Using games is a great way to help information stick with your students. That’s probably why so many Sunday school teachers, youth pastors, and other people who work with kids and teens use Bible drills. In addition to helping people to become more adept at finding passages in their Bibles, they can also generate some excitement in a particular class or gathering. Here in Cambodia, we use a variety of games and activities with all ages (even the adults) to keep people involved, learning, and smiling.
But one of the problems with games is that if they are overused, people will lose interest. If you have quit using Bible drills because they seem too old and stale, here are three fresh versions which may liven up your next class, youth meeting, or even family devotions.
1. Grab-the-Object Bible Drills
The basic idea: The first person to find the verse, identify the object in the verse, and grab the object from a table in front of the room wins the round.
The details: Find verses which have easily obtained objects in them. (For example: a cross, a stuffed animal sheep, a key, a candle, a Bible, bread, etc.) When you call out the verse to the class, instead of standing and reading the verse, they have to look for what object is mentioned in the verse, and then run up to the front of the class and grab the right object. The first person to grab the correct object wins that round and obtains a point for their team. In order to keep the students guessing, put many items out on the table which are not found in any of the verses.
2. Elimination Bible Drills
The basic idea: When a player wins a round, they get to eliminate a player of their choice from the other team, until one team is out of players.
The details: This version of Bible drills needs an equal number of players on each team. If your have a large class, it is best to only play with a few selected players so the game doesn’t go too long. We always have people who are new and don’t really want to play, but they enjoy cheering on their side or their team.
Ask each side for volunteers to represent their team. We usually use 4 players per team, and it takes about 5 minutes to play. If you have the space, it is fun to have the players from each team sit in the front and face the audience. If you don’t have the room for that, just leave them in their seats. Proceed to call out the Bible drills in the traditional way, but each time a player wins a verse, they get to select a player of the opposite team to eliminate from the game. This goes on until one team has lost all of their players.
This is a very dramatic and intense way of doing Bible drills, because the players who are known for being really quick know that if they lose just one round, they are likely to be eliminated. It is truly a “win-or-go-home” situation!
There is one variation of this game which allows for a potential comeback. When a team is down to their last player, that player has the option to either continue playing himself, or he may select a previously eliminated player from his team to replace him. This has helped the games to stay competitive longer and has cut down on the number of “massacres”!
3. Add-It-Up Bible Drills
The basic idea: Players have to look up a series of verses which are written on the board, add up the numbers found in the verses, and then write the total number on the whiteboard.
The details: First, find verses with numbers in them. Verses which have more than one number in them will not work. After you have found verses with only one number in each, then group the verses into groupings of 4 or 5 verses each. You must add up the numbers found in those 4 or 5 verses so that you will know the correct totals. All of this must be done ahead of time.
Write the verses on a white board or poster board. You can’t just call out the verses like normal Bible drills, or the players won’t be able to remember them. You also can’t write them all on one big board, because they need to remain hidden until each round begins. Use small, hand-held white boards or just write each list on a separate piece of poster board.
Have a white board at the front of the room with 2 or 3 markers ready for players to write their answers. When you are ready to go, simply flip around the poster board which has the list of verses for the first round and listen to the pages start shuffling! It will take them a couple of minutes, but suddenly someone will pop out of their seat, run up and write a number. If the number is right, they win the round. If it is not right, just say “no” and all the players will keep on playing.
You should have at least two markers so that one person doesn’t hold onto the marker while their friend is “rechecking” a verse for them. You will see people pair up a lot in this version of Bible drills. I let them do it, because it gives a chance for new people who can’t find the verses very fast to still participate by helping write down numbers for a friend. Another reason I don’t mind this is that having multiple people involved formulating an answer often leads to a wrong answer, and wrong answers add to the excitement of the game!