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World Bible Quiz Association Official Rules (rev 2016)


Click here for a downloadable and printable copy of the WBQA Official Rules.


Many denominations and individual quiz groups maintain their own quizzing “style” governed by a set of rules.  The World Bible Quiz Association also offers a set of quiz rules. 


WBQA rules are intended to be simple enough for teams quizzing different styles to be able to easily adapt to the WBQA style and quiz against each other.  The WBQA style also enables competition across teams that may quiz different styles by emphasizing memorization of the Scripture versus memorization of questions and answers.  (WBQA questions are taken directly from the Scripture material.)


Links to Rules Sections:


1. Statement of Purpose

2. Preparing to Quiz

3. Quizzing

4. Scoring

5. Question Types

6. Amendments to the Rules





Recognizing the diversity of quizzing in various denominations and organizations, and the need for local, regional and international tournaments on all levels, as well as guidelines which ensure that all groups may equitably participate, these rules are drafted as a combination of various groups' rules. The World Bible Quiz Association (hereafter, WBQA) has provided these rules to encourage different groups to quiz together.




2.1. Eligibility Requirements


1. Any quizzer who is 21 years of age or younger on November 1 is eligible to participate in any tournament sponsored by WBQA for the entire quiz season.


2. Any quizzer satisfying the above requirement may quiz in the Varsity Division.


3. The Junior Varsity Division is limited to quizzers who have not yet entered the tenth grade.


4. The Little League division is limited to quizzers who have not yet entered the seventh grade.


5. Tournaments can be constructed in a variety of ways using the existing structure as a model. Other options include novice and expert divisions, and adjusting divisions on ability rather than age.


2.2. Team Composition


1. A team may have up to five team members: four starters and one substitute.


2. The starting quizzers sit as a team in one of the groups of four chairs.


3. The four starters are numbered 1-2-3-4 starting from the quizmaster's left.


4. Seating order, as well as the captain and alternate captain, will be designated on a lineup submitted to the scorekeeper prior to the quiz.


5. If a team has less than four members, they may still compete and may choose which of the four seats to use.


6. Each team may have one coach and one assistant coach.


2.3. Captains and Alternate Captains


1. Each team will have a captain and a co-captain if possible.


2. If the captain leaves the quiz, the co-captain serves as the acting captain. A captain who returns to the quiz reassumes the role of acting captain.


3. When both the acting captain and the co-captain have either errored out or quizzed out, their coach will appoint a new acting captain.


2.4. Officials


The following positions must be filled before the start of a quiz: Quizmaster, Material Judge, Technical Judge and Scorekeeper. One official may fill more than one position.


2.4.1. Quizmaster


1. The quizmaster must know and understand all WBQA rules thoroughly.


2. The quizmaster must be familiar with the portion of Scripture being studied.


3. Questions must be read at a normal, conversational rate. Both hesitating and reading too quickly must be avoided, since they may cause inaccurate quizzing.


4. The quizmaster must read all questions at the same rate of speed, except Finish type questions which are read with noticeable pauses between words.


5. The quizmaster must render decisions firmly and consistently.


6. The quizmaster is responsible for calling fouls.


7. The quizmaster must maintain a positive attitude toward the quizzers and coaches.


8. The quizmaster must keep the quiz moving at a consistent pace. A quiz should not be rushed, but it is important to maintain the quickest pace which does not interfere with accuracy.


9. The quizmaster must remember the importance of edifying both the quizzers and the audience. He or she should speak clearly and be enthusiastic about quizzing. To this end, quizzers should be called by name, the score should be announced often and bonuses and quiz outs should be promptly recognized.


2.4.2. Material Judge


1. The material judge will assist the quizmaster in determining the accuracy of an answer which has been appealed or when the quizmaster otherwise requires assistance in making a decision.


2. The material judge will check the accuracy of the quizmaster's reading of the question by following along as he or she reads each question.


