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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Monument to a Bible Translator

A plaque commemorating Francisak Skaryna who translated the Bible into Belarusan language.

Plaque commemorating Francisak Skaryna of Polacak

Monday, July 29, 2013

DID YOU KNOW: *More* Biblical Stats

"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 are some MORE interesting statistics about the Bible?

People seemed to enjoy the first list of interesting stats about the Bible, so here's a follow-up with even more statistics for your ledger.
  • Number of books in the Bible: 66 
  • Chapters: 1,189 
  • Verses: 31,101 
  • Words: 783,137 
  • Letters: 3,566,480 
  • Number of promises given in the Bible: 1,260 
  • Commands: 6,468 
  • Predictions: over 8,000 
  • Fulfilled prophecy: 3,268 verses
  • Number of times the word "God" appears: 3,358 
  • Number of times the word "Lord" appears: 7,736 
  • Number of languages the Bible has been translated into: over 1,200

Sunday, July 28, 2013

HUMOR: A professional

Not mine.  From here.
A woman was at work when she received a phone call that her daughter was very sick with a fever. She left her work and stopped by the pharmacy to get some medication. She got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys in the car.

She didn't know what to do, so she called home and told the baby sitter what had happened. The baby sitter told her that her the fever was getting worse. She said, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door."

The woman looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger that had been thrown down on the ground, possibly by someone else who at some time or other had locked their keys in their car. Then she looked at the hanger and said, "I don't know how to use this."

So she bowed her head and asked God to send her some help. Within five minutes an old rusty car pulled up, with a dirty, greasy, bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head. The woman thought, "This is what you sent to help me?" But, she was desperate, so she was also very thankful.

The man got out of his car and asked her if he could help. She said, "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I stopped to get her some medication and I locked my keys in my car. I must get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said, "Sure". He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "Thank You So Much! You are a very nice man."

The man replied, "Lady, I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison today. I was in prison for car theft and have only been out for about an hour."

The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out loud, "Oh, Thank you God! You even sent me a Professional!"

Saturday, July 27, 2013

BIBLE NEWS: YouVersion Bible App reached 100 million downloads

The popular free Bible App YouVersion has reached a momentous milestone - 100 million downloads!  Originally imagined as a website, the team quickly revamped their plans when Apple opened their iTunes App Store 5 years ago.  It has been one of the most popular apps on the store from the very beginning, and has now been extended to Android, Windows, and more.
The app racked up 83,000 downloads in the first day, and YouVersion responded by pivoting to focus full-time on mobile apps. To date, YouVersion supports 500 versions of the Bible across 300 languages...Gruenewald also noted that Bible apps have “fundamentally changed the social aspect” of reading the book. YouVersion sees roughly 200,000 shares per day, across a range of services, including Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

GETTING READY: What is the layout to Romans?

The first book we'll be studying for the 2013-2014 season will be the epistle to the Romans.  The next few weeks of the "Getting Ready" series, we will be considering the high-level questions about this book.  If you have additional questions, don't be shy about e-mailing the coaches!

How is the epistle to the Romans laid out?

Last year, we studied the Gospel of Matthew so the structure of the book wasn't a big deal.  It was a story where event followed event.  Essentially, it was a biography of Jesus (though it had a point of view and an intended message).

This year, we are studying an epistle.  It's a letter that Paul wrote to real people in Rome (and he probably had no idea it would one day be included into the Bible as scripture).  He is trying to teach the Romans about Christianity, and address specific questions and problems that they had.  We study chapter by chapter, but Paul intended it to one whole lesson and argument.

Here is an excellent outline from Bible.Org:

