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The last time the team from the Great Bible Race tried to set a Guinness World Record, it made sure Bible readers in places like Pakistan and India felt included.

Unfortunately, that pretty much ruled out California, which ruled out any chance of success. So things will be a bit different when a Detroit-based computer game company and its assorted Christian partners take another run at the record for World’s Largest Online Quiz.

Attempt No. 2 isn’t until July 7, but the company known as Epic 4D is already shouting from mountaintops, trying to make sure it won’t need attempt No. 3.

The short-term objective is to market the Great Bible Race, whose creator says it’s the largest Bible knowledge game on God’s green Earth.

The long-term aim is somewhat higher.

“Our goal,” says founder and CEO Melvin Claxton, “is to get people so engaged in Bible study that we have a new generation of very literate Bible scholars.”

If that means developing a Bible game that gently trash-talks you for wrong answers, well, there are lots of ways to fight the good fight — a phrase, in case anyone asks, that comes from Timothy 6.12:

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

And speaking of witnesses ...

The record for simultaneous participants in the World’s Largest Online Quiz is a surprisingly paltry 1,023, set in Istanbul, Turkey, in December 2011.

When GBR took a run at it a year later, the starting time was 10 a.m. That made for a manageable 9:30 p.m. in New Delhi, but discouraged participation in Los Angeles and Seattle, where 7 a.m. turned out to be uninvitingly early.

“We got zero help from the West Coast,” Claxton says, and fell 320 people short.

As for India and Pakistan, they clocked in with about six players each.

Preacher’s grandson

Claxton, 58, is a former newspaper reporter from Antigua who won a Pulitzer Prize for a newspaper in the U.S. Virgin Islands and was a finalist for another at The Detroit News.

He reincarnated himself as a video game designer, set out to create a teaching tool, and learned a few things himself along the way: “I know a lot more about the Bible than I did when I started.”

The grandson of a Church of God in Christ preacher and son of a Pentecostal father, he was raised a Seventh-Day Adventist and currently considers himself nondenominational.

He’s not a huge fan of violent, sexually explicit video games, partly because they’re violent and sexually explicit, but also because “people can play them for days and days and not learn anything.”

On the other hand, they have explosions and car chases, which can make them somewhat more alluring than Bible stories to certain audiences.

“It can be a difficult book to read,” he concedes. To make things easier, the GBR is broken into three games and four skill levels, including one for kids, and there’s a link to the proper Biblical citation after each answer.

All told, nearly 18,000 questions are in a game marketed largely through churches. It’s $59.99 at greatbiblerace.com, but usually less through a congregation that buys it wholesale.

Joining in

As for the world record, register at gbrworldrecord.com to take the quiz. The tentative starting time is 7 p.m.

Assuming the record falls, each participant will earn a certificate suitable for coveting. The one player who answers the most out of 45 multiple-choice questions correctly in the least time will be named in the Guinness citation.

It’s a meeting of the world’s largest-selling book and the world’s largest-selling copyrighted book, and taking part is free; there’s a 72-hour, no-cost link available on the GBR website. But use it judiciously.

Claxton says one woman called him recently to complain that her game didn’t work. Trying to diagnose the issue, he eventually asked her to read what was on her computer screen.

“Your free trial is up,” she said.

Lord, give him strength.

nrubin@detroitnews.com

@nealrubin_dn

Joining the Race

These multiple-choice questions were culled from the Great Bible Race computer game:

Children’s level

1) How many languages were spoken on earth before the Tower of Babel?

Two; 20; one; 150

2) From what direction did the wise men who came to see the baby Jesus travel?

North; south; east; west

Easy level

3) In which commandment did God tell the Israelites, “Thou shalt not kill”?

First; Third; Ninth; Sixth

4) Whom did God tell Elijah to anoint as the prophet to replace him?

Ahijah; Jeremiah; Ezra; Elisha

Moderate level

5) Who is the first child in the Bible named before his birth?

Isaac; Ishmael; Cain; John the Baptist

6) In Revelation, what followed the rider of the pale horse?

Death; purgatory; hell; armies

Difficult level

7) Who was Abraham’s grandfather?

Terah; Nahor; Reu; Serug

8) Who sought to kill Moses when he was on his way to Egypt to free the Israelite slaves?

Pharaoh; Egyptian soldiers; Median shepherds; God

ANSWERS:

1, One; 2, East; 3, Sixth; 4, Elisha; 5, Ishmael; 6, Hell; 7, Nahor; 8, God.

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