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The American Bible Challenge, Volume 1: A Daily Reader

The American Bible Challenge, Volume 1: A Daily Reader

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by Troy Schmidt

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A fun and challenging way to dig into the Bible

In fall 2012, a new show premiered on the Game Show Network that quickly surprised Hollywood. Hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, The American Bible
built up an audience of 2.3 million viewers in just nine weeks, making it the highest-rated show ever in GSN history. By taking on unique questions


A fun and challenging way to dig into the Bible

In fall 2012, a new show premiered on the Game Show Network that quickly surprised Hollywood. Hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, The American Bible
built up an audience of 2.3 million viewers in just nine weeks, making it the highest-rated show ever in GSN history. By taking on unique questions spanning all of Scripture, teams excitedly won money, not for themselves, but for a favorite charity. The interest has grown so fast in recent months, a second season hits the airwaves in
March 2013.

Now, the consulting producer for the show, Troy Schmidt, with a foreword written by host Jeff Foxworthy, has released a daily reader based on The American Bible Challenge designed to take us deeper into the questions from the show and the life applications that they inspire.

Using many of the questions from the first season as a guide, each day features an inspiring lesson along with five challenging Bible questions to take you deeper into Scripture. The book guides the reader through nine weeks of study and encouragement—the same length of time as a season of The American Bible Challenge—with over three hundred questions to test your Bible knowledge. And don’t worry, all the answers are in the back.

The American Bible
Challenge Daily Reader
includes questions to deepen your knowledge and to change your life. Are you ready to jump in and take the challenge?

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A Daily Reader


Copyright © 2013 Troy Schmidt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-4755-1

Chapter One


Day 1

What Do You Noah About the Ark?

Read Genesis 6:9–7:13.

If God came to you and asked you to do something, what excuse would you give him?

• "I've never done that before."

• "I'm too old (or too young)."

• "But I'm going to face opposition."

• "Oh no, the forecast looks rainy."

When God asks us to do something it's never at a good time. Why? Because it's his time, not ours. He sees the big picture. We see only our pictures. God knows the forecasts for centuries to come. We see only the clouds today.

When God asked Noah to build an ark, Noah had plenty of reasons to say no:

• "I've never built an ark before."

• "I'm six hundred years old."

• "The people around me are evil."

• "How am I going to manage a floating zoo?"

Despite the excuses, "Noah did everything just as God commanded him" (Genesis 6:22). If Noah hadn't obeyed, he'd have sunk—literally—and so would we. All of humanity would be drowned in that sea. Thankfully Noah said yes to God's impossible request, and mankind survived.

So what's your reason for saying no to God? Whatever it is, it won't hold water for very long.


1. What kind of wood was the ark made of?

2. How many decks did the ark have?

3. How many kinds of clean animals did God tell Noah to take?

4. How old was Noah when the floodwaters came on the earth?

5. How many humans were on the ark?

Day 2

Faithbook—A Friend Request from the Burning Bush

Read Exodus 3.

There was no social media in the time of Moses, especially in the wilderness of Midian. There were only sheep and rocks and staffs ... and bushes. God found a way to reach Moses in the middle of nowhere, where digital reception was less than minimal. Moses' "friend list" was huge, if you count the hundreds of sheep he managed, but none of them ever challenged him or talked to him about deep issues.

Moses wasn't really looking for a friend after forty years doing the same ol' same ol', but God was. God came to Moses because he wanted to involve the shepherd in the greatest, most miraculous event in Old Testament history.

Did God seek Moses? Yes. Did God need Moses? No.

Did Moses seek God? No. Did Moses need God? Yes indeed.

We may not be seeking God, but he is seeking us. We may not want to be friends with God, but he wants to be friends with us. So next time a voice from a burning bush sends you a friend request, listen up. Better yet, listen to the still small voice inside your heart calling out to you. And accept.