III. Outline
I. Introduction: The Revelation of Righteousness (1:1-17)
  • A. Salutation (1:1-7)
    B. Thanksgiving and Longing (1:8-15)
    • 1. Paul’s Prayer of Thanks for the Romans (1:8-10)
      2. Paul’s Desire to Visit the Romans (1:11-15)
  • C. The Theme of the Epistle (1:16-17)
II. Justification: The Imputation of Righteousness (1:18–5:11)
  • A. Condemnation: The Universal Need of Righteousness (1:18–3:20)
    • 1. The Guilt of the Gentiles (1:18-32)
      • a. The Basis of Gentile Guilt (1:18-23)
        b. The Results of Gentile Guilt (1:24-32)
    • 2. The Guilt of the Jews (2:1–3:8)
      • a. The Stubbornness of the Jews (2:1-16)
        b. The Hypocrisy of the Jews (2:17-29)
        c. The Privilege of the Jews (3:1-8)
    • 3. The Proof of Universal Guilt (3:9-20)
  • B. Salvation: The Universal Provision of Righteousness (3:21–5:11)
    • 1. Manifestation of the Universal Provision of Righteousness (3:21-26)
      2. Unification: The Universal God of Righteousness (3:27-31)
      3. Justification of Universal Justification: Proof from the Life of Abraham (4:1-25)
      • a. Abraham Justified by Faith, not Works (4:1-8)
        b. Abraham Justified by Faith, not Circumcision (4:9-12)
        c. Abraham’s Seed Justified by Faith, not Law (4:13-17)
        d. Abraham Justified by Faith in the Promise (4:18-25)
        • 1) Explanation of the Hope of Abraham (4:18-22)
          2) Application: Faith in Christ (4:23-25)
    • 4. Exultation because of the Certainty of Justification (5:1-11)
      • a. Present: Peace with God (5:1-5)
        b. Past: Powerlessness of Sinners (5:6-8)
        c. Future: Escape from God’s Wrath (5:9-11)
III. Sanctification: The Impartation of Righteousness (5:12–8:39)
  • A. The Reign of Grace Vs. the Reign of Sin (5:12-21)
    B. The Rationale for Sanctification (6:1-23)
    • 1. Union with Christ (6:1-14)
      • a. The Divine Reckoning (6:1-10)
        b. The Believer’s Reckoning (6:11)
        c. The Believer’s Responsibility (6:12-14)
    • 2. Enslavement to Righteousness (6:15-23)
  • C. The Inability of the Flesh and the Law to Sanctify (7:1-25)
    • 1. The Believer’s Relationship to the Law (7:1-6)
      2. The Law is Good but Sterile (7:7-13)
      3. The Flesh is Bad and Powerless (7:14-25)
  • D. The Power of the Spirit to Sanctify (8:1-17)
    • 1. Over Sin (8:1-8)
      2. Over Death (8:9-11)
      3. Over Slavery (8:12-17)
  • E. The Goal of Sanctification (8:18-39)
    • 1. Present Sufferings (8:18-27)
      2. Future Glory (8:28-30)
      3. Hymn of Assurance (8:31-39)
IV. Vindication of God’s Righteousness in His Relationship to Israel (9:1–11:36)
  • A. God’s Past Dealings with Israel (9:1-33)
    • 1. Preface: Paul’s Deep Sorrow because of Israel’s Great Privileges (9:1-5)
      2. The Grace of God’s Election (9:6-29)
      • a. Seen in Israel’s History (9:6-13)
        b. Seen in Principle (9:14-29)
    • 3. The Nation’s Rejection of the Messiah via Legalism (9:30-33)
  • B. God’s Present Dealings with Israel (10:1-21)
    • 1. Equality with the Gentiles (10:1-13)
      2. Obstinance of the Jews (10:14-21)
  • C. God’s Future Dealings with Israel (11:1-33)
    • 1. The Rejection is not Complete (11:1-10)
      2. The Rejection is not Final (11:11-32)
      • a. The Present “Grafting” of Gentiles (11:11-24)
        b. The Future Salvation of Israel (11:25-32)
    • 3. Doxology: In Praise of God’s Wisdom (11:33-36)
V. Application: God’s Righteousness at Work (12:1–15:13)
  • A. In the Assembly (12:1-21)
    • 1. The Consecrated Life (12:1-2)
      2. The Use of Spiritual Gifts (12:3-8)
      3. The Sincerity of Love (12:9-21)
  • B. In the State (13:1-14)
    • 1. In Relation to Authorities (13:1-7)
      2. In Relation to Neighbors (13:8-10)
      3. Because of our Eschatological Hope (13:11-14)
  • C. In Relation to Weak Believers (14:1–15:13)
    • 1. Judging and the Principle of Liberty (14:1-12)
      2. Stumbling Blocks and the Principle of Love (14:13-23)
      3. Selfishness and the Imitation of Christ (15:1-13)
VI. Conclusion: Paul’s Purpose, Plans and Praise in Connection with the Dissemination of Righteousness (15:14–16:27)

  • A. Paul’s Mission Explained (15:14-33)
    • 1. His Reason for Writing (15:14-16)
      2. His Work among the Gentiles (15:17-21)
      3. His Plan to Visit Rome (15:22-33)
  • B. Final Greetings (16:1-27)
    • 1. Greetings to Believers in Rome (16:1-16)
      2. Warnings about Divisive Brothers (16:17-20)
      3. Greetings from Believers with Paul (16:21-24)
      4. Final Benediction (16:25-27)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The pipes from the pipe organ from St. Peter's Church in Nottingham, England.

