4 Pics 1 Word

This game courtesy of Mark Schroder, youth minister at Campbelltown Anglican.

This game is based on the same game that has overtaken your news feed on Facebook!

The idea: Try and guess the word that is being represented by 4 cryptic pictures. This activity is a great one for learning about Bible characters, Bible stories and each other.

Create 3 rounds for the game. For example:

Round one: Bible Character

Round Two: Bible Story or thing:

Round Three: Youth Group Character ie. leader or member.

How to play:

  1. Display pictures and the blanked out word on the screen
  2. Allow groups to think about the answer and write it down
  3. After a few minutes move on to next round.
  4. After all pictures have been displayed provide everyone with the answers
  5. Finally, choose one of the categories and give a few details or extra facts about it. If its a youth group leader or member interview them and pray for them in your small groups/pairs.

If the pictures are too cryptic, you can make a round easier by providing one or two bonus letters as clues.

Below are 2 examples provided in pptx files with the following answers for each respective one:

powerpoint #1

a) Callum- (he’s a youth group leader at Campbelltown Anglican Youth)

b) Samson

c) The Prodigal Son

powerpoint #2

a) Nick Bull- (he’s a youth group leader at Campbelltown Anglican Youth)

b) Jonah

c) Tower of Babel

Get your story straight

The object of this game is to help young people become familiar with stories from the gospels and as a secondary goal will help them mix with other young people at youth group. This game does NOT require players to have any prior knowledge of the Bible at all (though there is an advantage for people that do).

You will need to download and print off one of the Story Card decks (download: Deck 1 here), 200gsm cardboard works well. Each deck contains 12 stories. Each story is split over 5 cards (Beginning, 1st Middle, 2nd Middle, 3rd Middle, and End). Only use enough cards to have complete stories, for example if you have 20 people playing use 20 cards that make up 4 complete stories. If you have an odd number of players, for example 22 people, see if you can make up the numbers with 3 leaders so you have 25 people playing the game and 5 complete stories.

Starting the Game:

Split into groups of 5 people. After you form everyone into teams of 5 you can work out how many bible stories you’ll use from the deck (eg. 10 teams = 10 stories. There’s 12 stories in a deck so remove the remaining 2 stories).

(We’ll use 10 teams as an example of how the game works)

Designate a captain from each team of 5 and deal out 1 card from each of the stories that you’re using (maybe just give them the “beginning” card from each story), that’ll leave a remaining 4 cards for each story in the deck.

Shuffle the remaining deck of cards and distribute randomly. You should now have 10 teams where the captain has the beginning of a story but the rest of the cards in the team are mixed up and will all be from the different stories  (though the law of averages will mean that there could be 1 or more other card/s in the team that matches the captains story card). The card that has been dealt to that person stays with them for the entire game.

Playing the Game:

Give the groups a minute or so to work out if they have any cards that belong to the same story. After roughly a minute, sound a gong (or something) to indicate that the captains trading period has begun. Set a time limit for the trading period to encourage them to get on with it.

The Trading Period:

The captains meet in the middle of the room (front or wherever the trading area is) and they start to work out a trade with other teams. Captains can only trade a maximum of two people (and their cards) each trading period. At first the captains will want to trade the maximum, so everyone will want to trade 2 players. As the game goes on and people are getting closer to piecing together their story, some will want to trade 1 and others 2, but no matter what happens a team MUST NOT exceed 5 players. It’ll be up to the captain to work out how to trade the players they want to swap (eg. If the captain wants to swap 2 players but everyone else only wants to swap 1, then the captain will need to swap their players to 2 different teams. No problem).

The players remain in their teams with their cards during the trading period. Once the captains have struck a deal, then people move teams (taking their card with them).

Once all the teams have traded, give them another minute or so to work out if they now have more cards that belong to the captain’s story.

At the end of roughly a minute, start the next trading period and repeat the process until one group has one complete story. Check if the story is correct and then you may end the game there or continue until all groups have completed stories, though it is perhaps best to finish after 1 group has a complete story because of time. Have the winning group read out their complete story.

