NASHVILLE, Tenn. The next time a child eagerly grabs his father's iPhone to play a game, it might be all about testing Bible knowledge.
The American Bible Challenge Game, available as a free app for the iPhone, iPad and soon Android, as well as on Facebook, asks multiple choice questions such as, "What garden were Adam and Eve thrown out of?" and fill-in-the-blanks like "_____ your father and your mother, so that you may _____ in the land the Lord your God is giving you."
If the correct answer is given, Jeff Foxworthy, host of the new game show "The American Bible Challenge," cheers the player with lines such as, "You should become a pastor!" and "Clearly you are one of those people staying awake in church." When answers are incorrect, he jeers.
The game corresponds with the television show, which garnered the GSN network's highest delivery in its 17-year history with 2.3 million viewers when it debuted in August. The show runs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. Eastern.
"We're excited to offer fans a fully interactive way to enjoy their own American Bible Challenge and to share the experience with their friends on Facebook," Stephen Croncota of GSN said. "The app features all the fast-paced competition and enjoyment of the show, any time you want it."
In addition to multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions, players are challenged with picture scrambles and more, spanning the entire Bible. For example, some questions ask the player to sort four books of the Bible in order.
Once a player has mastered a round of questions, he moves on to a more challenging level, and by logging on with a Facebook account, he can compare scores with friends.
When questions are answered incorrectly, players can chose the Bible study feature powered by the American Bible Society to learn about what they missed.
Gregory Thornbury, dean of the school of theology and missions at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., has acknowledged that Bible illiteracy in the church is pandemic and that the American Bible Challenge highlights the Bible's continuing importance in contemporary culture.
In a blog post at BibleMesh.com, a Bible literacy training site, Thornbury pointed to the "appalling state of how little believers know about their own sacred text."
"How long can any organization survive if its members don't know its mission, axioms, and core beliefs?" Thornbury asked of the church.
It's not enough to turn the Bible into a series of disconnected facts in a quiz show, he said. Christians must read the Bible, he said.