Choir division

Monday, July 22, 2013

DID YOU KNOW: Where was Jesus before the New Testament?

"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.

Where was Jesus before he was born in 1 B.C.?

The Bible is very clear about the identity of Jesus Christ:

  1. He is the Son of God
  2. He is God (part of the Trinity)
  3. He was involved in the creation of the world
So, if Jesus is God and God is eternal (always existing), then where was Jesus before the New Testament begins?  This is a question that has sent Christians from the earliest times searching the Old Testament.

First, nowhere in the Old Testament is there a character known as "Jesus" who is obviously the same person.  ("Jesus" is the same name as Joshua, but the Joshua we know from Moses time is NOT the son of God.)  This is one reason why the Jews of his own time were perplexed when he appeared.  Many had come claiming to be the Messiah, so until there was proof he was just one more potential charlatan.

Second, there is evidence that the Trinity has been there from the beginning.  In Genesis, God refers to Himself as "we" and "us" repeatedly during creation.  (Of course, this is not proof, merely evidence.  The story of Creation is poetry, which allows some linguistic freedom, and there are cases of human kings referring to themselves as "we" and "us", as well.)
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” - Genesis 1:26
Third, there is a character int he Old Testament who shows up again and again, who is always doing God's work, and who appears to have great power.  He is called "the Angel of the Lord" and is always associated with an appearance of God Himself.
...and there are many more appearances.  Did you notice a common theme in all of these cases?  The Angel of the Lord is a savior.  He speaks for God and he opposes Satan.  This is almost exactly the way Jesus presented himself in the New Testament.  

It is likely that this Angel of the Lord is in fact Jesus before his birth to Mary.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

HUMOR: Winner!

Not mine.  From here.
A Minister was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group had surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked "What are you doing with that dog?"

One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Of course, the reverend was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."

There was dead silence for about a minute.  Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

BIBLE NEWS: Book Examines the Bible's Influence on American Revolution

Our nation's history is deeply steeped in Biblical principles, but it still comes as a surprise to many modern scholars just how Biblically-literate the founders were.  In a new book, one author examines how the Founding Fathers - many of whom were not weekly churchgoers - studied the Bible and used it's principles in waging war during the Revolution.
“Part of this project involved combing through hundreds of sources throughout the American Revolutionary War era and before to determine exactly what the most popular biblical texts were,” Byrd said. “For example, the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt was huge for the American colonists. Many viewed King George as the ‘British pharaoh.’ In addition, some of the early patriots compared themselves to David in the first book of Samuel, where David successfully battled the Philistine giant named Goliath.”Also, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was one of the most important books written during that period. “Common Sense convinced so many people that they needed to cast off this king and declare their independence,” Byrd said. “It’s full of biblical references, yet Paine was neither a Christian nor a biblical scholar. Yet he knew that in order to convince the largest population possible, he must be knowledgeable about scripture.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

GETTING READY: To whom was Romans written?

The first book we'll be studying for the 2013-2014 season will be the epistle to the Romans.  The next few weeks of the "Getting Ready" series, we will be considering the high-level questions about this book.  If you have additional questions, don't be shy about e-mailing the coaches!

To whom was the epistle to the Romans written?

This again may seem like an obvious answer, given the title of the book, and the introduction from Paul in Romans 1:7:
To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:7
But what do we really know about the Roman church?  The book's content tells us a lot about them.

First, we know that Rome was a church that had started and thrived without having been planted by an apostle.  Paul, after his arrest in Acts 21, will eventually be sent to Rome as a prisoner and will bring the gospel to many people in the capital city.  But up until this time, they have had to make due with second-level teachers and leaders.  This explains why Romans sometimes reads like "Intro to Christianity", laying out the basics of the faith.  The Romans had never heard real doctrine before!

