records results of quiz, question by question. All three sit at a table in front of the quiz teams.
  • Quizzers: three to five per team. Up to four are on the bench at a time.
  • Teams: three in each quiz.
  • Quizzes: comprised of 20 questions with questions 16 to 20 having A and B questions for toss-ups and bonuses. There is also a provision for a three-question overtime in the event that teams are tied at the end of an elimination quiz. The statistics room will break ties formed during preliminary quizzes.
  • 15-question quizzes are used at the one-day quiz meet in the fall and the weekend quiz meet in November. Questions 12 to 15 have A and B questions. There is also a provision for a three-question overtime in the event that teams are tied at the end of an elimination quiz. The statistics room will break ties formed during preliminary quizzes.
  • 30 seconds to answer correctly. If incorrect or incomplete answer given, quiz master may say “again” or “more” to prompt the quizzer to provide the correct information. The quiz master is not required to provide a prompt, with two exceptions. If a clarification of a pronoun is needed (as noted on the card), the quiz master will ask for the clarificaiton. If a quote or FTV answer is incorect, the quiz master will say “again,” but only after the entire verse has been quoted.
  • Maximum of four correct questions per quizzer (not including bonuses). This is reduced to three in 15-question quizzes. This is referred to as a “quiz out.”
  • If three errors are made by one quizzer, that quizzer must leave the bench. This is referred to as an “err-out.”
  • First quizzer to jump, indicated by light on quiz master’s box, gets opportunity to answer. If incorrect, another question, called a toss-up, is read for the other two teams. If the toss-up is also answered incorrectly, the team that did not jump is asked a bonus question. Anyone on this team is allowed to jump and answer the question. In all cases, quizzers must wait for the quiz master to call their names before coming forward to answer.
  • Quizzers and coaches are not allowed to interact from the time when the quiz master introduces the question until points have been awarded for that question. Interaction includes talking, making eye contact, pointing among quizzers and between quizzers and coaches.
  • Scoring (see appendix for sample scoresheets):
  • 20 points awarded at start of quiz if all team members are on time (see 2017 Bible Quizzing Rule Book for rule when one quizzer is late); for each correct answer in regular and toss-up questions; for correctly answered bonus questions in the first 16 questions.
  • 10 bonus points awarded when third, fourth and fifth team members answer a question correctly (not including bonuses); when one person answers four correctly without error; and on correctly answered bonus questions beginning with question 17.
  • In 15-question quizzers, 10 bonus points are awarded when third, fourth and fifth team members answer a question correctly; when one person answers three correctly without error; and on correctly answered bonus questions beginning with question 13.
  • 10 points deducted for every incorrect answer starting at question 17; when the same quizzer makes two errors; each team error starting with the third team error; when three fouls are committed by one person; when three fouls are committed by the team.
  • In 15-question quizzes, 10 points are deducted for every incorrect answer starting at question 13; when the same quizzer makes two errors; each team error starting with the third team error; when three fouls are committed by one person; when three fouls are committed by the team.
  • Time-outs: each team is allowed up to two 60-second time-outs, can be requested by the coach, the captain or the co-captain. Only one time-out may be taken after question 17 (A/B if asked).
  • Fouls: If team members are talking or communicating in any way after “question” is said by the quiz master; if hands are used in jumping; if a light goes on after “question” but before the question is actually read (can jump before whole question is read). When fouled, that quizzer can’t answer that numbered question including toss-ups and bonuses. If one person receives three fouls, that person must leave the platform and is penalized 10 points. If a substitute takes that seat, the substitute is ineligible to answer that numbered question.
  • Rule book: 2017 Bible Quizzing Rule Book is published by C&MA Quizzing Leadership Team and is available at cmabiblequizzing.org, and from CMQ , www.cmdquizzing.org..

Sportsmanship and Strategy

Quizzers and coaches are encouraged to demonstrate sportsmanship throughout the competition.

  • Cheering for quizzers from other teams when they answer questions correctly and empathizing when they give incorrect answers are ways to encourage one another.
  • “Burning questions,” jumping so fast with little hope of answering correctly in order to prevent another team from answering a question, is discouraged.
  • In the elimination quizzes, toward the end of a quiz, if a team is out of the running for first or second place, that team is encouraged to let the other two teams compete for the placing.

Strategy is part of competition. There is no right strategy and strategy often varies depending on the circumstances of the quiz. As coach, you are the quarterback of the team in addition to the cheerleader. You make the calls, slowing down some quizzers and speeding up others. Here are some very general guidelines.

  • Work hard as a team to get the third-person bonus. It’s worth an extra 10 points.
  • Strive to keep team errors to two, but encourage your quizzers to take them. The first two team errors, committed in questions one to 16 by two different people, are free. After that, errors will cost your team 10 points. Perhaps you’ll want to “push” your quizzers who are reluctant to jump or who don’t have a great command of the material to take a chance at jumping by telling them that if they get an error, it doesn’t cost the team and, because they are following your direction, really it’s your error. Those quizzers might just surprise themselves by answering correctly, giving them confidence to jump more.
  • Discourage “one-person” teams, where only one person on the team is answering questions. Quizzers who want to answer all the questions need to be reminded that they can only answer four correctly before they quiz out. This type of quizzer is often better able to take the “pressure” of having to answer questions at the end of a quiz. Coach this quizzer to space out their jumps, leaving questions for their teammates. And the quizzers who don’t want to jump need to be reminded that one person can’t do it all. Quizzing is a team sport and is more fun when everyone on the team participates.
  • Challenge “weaker” quizzers to jump early, within the first five questions of the quiz. As a quiz progresses, some quizzers find it more difficult to get in the game. Depending on the situation, you might ask the “stronger” quizzer(s) on your team to jump slowly for a couple of questions to give the “weaker” one(s) an opportunity to jump.
  • Assign a “stronger” quizzer a seat on the bench beside “weaker” ones. The “stronger” can encourage the “weaker.”
  • Slow down a quizzer who has correctly answered two questions in a row. The risk of an error on the third jump increases, because the quizzer might jump too fast. And if a quizzer correctly answers three in a row, ask that quizzer to not jump for at least a couple of questions. The risk of an error goes up even more and the other members of the team need a chance to contribute.
  • Take your two time-outs. You can use this to encourage your quizzers, relieve some pressure if you sense the quizzers are getting uptight, and provide direction to those on the bench. You might have to tell your fast jumpers to slow down or your slow jumpers to speed up.

Quiz room etiquette

Quizzing is made even more exciting when spectators cheer on their teams. It’s important to be an asset and not a distraction.

  • Spectators are not allowed to have any interaction with quizzers and coaches during a quiz.
  • When entering or leaving a room during a quiz, it’s important to wait until the quiz is between two questions. Do not leave or enter when a quiz master is asking a question or when a quizzer is answering a question. Even the slightest noise can distract a quizzer or interrupt the process.
  • The front row of chairs is reserved for coaches and substitute quizzers.
  • The seats directly behind the officials table (if applicable) should remain unoccupied at all times during a quiz.
  • Cheering and supporting quizzers and their teams is absolutely allowed and heartily endorsed once a quizzer has answered a question and the quiz master has rendered a decision. An encouraging word can be appropriate even when an error is made. Just getting up off the bench is an accomplishment for some.

Jumping

We must remember that we are using the Word of God to play a game, and His Word must be treated with respect.

Quizzers learn that timing is the key to jumping. They shouldn’t jump too early, but they shouldn’t wait too long either. “Jump and then think” is a good coaching mantra! If your quizzers “think and then jump,” another quizzer will have already jumped. Help them practice timing the jump before the end of the question and then anticipating the rest of the question. When asking questions at quiz practice, stop at the jump mark indicated by “>>.” Have the quizzer finish the question and provide the answer.

Most quizzers find that sitting forward on the bench with one foot slightly in front of the other works well. Quizzers should be on the front edge of the seat, supporting their weight with their feet.  Remember that hands are not allowed to help in any way. Rest hands and arms on the knees or upper legs. The slightest movement of the body should be enough to trigger the quiz light. With all the weight on the feet, the mid-section of the body should move first, not the feet or arms. Be positioned so the momentum is one of forward movement, not upward. Forward is faster. Think of explosion when jumping. It must be quick. To help quizzers find this stance, have them sit on a chair. You should be able to pull the chair away from them and they should be able to maintain their stance. Quizzers can also practice by squatting against a wall and holding that pose. Most quizzing benches have a “click” that indicates the point at which their light will be triggered. Quizzers can practice the most comfortable and fastest position for themselves by listening to their own click.

Teach the quizzers to watch the quiz master’s face, mouth and neck. It’s possible to “see” a word being formed before it is actually said. Mimicking a quiz master by mouthing the words as the quiz master says them may also help. This must be done silently.

Do lots of jumping practice. Use colours, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, names, etc. Be sure to stop as soon as the light is triggered (preferably before you are finished saying the word) and have the quizzers figure out what you were going to say. Quizzers can also watch themselves in a mirror and see how they form words. Work on helping quizzers focus. They should be looking directly at the quiz master and not at the floor, or around the room, at their friends or family. If other activity in the room is distracting, suggest the quizzer wear a ball cap with a brim.

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