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My love/hate relationship with Bible trivia games

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in discipleship, personal | 9 comments

My love/hate relationship with Bible trivia games

Have you heard that there’s a new game show called The American Bible Challenge on GSN (Game Show Network) hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy? I watched an episode a few days ago, and I enjoyed the show. There were some great questions from Proverbs during the final segment of the show.

The show reminded me of a board game that I was given for Christmas once. It was a Bible trivia game based loosely on the popular board game Trivial Pursuit… and I loved both the Bible version and the original Trivial Pursuit game. I’m not bragging… but I’m pretty good at trivia. I have a good memory and a brain filled with useless (or rarely useful) information.

I like trivia… I like Bible trivia. I love moving my little game piece around the board and filling the slots with the little multicolored pie wedges.

I once thought that my ability to recall tidbits of information about the Bible indicated that I was a spiritual mature person. I mean, if I know alot of stuff about the Bible, then certainly I’m a good follower of Jesus Christ, right?

But, of course, there are several problems with my thinking.

First, knowledge of tidbits of information about the Bible has nothing to do with being a follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, in many ways, these tidbits of information distracted me from actually following Jesus.

The second problem with my thinking is that the Bible (the Scriptures) were not written to provide people with tidbits of information. In other words, I was completely missing the purposes of the Scriptures.

So, I still have a love-hate relationship with Bible trivia… even the new show The Great American Bible Challenge. But, this time, I found that I was able to watch the show without thinking my ability to answer the questions (or not) was an indication of following Jesus Christ.

However, when I watched that episode of the game show… and while all the contestants were answering questions about the Bible… I couldn’t help but wonder, “Are they missing the point of the Scriptures? What are they teaching their audience about the Scriptures?”

What do you think?


9 Comments

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  1. 9-11-2012

    Alan,

    I discern nothing foreboding nor ill in this game show. I do not believe they are dismissing The Scriptures or robbing them of their power by having a game show about them.

    Having gone to Bible college, I know what it is to treat The Scriptures as homework and not as The Word. Like you, I have much memorized, simply because my memory is amazing thanks to how The Lord designed me. And also because, like I said, The Scriptures were homework to me and I was required to memorize them. This does not mean I am “Super Christian”. Nope. It just means I know The Scriptures.

    I discern nothing wrong here, with this game show. I’d actually be interested in trying out for it.

  2. 9-11-2012

    Yep. I agree with both sides of what you’re saying, Alan. I also wrote a similar post about it a little while ago (a guest post at Seventy8 Productions).

    http://www.seventy8productions.com/2012/08/30/the-american-bible-challenge/

    Donald, I know what you mean about Scripture homework at Bible college too. It was very similar for me in my experience. I did have one professor in my last year who really challenged me in the right way, but most of what I learned there before then was just memorized information.

  3. 9-11-2012

    I don’t know about Bible boardgames or gameshows, but I used to love the Moses game for Nintendo! Sure it was a cheap ripoff of the Legend of Zelda, but you got to shoot the word of god (aka flying “W”s) at enemies and you got to kill sorcerers and answer bible trivia questions. Good fun for all!

  4. 9-11-2012

    Chuck,

    Bible college was definitely a mix of Galatians and Corinthians. On the one hand, The Scriptures were required to be memorized, almost in a sterile fashion, simply so we could learn them better. Galatians.

    On the other hand, we knew we had to break away from the temptation of Pharisaical knowledge only and embrace The Spirit, and not just the letter, of The Word. Corinthians.

    True, both the Galatian and Corinthian churches had problems, (we read about this!), but the principle remains. It is appropriate to be knowledgeable of The Scriptures and also to be led by The Scriptures. A mystery, to be sure. But it is a mystery that The Spirit brings to us as sons of God this side of Heaven.

  5. 9-11-2012

    Donald,

    I don’t see anything foreboding in the game show either. This post is primarily about my view of the Scripture and the importance that I once placed on knowing tidbits of information about the Scriptures while neglecting the main purposes of Scripture. (Although, I do think games like this can suggest that knowledge about trivial information about Scripture is more important than following Christ.)

    Chuck,

    I’ve had seminary professors challenge students in the same way you mentioned.

    Dan,

    I remember that game!

    -Alan

  6. 9-11-2012

    Alan,

    John 5:39 says:
    “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me.”

    Of course people will seek to memorize Scripture and assume this equates to a Christian life or Salvation. Of course. Jesus said this to the Pharisees, and it remains true to this day.

    What separates you and I from them is that while we have it in us to memorize Scripture, (for whatever reason our Father has gifted us to do), we also walk covenantally with Him and actually have an ongoing relationship with The Author of said Scriptures. But you know this already! ;)

    Like I said to Chuck, I do not think it is unhealthy to memorize The Scriptures, and to have that ‘trivial stuff’ locked into our minds. But it is imperative that we first have that relationship through The Spirit to explain all these memorized verses to us.

    You know what I mean. ;0

  7. 9-11-2012

    As a side-note to all this, Alan, I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who keeps wanting to call the show, “The [Great] American Bible Challenge.” I originally added that word in to the title in my article as well. ;)

  8. 9-12-2012

    Donald,

    For me personally, there’s a pride issue involved as well… plus the whole thing about confusing knowledge about Scripture with a relationship with God in Jesus Christ.

    Chuck,

    I did not notice that I called it “The Great American Bible Challenge” the second time. :)

    -Alan

  9. 9-12-2012

    “What do you think?”

    If you’re good at Bible trivia…you might be a red stiff neck?