Second, we know that the Roman church contained both Jews and Gentiles (Gentiles - for those who may have forgotten - means "any non-Jew").  This created a good deal of tension in the church, because Jews observed the whole Mosaic law in addition to Christianity while Gentiles just wanted to follow the teachings of Jesus.  This pattern will be played out again and again in the early church, as Jewish Christians want to make Gentiles more Jewish, while Gentile Christians want to make Jews act more like Gentiles.  But this explains why Paul will spend a good deal of this book laying out the differences and similarities between Jew and Gentile.

Third, we know that Paul had high hopes for Rome.  If the capital of the Roman Empire were to become Christian, it greatly increased the possibility the gospel would eventually reach the whole Roman world.  At this time in history, the Empire reached from Spain in the East to India in the West, from Britain in the North to Africa in the South.  It was the greatest empire that had ever existed, and offered a chance to communicate the gospel in a common language to the whole known world.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: A Tomb like Jesus Was Laid In

Have you ever wondered what the tomb that Jesus was laid in on Good Friday looked like?  This isn't the same one, but gives you a good idea of how it may have looked.

Not Jesus' tomb, but a tomb none the less.

Monday, July 15, 2013

DID YOU KNOW: Some Biblical Stats

"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 are some interesting statistics about the Bible?

The Bible is a long book (or rather collection of books) and has been around for a long time, so scholars have had plenty of time to crunch the numbers.

  • About 50 Bibles are sold every minute.
  • There are 66 books in the Bible, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
  • The 66 books of the Bible is divided into 1,189 chapters consisting of 31,173 verses. 
  • The Old Testament has 929 chapters, the New Testament 260.
  • The longest line in the Bible is Esther 8:9 - 89 words, 425 letters. 
  • The longest word in the Bible is Maher-shalal-hash-baz: Isaiah 8:1.
  • The shortest verse in the NIV Bible is John 11:35: "Jesus wept."
  • The longest book chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119, the shortest is Psalm 117.
  • There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118 and 594 chapters after it. 
  • Psalm 118 verse 8 is in the center of the Bible: "It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man."
  • Obadiah, with 21 verses consisting of 602 words, is the shortest book in the Old Testament, and the third shortest in the Bible.
  • II John has the fewest number of verses of any book in the Bible - it is the shortest book in the Bible.
  • III John has the fewest number of words of any book in the Bible.
  • Job is the oldest book written in the Bible - it was written by an unknown Israelite around 1500 BC.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

HUMOR: Honoring the Departed

Not mine.  From here.
A pastor was walking through the church and spotted young Billy fixated on the back wall.
Pastor: “What are you looking at, Billy?”
Billy: “Pastor, why are there names on all these bricks?”
Pastor (solemnly): “Those are the names of people who have died in the service”
Billy: “Oh... Was that the 8:30 Service, or the 11:00 Service?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

BIBLE NEWS: Ancient alphabetical inscription discovered in Jerusalem

An ancient earthenware jar has been found in Jerusalem which contains the oldest alphabetical language inscription ever discovered in the region.  In general, there are two kinds of written language.  Alphabetical languages encode the sounds we make as letters - like the English alphabet.  Pictographic languages encode meaning into pictures which represent whole words - like Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Working near the Temple Mount, head archaeologist Eilat Mazar uncovered the 10th century B.C.E inscription, engraved on a large pithos, a necklace ceramic jar, along with six others at the Ophel excavation site.
The inscription is written in the Canaanite language, a Biblical people who lived in the present-day Israel, and is the only of its kind to be found in Israel. The artifact predates the previously oldest inscription found in the area by 250 years and predates the Biblical Israelites' rule.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

GETTING READY: When was Romans written?

The first book we'll be studying for the 2013-2014 season will be the epistle to the Romans.  The next few weeks of the "Getting Ready" series, we will be considering the high-level questions about this book.  If you have additional questions, don't be shy about e-mailing the coaches!

When was the epistle to the Romans written?

Knowing for sure that the apostle Paul wrote this letter is very helpful to figuring out when (and where!) it was written.  In Acts 20, we read about Paul's third missionary journey.  During this journey, he collected funds for the church in Jerusalem (which you may remember was undergoing severe persecution).  He mentions in Romans 15 that he has collected the money and the reason he can not go to Rome himself, is that he needs to deliver it.  This pinpoints the timeframe for the letter in 57 A.D. (A.D. - if you forgot - means anno domini or "the year of our Lord", i.e. after Jesus was born).

