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Interviews with 2022 NBBC Winners

November 30, 2022

Josephine Lee

Congratulations to Josephine Lee, the 2022 National Bible Bee Competition (NBBC) Primary champion! Let’s hear from her as she shares her experience in the National Bible Bee (NBB) this year.

Hi Josephine, how do you feel about winning the Primary Finals?

“I’m very excited and happy! I’m a bit nervous to move up to Juniors because it’s going to be harder and not as easy as Primaries, but I’m also very excited to learn and see what God has in store for me.”

What have you learned through studying God’s Word this year?

“The biggest benefit has been really just getting to memorize God’s Word and know him better – that’s been the most useful thing I’ve learned. Sometimes when I need strength or something – like physically or emotionally – I’ll just think of a verse that I’ve memorized and it’ll really help me”

What was the NBBC like for you this year?

“For me the hardest part was waiting backstage or the Bible knowledge questions because waiting backstage is so suspenseful and it’s hard to be patient while the moderators are talking, and the Bible knowledge because I’m not very good at it. While I was backstage during Semi-Finals I was like “did I get a perfect recitation?” I was really scared while I was waiting after my last passage; I thought I’d made a mistake, so I was excited and nervous because I didn’t know what place I was getting.”

Were there any moments throughout the competition that blessed you?

“It was mostly during the sudden elimination and the Bible knowledge rounds – a couple of the questions just flew into my head and I was like “where did I get these?” and I was able to answer them.”

Do you have a favorite memory passage or one you’d love to share?

“I like 1 Thessalonians 5:1-24, which is a really long passage. It’s fun to say, and it teaches you a lot of small things like ‘rejoice always,’ ‘pray without ceasing,’ ‘give thanks in all circumstances.’”

What would you say to someone who is considering participating in the National Bible Bee for the first time?

“For those who are new and are really scared about the National Bible Bee, if you just trust that God will help you He will.”

Thank you, Josephine! If you could sum it all up in one phrase, what would it be?

“Just call on God in times of trouble and He will help you.”

Lauren Martin

Congratulations to Lauren Martin, the 2022 National Bible Bee Competition Junior winner! Let’s hear from Lauren now, as she talks about her journey in the NBBC.

What did you learn through winning the Junior Finals this year?

“That God had different plans for me than I expected this year, and that He is even in control of the outcome of next year and the year after that and the year after that. Going to the NBBC I did not have the goal of wanting to win. It was more “I want to try to make Semi-Finals and see if I can get past the question round.” And that was it. Then I made it into Finals. My mom told me to just enjoy the experience, and that was the mindset I had going into it. It was a lot of fun, and I liked competing. It was an amazing experience I will never forget.”

Was there ever a time when you were disappointed by the results of the NBBC? What did you learn through that?

“In 2020, only Semi-Finalists got to go to the NBBC. My sister hadn’t done much studying for the Multiple-Choice Test so we didn’t think she was going to make Semi-Finals. I was a first-year Junior so I thought if we’re going to go to the NBBC that year I was going to have to make Semi-Finals.” Then I did not make Semi-Finals but my sister did, and that was very hard because I had known way more stuff than she had and she made it. Admittedly, in the end, I’m kind of glad I didn’t make Semi-Finals because it definitely dealt with a pride issue. I was able to do better than my sister in all the quizzes and tests that we did but then she made it and I didn’t. It was really hard to deal with at first but when I look back on it it was better that I didn’t make it.”

What would you say to someone who is experiencing that disappointment right now?

“It’s definitely worth the time! Even if you don’t make Semi-Finals, what you studied will stay with you forever. God’s word remains forever. It will not perish, but it is in your life and it won’t come back void or empty handed.”

What have you learned through participating in the National Bible Bee?

“Because of the NBB study I see the Bible in more of a bigger context; this section also applies to this, and this affects this later on, or this is a result of this. You can connect more dots because you have those other key parts from studying for the NBBC and memorizing so much Scripture. I understood it more now because as I’ve gone along it’s become a deeper study and a more personal study as I learn how it applies.”

How did you like studying Isaiah 40-46 this year?

“There’s a lot that I liked about studying Isaiah. As part of studying my mom had me listening to these teachings by a pastor on the study passage and he was continually showing how God kept His faithfulness to Israel and will continue to keep His faithfulness to Israel and I liked that part of our study. But studying poetry is very hard! First, you have to understand what it means, and there’s so much parallelism that you have 4 lines or a few verses that basically say the same thing over and over again just in different words. After I can understand poetry it’s much easier to memorize it, but understanding it can be very hard, and it’s very hard to grasp in order to take a test on it.”

Did you have a favorite memory passage you’d like to share?

“I really liked Philippians 1:3-8 this year. Paul is expressing how he misses the Philippians because he’s in jail and he misses them a lot. I was memorizing that about a month after our friends moved away and it made me very sad because that’s how I feel about missing them. Some passages are less personal like “what’s he talking about?” but this was much more personal… I get what Paul means now.”

Thank you, Lauren! Do you have any closing thoughts to share?

“I’ve definitely enjoyed learning that God is eternal and He knows what’s going to happen and He’s there while it’s happening – it’s very comforting because I know He will not change over the years. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament and it all points together. He’s always there and always with us because we need Him all the time and He won’t turn around and be gone the next day. It’s very comforting!”

Abigail Rice

Congratulations to Abigail Rice, the 2022 National Bible Bee Competition Senior winner! Here’s what she has to share about participating in the NBBC and memorizing God’s Word.

What was it like for you to win the National Bible Bee Competition?

“Winning the NBBC has taught me that the best thing about winning is not the prizes but getting the opportunity to meet and spend time with so many other young people who also love God’s Word and treasure it.”

What was your experience studying for the NBBC?

“I liked that studying Isaiah 40-48 helped me to dive deeper into a book of the Bible that most people would not normally study much. It was easy to be excited about studying at first, but one of the biggest challenges was to keep persevering day after day and not give up part way through. Also, another challenge was deciding how to best spend my study time and I continually had to ask God for wisdom on what to study. One of my memory passages from this year really helped remind me of this: James 1:2-27 (NIV) says ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.’”

Is there anything that stood out to you while studying Isaiah 40-48 this year?

“Isaiah 44:8 (NIV) really stood out to me this year. It says ‘Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.’ It tells us not to be afraid because God is the only rock and there is none besides Him. Another one of the things I learned through the study this year is that God is sovereign over history and He orchestrated everything for the redemption of His people from Babylon and He did the same for us when He redeemed us from sin and death by the price He paid on the cross and when He rose again.”

How was the competition? What was the hardest thing about it?

“One of the biggest struggles of the competition was to remember to stay focused on God and not worry or stress over the outcome. I also needed to remember that His grace is sufficient and that His power is made perfect in weakness. Also, as I prepared to go on stage I kept reminding myself that ‘I can do all things through him who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:13, NIV) and I would ask the Lord for his will for me to be done as I prepared to recite or answer questions. Making it through the Semi-Finals question round this year was very memorable. My goal was to make it to the last round of Semi-Finals and the Lord gave me the clarity of mind to answer the questions quickly. I remember walking off the stage after the question round feeling overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for helping me to do so well.”

Now that you’ve won and your time participating in the NBBC is over, what’s next for you?

“I am not sure what I will do in the next season of my life but I am praying and seeking the Lord for His will for me. I plan to continue using the methods I have learned in National Bible Bee in my own studies. Even though I have aged out of the National Bible Bee I hope to join in with other young people to continue studying God’s word together. I was also hoping to encourage other contestants who are still in the NBBC and to help them study and grow in God’s Word.”

What have you learned throughout your entire time participating in the NBB?

“One of the biggest lessons God has taught me is that no matter what the results of the competition are, the time I spent in His word was not wasted because the Word of God is eternal and will never pass away. Practically, I learned that I can memorize larger portions of Scripture, and that the more you memorize God’s Word the easier it becomes. I also learned to dig deeper into His Word through original language studies.” 

What would you say to someone who is feeling discouraged with studying God’s Word right now?

“It is well worth the time and effort. Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Keep pressing on. God will provide the strength to continue to study His word and grow in him.”

Do you have a favorite memory passage you’d like to share?

“One of my favorite passages this year was John 16:16-33. It talks about how in this world we will have trouble and grief but Jesus has overcome the world and through Him we can have joy and peace. The Lord blessed me with the opportunity to recite this passage in the last round of Finals, which means that it was the last passage I would recite at the National Bible Bee.”

Thank you, Abigail! Any final words?

“I desire Christ to be magnified through me. I can’t take credit for winning; James 1:17 says ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.’”

Written by NBB Alumna: Janese Hurst

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