Bible Bowl Rules

Up to four people may compete on a team at one time. If you have only one, two, or three youth, that’s OK. It seems to work best to have four people at the table at one time. If you have more than four youth, the others may be rotated in during the competition. You must alert the moderator when you wish to make a substitution. You may enter as many teams from an individual church, charge, cluster, or cooperative ministry as you want. For example, if you have seven or eight people who wish to participate, you may consider having two teams. If you have two or more teams at one age level, each person may only compete on one team. Participants do not have to be members of a United Methodist Church, but only Illinois Great Rivers Conference United Methodist churches are invited to sponsor a team.

ALL of the questions will be taken from the New International Version of The Bible (2011). Please be sure you use this version and check the date of publication. You can get free access to the 2011 NIV at There are differences in the wording in other versions and slight differences in different publication dates of the NIV.

In the competition, after a question is asked, the first individual to push his or her button, which turns on his or her light, will get to answer the question. He or she may not confer with other team members at this point. A correct answer is worth 20 points while an incorrect answer is 0 points. If the first team answers incorrectly, the other team will have five seconds to confer among themselves and give a team answer. If the second team answers correctly, they will receive 10 points.

On the final question in a match, the question must be read in its entirety before team members buzz in to answer. If the moderator believes a team has buzzed in too early, the moderator may throw out that question and substitute a new question.

If someone buzzes in before the moderator finishes reading the question, the moderator will stop and ask for an answer. If the player then quotes the remainder of the verse, which includes the answer but is much more than the answer, this will be ruled incorrect. Most answers are short phrases or one word. Many young people can quote a verse, but we want the question answered correctly.

About 1/3 of the questions are “Fill in the blank with one word.” ALL fill in the blank questions ask for ONE word. Only ONE word is acceptable. Some of the questions are short answer questions. If the verse says, “Jack and Jill went to the store,” and the question is “Name one person who went to the store,” the correct answers are “Jack,” or “Jill.” Not acceptable is “Jack and Jill” since the question asked for one name. Unacceptable because it includes incorrect information is “Jane.”

There will be NO True/False nor Yes/No questions. Also, no questions will be taken from footnotes. However, reference may be made in the question to another book of the Bible which is being quoted by someone (such as Jesus quoting from the prophet Isaiah) and the reference may be listed in a footnote. No questions will be asked which would require an answer from a footnote.

In multiple choice questions, you may interrupt the moderator at any point when you believe you have identified the correct answer. The most important part of the answer on multiple choice questions is the word or phrase, not the letter a, b, c, or d which identifies the correct answer.

Above all, everyone who participates in the Bible Bowl is a winner because they are learning Scripture. Please be sure to emphasize to your young people that this is a Christian event and everyone is expected to act with proper Christian behavior.

The winning team is the team who won the most matches in a round. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and etc. places will be decided by the Win/Loss/Tie record. This seems most fair with the luck of the draw on teams and questions. The Win/Loss/Tie record reflects how well your team played regardless of the level of your competition. If teams finish with identical records, the point totals will be compared to determine the order of finish. The number of questions in each match will be determined by the number of teams participating. The number of matches played also depends on the number of teams competing at each level. Depending on the number of teams participating it is possible that two teams may not compete against each other. If teams in the top two places have not competed in head-to-head competition and there is a tie between these teams in their Win/Loss/Tie record, a playoff round will be held between these teams to determine the order of finish.

All participants will receive a certificate and there is a traveling plaque for the winning team at each age level in the Conference Bible Bowls. Also, each team at each age level in the Conference Bible Bowls will receive a color award certificate for your team which you may keep for your church.