Note: It’ll help to have another copy of the cards printed out complete on A4 pages so you can check if the completed stories are correct or give assistance for those who need it.

Whose Bin? (Bible Game version)

Decide on a bible character or story. Collect about 5-8 items/clues that are related to the character or story and put the items in a bin (you will want to make them a little cryptic, with the first clue the hardest, and the final clue more or less giving away the answer). Note, you can just get pictures of the items and put them on the powerpoint rather than find the actual props for clues (there is a keynote file already prepared attached to this post.

Split into smaller groups (mix it up with those who have Bible knowledge and those who don’t). Bring the bin out the front so that all groups can see it (or the use the powerpoint slide). In the game, each group gets to have only one guess at what the story or who the character is, there guess should be made to the leader of the game in quiet so that other teams can continue to play without knowing the guess of other teams. If the story or character is guessed immediately after the first clue, maximum points are awarded. With every clue that is revealed less points are awarded for a correct guess.

At the conclusion of the round point out the theological significance of that Bible character before moving on to the next round.

#1 Alternative game play: Split into teams and give each group a bin with clues to a different bible character or story. Each team is given 5 minutes to rummage through the clues in the bin and then make their guess. In this alternative game play all clues should be a bit cryptic with no “give-it-away” clue.
#2 Alternative game play: Instead of using bible characters or stories, use group members and make the game a mixer.

Bible Blunder!

(this game comes courtesy of the great Daniel Higgins!)

This game is designed to help young people to be discerning in regards to what they might hear in bible talks or what they overhear about the bible. It will encourage young people to really learn the Bible for themselves, as well as teaching them some stories from the bible. This game requires you to go through and change or add to a Bible story before hand.

For example:

DAVID & GOLIATH (Edited Version!) 1 Samuel 16 & 17

David was the youngest of twelve son’s and was by far the most popular. (False! 1 Samuel 16:10-11) He worked as a shepherd, and often had to kill Lions and Bears. He was also glowing with health and had a fine appearance. Because of his health and fine appearance he was appointed King. (False! 1 Samuel 16:7) Now, the Babylonians were invading Judah (False! 1 Samuel 17:1) They had a champion by the name of Goliath, who was about 9 ½ feet tall! He Defied the people of Israel, and challenged them to send him a person to fight. Lots of men volunteered, but David was chosen because of his practice fighting wild animals.(False! 1 Samuel 17:11) David was a little nervous, but took courage when the King lent him his personal set of armour. (False! 1 Samuel 17:38) He went down to the water and picked out five smooth stones, and with his sling in hand approached Goliath. Goliath taunted him, so david started shooting his stones at him, Goliath charged and with his last stone David knocked out Goliath. (False! 1 Samuel 17:49) David then chopped Goliath’s head off. When the enemy saw what had happened they dropped there weapons and bowed down in reverence and respect of the Lord, becoming Israelites. (False! 1 Samuel 17:51-53) From that point on, David became very popular and went to live with the King and his Son.

Instructions: This game is played in teams and will require a sheet of paper and a pen for each team. Put the edited story on big screen (if you are able) and read the edited story out loud telling them to look out for ‘bible blunders’ which are places where the story has been changed or added to. Afterwards, give the teams 2 minutes or so to list all the mistakes by writing them on a sheet of paper.

Once the time is completed, ask the teams to mark their list as you read out the list of the mistakes (honesty system!). A correct guess gets you one point, but an incorrect guess means you lose two points. After each mistake is announced, say how it really happened, so everyone knows how the story should actually go. At the end, ask people how many mistakes they got (Did they miss some? Did they think there was extra?) then tally up the scores. The team with the most points wins.

Bible or what?

This game helps people become familiar with the Bible and recognise concepts and phrases that are not in the Bible. This game is adapted from a “Spicks & Specks” game where contestants are shown a photo and have to decide if the photo is of a famous composer or serial killer (very entertaining and unfortunately often quite hard to tell…). Obviously “Bible or What?” doesn’t use photos but text. Participants need to decide if the text they are shown is from the Bible or elsewhere.

Some examples of topics are: Bible or Poetry? Bible or Pop Song? Bible or Philosophy? Bible or Buddhism? Bible or Islam? Bible or Shakespeare? Etc. (Poetry & Philosophy obviously refer to non-biblical examples of those topics).

Choose some texts for your topics that are hard to distinguish between and others that are obvious. Here are 2 example questions for Bible or Shakespeare just so you get the idea:

1. “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast”

Answer: Shakespeare! (Romeo & Juliet).

2. “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.”

Answer: Bible! (Proverbs 14:17 – KJV)

And 2 example questions from Bible or Pop Song:

1.     “Throw your soul through every open door, count your blessings to find what you look for, turn my sorrow into treasured gold, you pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow.”

Answer: Pop Song! (Adele – Rolling in the deep)

2.     “For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

Answer: Bible! (Psalm 57:10 – TNIV)

Instructions: You can play this game in 3 rounds where you choose 3 topics and have a multiple questions in each; or you can play the game with multiple topics that have one question for each, it’s up to you but the latter will be more work.

Once you have chosen your topics and worked out your questions, form the group into teams to play. Give each team a game card that says “Bible” written on one side and “Other” written on the reverse side. After displaying and reading out the text, each team is given a minute to decide their answer before showing if they think the text is from the Bible or from the other topic you have chosen. Tally points as you go and declare the winner when you’ve completed the rounds. More importantly use the game as an opportunity to help people understand what is in the bible and what isn’t.

Download the pre-prepared presentation slides:

Group vs Guru

A version of the TV game show “One verses 100”. Call in a “guru” (minister, student minister, youth minister, youth leader, etc) to youth group have them compete against the whole youth group in Bible (or other) trivia. The game should work like the game show where the aim is for the “guru” to outlast the group by getting all the questions right. The youth group and the “guru” are given a multiple choice question. The group is given 30 seconds for every person to decide their answer and record it on a piece of paper (this works on trust). Anyone in the group with the wrong answer is out for the rest of the game. The “guru” is also given 30 seconds to decide their answer and lock it in. If the “guru” gets the answer wrong, then the “guru” is out and the group wins.

35+ Note: For groups 35+, make A5 size answer cards that are folded into 4 quarters with one letter (A,B,C,D) written respectively in each quarter. People then lock in their answer for the question by holding the letter above their head. Make sure you ask the Guru to lock in his answer secretly before the group answers, otherwise the Guru gets an unfair advantage.

Download the powerpoint template here with 15 ready made questions.

Download the keynote  template file here (this is the original file & exported as a .ppt)

Bible Balderdash

The aim of the game is ultimately to learn the definition of biblical & theological terms and words (eg. iniquity, statute, precept, justification, sanctification, propitiation etc) to build vocabulary and help with personal Bible reading and understanding.

The Balderdash game is a classic bluffing game. Players make up definitions for a chosen word. They earn points for bluffing the other players with their made-up definition. They also earn points for guessing the correct definition.

The game is played in groups, with 8 groups being the maximum otherwise there will be too many definitions to read out and remember.

The Dasher introduces a word to all the groups playing the game (display it on a projector screen if you have one). Each group then has 3 minutes to discuss what they think the correct definition of the word is, and then create a definition for the word that sounds believable and could be mistaken as the correct definition by the other groups.

They write the definition on their answer sheet (with group name on top) and hand it to the “Dasher” up the front.

Once the answer sheets are collected, the “Dasher” reads all the definitions aloud including the correct definition of the word.

Each group then votes for the definition which they believe is the correct definition. The Dasher takes note of which definition each group chooses. After all the groups have guessed, the “Dasher” reads the correct definition (display on projector screen if you have one).

Scores are awarded:

  • A group is awarded 1 point for each vote their made-up definition received.
  • Each group who chose the correct definition is awarded 2 points.
  • Those groups that didn’t receive any votes or choose the correct definition are awarded no points.

Play more rounds as time allows.


Guess Who? Bible Characters

guess_who_bible_characters_sampleThis game is based on the board game “Guess Who?”. Split into teams (you will need a complete set of cards for each team, so only have as many teams as you have sets of cards), the smaller the teams the better. Each team starts the game with a set of 50 Bible character cards (download cards here) that they arrange face up in front of them. The game starts with the game organiser selecting a card of their choice from a separate complete pile of cards. The object of the game is to be the first to determine which card the game organiser has selected. Teams take turns asking a yes or no question to eliminate candidates, such as “Is this person in the OT?”. Well-crafted questions allow players to eliminate one or more possible cards. Teams should just turn over the cards which are eliminated. Questions need to be asked to the game organiser without the other groups hearing their question (otherwise they would gain an unfair advantage). Each team is only allowed one guess, which is an incentive to play the game the game through without just making random guesses each round… When the character has been guessed, give a short description of who this person was, what they did, and how they are significant in the salvation story of the bible. Here is a good website to get factual biblical information: http://www.teachit.co.uk/armoore/bible/biblepeople.htm

Who am I?

Very similar game to “Who’s bin?” but without the props…

Choose names from the bible (be sure to use the more well known names). Prepare 12 clues for each of the Bible characters. Start with harder clues and then get easier until you finally reveal the Bible character. Play this game in rounds, with one bible character per round. Split everybody into groups and read out the clues pausing after each clue in order to give the groups a chance to guess. Once a group has made their guess, that’s it for the round. Have a range of prizes to give out depending on how many clues were read out before the character was guessed.

Bible Secret Sounds

This activity takes a bit of preparation!

This works much like “Who am I?” except the clues are given as sounds, and you use Bible stories instead of characters. Choose a Bible story. Prepare about 12 audio clues (starting with harder clues and getting easier). Split everybody into groups and play the audio clues pausing after each clue in order to give the groups a chance to guess. Once a group has made their guess, that’s it for the game. Have a range of prizes to give out depending on how many clues were heard before the Bible story was guessed.

Bible Charades/Pictionary

Just like the game charades or pictionary. Divide the group into teams. Make list of about 10 scenes, things, or people from the Bible. Each team nominates one person to go up first and be told the first item on the list. They return to their group to act out or draw the Bible scene, thing, or person that was given. When someone guesses what it is, that person then goes back to the leader running the game and gets the next item off the list. The process repeats until all the listed items have been guessed. The team that finishes the list first is the winner.

Variation: Can also be done with playdoe – sculptionary.

Protect the truth (poison ball)

This game is a variation of  poison ball. Using masking tape, chalk, or rope, mark out an court to play poison ball (the court should be rectangle and divided into 3 equal thirds). Divide the group into 2 teams. Team ‘A’ will stand in the middle section of the poison ball court and the team ‘B’ will stand each side. Like regular poison ball, team ‘B’ needs to eliminate team ‘A’ by throwing a ball and hitting each member below the knee. The added twist to this is that one member on team ‘A’ is given a Bible and given the title: “the truth”. Team ‘A’ needs to protect the truth at all costs. If “the truth” gets hit below the knee by the ball, not only are they out, but the whole team  is out. The game goes for 3 minutes, and if team ‘A’ is able to protect “the truth” for the duration of the game, they win. Play this game as many times as you like and swap the roles of the different teams and who plays “the truth” each time.

Note: This activity requires a durable environment and lots of space.

Draw your swords

The aim of this game is to help everyone navigate their way around the Bible better. Give every person in the group a Bible to tuck under one arm. Call out a Bible passage to the group (eg. Jeremiah 31:31) and the first person to open their Bible, find the passage and read it out is the winner. Repeat again until satisfied.

Bible Skit

Split into 2 groups and make a skit on the Bible teaching passage. Give each group about 5-10 minutes to work out a 2 minute skit and then perform it in front of the whole group. This will really only work with narrative parts of the Bible.

Note: This activity requires at least 20 mins.

Bible Taboo

This is a rip off of a popular board game Taboo. Make a bunch of cards that have Bible characters or recognisable Bible things (eg. Noah’s ark, temple, Ark of the covenant, etc.) and list about five words on the card that can’t be used to describe the person or object (Taboo words). Split the group into teams and have each team taking turns at going through the cards and trying to describe the Bible character or thing to their group. 1 pt. per correct guess to that team, and -1 pt. if that team takes a pass on a card or says one of the Taboo words.

Note: I’ve done this game with 120 teenagers and it works a treat!

Here is a pdf of Bible Taboo cards (email me if you want the Word doc.)

JUST ADDED! A pdf of the Bible Taboo Cards in Deutsch (German)!

** If you like this, you might also want to check out:


Taken from the theatre sport game show “who’s line is it anyway?”. Split into 2 or more teams of 3-5 people and give each teams a set of props (eg. broom, cushion, hat, hula-hoop, brick, aqua noodle, etc…). Give each team 5 minutes to come up with as many Bible stories as possible which they can act out in 30 second skits using the props. Have the teams perform in front of a judging panel (probably made up of leaders) and score each skit on: Use of props; team participation; comedy value, paraphrased biblical accuracy etc… Rotate through the teams as they perform their skits. If a story is acted out by more than one team then the points for that 30 second skit are halved.

30+ Note: If there are 30 people or more, then give each team a Bible story and let them find a way to work the props into the story (could use broom as a horse etc…). The groups will need time to read the story and prepare a skit, at least 10 minutes for prep and 2 minutes to perform. Depending on the number of groups this activity may take about 30 minutes.

Here is s clip of the ‘props’ activity in action at salt youth group petersham:

A Perfect Match

This game takes a lot of preparation!

Pick some famous couples from the Bible (eg. Samson & Delilah, Mary & Joseph, Ruth & Boaz, Abraham & Sarah, David & Bathsheba, etc. Or some famous groups of people from the Bible, eg. Shadrach & Meshach & Abednego, the 12 sons of Israel, 12 disciples of Jesus, etc.) and create some information sheets about them (including details of where you’d read about them in the Bible, who they are, their role in the salvation story of the Bible, and some prayer points to thank God for). Here is a link to an online dictionary of bible characters that is very useful. Put up the information sheets about the Bible characters on the walls around the room.

Create some sticky name labels for each name in the famous couple or group (eg. a label for Samson and a label for Delilah etc.) and distribute the labels randomly to each person. Give everybody 5 minutes to check out the information sheets and discover who they are and who their match is (eg. If it’s “Samson” they need to find “Delilah”). Once everybody has made their match and formed their pair or group, they sit together with the info sheet and talk about what they discovered about their bible character and then pray the prayer points. Bring everybody back together and pick some people to share who they were and what they discovered.

Note: Even if people have little or no Bible knowledge they should be able to work it out from the info sheets.

Here’s some information sheets in Word doc.

Bubble Gum Sculpture

This is a good revision game, but you’ll probably only want to do this once a year… it’s pretty gross. You will need rubber gloves and lots of bubble gum. Divide kids into groups. Give each group a plate or flat dish and 3 or 4 packets of bubble gum. In 10 minutes each group needs to chew their bubble gum and make a sculpture out of the gum that relates to a Bible story or teaching point from past weeks (or that night). Warning: it smells pretty bad and rubber or latex gloves are a must!

Variation: Can do with play-doh for something less gross…

Don’t forget the bible verse!

A version of the TV game show “Don’t forget the lyrics!”. This game is played in teams. Read out a verse in the Bible and leave off the last few words. Tell the contestants how many words are missing and the contestants have to guess what the missing words are. You can play this game in rounds ie. New Testament verses, Old Testament verse, Obscure verses (for more points), Well Known verses (less points), and you can have rounds where the number of missing words increases each round. The aim of this game is to teach Bible verses and significant points of Biblical theology.

Here’s an example: Mark 10:43 Jesus said “whoever wants to become great among you must ___ /_____ /_________” (be your servant). We might expect that whoever wants to be great must be the smartest or have the best skills, but Jesus says be a servant, and that’s a significant theological point for Christianity.

You can find a list of good Bible verses at the back of “Changing the World through Effective Youth Ministry 2” K. Moser, Aquilia Press, 2005.

-40 Note: This game works best with a maximum of 4 groups of 10 people… otherwise it takes too long and there’s too much down time for other groups while they wait for their turn.

Here’s 2 versions of the game in powerpoint (.pptx)

Version #1

Version #2