2.4.3. Technical Judge


1. The technical judge will check equipment for proper operation.


2. The technical judge will keep time on the five second limit to jump, the thirty second limit for completion of the answer and the forty-five second limit for timeouts.


2.4.4. Scorekeeper


1. The scorekeeper will record the following information:


a) Quiz lineups as they are received from each team.

b) Each team's score.

c) The outcome of each question.

d) The record of substitutions, including any changes in seating order resulting from substitutions.

e) Each team's number of overruled appeals.

f) Each team's number of remaining timeouts.

g) When timeouts were called and by which team they were called.


2. The scorekeeper will inform the quizmaster of the following:


a) Team bonus points.

b) Point deductions for errors.

c) Point deductions for fouls.

d) Point deductions for overruled appeals.

e) Quiz outs and error outs.


2.5. Equipment


1. Twelve chairs should be set up facing the audience. If possible, there should be a separation between the fourth and fifth chairs and between the eighth and ninth chairs. These separations should make the distinctions between teams apparent. The chairs are normally placed in a straight line, but they may be placed in an arc if this allows the quizzers to see the quizmaster more easily or if space is limited.


2. The quizmaster's table should face the chairs and be far enough away to allow all quizzers to comfortably see the table without turning in their chairs.


3. Chairs for coaches and substitutes should be placed on both sides of the quizmaster's table. At no time should coaches or substitutes be seated at the quizmaster's table.


4. All WBQA quizzes must use some form of electronic equipment that determines which quizzer is eligible to answer.


5. In the event of an equipment malfunction or improper use of the quiz equipment, a quiz will be replayed from the earliest time the malfunction may have begun.




3.1. Quiz Structure


It is recommended that all quizzes be three-way, if possible.


3.1.1. Three-Way Quiz Structure Regular Questions (Three Teams Jumping)


Unless an error was made on the previous question, all three teams are eligible to jump on each question. If an error is made, the next question is asked to the two remaining teams. This question is called a tossup question. Tossup Questions (Two Teams Jumping)


After an error when three teams are jumping, a tossup question is asked to the two other teams. If the tossup question is answered correctly, the next question is a regular question to all three teams. If the tossup question is answered incorrectly, an error is recorded and the next question is a free question to the remaining team. Free Questions (One Team Jumping)


A free question is asked to one team when two teams error consecutively. The question following a free question is always a regular question to all three teams.


3.1.2. Question Numbering


All teams must jump on questions 18,19, 20 and, if necessary, all questions after 20. Hence, an error on question 17 is followed by a tossup or free question numbered question 1 7A. An error on an 'A' question causes the next question to be numbered 'B.'


3.1.3. Ending a Quiz


Quizzes must end with a correctly answered question. Quizzes end on question number 20 if it is answered correctly and there are no ties to be broken. If necessary, the quiz will proceed past question 20 until a question is answered correctly and all ties are broken.


3.1.4. Breaking ties


The following procedure will be used to break any ties which exist after question 20 (or, if necessary, 20A or 20B) has been completed and a question numbered 20 or greater has been answered correctly:


1. If one of the three teams is not tied, its place is declared and this team

remains seated on the chairs, but does not participate in the



2. Single questions are added until the tie is broken by a correct answer.

A and B labeling, tossups and free questions proceed as usual.


3. If a three-way tie is broken and a two-way tie remains, this procedure

should be reapplied.


3.1.5. Two-Way Quiz Structure


1. Two way quizzes begin on question 6.


2. Unless an error was made on the previous question, a question is to both teams and is called a tossup question.


3. All other rules for three-way quizzes apply to two-way quizzes.


3.2. Quizmastering


1. The quizmaster will announce whether the next question is a Specialty (i.e. a Memory, Reference or Situation type question), and if so, which type, before beginning the sequence described below.


