Young Christians recently competed for college scholarship money through the annual Bible Bowl, a quick recall program started in 1963 in which students showcase scripture knowledge. TLC aired the fast-paced, 2-hour national Bible Bowl Monday. Twenty religious U.S. universities were represented among the scholarship awards.
One of the national contestants told People magazine competing becomes a way of life. "It added extra intensity. You know the cameras are watching so you have to do better," said Hannah Hardman, who is the daughter of a former Bible Bowl champ and a high school senior when the bowl originally was taped during the summer of 2015.
Each bowl season, a book or books of the Bible are selected. A team competes against another team over a selected segment of the text in a 14-minute game; the team with the most points at the end of the game wins, according to the competition's website.
The quizmaster reads questions (referred to as "toss-ups") to the players. The first player buzz in and answer correctly gets a series of "bonus" questions for that player's team to answer together. This pattern of toss-up followed by bonus is repeated throughout the game. A toss-up is comprised of a lead-in sentence to help the players anticipate the Bible verse from which the question will come, followed by the question itself. This format of lead-in followed by question allows students to be challenged in a fun and unique way to recall the verses they have learned. Most bonus questions will require a word or phrase answer, while more challenging bonuses may require a perfectly quoted "memory verse" from the text.
Students in third through fifth grade participate in Beginner Bible Bowl, while students in sixth through 12th grade participate in Teen Bible Bowl. Study texts, flash cards, computer software and buzzer boards can be purchased from the Bible Bowl store.
Regions of the United States typically represented in this competition include these states: central Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Colorado, Michigan and Missouri.
The 2016 National Bible Bowl Tournament is scheduled to be held July 11-14 in Anaheim, Calif. Registrations start Jan. 10. That national tournament will consist of four competition events: individual written achievement test; double-elimination tournament (after 64 teams, a waiting list will be formed); quote bee; and individual tournament exhibition.
Plans are under way to host the first-ever college Bible Bowl tournament at Hope International University.