1. Whose flocks was Moses tending when the burning bush appeared?

2. On what mountain did the burning bush appear?

3. What were God's first two words to Moses?

4. What did God ask Moses to remove before he stepped closer to the burning bush?

5. God promised to take the Israelites to a land flowing with what?

Day 3

In the Name of the Lord of the Rings

Read Exodus 39:1–31.

During our Bible readings, it's easy to skip over these sections, these chapters in the Old Testament books, especially Exodus and Leviticus, that describe the tabernacle, the priestly garments, and the dimensions of the utensils for sacrifices. Who cares about that stuff, right? Apparently God does.

When God wanted his people to design a place for worship, he didn't ask them what they wanted to do. Why? Because they would probably have been cheap, more concerned with cost-saving measures than God-worthy quality. The people would have said things such as,

• "Bronze is just as good as gold."

• "Why are we spending so much money on this project?"

• "Who cares about these little details? Let's focus on the big picture."

• "What's an ephod, anyway?"

We cut corners because we think it's the wise thing to do, but when it comes to worshiping God, we should never cut corners. God deserves the best we have and all we have, from the biggest picture to the smallest detail. God even cares about the gold rings attached "to the bottom of the shoulders piece on the front of the ephod, close to the seam just above the waistband" (Exodus 39:20). Seem inconsequential? Not to God. He sees every detail, and it all matters to him. To him, that gold ring is precious.

Maybe you should pay attention to the details of your life, too, since they matter so much to God.


1. How many rows of precious stones were on the priest's breastplate?

2. What did the twelve stones on the breastplate represent?

3. What were the fruits fashioned out of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and attached to the hem of the robe?

4. What were the noisemakers also attached to the hem of the priest's robe?

5. What was the inscription written on the sacred emblem found on the priest's garment?

Day 4

Kids Sayeth the Cutest Things—Jonah

Read Jonah 1.

God called Jonah to preach a message of repentance to the people of Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrian Empire, who were, at the time, oppressing the Israelites. It would be like a rabbi in Jerusalem traveling to Iran, walking into downtown Tehran, and saying, "Hey, get your act together, or God is going to destroy you." Probably not the best plan.

So Jonah did what any sensible Israelite would do: he ran and caught a ship going to Tarshish, which was in exactly the opposite direction of Nineveh. When the storm hit the ship, the sailors panicked. That's what sailors are supposed to do. Storms = death. So they looked at all possible reasons why such a thing would happen, and naturally they turned to the spiritual world, wondering which god they needed to satisfy.

And where was Jonah during all this chaos? Asleep. Can you believe it? Even the captain was stunned to find Jonah snoring below deck. Maybe Jonah was tired from running away. Maybe the waves rocked him to sleep. Whatever the reason, God gave him a wake-up call. Thankfully Jonah had caught up on his zzzzz's because for the next three nights, he probably didn't sleep a wink. The fish-belly accommodations were simply horrible.

What about you? Are you asleep? Does God have a plan for you, but you're snoring away? Is there a storm right outside that you're choosing to ignore? You'd better wake up, unless you like the taste of fish. It's better to be going in the direction God called you begrudgingly than to sleep away his will for your life.


1. In what city did Jonah catch the ship?

2. Whom did each sailor cry out to when the storm hit the ship Jonah had boarded?

3. What did the sailors first throw into the sea to lighten the ship?

4. How did the sailors determine it was Jonah's fault for the storm?

5. What did Jonah suggest the sailors should do to calm the storm?

Day 5

Swords at the Last Supper Table

Read Luke 22:7–38.

My mother always told me, "No weapons at the dinner table." She didn't really, because I didn't have any weapons as a kid other than maybe a rubber band or a Boy Scout penknife so dull it couldn't even cut butter.

The Passover meal was one of the most sacred times in the life of a Jew. Once a year all Jews everywhere remembered the night God delivered them from Pharaoh by taking the lives of the firstborn sons in every household not covered by the lamb's blood (Exodus 11–12). Passover was a celebration of God's power, mercy, deliverance, and purpose.

