Rule Book for Christian Bible Quizzing (CBQ)

Bible Quizzing is a Christian sport in which teams of participants called quizzers compete on Scriptural recitation in matches called quizzes. Quizzing tournaments called meets consist of a set of quizzes. Quizzing seasons consist of a set of meets. Christian Bible Quizzing (CBQ) is the organization that oversees and supports local and regional Quizzing operations internationally with the mission to encourage the most people to memorize the most verses of Scripture. This is the official rule book for CBQ competitions.

1. Materials

In addition to this rule book, Quizzing uses material, which is a library that contains all the content quizzers study and compete on for a quiz along with a thesaurus for evaluating synonyms.

1.1. Reference Ranges, Weights, and Translations

A quiz’s material contains, in part, Scripture references and associated verse content from a set of Bible translations. Translations must be word-for-word or thought-for-thought translations; paraphrased publications are not translations. Any verse that does not exist as standard, non-footnote content across all included translations is excluded from the material.

Materials may separate the Scripture references and associated verse content into multiple sets, each with a reference range. For example, “Romans 1-4; James” is a single reference range. These reference ranges may have different weights, noted as positive integers, representing the probability of verse content selection from each range in quizzes. For example, “Romans 1-4; James (1) Romans 5-8 (1)” contains 2 ranges, each with a 50% probability of selection. Including all ranges, weights, and translations results in a complete material description. For example, “Romans 1-4; James (1) Romans 5-8 (1) ESV NASB NIV” is a material description.

1.2. Words and Thesaurus

Each verse contains words, which are uninterrupted sequences of alphanumeric characters and connector punctuation of a single hyphen, en dash, or possessive apostrophe. Numbers containing commas and colons, such as “1,234” and “3:00”, are single words. With regard to deduplication of words from material, words are case-insensitive, with homonyms and homographs merged, but with homophones not merged.

A quiz’s material also contains a thesaurus with an entry for each word deduplicated across the whole of the verse content. Most entries contain meanings, but some entries, such as most proper names, may not include any meanings. Meanings consist of a description, word type, and list of synonyms, with each synonym given a verity level between 1 and 3, with 1 being the most accurate. For example, the word “about” has several meanings, 1 of which consists of the description “in an opposite direction” and the word type “adverb”. A synonym thereof with a verity of 1 is “around”, and a synonym with a verity of 3 is “back”.

2. Quizzes

A quiz is a single match between a set of teams, typically though not always 3. Each team consists of between 1 to 3 quizzers. Each quiz contains a set of queries. A query contains a prompt and ideal reply, both of which are derived from the material. Each quiz is governed by a quiz magistrate (QM) who is ultimately responsible for the fair and timely conduct of the quiz. The QM may choose to delegate a portion of their responsibilities to other officials.

Quizzers sits in a row of chairs facing the audience and officials table. An officials table occupies space between the quizzers and the audience. The officials sits at the officials table facing the quizzers.

Teams may but are not required to designate a coach for each quiz. Designated coaches sit in the front row of the audience.

2.1. Query Process

For each query in the quiz, the QM follows the following process.

2.1.1. Announcement

Each query begins with the QM announcement. The QM announces the query’s identifier, the teams eligible to trigger an indication of their desire to respond to the query, the query’s base subtype, and the translation from which the query originates. Then once the QM is satisfied the teams and the means of trigger indication are ready, the QM says, “Ready. Begin.” For example: “Query 2A for all 3 teams is a phrase from the NASB. Ready. Begin.”

2.1.2. Prompt Reading

The QM then reads the query’s prompt. Quizzers may trigger an indication of their desire to respond at any point after the QM says, “Ready. Begin.” The QM immediately stops reading the query upon trigger indication.

Should there be no trigger indication by the end of the QM reading the prompt, the QM pauses for 7 seconds. After this pause, the QM calls, “Time,” which will close trigger eligibility for the query. When trigger eligibility for the query is closed and the quiz is not complete, the QM proceeds with the next numerical query.

2.1.3. Call and Timer

If a quizzer triggered prior to the QM calling the close of trigger eligibility, the QM simultaneously starts a silent 40-second countdown timer and calls the name of the quizzer who was first to trigger an indication of their desire to respond.

2.1.4. Response and Ruling

For the purpose of judging the response and rendering a ruling, the QM considers everything the quizzer says that the QM can audibly understand. During the response phase, the quizzer is either: not yet correct, correct, or incorrect. The moment the QM judges the quizzer correct or incorrect, the QM pronounces such.