2. The quizmaster will begin each question with the following sequence:

"Question Number~, Question. _____?" The sequence may be interrupted and restarted until the word "Question" is said the second time. Once "Question" has been said the final time, the question is considered to be underway. From here on, this will be referred to as "From the time 'Question' is called" or "After 'Question' is called."


3. The quizmaster will cease reading when the electronic equipment registers that a quizzer has jumped.


4. The quizmaster will call on the first quizzer to jump, as determined by the electronic equipment.


5. The quizmaster will not repeat a question, even if a quizzer jumps before the end of a question.


6. If a quizzer is obviously correct, the quizmaster will call him or her correct before the thirty second time limit expires.


7. Once a quizzer has given obviously incorrect information, the quizmaster will immediately rule the answer incorrect. Otherwise, the quizmaster will give the quizzer the full thirty seconds time limit before making a ruling.


8. The quizmaster will never ask the quizzer to give additional information (either in the question or answer).


9. The quizmaster will never cut off a quizzer while he or she is speaking.


10. During the thirty second answering period, the quizmaster will use the following prompts:


a) If a quizzer completes his or her question, but before he or she gives the answer, the quizmaster will tell the quizzer, "That is the question."

b) If a quizzer has provided all of the information in the answer, except the clarification of a pronoun present or other ambiguous word which is part of the answer; the quizmaster will say, "Can you clarify...(insert word to be clarified)."

c) On Memory type questions, once the quizzer has quoted to the end of the required verse, if the quote is not yet correct, the quizmaster will say "Give it to me again." This will occur as often as needed until the quizzer quotes the verse perfectly, the quizzer supplies material not found in the verse and is called incorrect, the quizzer changes the meaning of the verse through misquoting or the thirty second time limit expires.

d) On a Situation question, if a quizzer finishes the quotation before answering the questions, the quizmaster will say, "That is the quote."


11. During the thirty second answering period the quizmaster may use the following prompts:


a) If a quizzer answers the question correctly, but is missing information found in the question, the quizmaster may tell the quizzer, "That is the answer."

b) If a quizzer answers the question correctly and completes the portion of the question which the quizmaster did not finish reading, but adds additional material not in the quizmaster's question, the quizmaster may say to the quizzer, "Don't say anything else." This enables the quizmaster to check the accuracy of the additional material without allowing the quizzer to add further information which may result in his or her being called incorrect.


12. During the thirty second answering period the quizmaster will use no prompts other than those described in the two previous rules.


3.3. Answering


1. After a question is read, if no quizzer jumps within five seconds, no one is permitted to answer.


2. A quizzer who jumps before a question is finished must provide all the material in the question and answer. However, the quizzer need not give the material in "Question and Answer" form.


3. Answers need not be word perfect, except on Memory type questions.


4. When answering or completing a question, a quizzer may refer to persons of the Godhead by different, but synonymous, terms from those found in Scripture. However, specific titles deemed significant by the quizmaster are required.


5. A quizzer who chooses to give an incorrect question will be ruled incorrect. A correct question is one which asks for the same information asked for in the quizmaster's question and which contains all of the material in the quizmaster's question.


6. A quizzer who provides any incorrect information will be called incorrect.


7. A quizzer may not quote from multiple passages when giving an answer. If, however, in the quizmaster's discretion, similar repsonses are possible within a passage (but the requirements for a reference question are not met) the quizzer may quote any number of verses in verse order in an attempt to correctly answer the question.  This includes quoting in one verse and then going to earlier verses as long as the quizzer quotes back to the original quoted verse in verse order within the thirty second time limit.  As an example, if a quizzer begins quoting in verse 7, but then realizes he/she should be quoting in verse 3, he/she may stop and then correctly quote verse 3, but will not be called correct until verses 4, 5, and 6, are quoted correctly in verse order.


8. A quizzer may quote previous material if it is an obvious attempt to clarify. The quizzer, in this situation, need not quote all of the material back to the original quoted passage.


