Sword Drills


Official Sword Drill Instructions:

1. If some children do not know how to do a Sword Drill then first of all explain why the Bible is the Christian’s sword.

2. First of all have all the children close their Bibles and hold them by the binder.

3. Shout “Sheathe swords” – at this the children should put their Bibles under their arms.

4. Shout “Draw swords” – the children should now hold their Bibles in the air with straight arms.

5. Tell the children a book, a chapter, and a verse of the Bible, and have them repeat it after you. For example, “John chapter 3 verse 16.”

6. Once the children have repeated the reference, shout “Charge” – the children should now try to look up the verse as quickly as possible.

7. The first one to find the reference should shout out the first few words from the verse. In our example, this would be, “For God so…” (KJV). You could also have the children stand up when they get the verse to make it clearer who won.

8. This child would then come out to the front and would keep their Bible open at their verse. They are now in the final.

9. Repeat this until you have 4 or perhaps 5 children in the final.

10. The children should then read their verses and within these verses there should be a word which is the same. The rest of the children should listen to the verses to try and guess the common word.

11. Once the children have read their verses and someone has guessed what the word is, have a Sword Drill just for the finalists.

12. The first one to get the verse should shout out the first couple words as before. This child has then won the sword drill and should then read out this verse.

If you’ve ever spent hours refining your sword drill bible-opening and page-flipping skills…you might have been a fundamentalist.

23 thoughts on “Sword Drills”

  1. step 13. said shild then comes up in front of the congregation (no clapping, because we are thier to honor the Lord and not the bible reading child) and is to recieve the fundamentalist gift of choice (a candy bar)

  2. Wow–we called them “Bible drills” and never had so many rules when I was a kid. We only followed 5-7, but never ever 8-12. And as for 3 and 4, I remember thinking that it was cheesy when the sword metaphor was pushed too far. (I was a weird kid.) I always enjoyed this, even if the preacher’s kids won nine times out of ten.

  3. We had a rule that if you could quote the verse without looking it up, that counted too. Memorization trumps being able to find it.

    1. If I knew the verse, I would just open my Bible to a random place, stand up and start quoting.

      1. You cheated at the Sword Drill?!? I’m pretty sure people go to Hell for that.

  4. So…if you used to win these fairly often, does that make you a good Fundamentalist? Ha-ha! Too bad that didn’t help me actually enjoy reading the Bible.

  5. I guess the anti fundy position is the inability to find most books of the Bible without using the index.

  6. I used to own at these! Haha! Too bad I was a foolish little fundy boy who looked down on others because they had to use the index in the front of the Bible…And no. I wasn’t a preacher’s kid. 🙂

    Rule #1. TERRIBLE IDEA. Too many kids have taken this a LITTLE bit too literally…Hence beating each other with their Bibles.

  7. Like Jordan I only remember having rules 1-7, though at camp the winners did win points for their team. You know you’ve been a fundamentalist when you spend time comparing the number of rules with other fundamentalists. For that matter you know you’re a fundamentalist if you can and do make competitions out of *anything.*

  8. Sometimes the Drill Instructor (who usually held the Apostolic office of “Youth Pastor”) would yell out “Jude, Chapter 2, Verse 4”. Oh, how we’d laugh at the poor suckers who fell for it.

  9. Oh, the things we did with our Bibles…except read them. We memorized them and competed with them and carried them everywhere (always on the top of the stack; never on the bottom), but we missed the message entirely. Sword drills were just weird, and the adults running the things took them SO seriously. As a child, I remember thinking that it was critical that I “get good at this,” like my life might someday depend on being able to look up a verse FAST. I also looked down on classmates who goofed off and never memorized the order of the books of the Bible and who couldn’t recite them in under 45 seconds. I’m sorry for that.

  10. I have to ditto Jordan M Poss, Becca, Nathan, Reader Mo, Laura and Staci. lol. Usually we did girls against boys and just kept score for 20 minutes or so. I always made it so the girls would win. Then I’d feel bad because the guys are supposed to be leaders so I would start losing on purpose to help encourage them.

  11. Trina- if you’re ever looking for a fundy husband, I’d make sure to put that on your resume, right under “plays piano” and “does not own pants” (or, “britches”, as it were). you can say “holy enough to beat the boys at sword drilling, but fundy enough to submit to they’re authority, right or wrong”. 😀

    Staci- You said: “Oh, the things we did with our Bibles…except read them. We memorized them and competed with them and carried them everywhere (always on the top of the stack; never on the bottom), but we missed the message entirely.”

    I say: I’ve never heard fundyism so accurately and succinctly described! 🙂

    Morgan- Ha! Also, we’d get the extra-heavy bible covers, with room for a legal pad, pens, and several highlighters. Mine had a stainless steel Jesus fish on it too. The extra weight made the word of God non only “sharper than any two-edged sword”, but also heavier that any sledge hammer. that’s gooooooood thumpin’!

  12. I grew up with all of this, too. I remember thinking: why couldn’t the BIble be like other books? Why not in alphabetical order?” As a Grandmother of 2, I still want the Bible in alphabetical order!
    At the church we currently attend (with a BJU grad pastor, even!) the kids do NOT do sword drills. When I taught Sunday School, I saw a need for the kids to at least learn the books of the Bible, and what was contained in the books. Then I introduced the little song “The Devil is a sly old fox, if I could catch him I’d put him in a box” well, that got me kicked out of children’s ministries!

  13. I won them a lot too.

    Until that blasted little new kid brought his mother’s *indexed* Bible. Grrrrr. . . . I was both horrified and intrigued at the possibilities.

    But yes, using the Bible as a weapon is an early skill.

  14. Didn’t “sword drills” pop up on an episode of The Simpsons? I vaguely recall an episode dealing with them (of course, the Flanders were involved). I just remember being surprised that the show would joke about something so relatively obscure (though you didn’t have to watch for long to catch on).

  15. I didn’t grow up fundie, but my childhood church and the summer camp I attened (all girls, of course) was preeeeetty evangelical and we did this without the sword metaphor. I hated it as I wasn’t a competitive kid and didn’t get how this was supposed to be fun – I’d usually sit there and look grumpy.

  16. Another variation on a sword drill: have the leader call out a word like “door” or “camel”, and when he says go, the kids have to find and read a verse containing that word. How fast can you find concupiscence?

  17. I admit I miss Sword Drills sometimes, the challenge of looking up verses, flipflipflipflipflippetyflip.
    Did anyone ever get sneaky and call out something in Hezekiah? 😀

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