2.2. Query Identifiers and Quiz Flow

Each query in a quiz has a unique identifier consisting of a number and a letter, beginning with “1A”. When a QM rules a quizzer’s response to a query correct, the QM increments the numerical component of the next query’s identifier by 1 and sets its letter to “A”. When a QM rules a quizzer’s response to a query incorrect, the QM advances the letter component of the next query’s identifier to the next letter.

All teams are eligible to trigger on query 1A. When a QM rules a quizzer’s response to a query incorrect, that quizzer’s team is ineligible to trigger on any following query with the same numerical component in their identifier. If all teams are ineligible, the QM will treat the next query as if the previous query was ruled correct.

The quiz ends immediately prior to the query identifier’s number incrementing beyond the product of 4 and the number of teams in the quiz when there are no tied scores. For example, a quiz with 3 teams ends immediately prior to query “13A” should there be no tied scores.

2.3. Query Types

Each query has a type, which consists of a combination of a base subtype plus 1 or more quizzer-selected subtypes.

2.3.1. Base Subtypes

The following are query base subtypes. Each query has 1 and only 1 base subtype. Phrase (P)

A phrase query’s prompt is a phrase consisting of consecutive words from a verse. The prompt must be unique across the whole of the material from the translation used. The prompt must be at least 6 words long. The query’s reply are all the following words from the verse. The reply must be at least 2 words long. Chapter Reference (C)

A chapter reference query’s prompt contains a chapter reference followed by a phrase consisting of consecutive words from a verse. The prompt will begin with “according to” followed by the book name, “chapter” followed by the chapter number, then the phrase. The phrase is comprised of 2 parts. The first part of the phrase must be at least 3 words long and be unique to the whole of the chapter of the material from the translation used and exist in at least 1 other location across the whole of the material from the translation used. The second part of the phrase must be at least 3 words long. The query’s reply are all the following words from the verse. The reply must be at least 2 words long. Quote (Q)

A quote query’s prompt is the word “quote” followed by the reference to a verse, labeling both the chapter and verse. For example: “Quote James, chapter 1, verse 2.” The reply is the verse text. Finish (F)

A finish query’s prompt are the first 5 or more words of a verse. The prompt must be unique across the whole of the material from the translation used. The query’s reply are all the following words from the verse. The reply must be at least 2 words long.

2.3.2. Quizzer-Selected Subtypes

The following are query quizzer-selected subtypes. Responding quizzers select 1 or more quizzer-selected subtypes for their given query. The responding quizzer may set any quizzer-selected subtypes on a per-query basis by calling their names at any time prior to providing a complete response. The responding quizzer may not remove or change any previously set quizzer-selected subtypes. Should a quizzer call for a quizzer-selected subtype, the QM ignores any response from the quizzer given prior to the call. Unless otherwise altered by the responding quizzer, the QM assumes queries have the synonymous quizzer-selected subtype. Synonymous (S)

The QM judges responses to queries of the synonymous quizzer-selected subtype correct should the responses contain all words of the reply and any words of the prompt the QM did not at least partially speak. The QM accepts as equivalent to the original word from the text:

The QM ignores articles.

Should the text identify a person of the Trinity, the quizzer must provide a name of that same person. Should the text include a specific title of a person of the Trinity, the quizzer must provide the specific title. Verbatim (V)

The QM judges responses to queries of the verbatim quizzer-selected subtype correct should the responses contain all words of the reply and any words of the prompt the QM did not at least partially speak. The quizzer must provide all words required of the response verbatim in order from the text.

The quizzer does not necessarily need to recite the text from beginning to end. The QM counts correct a verbatim response that starts in the middle of the verse, continues through the end, then continues from the beginning of the verse until the start point. The QM also counts correct a quizzer who responds with a non-verbatim word or phrase but corrects it prior to moving on. Open-Book (O)

If the quizzer calls for an “open-book” subtype, the quizzer may then open and consult any paper-based references brought with them to their chair. The QM judges responses to open-book queries as if they were synonymous, without reference. With Reference (R)

If the quizzer calls for the “with reference” subtype (or simply “reference”), the QM requires the quizzer provide a full reference including book, chapter, and verse number to be counted correct. The QM only considers the first full reference the quizzer provides. Add a Verse (A)

If the quizzer calls to “add a verse” (or simply “add”), the single verse source is expanded by 1 additional verse, the immediate next verse. It is invalid for a quizzer to call “add a verse” for the last verse in any book. If the quizzer additionally calls for “with reference”, the reference they provide must contain both verses.

