The Junior Bible Quiz (JBQ) is a quizzing competition among teams with predetermined list of questions and answers referencing different parts of the Bible. There is X-League level for younger quizzers, the Novice Level (1st to 6th graders) for first time quizzers, and Experienced Level (1st to 6th grades) that had quizzed previously.
The predetermined list of questions has 10-point questions which asks mostly about basic Bible facts and Christian faith. There are 20-point questions asks about more in-depth Bible facts, and Christian faith (particularly that of the Assemblies of God Statement of Faith). There is 30-point question which requires longer answers and more difficult Bible facts that is not usually studied.
The questions are not easy. Quizzers really need to study and memorize both the questions and the answers. What makes it more challenging is that quizzers are allowed to interrupt the question, and once interrupted, they need to complete the question and say the correct answer. So kids could not second-guess a question based on keywords. They really have to memorize. On top of that, there are called Quotation Questions, wherein the quizzer would need to give the exact Bible reference and exact verse (no words repeated or omitted) to get the points for that question. Did I mention they get half-point minus (e.g., 5 points for 10-point question, 10 points for 20-point question, etc) on wrong answers?
The quizzers not only need to memorize those questions but also understand the essence of those questions. Studying and memorizing is the just the first step. The more challenging part is buzzing! A quizzer (and did I mention they are kids), need to have the courage to press that buzzer and answer correctly! It is easier said than done. I’ve watched it myself and even when a quizzer knows all the answers to the question but did not buzz first, the points will not be given. So there is a courage to press that buzzer and the further courage (or I should I say risk) to press that buzzer first ahead of other quizzers.
One feature that I like is that there is a Quiz-Out! If one quizzer answers 6 questions correctly, they get quiz-out, and a substitute may come in to allow more scores for the team. So a team should really work together to win a match. There is also a quiz-out-backwards. If a quizzer gets 3 wrong questions, he would get quiz-out-backwards and a substitute may come in. So no blaming, and no superstar. Not one person in the team could solely win or lose the match. It should be the entire team working together.
Getting my Kids to JBQ
When I was told about them joining JBQ, I said yes right away! Without us knowing what we are getting ourselves into, haha. I was very naive that I thought they would just need to come in every Wednesday to church to practice. Then sample questions started coming in. There is hundreds of questions! That’s not even the most challenging part. Aside from teaching my quizzers about the question, I should also encourage them to interrupt the question, and press that buzzer! Easier said than done.
A Kid Who Can’t Focus
I have a daughter who can’t focus. She has a lot of ideas coming into her mind, and she would start entertaining those while she is on a task. So that a quizzing activity definitely doesn’t suit her! So five days before the kick off match, I almost bailed her out. I talked to her and she says it is too much to study. I agreed instantly! So that I contacted her coach and told her that my daughter skips the coming match. The coach did not allow her to miss this match. The coach encourage us to have her sit on the match, just so she would have a feel on how it would be. I’m glad the coach said that. Because then I would have cause my daughter injustice. She came out of the matches okay. She was able to buzz and answer.
For someone who has a lot of things going on (having switched her from homeschooling to regular schooling she is also catching up with her math, and spelling), and has focusing problems, I thought being able to hit the buzzer on that match is already a milestone for her.
We started reading more of the Bible. Started with genealogy. We draw major events that happened from the creation up to Samson’s story. Which give her a little more sense of the questions. It gave her perspective on where things happened, who is involved (e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Joseph), and where it is applicable (e.g., world, Egypt, Jericho, Canaan).
After she got hold of the genealogy, and memorize the questions and answers, we started practicing more and addressed her focus. I give her a so-called JBQ drill everyday for good 15 minutes without interruption. I ask questions and she should try to interrupt and answer continuously for 15 minutes. Off course, during that 15 minute period something will come to her mind but I resist entertaining it. So she knew she really has to focus on my questions.
I would also need to give her an individual goal and challenges her to get a quiz-out! Because then she would not be satisfied buzzing with one question, and then lose her focus but also keep trying until she gets 6 questions correct. There are only 20 questions per match so that she should really have to focus to get those 6 questions right.
JBQ and Character Building
The JBQ is a very good learning activity for the kids. Yes it spurs competition but it also allows kids to compete on a safe environment. Not only that they learn a whole lot of wisdom about the Bible and Christian faith (which they could use later to minister to others), but also equips them with a whole lot of character development when they grow up. I don’t want to see my daughter growing up, and making an excuses that she is not able to focus so that she is not able to finish and conquer a bigger project or longer activity. I know she could (I have homeschooled her and I know her capabilities), and I would like to train her to conquer that at an early age. Once she did this, I knew it would give her the confidence to conquer other things that life may throw at her.
I’m blessed that my kid’s coach doesn’t emphasize a lot about winning the match but about kids getting the courage to buzz and answer the question. If they win, it is a blessing. If they don’t they have to do better on the next match. But it is no excuse for them to relax. They have to study hard and study harder. As 1 Corinthians 9:24 says “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” They have to give their 100%.
What Could Be Improved
Not sure if it exists already but admin should also start mixing kids from different churches in an area to compete as a team. Like maybe top 8 quizzers from Western District competing against top 8 quizzers of the Eastern District. It would I think promote friendship to kids and coaches. Because now kids do not see each other as competitors but team. It could also intermix kids from Western and Eastern districts and teams would be drawn during the day. So they would not know who they are teaming with until the day of the competition.
How about a special meet where families with grade school kids compete? I guess that would be awesome.