So why would anyone bring swords to the Passover meal? Did they think the lamb would be especially tough this year? Maybe they wanted to provide some entertainment with a round of sword swallowing after the meal? If you were sitting with Jesus Christ— and you understood precisely who he was and what he's capable of doing—would you feel the need to arm yourself? No, because you would know that right in front of you was all the power of the universe. Our tiny swords are no match for the power of Jesus Christ. He just speaks, and people fall down. He can call an army of angels with just a word.

Put away your sword, and rely on the power of God. You might just cut somebody's ear off with that thing.


1. On what day was the Passover lamb sacrificed?

2. Which two apostles did Jesus send to prepare the Passover feast?

3. What was the man carrying who led the apostles to the house where the Last Supper would occur?

4. Whom did Jesus say Satan wanted to sift like wheat?

5. What was the argument over at the Last Supper?

Day 6

The Finger of God

Read Exodus 33:12–23.

I don't have very strong fingers. I used to be able to palm a basketball. I can probably poke an eye out with my index finger, thanks to my extensive research into The Three Stooges. My pinkie is useless, except to hit the a, q, z, and p letters on a keyboard. Balled together, my fingers can gang up and make a fist, but individually they're pretty pitiful.

The Bible personifies God by assigning attributes to him. You can find references to God's eye, arm, ear, nose, hand, mind, even his backside. But let's look at how powerful just his finger is!

• In Exodus 8, the magicians could not reproduce the plague of gnats with their trickery. "This is the finger of God," they cried (8:19).

• In Exodus 31, God wrote the commandments on two stone tablets with his finger.

• In Luke 11, Jesus said he could drive away demons with just his finger.

With just a finger God can create the most incredible miracles and turn an entire nation around. With just a finger God can write the most profound summation of laws that have been replicated in our law books even today. With just a finger God can defeat the world's most persistent enemy.

Do you need the finger of God in your life? You can pick a finger, any finger. It really wouldn't matter as long as it's his.


1. In Genesis 8, whose sacrifice did God smell as a pleasing aroma that caused him to say he would never again curse the ground?

2. Which two of God's senses notified him to the Israelites' despair in Exodus 2:24–25?

3. When Moses wanted to see God's glory, God told Moses he could not see what part of God's body and live?

4. What part of God's body did he promise would cover Moses when his glory passed by?

5. What part of God's body would he allow Moses to see?

Day 7

Women of the Bible

Read John 20:1–18.

The Bible is not a male-dominated history of mankind. Women are just as important as men throughout its pages. It's the women who with endurance and patience, despite public ridicule, gave birth to both Jewish and Christian legacies. Sarah waited four times longer than the average woman to have her first son. Mary faced public scorn for an apparent pregnancy outside of wedlock so she could give birth to the Savior of the world.

Women became political figures and changed the tides of events in the Bible. Esther worked behind the scenes to save her people from annihilation. Deborah was a judge when no man would step up.

God invited women from outside the Israelite family into his. Rahab got her life together and worked for God instead of against his will. Ruth was from the Moabite enemy, but she found herself in the genealogies of David, Solomon, and eventually Jesus Christ.

When Jesus rose from the dead, he chose to appear to the women.

When Paul needed financial support for his ministry trips, he asked women to help.

Thank God he used women in the story of the Bible, and thank God he still uses them in our families to preserve our faith and to show us grace.

What woman has meant the most to you and your relationship with God?


1. Name the servant of Leah who gave birth to Gad and Asher in Genesis 30.

2. Which prophet raised the son of the Shunammite woman from the dead in 2 Kings 4:8–37?

3. Which Mary spoke to Jesus at the tomb?

4. Who was the dealer of purple cloth who opened her heart to Paul's message in Acts 16?

5. Who was the wife of Aquila who helped Paul spread the gospel in Acts 18?

Chapter Two


Day 1

My Tweet Lord—Sarah

Read Genesis 18:1–15.

