More Than Just a Number – What Every Quizzer Needs to Know

Bible Quizzing is a game.  More than that, Bible Quizzing is a sport.  And sports have their own radical distinctions:

  • winner and loser
  • starter and backup
  • highly paid star and league minimum role player
  • coach and player
  • player and fan

Many in our age are uncomfortable with distinctions of any kind, but especially the type of distinctions that sports create.  Often when we see these distinctions we attach value to them, a win is good, a loss is bad, starters are good, backups are bad, highly paid players are the best, etc.  But there are always exceptions to the rules, and that is where sports helps us the most, they remind us that we are more than set, predictable, chains of events.  Sports help us to get an unbiased look at ourselves in certain areas by tracking our statistics, but they also prove time and time again that it is possible to rise up from where you have started, and that more games are won or lost before they are played.

In Bible Quiz, as in all sports, there are statistics that help make distinctions.  The team with the most points out of three after twelve minutes is the undisputed winner of that round.  However, what the other two teams do in their battle for second is a stat that, sadly, is ignored by most players.  The will to continue to fight, even when facing certain defeat is a stat that is hard to quantify, but is a part of every great team and player’s makeup.

So after every quiz meet they release the “stat sheet” which shows the rankings of the teams based on bracket points + 1% of total team points.  The “stat sheet” also ranks the individual players from all the teams based solely on the amount of points each player has earned throughout the season.

The most important thing to remember is that none of us as human beings can be boiled down to just numbers.  We are more than random atoms banging against each other, and often bare statistical data is given more importance than it is worth, even by coaches who should know better, and all too often by quizzers who allow their placement on the list dictate their worth as a team member and sometimes as a Christian.

For instance when the stats roll out, it would be compelling for a coach with a full team of seven quizzers to simply pick the top five ranking quizzers as the starters for the team.  However, the stats don’t point out how many questions were asked from a given quizzer’s material during the meet, or if the quizzer was a starter to begin with throughout the meet in question, or if the quizzer was always ready to be thrown into the fray, or how the quizzer dealt with failure, from themselves and from their team mates.  So it goes back to my days on the playground waiting to be picked on someones team to play baseball, football, dodge-ball, basketball, whatever.  I was never the best player, I’ve always been wider than tall, but I would always plead my case from the dwindling picks saying, “how am I ever going to get better, if you never let me play?”

Of course the answer to my question was practice and seizing opportunities as they came, not pouting or giving in to the lie that what we are today is all we will ever be able to be.  And the answer is still the same today.  In the end it doesn’t matter if you think you are good, you have to prove it, and to prove it takes what is called “heart”, it is what distinguishes players from each other more than stats because talent is never enough, and “heart” can’t be measured or weighed, only witnessed and respected.

This short movie is just one true story of how a boy who had “heart” became the legend who had “stats”.


The Secret to Breaking into the Top 10

The secret to breaking into the top 10 teams in one word is INTERRUPTION.  That is why breaking into the top 10 is so hard, interrupting a question seems impossible, but if we as a team want to go to the next level it is what we must do.  So let’s take a look at some of the fundamentals:

  1. Be Confident– You can not play your best if you are frustrated, scared, or angry, and the best way to play with confidence and a light heart is to know your material.  You don’t necessarily have to have every verse in a chapter memorized, but you do have to be confident with the material that you do know.  The way that the quiz is set up it is imperative that you not only know the words of your material but also the coordinates of that material.  Of course with the variety of books that we are quizzing in and the fact that some books have more questions asked from than others along with being confident you must also…
  2. Be Ready and Alert–  Especially if you don’t have every verse in a chapter memorized or have been assigned a chapter that doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of questions it is of the utmost importance to keep yourself in the game and be able to recognize when they are questioning on one of your verses.  Then, when you know they have just identified one of the verses that you know you know you must also…
  3. Be Fearless– So let’s take a moment to see where we are:  You may not know everything, but what you know you KNOW without question and you recognize that the question is being asked about one of those that you know!  Now comes the hardest part… you have to jump before the question is finished.  And the number one obstacle between you and beating the other quizzers is going to be your own fear of failure.  So to break into the top ten you must…
  4. Risk Errors– This is perhaps the hardest part to believe but in order to go to the next level you have to be willing to quiz out backwards.  It is just a fact that no baseball player hits home runs without striking out sometimes, no quarter back throws touchdowns without throwing interceptions, no basketball player makes 100% of their shots, and sometimes 0 errors means 0 answers, especially when both teams you are facing are ranked higher than your team.  In fact one of the least understood stats in Bible quizzing is the error stat in general.  All of the teams in the top 10 have at least 9 more errors than our team, eight of the top thirty-four quizzers have twenty errors or more, and only 10 of the top thirty-four quizzers have ten or fewer.  I have observed that among those top teams they get more than their fair share of errors, but they are errors not based on knowing material, but based on failed interruption attempts.  And since practice makes perfect, the more you try interrupting questions the better you get and your individual errors drop.  But in the beginning more than likely your individual errors will rise, and you will have to be willing to increase your errors if you want to help bring the team into the top ten.