9. Recognizably mispronounced words are acceptable in an answer.


10. Nothing may be added to an answer after a quizzer sits down or the thirty second time limit expires.


11. If the first five words of a question are exactly the same as the first five words of another question from a different verse which is part of the Scripture being used as the basis of competition, the alternate question and answer will be accepted if the quizzer and/or his or her teammates lead the quizmaster to the alternate reference or the quizmaster finds it through his or her knowledge of the material or by using a concordance.


3.4. Timeouts


1. Each team is allowed two timeouts per quiz.


2. Timeouts are 45 seconds in length.


3. Only the coach or acting captain may call a timeout.


4. Only the coach and assistant coach are allowed to confer with the team during timeouts.


5. A timeout may be called after any question.


6. Only one timeout is permitted between successive questions.


7. No timeouts will be permitted once a Specialty question has been announced.


8. A technical timeout may be called by the quizmaster at any time and will not be charged to any team. No substitutions are permitted during technical timeouts.


3.5. Substitutions


1. Substitutions may be made only during timeouts, unless a quizzer who has errored out or quizzed out is being replaced.


2. Only one substitution per team may be made during each timeout.


3. A quizzer who has quizzed out or errored out is permanently out of the quiz and cannot act as a substitute.


4. A substituted quizzer may return to a quiz, except for one who has quizzed out or erred out.


5. A coach may take a quizzer out of a quiz without replacing him/her with a substitute.


3.6. Tie Jumps


Some electronic equipment will register tie jumps.


1. When members of the same team tie, the captain will immediately decide who answers.


2. When members of opposing teams tie, the question will be replaced with a tossup question on which only the tied teams may jump. If a tossup question resulting from a tie jump results in an error; the following question will be handled as if there had been no tie.


3.7. Appeals


1. Any acting captain or a quizzer whose answer has been called incorrect may appeal a quizmaster's decision on an answer.


2. The acting captain may not confer with the quizmaster, coach or other teammates before appealing or while appealing.


3. An appeal must be made immediately after the quizmaster's decision.


4. All appeals and rebuttals will be heard before a timeout may be taken.


5. After an appeal is made, the quizmaster will give the other acting captains the opportunity to agree with the appeal and/or provide additional information.


6. After all appeals are completed, any remaining acting captains may rebut the appeal, if they choose to do so.


7. Either the acting captain of the team being appealed against or the quizzer whose answer was appealed may rebut.


8. The team being appealed against may rebut the appeal without risk of incurring an overruled appeal.


9. The quizmaster, with the assistance of the material judge, will rule on the appeal(s).


10. If the appeal is overruled, the appealing team and any teams whose acting captains spoke in agreement with the appeal will be charged with an overruled appeal. Similarly, if the appeal is upheld, a team other than the team appealed against which rebutted will be charged with an overruled appeal.


11. A question itself may not be appealed, although an acting captain may request that it be thrown out.


3.8. Thrown Out Questlons


1. If a question contains erroneous information or there has been a serious mispronunciation in the reading of the question, the quizmaster may throw out the question.


2. A captain may bring an erroneous question or a mispronunciation to the quizmaster's attention. This does not count as an appeal.


3. If a question is thrown out, it will be replaced with a question of the same type.


3.9. Fouls


The quizmaster may call a foul against a team for any of the following:


1. Communication between quizzers and/or their coach or coaches after 1"Question" is called and before the final decision is rendered, or, in the event of an appeal, before the completion of the appeal.


2. A quizzer jumping after "Question" is called, but before the quizmaster begins reading the question.


3. A quizzer starting to answer before being recognized by the quizmaster.


4. A quizzer's hands touching the chair from the time "Question" is called until a quizzer is called upon to answer.


5. A quizzer activating his or her light by lifting his or her leg while remaining seated. Little League quizzers are exempt from this rule.


6. A quizzer activating his or her light by lifting his or her leg while remaining seated. Little league quizzers are exempt from this rule.