If she'd had it, Sarah certainly would have used social media to express her emotion when she heard the three mysterious visitors tell her husband, Abraham, that next year she would have a son. Sarah, with her AARP card. Sarah, collecting Social Security. Sarah, old enough to be a great-grandma, giving birth to her first son. Pretty funny? Sarah thought so. In fact she laughed. "Ha! I'm a worn out ol' lady."

The visitor—an angel or some say Jesus himself—said to Abraham, "Why is your wife laughing?" I wonder what kind of a laugh it was. A deep-belly guffaw? A sarcastic chuckle? Either way, Sarah laughed at God. You probably don't want to do that, no matter how ridiculous he may sound.

If you heard God's plan for you right now, what would you do? Scream? Gasp? Maybe cackle? "You want me to do what? I'm going to do that when?" you laugh, with tears in your eyes. Seems hilariously impossible. God has a great sense of humor, right? But he's not joking. If he could allow a grandma to give birth to a healthy child, imagine what he can do with you—at any age. Lead a Bible study of middle schoolers. Go to Peru on a mission trip. Reach inner-city kids with backyard VBS.

Don't laugh—nothing is too hard for the Lord. He can even use ... you.


1. Where did the Lord appear to Abraham in Genesis 18?

2. How many men visited Abraham in that location?

3. What did Abraham tell Sarah to make for the visitors?

4. Where was Sarah when she heard the news that she would have a child in one year?

5. What did Sarah deny doing?

Day 2

The Eye of the Tebow

Read Philippians 4:1–14.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6). Tim Tebow loved to write this verse under his eyes, but it's a verse we should have written in our hearts. Many times we will need to call up this verse and claim it in our situations.

It's hard to imagine quarterbacks living this verse, especially in the extreme situations they face.

• "Do not be anxious about anything"—How about with a three-hundred-pound defensive lineman pouncing at you?

• "But in every situation"—Even when you're down by six and one yard from the end zone with two seconds on the clock in the last quarter?

• "By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"—Who has time to talk to God when you're scrambling out of the pocket?

I'm sure Tim Tebow muttered quick prayers in desperate situations, but notice he claimed the verse before the kickoff, not during the fourth quarter. He was prepared for the worst situations, setting his heart monitor before things got tough, not trying to remember the verse while his heart rate skyrocketed.

While things are calm, we need to tell ourselves not to worry. We need to present every possible request now, so when something comes up we're not surprised. We need to know now that God can handle anything, even if we fumble the ball.


1. What two women did Paul plead with to reconcile with each other?

2. What does Philippians 4:4 say we should do always?

3. What does Paul say will guard our hearts and minds?

4. What has Paul learned to be in any circumstance?

5. Paul said he could do all things through God who gives him what?

Day 3

Kids Sayeth the Cutest Things— Moses in the Basket

Read Exodus 2:1–10.

With the Israelite population getting out of control, the Egyptians decided to exercise post-birth population control by drowning the baby boys in the Nile but allowing the little girls to live. Horrible, right? God didn't like it either. So when Moses' mom could not hide him any longer, she put him in a papyrus basket and sent him down the Nile. The word for this basket in Hebrew is tebah, and it's the same word used for "ark," as in Noah's ark.

These two arks are very different. Moses' ark was maybe a yard long. Noah's ark was 150 times longer. Moses' ark was made of reeds from the Nile. Noah's ark was made from cypress wood. One thing they both had in common—they were both covered in pitch or tar to keep them from sinking. And both arks represent the same thing—God's means of saving humanity. Noah's ark saved a righteous family from God's judgment on humanity. Moses' ark saved the man who would lead a nation to safety after God's judgment on Egypt.

Both arks are about salvation, saving those God loves. They were life preservers for everyone on board, leading the world to the ultimate ark, the cross.

