Sword drills are used by many Sunday Schools as a way of training children to look up references in their bible. The basic idea is that the children start with their bibles closed, a reference is given to them and, when the signal to start is given, they look up the verse. The first one to find it is the winner. However there are several ways to make the exercise more fun, and more visual, and some of those we have used in Dovecot Sunday School are explained below.
Note on bible versions: If the children in your Sunday school use different versions of the bible, you should make sure beforehand that the key word (animal, object number etc.) is the same in each version.
Visuals: As well as reading out the bible reference, it should be written out for the children to see. In the past this might have been done on a blackboard. But in these days of computers it is very easy to print out the references in large letters on sheets of brightly coloured paper. These can then be put in the correct order in a ringbinder (see photo) and held up for the children to refer to while they are looking up the verse.
Animal Sword Drill: All the verses contain a reference to an animal. As soon as the children find the verse, they have to act and/or make sounds like the animal. The first one to do this is the winner. Here are some suitable references: Philippians 3:2 [Dogs], Esther 6:8 [Horse], 1 Corinthians 10:9 [Serpent], Proverbs 17:12 [Bear], Zechariah 13:5 [Cattle], Matthew 8:30 [Swine or Pigs], Genesis 29:2 [Sheep], Psalm 105:30 [Frogs], Judges 14:5 [Lions], Luke 12:6 [Sparrows].
Objects: At the back of the room there is a table on which a variety of objects are arranged. Two children of roughly equal ability are selected to come to the front and look up the reference. One of the objects on the table is mentioned in the verse. The first child to bring the correct object to the person in charge of the quiz is the winner. In order to involve very young children, there can be two pairs of children, each pair consisting of one older child and one younger one. The older child looks up the verse, and tells the object to the younger child, who must then fetch it from the table. Suitable bible references and objects are as follows: Jeremiah 13:12 [Bottle], Job 6:6 [Salt], Deuteronomy 25:13 [Bag], Psalm 60:8 [Shoe], Genesis 44:12 [Cup], Luke 4:20 [Book], Psalm 11:2 [String], Proverbs 1:14 [Purse], Isaiah 8:1 [Pen], 2 Kings 4:7 [Oil], Proverbs 17:22 [Medicine], Psalm 90:4 [Watch], Genesis 22:10 [Knife (not a sharp one!)], Haggai 1:8 [Wood], Acts 4:11 [Stone], John 13:4 [Towel], Revelation 1:14 [Wool], Mark 15:36 [Sponge], Ruth 2:14 [Bread], Jeremiah 2:22 [Soap], Psalm 52:2 [Razor - safety type!], Acts 23:5 [Ruler!], Matthew 16:19 [Keys].
Numbers: These are verses which incorporate a number. The first child to hold up the correct number of fingers is the winner. Suitable bible references are: Isaiah 19:18 [Five], 1 Chronicles 2:3 [Three], Joshua 15:44 [Nine], Job 2:13 [Seven], Ezra 8:15 [Three], Genesis 16:3 [Ten], Esther 2:21 [Two], 1 Samuel 17:12 [Eight], Joshua 10:5 [Five], Genesis 1:9 [One], Psalm 33:2 [Ten], Ruth 3:15 [Six], 1 Samuel 27:7 [Four].
Parts of the Body: These are verses which refer to a part of the body. The winner is the first child to point to the correct part (e.g. to their foot or teeth). Suitable bible references are: James 5:4 [Ears], Genesis 5:3 [Eyes], Esther 3:6 [Hands], 1Peter 3:3 [Hair], Deuteronomy 33:27 [Arms], Genesis 45:14 [Neck], Proverbs 30:14 [Teeth], Leviticus 21:18 [Nose], Hosea 7:16 [Tongue], Job 4:4 [ Knees], Nahum 3:12 [Mouth], Zechariah 14:4 [Feet], Lamentations 3:62 [ Lips].
Colours: These are verses which refer to a specific colour. The winner is the first child to find an object of that colour or, alternatively, they could just be asked to say the colour. Suitable bible references are: Numbers 33:10 [Red], Acts 16:14 [Purple], Daniel 3:1 [Gold], Genesis 30:32 [Brown], Revelation 6:5 [Black], Leviticus 13:36 [Yellow], Amos 2:6 [Silver], Mark 16:5 [White], Exodus 28:37 [Blue], Psalm 37:2 [Green].
Jobs: The winner is the first child to say the job referred to in the verse. Suitable Bible references are Luke 5:2 [Fishermen], 2 Timothy 4:14 [Coppersmith (KJV/NKJV) or Metalworker (NIV)], Genesis 40:16 [Baker], Ezekiel 34:5 [Shepherd], John 20:15 [Gardener], Zechariah 11:13 [Potter], Mark 6:3 [Carpenter], 2 Timothy 2:3 [Soldier], Genesis 41:9 [Butler (KJV/NKJV) or Cupbearer (NIV)], Jeremiah 8:22 [ Physician], Isaiah 46:6 [ Goldsmith].
Mothers: This is esepcially suitable for Mothers' Day - the winner is the first child to say the name of the mother referred to in the verse. Suitable Bible references are: 1 Samuel 2:1 [Hannah], Ruth 1:2 [Naomi], Genesis 21:1 [Sarah], Matthew 2:18 [Rachel], Genesis 21:17 [Hagar], Luke 1:13 [Elizabeth], Exodus 6:20 [Jochebed], 1 Kings 1:11 [Bathsheba], Genesis 24:29 [ Rebekah], 2 Corinthians 11:3 [Eve]
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