July-August 2016 – Studying God’s Word brings its own reward. And it could be accompanied with a $100,000 cash prize for student participants in the National Bible Bee Competition.
The route to the competition begins with a summer Bible study, which is a worthwhile end in itself. Soon after students dig into the NBBC Discovery Journal curriculum, laments such as “I don’t understand the Bible,” “It’s not interesting,” “It’s hard or boring to read” are reversed to recognition of the Bible as a bedrock for life and an exciting connection to God’s plans, purposes, and character.
Hannah Leary, the 2014 winner of the senior competition of the Bible Bee and a participant since 2009, testified to that impact of the Bible Bee in her life.
“The Word of God is written by the Creator of life, and He has the perfect plan for our lives,” she told AFA Journal. “So the Word of God guides my plans. It doesn’t matter what career I go into or where I end up – what matters is that I’m fearing God and keeping His commandments.”
The Bible Bee focuses not just on the minutiae of memorization or trivia, but digs into the big picture with word studies, cross references, and an introduction to using commentaries and other tools. Those skills are tested in the national competition held November 16-20 this year, but the goal goes beyond that to equip students for the challenges of life.
“The point is not to fill your head with knowledge; the point of the Bible Bee is to get into God’s Word and learn how to study it and love it,” Leary said. “Winning the competition is just icing on the cake. The real treasure is having God’s Word in your heart.”
With the Bible Bee’s comprehensive curriculum, it is not necessary to compete to get the most out of it. It provides a format for independent study guided by questions for deeper thinking. Or it can be used for a church study group, family devotion, or homeschool class. Different age-appropriate levels keep all users on the same page.
Kevin Leary, Hannah’s father and a pastor in Hamburg, New York, said the Bible Bee’s greatest asset for his family has been as a family devotion resource they can move through together at their own pace.
“From my perspective of trying to lead and disciple my family, it’s been a great help,” he said. “My kids work on their own inductive Bible study, but when we come together as a family, we’re talking about the same passage and truths from which we’re able to learn and encourage each other.”
Bible Bee executive director Robert Upton agreed that Bible Bee materials are purposely designed to make it easy on fathers and mothers struggling to lead their families. It is offered as an open doorway to exploring and discovering a love for God’s Word and truth.
“It is not meant to be an external standard,” Upton said. “It’s not for being religious in the wrong way, but religious in the true way: relationship and intimacy with God.”
To compete in the 2016 Bible Bee
1) Order the online or print edition of the Discovery Journal.
2) Register August 6 for the national competition.
3) Attend the National Bible Bee in San Antonio, Texas, November 16-20.
August 8-12, AFA and American Family Radio will partner with Truth for Youth to provide 65,000 Bibles to teens who need one. Last year, AFA and TFY gave away 63,000 Bibles.