The cross is for those today who are sinking in a sea of sin. Hold on—it'll get you through to the other side, where life everlasting awaits you. God always sends an ark to save you from drowning. You just have to climb aboard.


1. How long did Moses' mom hide him after he was born?

2. What member of Moses' family watched baby Moses float down the Nile?

3. Whom did the attendant of Pharaoh's daughter get to nurse baby Moses?

4. Who named Moses?

5. Why did Pharaoh's daughter say she named her son Moses?

Day 4

CSI Holy Land—Jezebel

Read 1 Kings 21 and 2 Kings 9:30–37.

The Bible is full of violence. Its pages show the worst in us. That's to be expected. Mankind is prone to hate and kill, but thankfully the bad guys never win.


Excerpted from THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE by TROY SCHMIDT Copyright © 2013 by Troy Schmidt. Excerpted by permission of THOMAS NELSON. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Troy Schmidt began writing animation in 1985 for Dennis the Menace and Heathcliff. He also wrote for The Mickey Mouse Club for three seasons. Troy is repsonsible for adapting Max Lucado's Hermie the Common Caterpillar into books and videos.

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The American Bible Challenge, Volume 1: A Daily Reader 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
MarkEntner More than 1 year ago
The American Bible Challenge: A Daily Reader is a nine week devotional and each day's devotion is inspired by actual questions from the first season of The American Bible Challenge. With chapters like "What do you Noah about the Ark" and "Real Housewives of the OT", you know this isn't an ordinary devotional.  Each day ends with a series of questions which will test your knowledge of the Bible.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
I've been a huge fan of The American Bible Challenge since it's premiere because not only is it fun, but they raise awareness of some great charities that are vying for the chance to win money to help out their causes. Yet for me, it's even more personal. It drives me back to my Bible. A chance to study in a completely new and fun way like never before and the best part of it is, that I can get my entire family involved in the process. For me, anything that makes learning fun, garners my interest and that's why I can't wait to share The American Bible Challenge - A Daily Reader by Troy Schmidt with you! There are 9 weeks of Daily Bible Challenges backed into this wonderful hardcover book, and yes, the answers are included in the back. I found myself challenged in so many areas, knowing some things about what I remembered about things like the building of God's temple, but I missed out on the details. Something God finds important and also included in the Daily Bible Challenge. It draws you more into the Bible to understand, just why is all this stuff important anyway, and I was amazed at just how important the small details in my own life are relevant to God. He's all about the details!! Look closely at anything He has created and you can see this just all about a instant big bang. God really planned the way our lives are, and everything He has created and breathed life into. The best part about this book is that is can be done in little over 15 minutes and still last forever. The Daily Reader makes this study more relevant in terms we can all understand, from social media, to catching the latest catch phrase to make interpeting the Bible scriptures easier for kids to understand. For example defining why prophets were necessary back in the old days (Old Testament) asking a rabbi in Jerusalem traveling to Iran, walking into downtown Tehran, and saying, "Hey, get your act together, or God is going to destroy you." Probably not the best plan. This is what God was calling Johah to do in preaching his message of repentance to the people of Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrian Empire, who were, at the time, oppressing the Israelites. So Jonah did what any sensible Israelite would do: he ran and caught a ship going to Tarshish, which was in exactly the opposite direction of Nineveh. If you are truly looking for a way to make your devotions or Bible Study more fun, I would highly encourage you to pick up a copy of The American Bible Challenge - A Daily Reader by Troy Schmidt! It will take things to a whole new level and one that would make a youth study or Vacation Bible Camp more fun for everyone! I received The American Bible Challenge - A Daily Reader by Troy Schmidt compliments of FlyBy Promotions and Thomas Nelson Publishers for my honest review and did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable one. If you're like me and are looking for fun ways to get together with your family and incorporating God's Word into it, then trust me, PICK THIS ONE UP! I rate this one a 5 out of 5 fun stars!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago