Bible Quizzing Study Methods and Suggestions
As Quizzers, you have to memorize the Bible. Sounds easy, right? Not all the time. It can be hard to find the time to memorize and review verses and whole chapters of the book you’re studying. It can be hard to find ways to review it. Memorizing and reviewing can also become a dull chore without study methods that will help switch things up and keep the verses new, fresh, and interesting. These study methods, suggestions, and tips are tried and true by Bible Quizzers all over North America. They will help the verses stick in your head better and longer. These suggestions will be useful as you complete your quizzing studying schedule. Of course, there will be varying degrees of success, so find the methods that work best for you. Some may work for you just as they are written below; others may have to be adjusted or used as a springboard to other ideas. These tips are listed in order, but it might not be the necessary order you find works the best for you. Also, these study suggestions are given with the realization that they are just tools to understanding. Understanding the Word is the key to spiritual growth which is one of CBQ’s primary goals and motives.
1. Find the best time for study. There is a time, whether it is in the morning, afternoon, or evening, when you’ll find it easiest to study. Some quizzers only have time in the evening for quizzing. Others do it in the morning, when their brain is still working. Some do it right before bed. If you’re quizzing in the afternoon, and it’s just not working out, switch up your time.
2. Use spare time for study. This cannot be stressed enough. Quizbooks are just the right size to put in your pocket or purse. There are so many times in a day when you have a free 3-10 minutes not doing anything: on the bus, driving, waiting for someone, in the dentist’s office, etc. Bring your quiz book wherever you go and use it often!
Another tip is to write the memory verses on 3 x 5 cards. You can study them as well while waiting, driving, etc. Redeem your time. MP3 and iPod versions of the Scripture portions are also available. You can listen to it right before bed, while raking outside, walking downtown, etc.
3. Follow a schedule. Consistent, systematic study is one of the keys for a successful Bible Quizzer. A definite number of verses/chapters should be studied every week, plus reviewing the previous week’s material. Use CBQ’s Weekly Study Planning Schedule and Goal Setting Sheet as an example, or make your own schedule and goals sheet. Set realistic goals for each week. Space it out. One suggestion is to divide the material according to the number of days. For example, if there are six days in which the quizzer must know seventy-two verses, then he must learn twelve verses per day, plus review.
4. Review continually. Review, review, review. This cannot be stressed enough. Review is actually more important than the actual memorizing. Some quizzers don’t even really “memorize” – they just “review” (or read) the material tons and tons of times until they know it. Develop a system of review that would have you reviewing 1-5 (or more) chapters each week. Some quizzers will review one chapter in detail, and others casually, and then the next week review a different chapter in detail, and then the other ones casually.
5. Seek to understand the material. This, of course, is one of the primary motives/aims for being a Quizzer – actually understanding God’s Word, and applying it in your daily life. Memorizing and reviewing isn’t the end goal – understanding it is. There are several ways to do this. One is by reading a more modern translation of the same section/chapter.
Studying the passage from a commentary, or working through a question and answer study book, probably won’t help in the development of your quizzing skills, but they will aid in the development of you as a teen and quizzer.
6. Read and restatement. Read, Read, and READ. This cannot be stressed enough. Although reading is very similar to review, there are some differences. Effective study involves transfer into the mind. It’s suggested that at the beginning of the year you sit down and read the entire quiz book in one sitting. This will give you an overall familiarity with the direction of the book so that as you begin a chapter-to-chapter study you’ll sense the overall message of the book. This is essential to a meaningful understanding of the material. The average teen can thoughtfully read most chapters in about five minutes. Each study week should begin by reading the new material through at least two or three times.When you have completed reading the new chapters, try to restate them in your own words. Try to hit the major points. Later in the week you may want to try and give a phrase or sentence or word about each verse. Notice the people-who is saying what to whom? What spiritual concepts are discussed in this chapter?
7. Increase the pace. Increase the pace of study after the initial study has been completed. It is suggested that the pace might be increased to include two chapters or more per week. This would include the chapters to be reviewed.
8. Marking your Quiz Book. Many quizzers find it helpful to use colour pencils, highlighters, markers, etc. to mark their quizbook. Some quizzers highlight the portions that they will/have memorized. Some quizzers colour each chapter a different colour. Some quizzers highlight sections: blue for the first 10 verses in chapter 1, pink for the next 10 verses in chapter 1, blue for the first 10 verses in chapter 2, pink for the next 10 verses in chapter 2, and etc. Other quizzers make up their own colour scheme or symbol keys that work for them. Other quizzers highlight all the people “blue”, all the places “green”, all the times “yellow”, all the numbers “orange”, and etc. And some quizzers highlight certain related or repeated ideas, words or phrases.