2.3.3. Type Matrix

A quizzer cannot fuse together every base subtype and quizzer-selected subtype. This is a table of possible fusions:

Synonymous Verbatim Open-Book
Phrase Fusion + With Ref. + Add Vs. Fusion + With Ref. + Add Vs. Fusion
Chapter Ref. Fusion + With Ref. + Add Vs. Fusion + With Ref. + Add Vs. Fusion
Quote Fusion + Add Vs. Fusion + Add Vs. Fusion
Finish Fusion + With Ref. + Add Vs. Fusion + With Ref. + Add Vs. Fusion

For example, a quizzer can fuse a phrase base subtype with either the synonymous, verbatim, or open-book subtype; and a quizzer can optionally select “with reference” if they selected either synonymous or verbatim subtypes. A quizzer cannot select “with reference” for a quote base subtype query.

2.4. Query Base Subtype and Translation Distribution

Queries with the same numerical identifier have the same base subtype and translation. So for the purpose of query base subtype selection, consider only numerical identifiers.

In every quiz, excluding any necessary breaking of ties, each numerically identified query has a base subtype based on a sequential flow through all base subtypes in order, then randomized. For example, in a 3-team quiz with 12 numerical identified queries, the pre-randomized base subtype set is: PCQFPCQFPCQF.

Each numerically identified query has a translation based on the randomized set of translations from a quiz’s material, then sequentially repeated. For example, if a quiz’s material contains translations “A”, “B”, and “C” in randomized order “CAB”, then in a 2-team quiz, the set of numerical identified queries have the translation sequence: CABCABCA.

The meet director or QM publishes query base subtypes and translation distribution for a quiz prior to the quiz.

2.5. Rulings

Once a quizzer is correct, nothing they say can cause the QM to judge them incorrect. Quizzers are not incorrect until their time expires, the QM finds them out of context should context be applicable based on the base subtype, or they provide an incorrect reference in the case of a “with reference” quizzer-selected subtype query. If a quizzer selects the “with reference” quizzer-selected subtype and provides an incorrect reference, the QM counts them incorrect.

The QM renders a ruling of a quizzer’s response according to the translation on the quizzer’s registration, not necessarily the source translation of the query.

Mispronounced words the QM unambiguously understands to be correct the QM will judge correct so long as the mispronunciation is not another word.

2.5.1. Context

On all queries with base subtypes chapter reference, quote, and finish, the QM must count a quizzer immediately incorrect if they should fall out of context when responding. A quizzer is out context when the quizzer says any 2-word or longer globally unique phrase from the material where at least 1 word of the phrase is outside the context of the query. Context for a chapter reference query is the chapter from which the query originates. Context for a quote and a finish query is the verse from which the query originates.

If a quizzer selects the add a verse subtype, context will increase to include that verse in the case of a quote or finish base subtype query or the whole of the next chapter if the added verse is in the next chapter.

2.5.2. Appeals

When a quizzer or coach engaged in the quiz perceives a violation of any rule in the rule book regarding an immediately preceding query, that quizzer or coach may issue an appeal prior to the QM calling “ready” for the next query or the QM calling the quiz closed if the appeal involves the quiz’s final query. The quizzer or coach must ensure the QM hears them say the word “appeal” and may interrupt the QM if necessary. The QM then allows the quizzer or coach up to 40 seconds to explain their rationale.

The QM may solicit input from any source the QM feels useful to judge the appeal. Should the QM ask for input from any team or coach other than the quizzer or coach who issued the appeal, the QM must equally ask all teams and coaches.

The QM must then provide a ruling on the appeal, an explanation of the ruling, including answering any follow-up questions any participants may ask, and a description of how the quiz will be altered to integrate the ruling. The QM’s ruling on the appeal is limited only to correcting violations of rules from the rule book; however, it is not limited to any rationales or other input received during the appeal process.

The QM then asks for consensus of the coaches. If there is not a consensus, the officials and coaches confer for no longer than 3 minutes. The QM calls in the meet director to issue the judgement should any coach request it at any time during this period. Should no coach request the meet director and the conference period end without consensus, the QM issues the judgement. If the coaches are unanimous, that position overrides the QM.

A team may not call for an appeal in a quiz after their second declined appeal in that quiz.

2.6. Ceilings

A quizzer remains eligible to trigger for queries until they accrue correct rulings on:

2.7. Fouls

The QM assesses a foul on any quizzer should that quizzer:

Should a designated coach attempt to communicate with quizzers after the announcement phase and prior to the conclusion of the ruling, the QM assesses a foul on each of the quizzers of that coach’s team.

If the QM assesses a foul, the QM will replace the query and restart the query process. Any quizzer who received a foul is ineligible to trigger for the restarted query.

2.7.1. Paper-Based Documents

Quizzers may bring with them to their chairs any paper-based documents or notes for reference intended for use with open-book responses, but these must have a means to be closed and remain closed until the quizzer calls for open-book, then return to being closed after each query.

2.8. Scoring

Quizzers earn points when the QM counts them correct. Quizzer points accrue to both a quizzer’s individual points total and the quizzer’s team points total. Team bonus points accrue only to the team.

