Meet William Saunders, a 19-year-old National Bible Bee Alumnus. Having competed in the National Bible Bee (NBB) for most of his life, he has both encouragement and advice to share since aging out of the competition.
William currently resides in the state of Oklahoma with his three siblings. He thoroughly enjoys spending time with people, though when he is alone he can be found doing some form of strenuous activity such as running or hiking. Some of his other hobbies include various sports such as running, disc golf, table tennis, baseball, and ultimate frisbee.
He first started competing in the National Bible Bee (NBB) in 2009, the opening year of the competition. William competed for a total of eleven years, qualifying seven of those years in the National Bible Bee Competition (NBBC). When asked to summarize his NBB journey into one word he said, “I would say the word timely describes it well. Throughout my life, the different things I have studied in the NBB have always been so essential in growing in my faith, and have met me where I was at in life. God’s Word is always timely, and always at work.”
William is currently interning at a ministry called In The Gap, and while there he teaches classes in public schools to help students grow in their character while also running after-school Bible clubs. He plans to work at a Christian camp over the summer.
“God’s Word will never return void,” he says, “Any time spent studying the Bible is a worthy investment and I have seen throughout my time in the NBB, from when I was young until now how well memorizing God’s Word has served me, through trials and temptation, as well in making good decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not perfect and am still growing, but I know for a fact that because of memorizing and studying God’s Word, I am only better because of it!”
“I love the Book of Hebrews as a whole,” William shares. “One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 12:1-2, which says: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” It just gives me such perspective to put aside worthless things and instead to push on and follow Jesus!”
Often it can be hard to continue in Scripture memorization, especially when we are discouraged. When asked how he stays motivated to memorize Scripture, he gave this piece of advice. “One of the best ways to stay motivated is to study with others. Whether people online or in person, having another person studying the same thing you are can be a massive motivation and encouragement. You can share different insights with them, and be mutually edified.”
Studying and memorizing God’s Word is vital for any young person. It not only benefits them in innumerable ways in the present, but helps to shape them and their future. “When you study God’s Word as a young person, it helps you to grow in practical wisdom and also is essential to building and establishing your faith in God!” William explains. “When you make these investments as a young person, it will help you rely on God when times are more difficult, and this is essential, because He is always constantly caring for you, and is the same yesterday, today, and forever!”
William concludes with these words to encourage those who are new to studying and memorizing God’s Word. “I would encourage you that God’s Word has immense wisdom and practicality, and to remember that the Bible is the very words that God has written for us, so what better thing to think about and store in your head and heart?”
How do these words encourage you to invest time into studying and memorizing the valuable Word of God this week?
Written by NBB Alumna: Hannah Kohner