The Bible Escape Room
Increase familiarity with scripture and how to use the bible by challenging participants to utilize the bible to solve a variety of puzzles.
How to use this
This is meant to be an activity that can be done by a youth group. However, it could also work with adults who are not overly familiar with the bible. The activity, from start to finish, will take about thirty five minutes. The “room” can work for two to five people. If there are more people, it is recommended to set up multiple rooms.
Because church rooms tend to have a lot of stuff in them, it is helpful to only use a portion of a room. Wherever the escape room is being set up, all of the materials need to be present and the boundaries of the space being used should be clearly communicated to the participants.
There is some set up that has to be done before hand. It is important that the person running the room (referred to as the room host), thoroughly read and be familiar with this guide. The set up instruction communicate what is needed for each puzzle.
It is possible that the participants will get stuck on the puzzles. It is permissible for the room hosts to give hints, but they should allow the group to try struggle a bit. Hints should not be given as soon as the group slows down a bit. This escape room experience is intended to be on the easier side. Most groups should win, and most groups will probably finish it somewhere around the twenty minute mark.
Begin by having the room host read the following story to the group. Since there are a couple of clues in the story, it may be helpful to leave a printed copy for the group to reference:
Pastor Brian Scatters is notoriously forgetful and scatter brained. He was asked to guest preach, worked on a sermon, but then forgot all of his notes. He also forgot his phone and he cannot remember which of his many thoughts he was supposed to share. He knows if he could just be reminded of the scripture he is supposed to use it will all come back to him. He calls to the church, gets hold of the youth group, and ask them to go through his office and find the scripture. He warns the group that his thought process and note taking methods can be a bit eccentric, but if they look around and follow things through they should be able to find his Notes which will have the scripture. The service starts in 30 minutes, so he needs it before then!
Set up: For this puzzle several bible should be set up around the room. It is important to ensure they are all the NIV translation. Also seven scripture reference papers need to be prepared. These could just be hand written on post it notes, but they should be scattered around the room in plain sight. Finally for this puzzle there needs to be a box in the room. The box should have a large note on it that states “Locked! Password needed.” The room host should explain the box is locked with voice recognition and it requires a particular code word to open. It will also be helpful if a white board or some other sort of large writing surface is available for participants to take notes.
Participants will need to first look around the room and find the seven pieces of paper that have the following scripture references on them:
Gen. 1:1 w:2; Lev. 22:7 w:3; Judg 5:31 w:20; 1 Sam. 1:11 w:1; Psalm 68:6 w:2;
Matt 18:22 w: 7; Rev. 9:16 w:11
The participants will need to figure out three separate elements to solve this puzzle. First, they will need to figure out the post-it notes/index cards have scripture references and the “w” followed by a number refers to a specific word in the verse. Second, they will need to figure out that for the words to make sense they need to be put in the order they appear in scripture (with the word from Genesis first and the word from Revelation last). When this is done it reveals the sentence: “The Sun rises and sets seven times.” Finally, the participants need to figure out that the statement is referring to a week. Week is the secret word that will open the box, and when they say it the room host should open the box.
Set up: Inside the box the participants should find two things. They should find an index card with a “3” written in red sharpie. They should also find a bunch of puzzle pieces.
First, you will need to acquire a blank Jigsaw puzzle that is as close to twenty-seven pieces as possible. We purchased a pack of blank twenty-eight piece puzzles from Amazon. Going left to right, and top to bottom, write the books of the New Testament on the puzzle. On the back of the puzzle you will need to write the following on the back in black sharpie: Phone Password: first occurrence of Romans 8:36. You will also need to put on the back of the puzzle in red the number “16”. This number should be circled to indicate that it is different from the phone password clue.
This puzzle is a literal puzzle and the participants will have to assemble it. They will need to figure out the easiest way to do so is put the books of the New Testament together in order. The table of contents in the bible is helpful in this. Once they have assembled the puzzle, they will need to flip it over to get the phone password clue.
Set up: The room facilitator will need to use an iPhone (their own or borrow one). It should be placed in the room before hand and it should be password protected with the password 4422. In the Notes app there should be a single note that read 2 Timothy.
Once the participants put the puzzle together and find the clue they will need to look up Romans 8:36. Most Bibles, especially study bibles, will have a note under the scripture that will state Paul is quoting Psalm 44:22. The cell phone should be setting in the room somewhere out of the way but in plain sight. If participants have not yet found it they will need to, and they will need to figure out the password is 4422.
Once they unlock the phone, they will need to remember from the introduction that “most of the scripture” is in the pastor’s notes. In the notes app they will find 2 Timothy as the book of the bible. At this point they will need to realize the two red numbers are also part of the scripture reference.
The final task the participants need to do is look up the scripture. 2 Timothy 16:3 does not exist, so the scripture they are looking for is 2 Timothy 3:16. If they can find this answer before thirty minutes is up, they win!