The official website for the Monroe Bible Quiz Team from Beacon Hill Evangelical Free Church.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

GETTING READY: Why is it good to take a break?

While the blog keeps on cranking, you've probably noticed the coaches have been encouraging you to take a break before starting into the material for Romans and James.  As a matter of fact, you may have noticed that we've not yet posted any information on the new books yet.

Why is it good to take a break?

In the Creation story, God spends six days creating and then rests of the Seventh.  He then enshrined the rest day in the Law as "The Sabbath".  Jesus agreed with setting aside a day of rest as the Sabbath, even as he criticized the Pharisees for elevating it above the needs of human beings.

Recent studies have backed up the human need for rest, repeatedly, especially for brain work.

Mental concentration is similar to a muscle, says John P. Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management. It becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover, he explains — much as a weight lifter needs rest before doing a second round of repetitions at the gym.
Don't underestimate the need for rest as we look towards another year of Bible Quizzing.  Preparation is good.  Learning is good.  But September is still a long way away.

Monday, May 27, 2013

DID YOU KNOW: What is Memorial Day all about?

"DID YOU KNOW?" will be a summer series where we review issues of the Bible and the Christian faith of special interest. If you have a suggestion/question that you'd like addressed in a "DID YOU KNOW?" segment, please e-mail the coaches.

What is Memorial Day all about?

These days, most people think of Memorial Day are one of three things:  (1) the first Summer day off of work, (2) the beginning of "Beach Season", or (3) a day to shop the really good sales.  But Memorial Day was set up for something much more serious and somber.

Memorial Day was first declared by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic of the United States of America in 1868.  The Civil War had ended 3 years before, and he wanted to set aside time to lay flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  The war had cost over 620,000 soldier lives (and a total of over 1,030,000 lives - about 3% of the population).  It was important to take a moment to remember those who had laid down their lives for their country (on both sides).  New York was the first state to formally recognize Memorial Day in 1873, and all northern states had recognized it by 1890.  It wasn't until after World War 1 that the practice was picked up by all of the southern states.

In 1915, the poet Moina Michael came up with the idea of observing Memorial Day with a red poppy, symbolizing the blood shed by heroes, who were only remembered now by the flowers on their graves.Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. In 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts began placing a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights.  In 2000, Congress passed the "Moment of Remembrance" calling on all Americans to observe a moment of silence (and prayer) at 3:00 PM on Memorial Day to remember Americans who died fighting in our wars.

Take a moment today and pray about this.  Thank God for living in a land of religious freedom, and thank Him for those men and women who have died to protect that freedom.

Memorial Day

Sunday, May 26, 2013

HUMOR: Lying

Not mine.  From here.
A minister told his congregation, “Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17.”

The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17. Several went up. The minister smiled and said, “Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.”

Saturday, May 25, 2013

NEWS FROM THE FRONT: Bible Quizzer on a Missions Trip

"News from the Front" will be a periodic feature over the summer, reporting on former Bible Quizzers now working in ministry, either full-time or short-term.  We'll always try to include how their career as a quizzer prepared them for their work.  If you have a story about your missions trip, or a former Bible Quizzer, please e-mail the coaches!

Mari - also known as "Fishy" and "Quirky" was a Bible Quizzer with the Trumbull Quiz Team for many years and this summer is working with the organization "Mercy Ships" for a short-term missions trip.  Here is her report.
All staff on this ship are volunteer Christians with differing amounts of Bible knowledge.  But all are very honest and open about their faith. We, as a missionary team, represent 4 different countries: England, the Netherlands, Swizerland, and the United States of America. It is amazing to meet and talk with people from countries you only usually hear about in a very secular missionaries-need-to-go-there, sense. The discussions we have range from why we got to this point of wanting to help out on the Ship. . .  to what Jesus and the Bible means to us, specifically. 
There are about 31 different countries represented (again all Christians) in the whole staff aboard this ship. What is so amazing is the African Christians aboard - who are helping from different African countries -  praising God with you. 
Last night, I was having a conversation with a man from South Africa. We got into a discussion about the earth and all the creatures in it. I was so grateful for the knowledge and memory I had stowed away years ago from Quiz Team!  I was quoting scripture and talking to him about all that I knew of Science from not only my teachers, but also from the Bible. I remember thinking as I was talking about how this was a prime example of my years of memorizing for a tournament years ago is still benifiting my life today. Many other conversations with older more knowlegable people still make me proud because I can hold my own among them. All thanks to those years of studying and listening to my coaches. I could never have guessed how far reaching an impact Quiz Team would always have on my life and sometimes maybe most of the time I do not realize all of it, but when I actually catch myself quoting or arguing using long-lost scripture verses, it is a wonderful realization every time.   
This is truly a remarkable experience and I am looking forward to the weeks ahead, but I also encourage any other young quizzers to never just view the studying as a chore, but as a gateway into so many amazing realizations of yourselves. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

GETTING READY: Why are we switching to ESV?

Since the 1980's, EFCA Bible Quizzing has used the New International Version (NIV) for all of our competitions.  It was chosen because of the quality of its scholarship, its readability, and its accuracy.  As you probably have heard, EFCA Bible Quizzing is switching to the English Standard Version (ESV).  This raises the logical question:

Why are we switching from NIV to ESV?

In 2011, Biblicia - the organization that owns the rights to the NIV - released a new revision to the translation.  Their intention was to update the translation with the newest scholarship, and to reflect changes in the English language since 1984.  Their revisions were significant (see here for a full listing) and especially focussed on introducing gender-neutral language to many scriptures where the existing gender-interpretation could be seen to change the meaning of the text.  After much debate, many Evangelical churches, leaders, and denominations decided they could not endorse the 2011 version.  Biblicia, at the same time, forbid anyone to continue publishing the previous 1984 version.  So, Bible Quizzing needed to decide whether to move to the (controversial) NIV 2011 or consider moving to another translation.

At the same time, a new version - based on the venerable Revised Standard Version (RSV) was released in 2011, called the English Standard Version.  It was widely praised for the quality of its scholarship, its readability, and its accuracy.  (Sound familiar?)  And it was released with liberal electronic licensing (free versions online, free versions on eBooks, and free apps) that would be valuable for study and quizzing.

So, the leadership of EFCA Bible Quizzing decided it was time for a change and announced that we would be moving to the ESV for the 2013-2014 season when we'll be quizzing on the books of Romans and James.

So which translation is really "better"?

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament).  Anytime you see it in English, it is a translation and decisions must be made.  The best translations balance precision with readability, so that the meaning of the original language comes through without sounding like a foreign language.

The NIV 2011 takes a number of liberties with the text which are controversial.  But it does address some real problems with the original NIV, and is very natural and readable.

The ESV is much more precise, verging on a literal reading of the text.  But that means the language contains a larger vocabulary, sometimes is a bit wooden, and can be harder to read.

Should I be worried about the change?

NO.  The ESV is an excellent translation.  Your first day reading it, things may seem a bit strange.  But you will quickly get used to the language.  And the language is a bit more poetic, so you may even find it easier to memorize the FTVs!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Rescued Torah Scrolls

The Torah is the Old Testament scrolls used in Jewish worship services, often richly decorated to show the honor in which they are held.  These scrolls were rescued from a fire.  Click thru for more information.

David Gantman with Torah scrolls, St. Paul

Monday, May 20, 2013

DID YOU KNOW: What is "Pentecost"?

"DID YOU KNOW?" will be a summer series where we review issues of the Bible and the Christian faith of special interest. If you have a suggestion/question that you'd like addressed in a "DID YOU KNOW?" segment, please e-mail the coaches.

What is "Pentecost"?

You may or may not have noticed, but this past Sunday, May 19, is the traditional observation of the church holiday of Pentecost.  Unlike Christmas or Easter or even Palm Sunday, it is not often noted in Protestant churches (except Pentecostal ones) but it is an important day both for Ancient Israel and for the Church.

Pentecost is literally Greek for "the Fiftieth Day" on the Hebrew calendar and is set aside in scripture as a day to remember the giving of the law and thank God for His gift of the first fruits of the harvest.  It's called "The Feast of Weeks" or Shavuot.  (Exodus 34:22)

But Pentecost is also the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, visible as tongues of fire.  They spoke in other languages they did not previously know, and from that time on did miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-31).