2.8.1. Quizzer Points

The value of correct rulings depends on the query type.

For example, a query of type phrase, verbatim, with reference is worth +5 points.

In addition, should a quizzer reach their ceiling without being counted incorrect and not selecting open-book for any query, they receive an additional +3 points.

2.8.2. Bonus Team Points

When the second and every following quizzer on a team earn a correct ruling for the first time in the quiz, that team earns +1 bonus team point, incrementing by the number of following quizzers. For example, the second quizzer earns +1 bonus team points, and the third quizzer earns +2 bonus team points.

In addition, a quizzer who answers a query correctly on the query immediately following a different quizzer from the same team answering correctly, that following quizzer earns their team an additional +1 point.

2.9. Timeouts

Any participating quizzer or coach may call a timeout at any time between queries prior to the QM calling “ready” for the next query. Each team may call up to 1 timeout per quiz. Timeouts are 40 seconds in duration.

During a timeout, designated coaches and those they designate may approach quizzers seated in front of the officials table. At no other time may anyone approach quizzers seated in front of the officials table.

2.10. Team Positions

Team positions are determined at the end of a quiz using the following sequence of evaluations:

  1. Total team score
  2. Total bonus team points
  3. First correct response

3. Meets

Meets are Quizzing tournaments that consist of a set of quizzes. A meet operates 1 or more quiz rooms, each with a QM, serving multiple quizzes across a schedule. Each meet has a meet director who oversees the construction, organization, and operation of a meet.

3.1. Registration

The meet director publishes a registration deadline for the meet. Teams, including quizzers and coaches, must register prior to the deadline except by permission of the meet director. Team registration data may not change after the registration deadline except by permission of the meet director.

When registering, teams must specify from which translation each quizzer will respond. Teams must also specify the seated order for their quizzers, and the quizzers must sit in that order for each quiz of the meet, except by permission of any quiz’s QM or the meet director upon request of the team or coach.

3.2. Materials

The set of unique translations from all meet registrations will be the set of translations used for materials for every quiz in the meet. The meet director sets the the reference ranges and weights either on a per meet, per bracket, or per quiz basis to optimize for missional outcomes.

3.3. Bracket Types

Meet directors may organize meets using any combination of any number of “score sum”, “position”, and “finals” brackets, though typically 1 of each in order.

3.3.1. Score Sum

In a “score sum” bracket, meet directors organize quizzes such that:

A team’s placement in a “score sum” bracket is based on the team’s sum score from all quizzes in the bracket. Should there be a tie from a “score sum” bracket, the meet director will break the tie using the total positional results per team. Should that still result in a tie, the meet director will break the tie using the single highest quiz score.

3.3.2. Positional

In a “positional” bracket, the meet director organizes quizzes in elimination rounds. The meet director has wide latitude to structure a fair positional bracket, including establishing multiple paths toward the finals bracket, secondary positional brackets, single versus multiple loss elimination, and so on.

The meet director assigns teams initial positions within positional brackets based on a preceding score sum bracket.

3.3.3. Finals

The “finals” bracket consists of quizzes to determine the position of the top teams of a meet. The finals bracket consists either of a single quiz or multiple. If multiple, the first team to win first place twice is the ultimate first place team for the meet. The meet director determines placement of the other teams using total positional placement in the finals bracket by team, unless there is a tie. If there is a tie, the meet director will break it in the following way:

  1. Score sum for finals bracket quizzes
  2. Score sum for the positional bracket
  3. Score sum for the entire meet

3.4. Score Weighting

The meet director predefines weighting of quizzer and/or teams scores based on bracket. For example, finals may be ignored for quizzer per quiz average score.

3.5. Meet Details Publication

As soon as practical, the meet director must publish meet details including: roster, draw, schedule, material label, and any score weighting. This data must be published to all meet participants at the same time.

3.6. Statistics

All meet statistics should be made public, published at the same time, fairly to all.

4. Seasons

Seasons consist of a set of meets, typically though not necessarily beginning in the autumn and concluding the following spring or summer.

4.1. Material Descriptions

Meet directors should publicly publish material descriptions per each meet as early as possible.

4.2. Score Weighting

Meet directors should publicly publish any seasonal weighting of quizzer and/or teams scores by meet as early as possible and fairly to all.

5. License

This document’s is content licensed under the following CBQ usage license: It is permissible to use the content for any purpose not prohibited by the license and to copy, share, or redistribute the content in any medium or format provided attribution is included. It is prohibited, without the express written permission of CBQ, to remix, transform, override, or build upon the content, in whole or in part, embed any part of this content in other works, or use the content for any commercial purposes.