Jeopardy Fans Are Furious Over A Bible Clue

A Jeopardy! question about the Apostle Paul and his New Testament books has viewers and Biblical scholars up in arms.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The popular game show Jeopardy! is courting controversy once more, after a Bible clue divided contestants in the final rounds of the program’s Tournament of Champions. But it wasn’t problematic because of its religious references, as the New Testament is often a topic on the trivia show. Instead, it was the answer that caused an uproar with viewers, as it is still a subject of debate, even among Biblical scholars.

During the final round of Wednesday’s episode of Jeopardy!, contestants Amy Schneider, Andrew He, and Sam Buttrey had to solve the following Bible clue. “Paul’s letter to them is the New Testament epistle with the most Old Testament quotations.” Schneider answered “Who are the Hebrews,” and was deemed correct by host Ken Jennings. Buttrey and He answered “Who are the Romans” and “Philippiaes” (a reference to the book of Philippians) respectively. But both were seen to be wrong.

According to CNN, every answer given on the Jeopardy! episode refers to books in the Bible that are collections of epistles, or letters, ostensibly from Jesus’ apostle Paul to different groups in the formative days of the Christian church. But experts have varying opinions on whether Paul actually wrote the letter to the Hebrews. There are also big divisions among different schools of Christian thought regarding Paul’s influence and authorship.

Jeopardy host Mayim Bialik Ken Jennings Jeopardy
Jeopardy! hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings

These debates call into question whether Schneider’s answer was actually correct. Most Jeopardy! viewers thought Buttrey’s answer should have been correct since Bible scholars generally agree that Paul was the author of the book of Romans. Following the show, experts on religion and history shared their thoughts on the controversial clue. “Hebrews has the most OT quotes of any NT letter. It was historically attributed to Paul,” a priest and theology professor said on social media.

He added, that today most argue he didn’t write it, based mainly on internal evidence. Others argued that, regardless of the answer, the Jeopardy! clue was not clearly worded with letters, epistles, and books of the Bible. This is deeply confusing for people outside, and sometimes inside, the spheres of religious study. Despite the controversy, He emerged victorious and is just one win away from tournament victory.

Still, fans flooded Reddit to express their offense and anger at the Jeopardy! Bible clue. Like the experts, most agreed that Biblical texts and who wrote them are largely up for debate. “What a bunch of crap,” one person wrote via The Sun. “This is a terrible clue. The authorship of Hebrews is disputed. Not counting Hebrews, Romans has the most quotations. Sam was robbed.” A second expressed their disappointment for Sam and said they no longer care who wins.

This is the second time in recent days that Jeopardy! has come under fire for a controversial question, much like the Bible incident. An episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! recently featured a clue about the death of Instagram personality Gabby Petito in 2021. It also referenced the suicide of her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who said that he was responsible for her murder.

“In 2021 fugitive Brian Laundrie ended his days in FLA’s Myakkahatchee Creek area, home to these long & toothy critters,” the clue said. The answer was, “What are alligators?” Viewers were disgusted that the tragic incident was included as a question on the show. In a statement, an attorney for the Laundrie family demanded an apology from the show, calling the question distasteful. While the recent controversy doesn’t publicize a murder/suicide, Jeopardy! may have to rethink its Bible clues.