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Click here to learn the future of the Pathfinder Bible Achievement program. Open Letter (PDF)

What is Pathfinder Bible Achievement?

Pathfinder Bible Achievement (PBA) is a program for Pathfinders in grades 5 through 10, where groups of up to six or seven work together as a team to answer specific questions from a designated book or portions of the Bible. It is a fun way to encourage Pathfinders to study the Bible, while they also learn team work and excellent study skills.

How did PBA start?

The "Pathfinder Bible Bowl" name (used for many years) and program was developed in 1987 by Elder Terry Dodge, who at the time was pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Sheridan, Wyoming. The purpose of this program is to enhance the knowledge of Pathfinders by studying a certain book or section of the Bible each year. Every Pathfinder club is allowed one team of up to six but no less than two members plus an alternate.

The first Pathfinder Bible Bowl was held in the spring of 1988 with four clubs (Casper,
Graybull, Newcastle, and Sheridan, Wyoming) participating. The book chosen for that year was Revelation, including the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary introduction on this book. The event was attended by a large number of individuals from the four churches.

For more PBA history see the PBA Manual(PDF).

Why participate in PBA?

PBA is a fun, non-competitive way for young people to become acquainted with and excited about the Bible. The program encourages Bible study, both as an individual and as part of a group. Valuable lessons in working as part of a team and in-depth studying are learned. Young people become excited about the Word and share that excitement with each other and their families. PBA fosters a lifetime commitment to Bible study and seeking the truth of God's Word.

How do I form a team?

PBA is open to all Pathfinders grades 5 through 10. Each Pathfinder Club can have one team of up to six, but no less than two, Pathfinders and one alternate (in case of sickness etc.). Each team appoints a "captain" to be the spokesperson and a "scribe" to write answers to questions at PBA events.

For complete instructions on forming a team and registering for PBA, see the PBA Manual (PDF).

How does a PBA event work?

Knowing exactly how the Bible Achievement events proceed will help your team be at ease and prepared to do well.

On the day of the Bible Achievement event, each Pathfinder is expected to wear their full dress uniform, including the scarf with its slide, sash, belt and dark shoes. This is a time when each Pathfinder will want to look sharp.

An organizational meeting is normally scheduled prior to the official start time. At this time those officiating will explain the rules, register the participants and answer any questions. A judge and scorekeeper will be assigned to each team. To ensure fairness, they will be individuals not connected with your club or team.

Each team should select a captain and a scribe. The scribe will write the answer or answers for each question during the event. The captain is the team member who helps to arbitrate issues on the team, who indicates when more time is needed, and who comes forward to receive the club certificate, at the end of the program.

The teams will be seated in circles of six chairs with additional seats available nearby for a judge and scorekeeper for each team. Each question is read twice as well as displayed on a projection screen. The team then has 10 seconds for the scribe to write down their answer on an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper. If the question has multiple answers additional time will be given. If the team needs more time to write their answer, the captain will raise their hand until the scribe has completed writing the answers.

Once all the teams are ready, the teams show their answers by holding the page up so that the judge and scorekeeper can see it. In the case of questions with many or complicated answers, they may hand the sheet to the judge for scoring.

The judge will determine if the team's answers match the answers displayed on the screen and the scorekeeper will record the number of points received on the score sheet. If the team members believe that they should have received more points than the judge gave them, they may have a runner send their paper up to the panel of judges at the front of the church. This ensures a more accurate and consistent handling of variations in answers.

After 45 questions have been answered, a short break is given. If the team has an alternate member, they may change with one member of the team at this point. When the last question has been answered, the scorekeepers will total up the team's score and hand it in to the officials. They may also participate in checking other team's scores for accuracy.

The top score is determined and a seal indicating First, Second or Third place is applied to certificates for each club based on their team's percentage of the top score. The teams are called alphabetically and the captain of the team goes forward to receive the certificate.

A pin is given to all the team members and their coach. After they are engraved, a bar is given for each level in which the team participates. The bars are engraved with the level and the year and are gold for first place, silver for second place and bronze for third place.

Concerns about Competition.

Due to the way the Pathfinder Bible Achievement program is designed there is no need for the negative side of competition that sometimes occurs in other team activities. Every team can be a first place team.

Teams are encouraged to study the Bible and to do their best. This is an excellent time to encourage positive interaction with other teams whether a team places first, second or third. Everyone wins because they have studied the Bible and learned other skills.

Who do I contact to find out more?

For more information see the PBA manual (PDF), or contact PBA using the form at left, or email:, or you can call (517) 316-1515.

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