He mentions in Romans 16 that the letter will be delivered by a woman named Phoebe from Cenchrea. Cenhrea was a town near Corinth, so it is likely that Paul wrote this letter while ministering in Corinth (the same place that both 1 Cornithians and 2 Corinthians are written to).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


This last year, we talked quite a bit about the denarius - a coin worth about a day's wages. Did you ever wonder what one looked like? Very possibly like the photo below.

RI178 A Roman Gold Aureus of Tiberius (14 C.E. - 37 C.E.), a Fabulous Example of the "Tribute Penny"

Monday, July 8, 2013

DID YOU KNOW: Where did the word "Christian" come from?

"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.

Where did the word "Christian" come from?

Nowadays, Christ-followers all over the world are called "Christians".  It's so common that we don't even question the meaning of the word.  Our religion is "Christianity" and so we are called "Christians".

But it is not what early believers called themselves.  In Acts, we see the Apostles and earliest followers of Christ referring to their religion as "The Way" and themselves as "Followers of the Way."  In fact, the earliest uses of the term "Christian" are not by believers, but their opponents (Acts 11:26 & Acts 26:28).  And only in 1 Peter 4:16 - written between 60 and 100 A.D. when he was an old man - does a writer of scripture use the term in a positive light.

"Christian" literally means "little Christ".  It was intended as an insult.  But early believers, after initially disliking the term, decided to embrace it as their own.  After all, in the end, what we all want is to be "little Christs" - people striving to be like Jesus in our world, to show humanity the love of God.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

HUMOR: Oopsie!

Not mine.  From here.
A story was told of a man who had a debt and for a long time failed to settle it with his debtors. One day seated outside his house, he saw his debtors coming and very quickly he called his young son and told him if anybody asks about his whereabouts, he should answer that he has gone for a journey to see his people in another village. He then quickly decided to hide behind a large cabinet in the living room.

When the debtors arrived, they asked the young boy, “Son! Where is your father?” “He said he was going to another village to see his people.” the boy replied. Then debtors asked the boy “When is he coming back?”.

The young boy confused rushed towards the house and to the cabinet shouting, “Dad! When are you coming back?” 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Coach Mark

Happy birthday to Coach Mark. Thanks for your great teaching and all your do for us.

NEWS FROM THE FRONT: Former Bible Quizzer on Dancing Mission

"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!

Katherine Sarris - formerly known as the Trumbull Bible Quizzer "Kiwi" - will be on a missions trip this summer as part of two different organizations.  First, Project Dance...
Project Dance is a movement of dancers seeking to positively impact culture through artistic integrity. Our desire is to see every dancer nurtured to their fullest human potential for their own wellbeing and their contribution to the world. We offer training, education, and performance opportunities for dancers worldwide who desire to dance with integrity to inspire. 
And second, Operation Mobilization...
OM’s role in the body of Christ is to motivate, develop and equip people for world evangelization and to strengthen and help plant churches, especially among the unreached in the Middle East, Europe, South and Central Asia.
Katherine will be training dancers in evangelistic dance and doing choreography for them to be used in missions to England, Malta, France, and Italy!  Her Bible Quizzing experience gave her a strong grounding in the Word, and helps give her confidence as she "goes forth" to use her talents in this new way.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

237 years ago today, the Continental Congress declared independence from the British Empire and established a new nation dedicated to religious freedom.  Take a moment today to thank God for a country where we are free to worship God as we will, including Bible Quizzing!

Monday, July 1, 2013

GETTING READY: Who wrote Romans?

The first book we'll be studying for the 2013-2014 season will be the epistle to the Romans.  The next few weeks of the "Getting Ready" series, we will be considering the high-level questions about this book.  If you have additional questions, don't be shy about e-mailing the coaches!

Who wrote the epistle to the Romans?

(By the way, "epistle" means "letter".  It sounds fancy, but it's not.)

While there are doubts about who wrote many of the books of the Bible, Romans is not one of them.  As was common for letters in the day, the author puts his name in the very first line:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
Romans 1:1
All of the early church fathers (and mothers) were agreed on the authorship, as well.  It is the same Paul (also know as Saul) first mentioned in Acts 8:1 and converted to Christianity in Acts 9.  Paul is unique among the apostles, because he was the only one who didn't know Jesus before the Resurrection.  So, why was he approved as an apostle?  Because Jesus appeared to him directly on the road to Damascus!

Paul was the most prolific writer (in terms of numbers of books) in the New Testament.  He wrote 13 epistles/letters (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon).