Bible Quiz through the eyes of…J Bish

In 1999, with great anticipation I joined my church’s Bible Quiz team. I tried to start slowly, but I was asked to memorize 41 verses for the first quiz – in one month! The Lord helped me work on my verses each day, and I was surprised at the end to be able not only to memorize them but also to quiz out in my very first quiz. That became a mile-stone in my life, the beginning of a path I have never regretted. I quizzed for six years until I graduated, and then I coached for several years after that. Right now I am about to graduate from Seminary, get married, and in the next few years go as a missionary to the Middle East. Looking back, I can honestly say that Bible Quiz has been one of the greatest influences in my life.

In one way it was my sport. I well remember meticulously adjusting my light between questions, leaning forward on the edge of my seat, waiting for the exact second to spring, and then standing poised, quoting in my head and evaluating each possibility as the clock raced. Eagerly, my teammates and I would watch the list of remaining teams in each tournament, wondering how far we could make it. Sometimes we went all the way. I remember that in high school the “Athens Tournament” was my favorite day of the year.

But the quizzing itself was only the fun part: the accountability for something much bigger going on in my life. God changed me through the Bible. I spent time daily (or nightly) memorizing my new verses and reviewing. At school I walked around with bulging pockets full of 3×5 cards with my verses written on them. In 10th grade, when I memorized John, I remember sitting in the living room with Dad as he drilled me. I still have shoe boxes full of piles of verse cards rubber-banded together. After the first couple years I began to review my previous material – I didn’t want to lose it after all that effort! I would quote my chapters in the Pauline epistles while I washed dishes. And I would quote from John in the morning while I showered. I typically spent only 20 to 30 minutes a day (or less) of sit-down-and-study-time on Bible Quiz since I didn’t have time any more than most people. But doing a little each day made a big difference, and it helped me form some wonderful habits that have helped me all the way through college. I think I look back even more fondly on the memorizing than on the quizzing – although I still get itchy to compete at times.

More than anything, however, I appreciate what God did in my heart through His Word. Bible Quiz motivated me and showed me that I could do more with my Bible than I ever realized before. One of my greatest joys is meditating on chapters while I walk around at school, drive my car, or have my devotions. The Bible is not just something I have – now it has me. It is one thing to know a truth, but it is another thing to hear God’s actual words in your mind. The Holy Spirit brings back verses from the epistles and John constantly right at the moment of temptation or when I am sharing God’s message of salvation or encouragement. I have forgotten to some degree many of the chapters I learned, but others have become embedded by constant use. And no one can ever take them away from me.

During college, I did not memorize quite as much, although I did some. But this summer, God led me to start on a new adventure – one that thrills my heart: I am trying to memorize Isaiah. Every night I review while I drive home, memorize my next three verses, and then read a column or two ahead. I have discovered that doing a little a day goes a long way. Now I am working on chapter 19. Before the summer, the book was a mystery. But now some of the prophecies of Christ’s future kingdom are becoming good friends, and I am praying that God will change my life through this book, just as He has changed my life before.

Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” Can I say from the bottom of my heart that you who know the Lord will never regret the time you invest in memorizing passages of Scripture? God’s Word is becoming part of me, and I have tasted and seen God so much more than I could have imagined otherwise. Thank you, Lord, for Bible Quiz!

J Bish
Faith SC
Class of 2002
The Bible Quiz through the Eyes Series

Comments 1

  1. This is what I prefer

    Games tend to move very quickly and are played with two teams of 3 to 6 players each with no more than 4 from each team participating at a time. The quizmaster reads “toss-up” questions worth 10 points each no matter the difficulty. Toss-ups start with a statement called a “lead-in” which directs players toward the answer, and then the question is read. Toss-ups can be of various types including “keyword,” in which a word used once or twice in the official study text is used in the lead-in and points to a specific answer verse, “general,” which asks a question pertaining to a specific concept or idea in the text, “category” which requires one to three answers from a specific category (people, places, numbers, etc.) and “word game,” in which players have the opportunity to give one to three word answers based upon some “clue” (rhyming words, words which start with the same letter, etc.) Each player has a hand held signal block on the table in front of him/her with a button and a light on it to recognize which player “buzzed in.” Players must begin answering within 3 seconds of buzzing in, but are not timed on the length of their answer, as in other Bible Quiz programs. This is one of the main factors in the speed of the game. Players do not need to finish the question being read; they need only give the correct answer. For “keyword” and “general” toss-ups, they are also allowed to quote the verses where the answer is found. If a question is answered incorrectly, the other team has the opportunity to listen to the rest of the question and then answer. Points are never taken away in National Bible Bowl for any reason, nor is a player ever removed from the game for answering too many questions correctly or incorrectly, but substitutions may be made at half-time. Once a toss-up is answered correctly, a bonus question is read to that player’s team on which they may confer. Bonus questions consist of 4 to 8 segments and are worth 20, 25, 30, 35, or 40 points.

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