Sword Drill is searching the word of God. Ephesians 6 verse 17. Both the contestants and judges must have the fear of God in their minds and let the word be their guide. Colossians 3:23.

Anybody who wants to be a participant in the sword drill must know the rules guiding it before holding the Bible at all. There are seven rules guiding it. A participant can lose forty-five marks in just a single question if he/she does not take care.

  • Failure to stand upright or straight/Keeping an eye on a leader. Until the leader says “search”, if a contestant opens the Bible before the word “search”, 5 marks will be deducted from his mark (-5).. The contestant is to be looking straight, no matter where the conductor may be standing. He or she must keep in looking straight.
  • Holding the Bible: If the Bible is not properly held, this offence also is minus 5(-5). The Bible must be flat in the palm of the contestant with the Book of Genesis resting on the left palm while the right palm must be on the top of the Revelation end of the Bible, and the Bible must not be opened until the command “search” is given.
  • Jumping or sliding forward instead of stepping out of other contestants. This attracts a penalty of minus 5(-5). If a contestant wants to step out, he/she should step out a footstep (out)so that it may be easier for him or her to make a footstep back to his or her position.
  • Flipping Bible pages carelessly or making noise with the Bible Making unnecessary noise with the Bible attracts a penalty of 5. In this respect, contestants must be good at making accurate judgments about the location of the books of the Bible. For instance, if you just take a Bible and open it into two halves, you will find yourself opening the Book of Psalms. The quarter opening leads to the book of Malachi. In following this system of searching the Bible, flipping the Bible or making noise with the Bible will be minimized.
  • Incorrect/Wrong References: If a contestant steps out with an incorrect reference or word, a total of 15 marks will be deducted from his/her marks (15). It is therefore advisable for a contestant to be sure of his/her reference before stepping out.
  • Failing to put a finger on the correct reference: This attracts a penalty of 5 marks (minus 5). This means that the contestant must put his/her finger on the actual verse, or the name of the person or place in reference before stepping forward.
  • Looking at the Bible or looking at other contestants and their references after stepping out.: This carries a penalty of 5 marks (-5 marks). If all these rules and regulations are adhered to, contestants will be free from penalties. If there are too many penalties, the contestants cannot meet the requirements for winning.
  • Failing to step forward within 10 seconds, but after the 10th second, he/she now goes out. The penalty is(-5)
  • Raising of hand to answer the question. This also attracts (-5)
  • Opening or searching the Bible after coming out attracts (-5)
  • Stepping forward before placing the index finger on the correct answer. It attracts(-5)
  • Stepping backward after first coming forward attracts (-5) Scoring Scoring depends largely on the judges. For instance, the 1″person to come out will score 15 marks. The 2 people to come out score 10 marks. The 3a person to come out will score 5 marks; The 4th and others that come out will score 1 mark each. If two or more participants step out at the same time the judge must score each of them according to the position of their stepping out.

The judges must be faithful; they should not fear or favour any particular contestant or association of the conference. They should do their job as unto the Lord, knowing fully well that they will face the ultimate judgment of god one day.

The Contest

The contest in the sword drill is grouped into six sections, namely:

  • Scripture searching drill;
  • Book drill;
  • Unfinished quotation drill;
  • Character drill; and
  • Doctrinal drill.
  • The Messianic Prophecy Drill

Each section is first of all announced before going into the drill. For example, the leader may say, “The first part of this drill will deal with scripture as we should be searching. “that is, a book of the Bible will be announced and you will search and place your finger on the announced verse of the particular chapter of the book.

Scripture Searching Drill

This involves announcing the chapter and verse of a book in the Bible. For example, the Book of Hosea, Chapter 4, verse 6. The leader will say. “SEARCH” and the contestant will start to look for the reference.

Book Drill

Participants must be conversant with the 66 Books of the Bible, they know the book that comes before that particular book and the book that comes after it. For example, the Book of Psalms has the Book of Job before it and the Book of Proverbs after it.

Unfinished quotation Drill

This drill is usually taken from the Sunday school daily Bible Reading memory verse or points for Emphasis, the Sunday school Teacher’s guide of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. It must not be any verse outside these. The period covered is from May one year to April of the following year (for the convention drill). For example, may 1995 to April 1996 was used at the 1996 convention at Benin City. It may also be Jan-Dec of each year.

Character Drill

This could be any of the characters or places in the Bible. The conductor will describe the man or woman or the place in the Bible and the participant will be charged to find the person or the place. The participant is expected to put his finger on the name of the place, not the verse. If he/she touches the verse, he/she will be penalized.

Doctrinal Drill

The Christian Education Department of the Nigerian Baptist Convention usually publishes this in The Nigerian Baptist Magazine every year for each year. The references given may be up to five or six. Contestants must not go beyond the references given.

  • 2 Corinthians 6 verses 17-18
  • Colossians 1 verses 2 and 3
  • Mathew 5 verse 3
  • Luke 10 verse 1
  • 2 Peter 1verse 1
  • Mathew 6 verses 6 and 9.

Out of these six references, the contestants must open one. Any contestant who opens any other place except one of these will not be awarded any mark.

Messianic Prophecy Drill

This drill is the latest to be added to the existing 5 drills in the youths’ word drill. What it implies is that participants should be able to search and locate some prophesies on the birth and life of Jesus Christ the Messiah as recorded by some Prophets in the Bible, e.g., Hosea, Isaiah, etc.

Quality of a sword Drill contestant

To be a successful sword drill contestant/competitor, one must practice very often. The more one practices, the more one knows and the faster one becomes. Also, a contestant MUST NOT be up to twenty-four (24) years by the time it is Convention Sunday or any other day set aside for the Convention Sword Drill. Any defaulter would be automatically disqualified. This can also be reviewed anytime as the case may be.

Qualifications of a Judge

For someone to qualify as a judge in a sword drill competition, he must have the following qualities:

Fear of God: He must be ready to do anything under the fear of God, knowing well that he is accountable to God for any decision he makes.

Knowledge of Sword Drill: He must know the rules and regulations guiding the sword drill.

Fairness: He must not be partial in his disposition. He must judge without fear of favour. He/she should not prejudge

Expected number of Judges in a Particular drill

The number of Judges expected to be in any contest is eleven (11). They should be as follows:

  • Scoring judges(4)
  • Penalty judges(minimum of 5)
  • Checking judges (minimum of 2, depending on the number of participants)
  • Judge for keeping the time (1)

Duties of the Judges

The duties of the scoring judges are specified underscoring. The penalty judges are expected to penalize anybody who violates the rules guiding the drill.

The checker is expected to check the references of all the contestants who come forward. The checker must be faithful. He/she should not check until the timekeeper rings the bell.

The time allowed (as at present, it may change) is ten seconds for a question. This time limit is adopted at all levels of the contest-churches, associations, conferences, and the convention.

At the end of the competition, the judges will gather together. All the scoring judges will add up the marks of every contestant. The penalty judges will do the same. After that,  they will deduct penalties from marks scored by individual contestants. Whatever total remains will determine the contestant that places first, second, or third. The winner will then be presented to the audience for recognition.


Writer: Pastor J. A Adesope