I still remember the day I got my first Discovery Journal in the mail. Excitement welled up inside me as I opened the package then started flipping through the book’s colored pages filled with information – and lots of it. As excited as I was, I was also overwhelmed. I didn’t know where or even how to start. A couple weeks later I joined the Participant Community and found hundreds of other eager participants who desired to pursue God through His Word. This encouraged me, and it wasn’t long before I got the hang of things and found myself swimming in dozens of flashcards, Bible verses, and sheets of highlighted paper.
I didn’t have it all figured out in the beginning. I understood I probably wouldn’t qualify my first year of competing, and I still had a lot to learn. But the one thing I wanted to be certain of was having the right mindset.
Looking back at those beginning years, I’ve thought about what I would tell my younger self knowing what I know now. What words would I say as an alumni in the NBBC, to you my “beginner Bible Bee self?” And what words would I say to you? I decided to compile a short list of five things I want you to remember and be encouraged by as you head into this year’s Summer Study- Redeemed. These five things are what I wish I knew in starting out my NBB journey and some of what I’ve learned along the way. Whether you have been competing in the NBBC for two years or ten, my hope is that these reminders will start you off and help you to get the most out of this year’s Summer Study.
1. Do this for His glory
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). If you keep your eyes fixed on the opportunity you have to glorify your Creator through every aspect of the study this year, you will see a radical difference in everything. Memorize every verse and study every Hebrew word as unto the Lord and not to man! When this is your mindset and your reality, you have nothing to lose.
2. Treat this like a race
Run, and give it your best, but pace yourself. No runner who seeks to reach the finish line exerts all of their energy into the first half of the race. They keep a steady pace and save some of that energy for when they’ll need it most – on the final stretch. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 has encouraged me a lot throughout my NBB journey. It says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible”. Don’t just keep your eyes on yourself in this race! Seek to help those who are running alongside you to finish strong as well, and fix your eyes on the eternal prize!
3. You aren’t meant to do this alone
The Lord has given us the gift of fellowship in the body of Christ and He knows we need it! Your NBB journey is no different. Getting involved in the NBB family can provide you with both encouragement and that extra push to keep going when it gets tough. Additionally, we can learn so much from our brothers and sisters in Christ as we walk with them in the journey. Take advantage of the community provided by the NBB (both locally and digitally)! You won’t regret it.
4. The strength on which you depend shouldn’t be your own
In our weaknesses, the Lord’s strength remains. Don’t forget that it’s when we’re weak that the Lord displays His strength in our lives and does what we could not. Don’t depend on yourself for strength in the hard days OR in the easy ones. Without Christ, none of this would even be possible. Ask Him for His enabling power, and He will give it. The reason anyone ever advances in the competition is not simply because of their intelligence or skill but because of the work of the Holy Spirit through them! Let God get the glory by submitting to Him and leaning upon Him for strength. It is then you’ll see Him work in amazing ways.
5. The time you invest into God’s Word won’t be wasted
Each moment you spend in Scripture has the ability to change you now and thus impact you for eternity. It won’t be wasted! Since the Word of God is alive and active, we can be sure that it will never return void. The more time you spend in God’s Word the more you will love God and be conformed to the image of His Son. What better way could you spend your time?
Consider this list as just one for starters. Don’t stop here! Compile your own list of tips you’ve found to be helpful in the past and consider sharing them with any first year NBB participants you may know, or write out your own and spend time thinking of how you can implement them into your studying this summer. I’m cheering you all on as you prepare to begin this next NBB study season!