The Game Show Network has begun airing a new game show entitled The American Bible Challenge, hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy. I have no idea what makes Jeff Foxworthy qualified to host this show, but he does. The show is generally Protestant in nature, although any Christian would find the show enjoyable.
The show begins with three teams of three players each playing for charity. Based on point totals, one of the teams is eliminated, and the remaining two meet in a showdown at the end of the show, with the one answering the most questions correctly winning $20,000 for their charity.
Throughout the show, the questions get progressively harder. The opening questions are fairly obvious, and they progress in difficulty until the end, when some questions are not necessarily obscure, but they are not well known either.
The show does have some creative ways of asking questions such as Faithbook which asks contestants to match characters with the appropriate status, and The Word of the Lord of the Rings which asks contestants to determine whether a phrase is from the Bible or from the movie The Lord of the Rings.
Ultimately the show is reminiscent of games played in Sunday School and confirmation to test Bible knowledge and/or to kill time in said classes. Having said that, anyone who does daily devotions, attends church regularly, or merely has a solid foundation of Biblical knowledge, will do quite well in terms of getting answers correct.
But make no mistake about it this show is about testing Biblical knowledge. This is trivia of the Bible, just as other shows feature trivia of history or geography or even sports. This is not a show to build the faith; Christians will enjoy it, they may learn something from it, but do not think that an unbeliever will causally turn to the show and watch (unless of course, they are just that desperate to see Jeff Foxworthy).
Nowhere is the evidence of this seen more clearly than just before the final showdown, when the two remaining teams are put in separate rooms for Bible study on the previously announced topic of the final series of questions. The two teams are shown desperately searching the scriptures to remind themselves of facts pertaining to the final topic, which in the case of the episode I saw, was women of the Bible.
Faith does not come from memorizing facts about women of the Bible or fruits of the Bible or some other topic of the Bible. Faith comes from believing that Jesus came into the world and suffered and died and rose again for the forgiveness of your sins. You may have the generations of Adam memorized all the way to the birth of Christ, but if you have not faith, it is all for naught.
And that is where the show will ultimately come up short. It will test Biblical trivia, it will entertain, but it will not build saving faith.
Oddly this is not the fault of the show; it is the fault of the Church itself. As mentioned before, the show is Protestant in nature, but within Protestantism, not to mention all of Christendom, there are a variety of answers to questions regarding salvation, Baptism and Lord’s Supper, not to mention the authority and inspiration of God’s Word.
If the show were to ask for specific views on salvation or the sacraments, the audience of the show would immediately be diminished by those who disagree, or by those who do not wish to go into the weeds of these deeper topics.
So the show is what it is: it is Biblical trivia and nothing more. Do not watch the show looking for the way of salvation or for a proper distinction of Law and Gospel. But if you are looking for the wives of Jacob’s twelve sons, or the order in which the disciples were called, then this is the show for you.
And when you look at it just for the trivia, and for nothing else, well then it is actually a pretty entertaining show for Bible nerds.