7. Failure to submit a written lineup prior to the start of the quiz.


8. Continued discussion once the final decision to an appeal has been rendered.


9. A coach, team or cheering section engaging in conduct that is not in line with Christian behavior.


10. A quizzer attempting to trick other quizzers into jumping by pretending to jump.


11. Any other infraction of the rules as determined by the quizmaster.


3.10. Protests  (Determined by the Tournament Director for each tournament)


1. A coach may place a quiz under protest when he or she feels a rules violation has taken place and has not been settled correctly.


2. A protest must be lodged before the next question begins.


3. The quizmaster will recognize the protest and will attempt to work out the situation with the coaches of the teams participating in the quiz. If the problem cannot be resolved, the quiz will continue under protest.


4. Upon completion of the quiz, if the protest has not been settled, the protest board will rule on the protest.


5. All of the quizmasters will serve on the protest board.


6. The involvement of the officials, captains and coaches present in the quiz is at the discretion of the protest board.


7. In the event the protest is honored, the quiz will be replayed starting with the protested question.




4.1. Team Scoring


1. A correct answer when two or three teams are jumping scores 20 points.


2. A correct answer when only one team is eligible to jump scores 10 points.


3. An incorrect answer to a free question does not count as an error.


4. A quizzer who correctly answers four 20 point questions quizzes out and leaves the quiz. He or she may be replaced by a substitute without calling a timeout.


5. After making three errors on 20 point questions, a quizzer errors out and leaves the quiz. He or she may be replaced by a substitute without calling a timeout.


6. A 10 point bonus will be awarded to a team for each of the following:


a) An individual quizzing out without any errors.

b) The 3rd, 4th, and 5th team members to correctly answer a 20 point question in a quiz.


7. 10 points will be deducted for each of the following:


a) A team's fourth error in a quiz and every subsequent error.

b) An individual's third error in a quiz.

c) An error after question number 15.

d) A team's second foul in a quiz and every second foul thereafter.

e) A team's second overruled appeal in a quiz and every additional overruled appeal.

However no more than 10 points will be deducted for a single error.


8. It is possible for a team to have a negative score.


4.2. Individual Scoring


In order to determine the winners of individual awards at tournaments, the following guidelines are used to compute a quizzer's rate--his or her average contribution to a quiz.


1. 20 points will be awarded for each correct answer with two or three teams jumping.


2. 10 points are deducted for each error a quizzer commits.


3. 10 points are awarded for each quiz out without error.


4. Free questions, whether answered correctly or incorrectly do not affect individual scoring.


5. A quizzer's rate is determined by dividing his or her total points by the total number of quizzes in which his or her team participated.




5.1. Questions


1. All questions will be written from the Berean Study Bible.


2. In a 30 question quiz packet, 5 questions will be Memory questions, 2 will be Situation questions and 2 will be Reference questions. In years when situation questions cannot be asked, there will still be 5 Memory and 2 Reference questions per 30 questions.


3. WBQA questions may only contain words that appear in the verse or verses the question is drawn from, an interrogative and, when a form of the verb 'to be' is absent, the correct form of the verb 'to be.'


4. Questions must be both grammatically and scripturally correct. The exception to this rule is that questions beginning with "What if" may be asked, despite being grammatically incorrect.


5 One of the following interrogatives must appear within each regular or reference question: how, how long, how many, what, when, where, which, who, whom, whose or why. Questions taken directly from Scripture not. containing one of the interrogatives are permitted.


6 The placement of an interrogative is not restricted to a particular portion of the question.


7. Pronouns will not be clarified within questions.


8. When an answer contains a pronoun, the clarification of the pronoun may be required.


9. Direct question and answer pairs from Scripture may be used.


10. Direct questions from the Scripture which are answered by rhetorical questions also appearing in Scripture are acceptable.


