After the taping of one of the semifinals of The American Bible Challenge host Jeff Foxworthy spent some time doing a Q&A with some members of the press that had come to watch the taping. I’ve selected parts that I found interesting and illuminating.
He was asked how he would do answering the questions he asked contestants on the show.
About like I would do on Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader [which he also hosted]. I know enough to make me think I can do it. That was always kind of the selling point on Fifth Grader, the premise was so great with adults taking an elementary school test for a shot at a million bucks, and everyone thought “I can do that,” and they found out they couldn’t. I would do okay, but I wouldn’t win. I wouldn’t win all the money.
He was also asked about his decision to be part of the show.
It was offered to me after Fifth Grader didn’t get renewed and initially my first answer was no, because I thought you can’t do a game show about the Bible. Then we came back and started talking about it. Here’s the thing that sold me: people weren’t playing for themselves. Everybody who came on the show was playing to bless somebody else. And so to me it’s almost the completion. The only group that Jesus never got along with was the religious leaders who only had head knowledge. They had all the head knowledge, but they didn’t have any heart knowledge. I prayed about it. I was like, “God, is this okay to do a game show about the Bible?” I think the fact that it was head knowledge and it was heart knowledge. Yeah, that’s cool. It didn’t bother me trying to make it relevant and contemporary, because it was written as much for us now as for the people thousands of years ago. That was the selling point, that it was heart knowledge. And it’s really cool.
A bit later he returned to this subject.
Part of my decision making…. In the business that I’m in, you set yourself up for people to throw rocks at you. I didn’t worry about secular people throwing rocks, but I knew that there were going to be some Christians that won’t like it. That’s going to be the group. Somebody’s going to go “You can’t make a game show like this,” or “You can’t have fun with this.” I think sometimes as a group Christians are not as joyful as we should be. I think people on the outside look and they go, “You guys don’t seem very happy. If this really is the Good News, you really don’t wear it on your face very well.”
How are you feeling now, after having taped a few shows?
It’s a fun game. I know some people will say, “Oh, it’s about the Bible. I’m not going to watch it.” But it’s a fun game. And like Fifth Grader, I think everybody can play. Even if you’ve never had faith or you walked away from it, you’re going to know enough of this stuff to keep it interesting. And then for the people who really know it, it remains interesting.
He was asked if he thought if this would be a show that would be good for kids.
I do think so. It’s funny, when we started Fifth Grader nobody thought about kids and then we were inundated with teachers telling us they were taping the show and showing it to class because it was a fun way to learn. One of the games [in The American Bible Challenge] is “Kids Say the Cutest Things” and it kind of works in reverse too because when you hear these kids recounting these Bible stories it just cracks me up.
After he asked our thoughts on the show, one person said it could inspire people to study the Bible more, and Foxworthy responded:
I hope it does that, and I hope it inspires people to look at these people and their time going down and working at a pregnancy center or working at a food bank and say, “I could do that.” That is my life. I’ve been teaching Bible study in a homeless mission for homeless guys every Tuesday morning for years. Nobody knows that about my life. I think that’s probably what Jesus was talking about when he was talking about life to the full. It wasn’t like an insurance policy for when you die; it’s like right now you can get involved. And the more we did of that for each other, you wouldn’t have to depend on the government. If we just took care of the people around us, then you don’t have people going to Big Brother, saying “Hey, we need some help here,” because we’d be doing it ourselves.