Updated Rules for 2023-2024 Season

Published: Jul 25, 2023 by BibleQuiz.com Admin

Last season, several changes were made to the conferring and contesting procedures for official competition. Upon receiving feedback from coaches, quizzers, and officials, the Rules Committee considered how the changes impacted both experienced teams and brand new teams. The committee revised the rulebook with these considerations in mind.

The following changes have been instituted and are in effect for the upcoming season over Romans and James.

Download Rules (PDF) Download Summary of Rule Changes (PDF)

Quick summary

Most of the changes made for official competition last season have been kept for this season with minor tweaks. In addition:

  • If any member of any team calls for a contest, no foul is assessed.
  • If a team requests a fourth timeout, no foul is assessed.
  • In some cases of an interrupted question, quizzers can use who/what interchangeably
  • “Quiz out backward” has been changed to “strike out”

For the full explanation of changes, read on.

Conferring and Contesting

Head coaches can participate in confers

From page 9:

A quizzer may confer for thirty seconds with all active quizzers and the head coach. Only the quizzer whose answer is ruled incorrect may request permission to Confer following any necessary rereading of the question. The Confer must take place at the table and the head coach may bring any materials to use during the Confer. Any active quizzer may verbally request for the head coach to join the Confer. If two quizzers from opposing teams are both ruled incorrect, both may receive permission to Confer at the same time.

Allowing head coaches to join a confer allows them to do what they do best—coach!—at arguably the most important time of the round: right after their own quizzer made a mistake. Research shows that students who get immediate feedback on errors are more likely to understand why they made an error and less likely to repeat it. This is invaluable in Bible Quiz, especially with newer quizzers who have experienced coaches.

After official competition last season, coaches said they loved being able to explain the situation to their quizzer, being part of the discussion about calling (or not calling) for a contest, and being able to help calm their quizzers’ emotions in tight rounds.

No fouls for any team member calling for a contest

Previously, a foul was assessed when a coach or inactive quizzer called for a contest. Now any member of a team can call for a contest with no penalty.

This allows all team members to have the freedom to call for a contest without it immediately and directly affecting the scoreboard.

Maximum of three unsuccessful contests

From page 28:

  1. Each team is allowed a maximum of three unsuccessful contests. Any further contests by that team will not be permitted.

Also, if a team has a third unsuccessful contest, they will be charged a 5-point team foul (see page 10).

Changes to the timekeeping of a contest

Previously, teams were given 3 minutes to prepare their contest and either present it or withdraw.

Updated rules are outlined on page 29:

The Initiating team has two minutes and thirty seconds to prepare and present their Contest to the Quizmaster and Judges. During the preparation of the Contest, the entire team may verbally communicate. Before, at, or just after the expiration of the first thirty seconds, a team may elect to withdraw the contest in exchange for a time-out (if they have one available) instead of taking an unsuccessful Contest–even if they have begun presenting their Contest.

In summary, teams now have three choices at the end of the thirty-second timer:

  1. Continue the contest
  2. ‘Convert’ the contest to a timeout
    1. Teams must have at least one timeout available to do this
    2. If ‘converted’, the game resumes, and no contest is logged
  3. Withdraw the contest (counts as unsuccessful)

Further explanation

During the preparation for a contest, teams sometimes prefer to not present their contest after some collaboration.

This created a problem because a withdrawn contest, by rule, is automatically counted unsuccessful. So presenting the contest was at least “worth a shot.”

To prevent teams from presenting contests that they didn’t want to present in the first place, coaches who have a timeout available now have the option to stop the contest within the first 30 seconds and use a timeout.

When would this be helpful?

This scenario happened in the National Championship playoff match a few weeks ago.

A quizzer on Team A was counted correct, and a quizzer on Team B called for contest. The head coach of Team B did not want to present the contest. Since Team B had a timeout available, the contest was not presented and did not count against their maximum of three unsuccessful contests. The game resumed in 30 seconds.

Present validity in a multi-issue contest

From page 28:

A multi-issue Contest may be presented concerning multiple issues under rule #3 above. The Contesting team must indicate that they are presenting a multi-issue Contest and present these issues in the order in which they wish the issues to be ruled. (If validity is included, it should be presented first in the multi-issue Contest.)

Previously, teams could not present validity in a multi-issue contest. Now, teams have the option.

While rare, here is the scenario that caused the change:

A quizmaster misreads a question, but the quizmaster and judges do not call misread. A team does not know if the question on the sheet is incorrect (which would be a validity contest) or if the question was misread (which would be a contest to void the question).

Now, teams can contest both in a multi-issue contest. This reduces the number of contests needed to correct an issue and helps maintain the flow of the match.

Additional clarification on contesting

From page 28:

When only one team’s quizzer is ruled incorrect, and after Conferring that team decides not to Contest, they forfeit their right to any further Contesting on that question. (However, if one member says “no Contest” but another member immediately requests to Contest, then the Contest is allowed.)

The rules already specified what happens when quizzers from both teams are counted incorrect. Now, there is clarity on the proper procedures when a quizzer from only one team is counted incorrect.

Other changes

“Quiz out backward” changed to “strike out”

Quizzers can now quiz out, strike out, or foul out, per the glossary on page 33:

Quiz Out/Strike Out/Foul Out: A quizzer has answered five questions correctly, three questions incorrectly, or has received three individual fouls. The quizzer must then leave the table and be seated behind the active quizzers unless they are the captain. See captain rules 6 a, b, and c on page 7, under “Team Privileges and Restrictions.”

The previous term in the rules—”quiz out backwards”—was rarely used in matches as the community often used the term “error out” or “err out.”

The term “strike out” is both easy to say and widely understood and will be familiar to new teams first learning the game of Bible Quiz.

Completing an interrupted question with who/what

From page 17:

iv. A quizzer replaces the word “who” or “whom” with the word “what” or the word “what” with the word “who” or “whom” in an interrupted question and the answer to the question is a group(s) of people (e.g. Pharisees, crowd) or role(s) (e.g. teacher, brother).

Due to the complications of the English language, some words can be considered a “who” or a “what.”

In other intellectual competitions like Jeopardy!, they allow contestants to say “What is a teacher?” or “Who is a teacher?” and be counted correct. The judges are flexible on this because they are judging whether the contestant knows the answer.

Similarly, quizzers will be counted correct when they interrupt the question and know the answer, but are unsure whether the question writer deemed the answer a “who” or a “what.”

No fouls for requesting a fourth timeout

Previously, teams were issued a 5-point team foul simply for requesting a fourth timeout. The Rules committee did not deem this a foulable offense, so the rule was removed.


If you have questions about the changes, please feel free to ask a question in the Facebook group.

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Download Rules (PDF) Download Summary of Rule Changes (PDF)