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Meet Jeremiah Wilkerson, a 19-year-old National Bible Bee alumnus from the mountainous state of Arizona. He’s participated in the National Bible Bee (NBB) for five years, having qualified for Nationals every year. “I participated the first year [at age 14] because my Mom said to,” Jeremiah says. “But then I was hooked! I came back year after year to get more of God’s Word because I loved the way God was teaching me about Himself.”

Jeremiah says his favorite part about studying God’s Word is the way it ties his life together and brings him closer to God. The NBB is one of the ways God has used scripture to impact his life, even at home. He says, Personally it has motivated me to spend more time in the Bible seeking God. I learned that all the answers really are there, and getting to know the Bible is equivalent to getting to know Jesus because He is the Word. In my home life, I’ve learned a lot about being a servant (as I learned about being like Christ). My family would always need me when I was busy with studying, and so I learned how to prioritize a big project and family.” 

Fun facts about Jeremiah:

  • He has five younger siblings and two lovable dogs – Angel and Poppy.
  • He really likes Converse shoes.
  • He can speak in four different foreign accents but can’t speak any foreign languages.
  • He has read Lord of the Rings seven times through.

His favorite passage of scripture is Philippians 2 because it reminds him of what God’s standard is. Paul is a favorite Bible character of Jeremiah’s because, “He was an enemy of God, hurting people and living only for himself. He never thought he could live it down, but then Jesus walked into his life, died for it all and made what He wanted out of Paul.”

For his work, Jeremiah watches Zoom meetings to be sure they are running smoothly (and enjoys multitasking in the process). In his free time, he likes to play piano and is currently learning how to play acoustic and electric guitar. He also enjoys reading a lot, and (you guessed it) studying the Bible. 

When he participated in the NBB, he had an inspiring way to balance his responsibilities. “I did what I knew was God’s will (which was my college work and helping my family if they needed it) first. I always multitasked. I would listen to verses or the study passage while I was washing dishes/folding laundry. In this last year I would memorize and review while I was monitoring Zoom meetings for my job.”

Even in the low spots of the study season, God proved Himself faithful in Jeremiah’s life. “The most difficult moments were the ones where I failed as a Christian in the midst of the National Bible Bee Competition,” he says. “I wondered, ‘Why was I doing this badly when I was studying God’s Word?’ It really took out a lot of my enthusiasm and joy because I thought that being in the Bible would just make me act perfect. It doesn’t happen by osmosis though, you’ve got to work it out.”

“I would never have wanted to memorize a lot [in God’s Word] except in the contest setting the National Bible Bee provides,” Jeremiah says. “Now in every situation I’m in, and everywhere I go, I have the Word in me. It influences my speech, writing, thoughts, and decisions. I would be a very unhappy, misguided, self-sufficient (and therefore insufficient) person if God had not provided me with so much of His Word.”

When asked to share one of his favorite memorization tips, he said, “Plan! How many verses do you need to memorize in a day? When are you going to review? How are you going to keep track of that so that really annoying Numbers passage doesn’t fall by the wayside? When you plan, make a day of rest where you only review and don’t take on any new passages.” I encourage you to try out Jeremiah’s memorization tip for yourself, and see how it improves your study experience this summer! 

If you want to start memorizing more scripture but don’t know where to begin, Jeremiah encourages you to “Actually start or you never will.” He adds, “It’s hard at first, and if you don’t get a schedule and accountability, you’ll miss out on all the good in having God’s Word be a part of you. [Through the National Bible Bee] you’ll find things in the Bible you didn’t know were there, and gain strength you didn’t know you had from the knowledge of the Word. You will see great and marvelous things.”

Written by NBB Alumna: Hannah Kohner