Meet Hannah Kohner, a 19-year-old National Bible Bee (NBB) alumna, who enjoys studying God’s Word and theology, memorizing Scripture, enjoying God’s creation through the beautiful Minnesota summers, writing, and various graphic design projects. 

Hannah competed in the National Bible Bee Competition (NBBC) for two years before she aged out in 2020. She first heard about NBBC from a long-distance friend, who encouraged her to participate. Hannah was apprehensive, however. “I didn’t have a good understanding of God’s Word at the time and didn’t think I was good enough to compete; but after much convincing and my family’s support, we signed up – and I was hooked!” 

Hannah shared what God showed her as she studied His Word through the NBBC: “The NBB acted as a match that helped to ignite my love for God’s Word. It wasn’t long before I realized that the Bible was a message from God that He desired for me to study and spend my time searching out. He wanted me to seek Him, and I had to take that first step. Our family was dealing with some significant hardships during my first year of the NBB, and Worship was the perfect theme. I learned that God’s character is never swayed by our circumstances and that He is worthy of our praise. Worship was no longer just an action when everything was going well, but it was a lifestyle because my God remained the same. When the year of Trust came around, one of the biggest lessons God taught me was, well, you guessed it…trust. It seemed to be the year when I let everything go and clung to Christ as my anchor even more. I learned about Joseph’s life and how God had a purpose for him even if it was unseen at the time. In fact, 2020 was the year when God decided to teach me just that. I had no idea what I was getting into when joining the NBB, but I grew so much more than I thought I would, and what I shared is only the beginning.” 

Additionally, “The NBB has taught me to value God’s Word and opened my eyes to its importance. That realization has flowed into every aspect of my life since. From serving those in my home to how I spend my free time, the scriptures I’ve memorized have given me a renewed perspective and joy in day-to-day life. Instead of allowing the world to dictate my view of God, I’ve learned to keep God’s Word as my center which then dictates my view of the world. My confidence in God’s character has also increased, and I’ve gained a better understanding of my Creator through the many different chapters of the Bible I’ve studied. I’ve witnessed lives being changed by the power of God’s Word both in my own family, and in other families across the nation – all for His glory!”

Studying God’s Word was not just part of a competition in Hannah’s life, as she continues to grow in Christ through memorizing and studying Scripture. “I love having no limit to how much I can learn and grow, and with each passing day in His Word I gain a better glimpse of who my Savior is. The pursuit to grow in faith through Scripture holds value for eternity, but its action in our lives today. To see the evident work of God’s Word in my life encourages me to study it even more. It has the power to shape my life to its truths and strengthen me for the journey ahead!”

Hannah would encourage participants to: “Hold onto everything in this world loosely, but hold onto the Word of God tightly. Memorizing isn’t only beneficial for the competition; it is beneficial throughout your whole life. The Word of God has the power to change you and mold you to the image of Christ, and that will last for eternity. Keep on memorizing and know that you’re hiding the most valuable words in your heart that will be your anchor to the end. I’ve never regretted a minute I’ve spent in God’s Word. As 1 Peter 1:24-25 says – ‘For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.’”

Composed by NBB Alumna: Ruth Derby