Temptation vs. Sin

Temptation only becomes a sin when you give in to it. Martin Luther once said: “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair”

My problem is the fact that I too often fall for the Devil’s argument that one twig does not a nest make.  Nor do two sticks make a nest, nor three… until I have once again been lulled into sin to my shame.


October Stats


Good job team, you have done it

yet again, you have advanced

another spot to become the

11th ranked team out of 34!

I just thought I’d take a

moment to look back on

this season before we press

on to the last two quizzes

of this year.

As we came into this year we

started off with the biggest quiz

team that I have ever had the

privileged to be a part of.

On top of that we would be

competing among 34 other

teams!  In the previous two


November Stats

years that I had been Bible

Quizzing there had been

only two to twelve teams.

So when the stats from the

first quiz in October came

out I was excited that the

team placed so high, but

wondered if it was just

beginner’s luck.


From observing other

winning teams

we noticed that one of

the main keys

to winning was the

ability to interrupt


December Stats

But when the stats from the

November quiz were released

the team stayed steady at 13th place.

  When we saw the difference

between the number of points that

we had over the teams in front

wondered if we could rise to 10th,

Taylor even said the team could

possibly make 8th.  From observing

other winning teams we noticed

that one of the main keys to

winning was the ability to interrupt,

so we started practicing the art of

“mind reading”.


This was the first

time in three years

that the team had

ever moved up in rank!

January Stats


In December the team moved up

to 12th!  This was the first

time in three years that the team

had ever moved up in rank!

But we were met with lots of

adversity with hectic schedules,

practice time changes, holidays,

new toys and games,

lots of verses etc.  Yet all the other

teams faced the same adversity,

so the January quiz would reveal

who the teams were.

And when the dust settled and

all the points were tallied,

Rising Up found themselves

in 11th place!

So now what?  Are we

as a team interested in trying to

break into the top ten teams?

Are we as a team willing

to do what it will take?

Because the number one thing

that it will take is to put away

our individual pride, and

pick up pride in our team,

pride in the other quizzers

around us in our same jersey.

We’ll be talking about our

strategy going forward at the

practices which in January will

be on the 17th, 21st, 24th, and 28th



Man has free will

Our Own Worst Enemy?

Sure joining Bible Quiz is something like being a part of the special forces in the Lord’s army, but even we, and perhaps especially we, must guard against the more subtle attacks of the enemy.  On this journey between regeneration and glorification we are locked in a threefold battle against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

often our worst enemy goes undetected and so unguarded against

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Of these three the Devil gets all the screen time, and the World is just the collective siren song from a world full of fallen rebel humanity encouraging us all to join in the rebellion.  But often our worst enemy goes undetected and so unguarded against.  And that enemy is what the Scripture calls the Flesh, or the Old Man.  It is that part of us that empathizes with the Devil instead of the Father, and longs to follow the crowd of the World down the broad road of destruction, and readily believes the lie of Satan that if Christ died for our sin, then we can continue to sin with impunity.  You see, spiritual warfare has to do with combating the doctrine (teachings) of demons more than the dominion (presence) of demons.  And in our in-between state of growing in righteousness we will continue to be surprised at how easily we entangle ourselves in sin.

That being said, I present these short messages as an exhortation to engage both the enemy on the outside, but more importantly the enemy within, who is without doubt our own worst enemy.


part of us empathizes with the Devil

instead of the Father



we readily believe the lie of Satan

that if Christ died for our sin,

then we can continue to sin with impunity



we will continue to be surprised at

how easily we entangle ourselves in sin


What is true freedom?