NEW WHITELAND — “What ruler—“

Buzz.

“Which two—“

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Buzz.

“What Hebrew word—“

Buzz.

“According to—”

Buzz.

Those reading questions often don’t have to say much.

In the staccato, fast-paced rhythm of a Junior Bible Quiz round, trained competitors don’t know only the answers. Often they know the words of the questions, too.

Take the “According to…” question. Logan Orth knew there was only one question of the 576 in the competition packet that began that way, one about Hebrews 11:6. Time to buzz in.

“I was thinking in my head, ‘That’s a dead giveaway,’” he said.

Logan’s group was one of eight local teams competing March 18 in the Indiana District Finals at Grace Assembly of God in New Whiteland. They represented three area churches.

Logan teamed with twin brother Mark and brothers Alex Peter and Devon Peter on the squad Transformed Twins and Believing Brothers. They’re part of the quizzing program at New Life Christian Fellowship in Fortville.

They finished second in the older division, Searcher — one slot shy of an automatic berth at the national competition in June, but good enough to qualify for the Great Lakes Regional in May at Bowling Green, Ohio. There they hope to still punch their ticket for the National Junior Bible Quiz Festival, which takes place June 8 to 10 in Cedar Hill, Texas.

The Orths made the trip to nationals last year with teammate Hans Holzhausen. Holzhausen was a sixth-grader last year and so aged out of the program; like some other past quizzers, he returned to help officiate. This year is the last for the Orths to compete.

For teams not advancing, the March 18 event was the culmination of a competition season that began in October. For months quizzers have studied the 576 questions that are the basis of this year’s competition.

In his fourth year of quizzing, Mark Orth has learned some strategies along the way for learning the material. “I made a few songs for myself” to learn some of the Bible verse quotation questions, he said.

Quizzers compete as three- to four-member teams. In each 20-question round, two teams sit at tables across from a Quiz Master who reads the questions. A buzzer rests on the table in front of each competitor; as in some television game shows, those who buzz first get to answer the question. If they interrupt the question, they must also quote the rest of the question before answering it.

Other volunteers help the Quiz Master officiate by keeping track of timing and scoring, as well as weighing in on whether an oh-so-close answer makes the grade and should receive points. Once an individual competitor answers six questions correctly, he or she has “quizzed out” of the round and must take a seat in the audience, so teams must have a little depth to succeed in the round.

With sharp teams, quizzers can whip through a round in about 10 minutes.

The Orths’ and Peters’ foursome was one of 20 teams competing March 18. Half were in their age division, Searcher. Younger teams compete in the Discover division; competitors on those teams are as young as 6.

New Life sent four teams, two in each age division.

Realife Church in Greenfield sent a Searcher team. Church52 west of New Palestine sent three teams — one Searcher squad and two Discover teams.

Quizzers can also earn individual awards by answering all 576 Junior Bible Quiz questions within 2½ hours and by quoting all 108 Bible memory verses from memory in one sitting with no prompts.

But the Rev. Barry Jorris of Fort Wayne, national JBQ Festival chairman, reminded the March 18 competitors that the value of their learning lies not so much in earning trophies or medals for what they can recite but in taking to heart the messages of the verses they have studied and letting those guide their lives.

The twins’ father, John Orth, echoed that sentiment. Having participated in a similar Bible competition format in his youth, he has four children competing now.

“There’s fellowship. The boys have made a lot of friends,” he said. “There’s value in retaining the scriptures they’ve learned for competition.

“Even outside of the competition itself, there’s benefits.”

Quiz yourself

Here are a few questions from the Junior Bible Quiz; how many can you answer?

1. Who was the first king of Israel?

2. What was Luke’s occupation?

3. Who were the first four disciples Jesus called?

4. What language is most of the Old Testament written in?

5. Which 12 Old Testament books were written by minor prophets?

ANSWERS

1. Saul

2. physician

3. Peter, Andrew, James and John

4. Hebrew

5. Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Also competing

A Bible Quizzing team from Warrington Church of the Nazarene will compete April 22 at Avon Parkside Church of the Nazarene in the district event for that organization.

Author photo
Anne Smith is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at annesmith@greenfieldreporter.com