There are many church traditions for Pentecost (none of which are scriptural, but they mark how various churches have regarded the holiday in times past). Many churches decorate themselves with the color red, in honor of the Holy Spirit.  Some do special teaching or scripture reading in foreign languages, to commemorate the speaking in tongues.  And many place a symbol of a dove prominently to remind Congregations to think of the Holy Spirit.  The time between Ascension Sunday and Pentecost is often also marked with Fasting and Praying together, marking the time that the disciples waited patiently for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

HUMOR: It's All How You Interpret It

Not mine.  From here.
A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: ‘Stop! Acts 2:38! 
(Acts 2:38 (ESV) says “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins.”)

The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: ‘Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.’

‘Scripture?’ replied the burglar. ‘She said she had an Ax and Two 38s!’

Saturday, May 18, 2013

BIBLE NEWS: International Bible Quiz for Youth Crowns Two Champions

Our style of Bible Quizzing is not the only one.  Recently, the "International Bible Quiz for Youth" in Israel - a competition focussed on the Old Testament for Jewish youth - crowned two champions, one of whom was the first non-Israeli to win the tournament!
Yishai Eisenberg, 15, from New Jersey and Elior Babian, 16, from Beit Shemesh were declared inseparable in the depth of their knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and crowned joint winners and recipients of the coveted prize, which includes scholarships for educational programs in Israel.
Competitors were narrowed down in earlier rounds from 58 to 16; they came from 26 countries and their ages ranged from 12 up through 18.
The International Bible Quiz for Youth for the Hebrew year 5773 was organized by the IDF chief education officer, the IDF Rabbinate, the Defense and Education ministries, the Jewish Agency and the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund.

It's exciting to see other teens learning the Word of God, no matter what their quizzing system.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

FLASHBACK: Matthew Bible Knowledge Test

If you were at Districts this year, you took the Bible Knowledge Test.  And we acquitted ourselves very well!  But have you been wondering how your friends or family might do with the material?  Well, here's your chance to find out.  You can down load a blank copy of the Test to print out HERE, and the answer key HERE.

Bible Knowledge Test Graphic

Monday, May 13, 2013

DID YOU KNOW: What is "Ascension Day"?

"DID YOU KNOW?" will be a summer series where we review issues of the Bible and the Christian faith of special interest. If you have a suggestion/question that you'd like addressed in a "DID YOU KNOW?" segment, please e-mail the coaches.

What is "Ascension Day" and why were some Christians celebrating on May 9?

The Bible is not generally very precise about the days on which things happened (with exceptions like Passover, Good Friday, and Easter.)  But the Church has chosen dates on which to remember the significant events of church history, even if they're not Biblical.  May 9th of this year was "Ascension Day" (or Analepsis by the Orthodox Churches) - the day to remember Jesus's ascension into heaven after his resurrection.
The Feast of the Ascension, also known as Ascension Thursday, Holy Thursday (only by some denominations; not to be confused with Thursday of Holy Week), or Ascension Day, commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven. It is one of the ecumenical feasts (i.e., universally celebrated) of Christian churches, ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost. In the Roman Catholic church it is also known as the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter (following the count given in Acts 1:3), although some Roman Catholic provinces have moved the observance to the following Sunday.
So why didn't our church have a "feast" on this day?  (I know some of you were feeling extra hungry!) Because many Protestant - and especially Evangelical - churches choose to only celebrate the major, Biblical, holidays.  We go back only to the Bible.

That being said, if you want to celebrate, some churches celebrate as late as June 3!  Traditionally, it is commemorated by an All-Night Vigil (i.e. stay up late praying and singing hymns) followed by Communion, then various traditional actions like marking the boundaries of a church's influence, and then finally with a meal.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

HUMOR: Don't Shove!

Not mine.  From here.
A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, "Dear Lord, please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't let me be late!"While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again. As she ran she once again began to pray, "Dear Lord, please don't let me be late...But please don't shove me either!"

Saturday, May 11, 2013

BIBLE NEWS: Man Copies the Entire Bible, By Hand, In 4 Years

One or two quizzers that I know do their studying by writing out the entire chapter by hand each week. But have you every wondered what it would take to copy the whole Bible, word by word?  It turns out, it takes about four years.
Patterson began copying the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch, in 2007. Work on this "prototype" allowed him to figure out technique, layout and technical details like the type of paper (19-by-13-inch watercolor) and writing instruments (felt-tip pens). He tackled the complete King James Bible in 2009.
Patterson works at a wooden desk by his bed, near neatly shelved pages of his completed volumes. Fingers on his left hand track the words on a small hardcover Bible while he methodically writes with his right hand. Patterson pencils in ruled lines on the sheets to guide his writing and erases them when he is done, leaving black ink on creamy white pages.