Just remember, it’s your quizbook, develop your own system of marking. Some quizzers don’t even mark their quizbook. When you open your quizbook, all the colours should mean something when you look at a page, and try not to make the finished page so cluttered with different colors that it is too blotchy to be helpful. Try to keep your marking basic and simple. If you don’t want to highlight or colour it, you can use pens and pencils, to underline or circle. A lot of quizzers find it helpful to mark their quizbooks, for these reasons: –you can easily recall a chapter by its colour (Matthew 13 is red, for example) –you can recall a reference or the verse better if you have an idea of where it is/what chapter it is by its colour –you can remember places, numbers, times, etc better because they are coloured –you don’t mix up chapters or verses as easily.
9. Use resources. As noted earlier, you can download the Bible on your phone/iPod/etc. There are MP3 files
available and cds. There are concordances, and Bible study workbooks. CBQ has many available resources and can easily be ordered for you.
10. Outline. There are a few possibilities here.
– Chapter thought: work on being able to give the general idea of each chapter. It may contain more than one thought, but try and reduce each chapter to one or two ideas. For example, the word “love” would describe 1 Corinthians chapter 13; “vine” might be used for John 15; and Acts 9 can be described by “Saul chosen.”
-Detailed outline: outline the chapter verse by verse. Break down each verse into as many points as possible. Try not to miss anything.
-General outline: write down the main divisions of each chapter by paragraph and fill it in loosely with sub-points; just enough to keep the chapter straight in your mind.
-People outline: write down all the individuals and groups of people in each chapter. Include the events, activities and sayings of each person. When new things are learned about these people in later chapters, add it to your sheet on that person. This could help greatly when doing a character study.
– Place outline: this is best done with a map. Trace Paul’s journeys from Acts or Christ’s journeys from the gospels.
-Parables outline: consider the lesson they taught and whether they were explained. What did they mean? To whom did Jesus teach the parable? What is it about?
-Miracles outline: list the miracles, mentioning what happened and all that was involved in these miracles.
-Word outlines: take key thoughts or key words and work your way through the book. Try to take one word or idea from the beginning, the middle and the end of each chapter.
-Who’s Who in ______________(name of book) outline: While reading the quiz book of that season, as you come across a person, write their name, place of birth, relatives, activities, jobs, what happened to them, etc. on a single sheet of paper. New information is added as it is learned. Not all the information listed above can be found for each person, but write in what you can.
-Other outline possibilities: outline events, objects, numbers, days (what happened on various days, when day changes occurred), lists, measurements, situations, etc.
11. Charts. Just about anything that can be outlined can be charted. Look over the outline list: what would you like to work on? Some teams keep a growing chart on the wall in their quiz room. The coach could keep the chart up-to-date as new material is covered, or various quizzers could be responsible for adding the new material each week. Some teams discovered that the miracles of Jesus make a very effective chart. Each miracle was written on one page of two columns at the top. The right hand column had an illustration of the miracle clipped from old Sunday school papers. The left hand column had the portion of Scripture containing the miracle. Underneath both columns were the questions: (1)Who performed the miracle? (2)On whom was the miracle performed? (3)Where was it performed? (4)When was it performed? (5)Why was it performed? (6)What happened? As each page was completed, it was added to a loose leaf notebook. The book can be used again for the next quiz team 8 years later, or can be part of the church library, or in their resource centre, or given to a homeschooling family to use, etc. This idea could be used with many themes, use your imagination. In addition to producing a useful book, this project is also a valuable learning experience.
12. Make lists. If you are not comfortable outlining or charting, you may want to make lists of the more important things, such as important people, places, things, journeys, parables, miracles, repeated words, phrases, etc.
13. Write questions. This is an excellent means of finding out the what, why, when, where and how of any verse. When writing questions, use 3 x 5 cards. Write the question on one side and the answer and reference on the other. You can use these to drill yourself or have your parents or friends drill you. Some quizzers record their questions and answers on a cd.
14. Other memorization tips: Memory of an individual verse comes from familiarity with the entire quiz material. This means you should not attempt to memorize until you are familiar with all the quiz material being studied during any given period. For example, if the material assigned is a section of two chapters to be studied during a two-week period, your memory work should be done during the second week. During the first week you would notice the key verses and phrases as you worked through all the material. The second week you would devote a part of your total study time to the memorization of these key passages. Having made your selection of the portions to be memorized, another tip is to sit down and type (or print) these on 3×5 cards. Remember to write the reference on the card, too. Skip a couple of lines and write the rest of the verse. When you have all the cards complete, read through all of them several times, mixing them up to change the order. Then work on each verse individually. Read the verse several times and then say it in your mind a couple of times. Carry the cards around with you and work on them at odd hours during the day – on the school bus, at school, during lunch break, during TV commercials, walking somewhere, waiting for someone, etc. As you review these over several days, you should be able to progress to the point of being able to finish the verse in your head after seeing the first one-five words. Keep in mind the need for continuous review. Some quizzers have found out and have been surprised that they can memorize the entire book – and eventually this is what happens with some quizzers.