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During the National Bible Bee Competition, hundreds of participants come together and powerfully recite specific scripture passages from the vast amount that they have committed to memory over the current NBB season. For those who have never tried it before, memorizing and quoting thousands of verses perfectly and instantaneously could seem like a daunting feat. 

Well, to be frank, it is!

But everybody has to start somewhere. People do not automatically retain large collections of knowledge. Knowledge must be built and stored over time. The memory is like a muscle that must be conditioned and trained. 

I’m Tabby Boulware, and when I first started Bible Bee, I was nine years old. That year there were hundreds of passages and I knew I could not learn them all in time. So, my dad helped me set a smaller, more reasonable goal for myself and we created a schedule. Even then, to stay on track, I would have to learn four verses per day, five days a week. This was a challenge! Some days I achieved my goal, other days I fell behind. But I was beginning to build my knowledge. Over my years in the National Bible Bee, I began to add more and more verses per day. My schedule rose from four, to five, to eight, to eleven, to sixteen verses per day, and some days even more than that. Each step of the journey was a new challenge. Looking back, however, I realize that as I stepped out in faith, and practiced and started memorizing, I grew. My capacity expanded. The more I memorized, the more I was able to memorize and the easier it became.

So, my encouragement to those who are new to Bible memory is to start small. Set a goal that is challenging but attainable, and work towards that first. During this season of coronavirus, uncertainty, anxiety, and fear dominate the landscape. However, as Christians we are called to live in faith instead of fear. Indeed, the Bible is overflowing with encouragement and commands about fear and anxiety. God has not left his people to fend for themselves but has provided his word to guide and support them. 

If you are up for a challenge, here are five short passages about anxiety to start memorizing. God’s word will not return void and whether you learn one passage or all five, you will be blessed and encouraged!

1) 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2) Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

3) Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”

4) Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

5) Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Written by National Bible Bee Alumna: Tabby Boulware