Friday, May 10, 2013


(Just in case someone doesn't get this one, click here.)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

GETTING READY: Free ESV Apps for iPhone & Android

We've discussed a few times that EFCA Bible Quizzing is switching to the English Standard Version (ESV) for the 2013-2014 season.  (If you need background on why, e-mail the coaches or ask us on Sunday sometime.) Last week, we talked about getting a free copy for Kindle.  But that's not your only option!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Illuminated Bible

In the day before the printing press, monks copied the Bible by hand.  In doing so, they added flourishes and illustrations that made these books into true works of art.  We called these "Illuminated Bibles."Bible

Monday, May 6, 2013

DID YOU KNOW: What happened the writer of the Gospel of Matthew?

"DID YOU KNOW?" will be a summer series where we review issues of the Bible and the Christian faith of special interest. If you have a suggestion/question that you'd like addressed in a "DID YOU KNOW?" segment, please e-mail the coaches.

We discussed that the apostle Matthew - the former tax collector - wrote the Gospel of Matthew.  What happened to him afterwards?

Scripture is silent on the fate of most of the apostles, and Matthew is no different. He is not mentioned in any of the epistles (letters) and the next time we see him after the Gospels is in Revelation, where John sees all 12 apostles standing with the 12 patriarchs around the Throne of God.

But there are traditions that have been handed down.  It is important to remember that traditions are not authoritative, and could be wrong.  But they can still be useful, if used cautiously.   Fox's Book of Martyrs reports this about Matthew:

He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, which was afterwards translated into Greek by James the Less. The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.
Ethiopia is a land in eastern Africa, while Parthia is a region now in north-eastern Iran.  A halberd is a spear with an axe-attached - given the regions Matthew was working when he would have died, it is more likely to have been a simple spear.

So Matthew, like most of the apostles, died a martyr for the Gospel of Christ.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

HUMOR: Evangelistic Barber

Not mine.  Found online.
There was a barber that thought that he should share his faith with his customers more than he had been doing lately. So the next morning when the sun came up and the barber got up out of bed he said, "Today I am going to witness to the first man that walks through my door."
      Soon after he opened his shop the first man came in and said, "I want a shave!" The barber said, "Sure, just sit in the seat and I'll be with you in a moment." The barber went in the back and prayed a quick desperate prayer saying, "God, the first customer came in and I'm going to witness to him. So give me the wisdom to know just the right thing to say to him. Amen."
      Then quickly the barber came out with his razor knife in one hand and a Bible in the other while saying "Good morning sir. I have a question for you... Are you ready to die?"

Saturday, May 4, 2013

BIBLE NEWS: 'The Bible' Coming to Theaters

The television series 'The Bible' was a smash hit on television, beating out all competitors in the ratings.   Now, the producers are working on turning it into a 3-hour theatrical movie focussing on the life of the Jesus that will show in the cinemas in the Fall.
"We're cutting a movie version right now, a three-hour version of Jesus and [we have] many, many offers from theaters globally," executive producer Mark Burnett told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday at NBCUniversal summer press day.  Burnett said the movie version will have a big focus on the Resurrection. He is eyeing a fall release.Burnett also shared that there is a distinct possibility that more stories will be told for The Bible, a passion project for he and wife Roma Downey.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

GETTING READY: Free Copy of the ESV for Kindle

We've discussed a few times that EFCA Bible Quizzing is switching to the English Standard Version (ESV) for the 2013-2014 season.  (If you need background on why, e-mail the coaches or ask us on Sunday sometime.)  We've been using the New International Version (NIV) for so long, it is possible you don't have a copy in your house.  If you want a free copy, consider getting the  FREE Kindle version which can be read via a Kindle reader device, their online readeriOS reader app for iPhone/iPad/iPod, or Android reader app.

("Getting Ready" will be a weekly feature on preparing for next year.  So stop back for more tips on free ways to get access to the ESV.  And, yes, we will have scripture portions for 2013-2014.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Bible covers can often be art in their own right.  This engraved brass cover is one example.

Bible Brass