That’s right. I am announcing a tournament, complete with winners, losers, a champion, and lots of prizes. March always brings a frenzy of tournaments. But I’m not aware of anyone who hosts a tournament for the books of the Bible. And that seems like a tragic oversight. So we’re going to fix that by pitting all sixty-six books of the Bible against each other in a grand competition to see which is our favorite. We’ll pair books of the Bible against each other, and you’ll get to vote on your favorite. Winners advance to the next round until only one remains.
To make things interesting, we have some great prizes to give away for those who participate in the tournament. We have two main prizes that we’ll give away to two lucky winners: commentaries from Zondervan and IVP. (A huge thanks, by the way, to each of these publishers for participating. Greatly appreciated!) That’s UP TO $150 WORTH OF COMMENTARIES for each grand prize winner! If you are chosen as one of the winners, here’s what you get:
- Zondervan commentaries: 1 person will get to choose 3 volumes from the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series or the Expositor’s Bible–Revised series.
- IVP commentaries: 1 person will get to choose 3 volumes from the Ancient Christian Commentary Series or the Reformation Commentary Series.
In addition to these two main winners, we have a number of books that we’ll give to other contest participants. I’m actually still accumulating books for this part of the giveaway, but at the moment, they include the following:
- Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction by Jonathan T. Pennington (Baker, 2012)
- Genesis and Christian Theology edited by Nathan MacDonald, Mark W. Elliott, and Grant Macaskill (Eerdmans, 2012)
- Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by G. K. Beale (Baker, 2012)
- Jesus among Friends and Enemies: A Historical and Literary Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels edited by Chris Keith and Larry W. Hurtado (Baker, 2011)
- Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien (IVP, 2012)
- The Kingdom of God edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson (Crossway, 2012)
- One Bible, Many Versions: Are All Translations Created Equal? by Dave Brunn (IVP, 2013)
- The Bible Questions: Shedding Light on the World’s Most Important Book by Hal Seed (IVP, 2012)
- After Chapters & Verses: Engaging the Bible in the Coming Generations by Christopher Smith (IVP, 2010)
Here’s how the tournament is going to work. Just like March Madness, our tournament will have several rounds. For every round that you participate in, you receive 1 chance to win. So, if you participate in all 7 rounds, you’ll have at least 7 chances to win. At the beginning of the tournament, I’ll also give you a chance to cast your vote on things like which book is most likely to win, which low-seeded book will go the furthest, and so on. At the end of the tournament, you’ll get an additional chance to win for every one you nailed.
I’m not going to give any rules or guidelines for how you determine which book to vote for. It’s entirely up to you to determine which one is “best.” That could mean you think it’s more significant, more interesting, more entertaining, or you just like the name better. It’s entirely up to you.
If you’d like to get an advanced peek at the tournament bracket. Here you go. I’ve seeded all 64 books, even though I know that’s likely to get me in more trouble than it’s worth!
So that’s how it’s going to work. Here’s the schedule for each round of the tournament. You’ll only have a couple of days to participate in each round, so make sure you stay tuned and cast your vote quickly.
March 15: Round of 64 (voting closed)
March 18: Round of 32 (voting closed)
March 20: Round 16 (voting closed)
March 22: Quarterfinals (voting closed)
March 25: Semifinals (voting closed)
March 27: Championship Game (voting closed)
April 1: Announce Winners
And no, you shouldn’t read anything into the fact that I’ll be announcing the winners on April 1. I’m not that mean. (Close, though. Real close.)
That’s everything. We’ll begin later today with a couple of “play-in” games and the random questions. So keep an eye out for that.