I was recently re-reading my article Faith and Gaming: Christian Games (I often re-read my old material, and sometimes it gets me thinking afresh about issues previously addressed, so I write new ones like this one, usually posted over at the mark Joseph “young” web log). I think every time I read that article, which explains why I am not a big fan of “Christian” games, I remember something I created decades back in college which I called a “game” and which I “played” with a number of my more intelligent and/or educated Christian friends. I always think of writing it up to pass on to you, and I always nix the idea because some would say it’s not a game—but I think we had something like fun, certainly enjoyment, from playing it, or whatever we were doing. So here it is. I never named it. I suppose you could call it M. J. Young’s Bible Verse Game, if you need a name for it, or just The Bible Verse Game if you think it arrogant of me to put my name in it. (I only put my name in it because I’m sure there are scores, if not thousands, of other Bible verse games out there, but this is the only one I’ve played.)
As I noted in that article, I am not generally a fan of Christian games, for several reasons. I think this game, though, avoids most of the problems I’ve had with such games, and is particularly valuable for Christians to play with each other.
M. J. Young’s Bible Verse Game
An Intellectual and Edifying Exercise for Two Players
Object of the Game:
The purpose of the game is for the players to edify each other by each providing insights into scriptures with which the other is familiar.
The game requires two players who are reasonably familiar with the Bible, each of whom has memorized at least a few verses and knows where to find them in the Bible.
An available Bible facilitates play, and can be used to confirm verses and verse addresses and/or to handicap a player who is not able to quote any verses verbatim from memory, but is not otherwise necessary.
Start of Play:
The players agree between themselves who will serve first, and that player opens with his first volley.
Play of the Game:
The player serving recalls and recites from memory one verse from the Bible, complete with the “address”, that is, the name of the book and the chapter and verse numbers. The other player may ask him to repeat it, and if there is some question regarding either the wording of the verse or the specific location, this may be checked by the serving player with the permission or request of the returning player.
Once the wording and the address of the verse have been determined, the returning player is required to expound on the verse in some way. What direction he takes is entirely within his purview. Examples of possible types of responses include but are not limited to:
- A brief exegetical examination of the verse in its entirety;
- An examination of any one word or phrase within the verse, and what it means;
- How the verse fits into the overall purpose or message of the chapter or book in which it is found;
- What the verse adds to the returning player’s understanding of a specific Christian doctrine, or how it counters a specific error or heresy;
- The correction of a common misunderstanding of the verse;
- The player’s personal feelings or experiences that relate to the verse;
- Anything else which the returning player believes is reasonably related to the verse.
During this portion of play, the returning player should not use any resources he cannot cite from memory, although he is permitted to cite thoughts of others which he remembers, and if he wishes to memorize the verse at that time he should be permitted to find it in a Bible which is the translation of his choice.
This exposition should run about three to eight minutes.
When the returning player has finished his discourse, the serving player is permitted to question him, strictly within the limits of what the returning player said; if the serving player does so, the returning player is permitted to answer, and to question in response, which the serving player is permitted to answer as well. This volley continues until either player does not ask another question.
The serve then passes to the other player, and the process repeats with the former returning player serving, and the former serving player returning.
Play continues until the players have run out of time to play the game or choose to do something else.
Scoring and Winning the Game:
No score is kept.
Everyone who has benefited from the exchange of ideas and information has won the game.
Anyone who does not see how he might have benefited from this has not lost, as it may be that he has benefited in ways of which he is not aware.
So that’s my Christian game. I hope you enjoy it, and that you benefit from it.