5.2 Memory Questions


Memory questions promote memorization of the key verses in a Scripture passage. For the following question types, except the Quote question, the quizmaster will read up to the first 5 words slowly, with noticeable pauses between words.


Finish This Verse: starts at the beginning of a verse and goes to the end of the verse.

Finish These Two Verses: starts at the beginning of a verse and goes to the end of the next verse.

Finish These Three Verses: starts at the beginning of a verse and spans three verses.


Finish This: starts somewhere after the first word of the verse and goes to the end of the verse.

Finish This and the Next Verse: starts somewhere after the first word of the verse and goes to the end of the next verse.

Finish This and the Next two Verses: starts somewhere after the first word of the verse and goes to the end of the second following verse.


Finish This Verse and Give the Reference: starts at the beginning of a verse and goes to the end of that verse. Additionally, the quizzer is required to state the correct book (when necessary), chapter (when necessary) and verse.


Quote Question: The quizzer is asked to quote a verse given only the book, chapter and verse reference. Quote questions will be read: "Quote _______ Chapter ____verse ___. The quizzer will be required to complete the reference if it was not clearly completed by the quizmaster.


To be called correct, a quizzer must word perfectly quote all the requested material once from beginning to end before time expires.


The quizzer may only quote material found within the memory type questions with two exceptions: (This is only applicable to: “Finish this”, “Finish this and the next”, and “Finish this and the next two verses” types of question).


A quizzer may perfectly quote past the end of the verse from which the memory question is drawn into the following verse.


A quizzer may quote material contained within one of the verses from which the memory type question is drawn and is not a portion of the memory type question. 


5.3 Situation Questions


Situation questions promote an understanding of settings, emotions and chains of events. They encourage quizzers to memorize and attribute direct quotations, order events, explain motives and derive cause and effect. Situation questions are only written when the quiz material is narrative in nature: either a gospel or the book of Acts. Each Situation question consists of a quote and one, two or three questions about that quote. The following are possible questions:


· Who (said it)? In the event that more than one person has said the quote, for instance when a New Testament figure quotes an Old Testament figure, the answer will be the person to have spoken the quotation most recently.

· To Whom (was it said)?

· When (was it said)?

· Where (was it said)?

· How (was it said)?

· Why (was it said)?

· In Reply/Response to what (was it said)?

· About whom (was it said)?

· About what (was it said)?

· (What was the) Reply?

· (What was the) Response?

· (What was the) Result?


Answers to the questions may come from any reasonable number of verses from the same Scripture passage. The quote must cover only one verse and must start at the beginning of a quotation. Although the beginning of a quote that spans more than one verse may be used, the quizzer needs to quote only the portion of the quote found in the first verse.


5.4 Reference Questions


1. If identical questions can be asked from more than one verse and there is more than one answer from different parts of the material, a reference is applied to lead the quizzer to a specific portion of Scripture. If the identical questions come from the same chapter, a chapter and verse reference must be applied. If identical questions come from different chapters, a Chapter and Verse or Chapter Only reference may be applied.


2. Questions that are exactly the same for the first five words or more should also be referenced. It is preferred that these be asked as Chapter Only references, unless two or more questions beginning with the same five or more words occur within the same chapter, in which case a Chapter and Verse reference must be applied.


3. When answering a chapter/verse reference question, a quizzer will be called incorrect if he or she provides material outside the verse the reference is drawn from, with one exception. A quizzer may provide the antecedent for a pronoun even if the antecedent is not contained within the verse from which the reference is drawn.


4. Chapter and Verse References will begin with, "According to ___________ Chapter ___ Verse ___,"


5. Chapter Only References will begin with, "According to ___________Chapter,"




Amendments to the WBQA Ru!es will be made by the WBQA Board of Directors. Recommendations for changes should be presented to a member of the Board of Directors.


Rules - Statement of Purpose
Rules - Preparing to Quiz
Rules - Quizzing
Rules - Scoring
Rules - Questions
Rules - Amendments
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