Friday, March 31, 2017


Title: Bible Trivia, Jokes and Fun Facts for Kids
Author: Troy Schmidt
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Pages: 176

I realised just how little I knew of the Bible, particularly of the Old Testament, when I encountered the questions in this book. Of course, different versions of the Bible worded things differently but that was no excuse for my ignorance. So I set about reading this book with gusto.

There are a number of formats in this book that can be used to enliven Bible learning classes. Multiple Choice questions, Fill-in-the-Blanks, Match the columns, you take your pick.

The Did you know? Section includes fact learning related to the Bible. For instance, the size and scale of Noah’s Ark, the height of Goliath, the sizes of the chapters and verses in the Bible etc. The history is explained with humour. There is also a lot of interesting trivia on the longest and shortest chapters in the Bible, and the length of the verses.

The book begins with Knock, Knock jokes. Most of them are names from the Old Testament, with Matthew, Luke and Jesus, the only exceptions from the New Testament. The funniest one for me was “It’s me, Adam! There’s only one other person on the earth. Who do you think it is?

We also have Multiple Choice Questions from the Psalms, the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The answers follow each question, and that was a relief. On a Kindle, going back and forth between pages is rather tedious.

Are You Smarter Than King Soloman? asks interesting questions, through the medium of Multiple Choice questions. there is a breath of good humour which suffuses the book, suggesting that Bible reading should be a joy, not a chore.

We also have Anagrams from the Old Testament. I enjoyed making words out of the Old Testament names.

Who Art Thou? presents us with questions, each with a series of clues. Each time we click a clue, the number of points we can earn from answering that question goes down.

We also get the details of phrases like “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” that are popularly used in the English language today, but that originated in the Bible.

And then we have the lists, especially the one list that I struggled with all through Sunday School. The listing of the ten plagues that struck Egypt, in the right order. We are also quizzed on the order of the Ten Commandments and the names of Jesus’ ancestors in the order of their birth.

Bible Banter contains some funny one-liners.

Another section calls us to match the names of husbands with wives, fathers and sons, and brothers too. Another quizzes us on the old and new names of well known Biblical characters. We are also asked to match people with the dreams they saw.

The sheer number and variety of questions is astounding. This book could serve as a fantastic way of getting youngsters and older people interested in reading the Bible.

(I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House. I read it on NetGalley.)

Monday, March 20, 2017

When Words make our Worlds: Theme Reveal

Words have always fascinated me. 

My dad had inculcated in me the habit of reading a dictionary, not just to find the meaning of a particular word that stumped me, but just to wallow in it and discover new words that I could add to my vocabulary. Once I discovered a new word, he told me, I only had to use it in speech about five times for it to become irrevocably mine.

My dictionary was my proud possession (much later Roget’s thesaurus received the same honour) and I was fascinated by words and their meanings, and even more by the efforts of all the unnamed people who had contributed to it.

How on earth had the dictionary come into being, I always wondered. Sure, there were great lexicographers like Noah Webster who played their part. But how did they do it? Did people walk up to Noah, for instance, and say, “Hey, Noah, I’ve got a few words that you might like to add to that book you are putting together.”

When I was in the 9th grade, I decided to be a journalist when I was older. The idea had taken a fierce hold of me, ever since I read somewhere in a magazine that journalists know about 40000 more words than the average person.

Although I worked for a newspaper briefly, I didn’t become a journalist. But words continue to fascinate me. The idea that I might have more words in my arsenal than the vast majority of people makes me feel rich beyond… How do I put it? Beyond words.

I find the evolution of English fascinating. How the language has evolved, taking in words here and there from other languages, refusing to remain stagnant.

Today the English that we speak is a vibrant and alive lingo that throbs with the heartbeat of every person that has ever spoken it. Every person, who in speaking, has discovered a lack, a gap that English could not fill, and allowed his/her own native tongue to fill in that gap. And English has accepted all those words, bidding them welcome. She has absorbed them all into herself. And so, she continues to grow.

And so my theme for the A to Z April Challenge 2017 is Words. Newer words from a variety of languages. They may or may not be under consideration for inclusion into the English language by the venerable lexicographers who take these decisions. 

But words aren’t docile enough to stay out, if asked to. They enter into schools and colleges, workplaces and boardrooms, kitchens and streets, held aloft by the people who speak them, people who dip into their own argot to find that elusive word that English can’t satisfy.

All through the Challenge, I will talk about new words that ought to be a part of the English language. It should be fun.
As the Boyzone lyrics go, “It’s only words, but words are all I have.”

The great philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, "The limits of my language are the limits of my world."

Shall we expand the limits of our world?


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