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Coach's Connection October 8, 2015

Mon, 05 Oct 2015 - 2:28 PM CST

The Facts About Learning Acts

Spiritual power, civil disobedience, apostles openly arguing, demon-possession, miraculous transportation, preaching, intrigue, sorcerers, triumphs, healing, tragedy, earthquakes, prophesy, shipwrecks, trials, and the list goes on - Bible or otherwise, Acts of the Apostles is hands-down the most action packed book ever written. More importantly, it is the history of the dawn of Christianity, the point at which Apostolic leadership moves from in-person tutelage by Jesus to the era in which they must lead with Christ in their hearts and by the power of the promised Spirit. As the companion to the Gospel of Luke, the events of Acts really begin in Luke 24:45, when the apostles actually become Christians, believing in a risen Christ, and he opens their minds to what the Scripture truly means. This knowledge, accompanied by the power of the Spirit, sends Christianity spreading like a windstorm across the known world. Who wouldn't be exited to learn and coach or quiz on this amazing book? However, no matter how exciting the stories, the reality is that learning Acts is a tall order, but one that has been tackled six times by tens of thousands of quizzers and coaches since 1963.

Having coached over Acts four times, I can attest that complete memorization of the material is the only way to obtain an in-depth understanding of the book and excel at competition. Not to mention the fact that the better the material is memorized the longer it is retained. In my experience this is true without exception. The goal of every coach should be for quizzers to memorize, understand, and apply what they have learned. It's tough to apply what you don't know.

Armed with that knowledge, the question simply becomes "How do we help quizzers memorize?" The Coach's Manual discusses a number of ways to memorize, and there is ample help about how to memorize on the internet. What I want to discuss are the BQ-specific ways to help quizzers achieve their memorization goals. The following are time-tested ways to help teams accomplish the task:

Watch it - in 1999 and 2007, we had a pizza and ice cream party to start the year off, during which we viewed "The Visual Bible - Acts," a 2-DVD movie of the book. It was a hit and excited them about learning. Although it is in the original NIV, it is an inexpensive (still sold on Amazon), high-quality, word for word re-enactment, and using this as a starting point will certainly not mess up learning in NIV 2011. At the mid-point in the year we re-watched the latter half of the book to reinforce the stories. The more they watch, the easier it is for the Scripture to come alive.

Teach it - teaching the meaning of the coming week's material helps quizzers to understand what they are about to memorize, making the memorization easier and giving them the ability to apply the verses to their lives. There are numerous sources, including the Study Guide, and others all over the internet and at Christian Book Stores for teens to learn Acts; many including extra lesson help for those teaching. I have used "Acts: A Study Guide" by Dr. George Wood every time I covered Acts. It was published by Global University (A/G) and is still available on-line at numerous sites. The interesting facts and historical insights found in this book are amazing, they are easy for a coach to incorporate into teaching time, and can be applied no matter the version of the Bible being studied. Following up your teaching with time for quizzers to ask about and comment on the material brings everyone along at the same level of learning, and offers great insight into how teenage minds assimilate and understand what they are memorizing.

Divide it - at just over 1000 verses, memorizing the material must be broken down into consistent, attainable numbers of verses based on when your team begins the material. With chapters that range from 15 to 60 verses in size, expecting to cover a chapter per week is a see-saw that overwhelms quizzers when they come to the longer chapters. The number of verses per day can be customized to each quizzer's weekly schedule. A little learning each day is better retained than cramming the day before practice.

Hear it - have quizzers listen at least three times each day to the material at least a few weeks before they memorize it. The more they listen ahead, the easier it is to memorize when the time comes. Bible Gateway has an Audio Bible that offers multiple voices reading the NIV, including a British reader that may make the listening more memorable for some quizzers. If you start everything at the same time, just have them listen to the verses they are memorizing that week and the upcoming chapters, adding new future chapters as they progress. This works every time, and the more they listen ahead, the easier it is to memorize.

Repeat it - if you can remember this age-old saying, memorization and retention is easy: "Repetition is the key to learning." Say it a few times and see how easy it is to remember. The same holds true for memorizing Acts, or any book. The more a quizzer quotes what they know, the faster they will assimilate it and it will be almost impossible to forget. This requires daily quoting of past and current material. Find quoting/listening partners for them (teammates listening to each other reinforces the material for both), and make them accountable for their quoting. I have found a quick e-mail to be the easiest way to make sure the quoting is done each day. The other key to maintaining an even knowledge of the material is to quote what you have learned that day many times, what you learned yesterday and the day before a few times, and so on. This will keep your team from the trap of knowing only the first half of each chapter well.

Peg it - learning the Chapter Analysis (C.A.), the references, and the section titles as the chapters are being memorized creates memory pegs. These pegs help quizzers piece together and make sense of the events found in each chapter and section. Acts has so many C.A. items that nearly every writer draws heavily from them throughout the year, and with the number of sets required of the official writer, you know that literally all of them will be asked. Further, keeping track of how many of each type are found in each chapter/section allows quizzers to interrupt quickly. Learning references and section titles pays off constantly in retention and competition.

Quiz it - nothing reinforces the material like listening to questions. Obtain and read as many sets as you possibly can. The BQ Store offers access to thousands of questions and programs to create sets, so take advantage of them. Questions help quizzers realize how the material can be broken down into questions and answers, helps coaches know how the learning is progressing, and teaches the style of each writer to maximize interruption. If you follow the "memorize the same number of verses each day plan," you might have a few questions here and there on verses they have not completed, but it's an easy adjustment when reading sets.

Consistently applying these ideas will allow your team to conquer Acts. God Bless each of you and you strive daily toward this admirable and life-changing goal. Greg House, former coach and current National Finals official.

First Missionary BQ Coach

Andrew Forsman of Houston, Texas is our very first missionary BQ coach. Andrew quizzed for seven years for Christian Temple Assemblies of God in Houston, Texas, memorizing 18 books of the Bible. He went to Regional Finals all seven years, advancing to National Finals six of those years. He earned his National Memorization Award 6 years, and his Master Memorization Award one year. Andrew is currently a senior at Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri where he is majoring in Biblical Studies. Andrew feels called into full time ministry, and is planning on becoming a youth pastor. He is coaching at Life 360 in Springfield, which is in their 2nd year of having the quiz ministry after a hiatus of many years under the name of Parkcrest A/G. Andrew is engaged and the big day will be after graduation and before National Finals. (Excellent planning Andrew)

Corrections in Scripture Portion

Unique Word List: First 7 words in Unique Word list are repeated twice. Delete first 7 words.

Chapter Analysis:

Acts 1:23 Behind Joseph, insert the words, (Barsabbas, Justus)
Acts 3:12 Questions-should be "we HAD made this man walk? HAD not have (Scripture Portion-Correct)
Acts 7:49-50 Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things? Phrase says the Lord must be inserted. (Scripture Portion-Correct)

2015-2016 Tournaments and Question Writers

To find a tournament near you, click here. If you have a tournament you would like listed, or if you have questions you've written that are avialble for others to purchase and use, email that info to bq@ag.org.

Acts Breakdown and Writer's Tips

Check out the breakdown and writer's tips for the book of Acts on the Bible Quiz website here.

2016 National Finals

July 2-8, 2016, Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri

Endowment Fund

If you would like to make a donation to the BQ Endowment Fund and send it by mail, AGFS new mailing address is:

3900 S Overland Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

You can find out more about the Endowment Fund here: http://biblequiz.ag.org/endowment.cfm.


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