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Ruth Derby is a 20-year-old National Bible Bee (NBB) alumna from Michigan. She competed in 2017 and 2018 and qualified both years, before joining the AST for the first time in 2019. She is currently holding multiple jobs while being on the AST, including babysitting, cleaning, working on a farm, and running her own flower business. In addition, she loves spending her time in the great Michigan outdoors by going camping and taking in the scenery. Some of her other hobbies include spending time with family and friends, running, cooking, playing with kids, interior design, art, and of course, studying God’s Word.

Fun facts about Ruth:

  • She has 12 siblings and over 21 nieces and nephews.
  • Her favorite color is olive green.
  • She never wants to cook the same thing more than once.

When asked her favorite passage, two particularly encouraging ones came to mind. Philippians 3:14 which says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” and Hebrews 12:1-2 which says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” These are Ruth’s favorite because, “Both of these passages are excellent reminders to keep an eternal perspective on life, as time on this earth is so temporary. Having the end in mind makes it much easier to endure the momentary trials of this present time, knowing that they are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed! (Rom. 8:18)”

Ruth first heard about NBB when an older sister showed her the game show. When she saw it, she knew she had to do it. “I had no idea how it worked, or what I had to do,” Ruth said. “I had never liked memorizing and had no clue how to study the Bible. However, the love for God and His Word was so evident in each of the contestants that I watched that evening, and I knew they had a closeness with the Lord that I didn’t have. I had never before seen God’s Word recited with such conviction and precision, and hearing the testimonies of various contestants was inspiring. It wasn’t the competition I wanted as much as the obvious deepness of their walk with the Lord.”

Competing in NBB came with new challenges and difficulties, however. Ruth says, “I enjoy doing new things, but this was far different from anything I had done. This was really good, as God showed me that I could do nothing in my own strength. In each step I had to learn to trust Him, knowing His will was best. It was the end of the Summer Study, and I went with my family to the final meeting at our host group’s home. This was where I would learn my results from the Qualifying Test, and I was somewhat nervous. My disappointment in learning I had not qualified, turned to excitement when I saw that I was on the alternates list. Still, I wasn’t sure if I would be called to compete as an alternate, and the next couple of weeks God really challenged me to trust in Him. When NBB invited me to compete as an alternate, I was humbled and grateful. Time and time again, God showed me I could do nothing in my own strength.”

Memorizing God’s Word has had a tremendous impact on Ruth as she has entered into adulthood. She says, “As I have become an adult and am in different environments, knowing God’s Word has been essential to stay strong in the Lord. There is much in the world that the devil would like to attract us with, but the Holy Spirit will often bring up verses that are memorized. It is also important to remember to be continually in the Word- it’s not just ‘something to do during NBB’. What was memorized years ago is great, but if I’m not getting into Scripture daily, it’s hard to deal with the trials life brings. I need the constant reminder of God’s faithfulness, love for His children, and hatred toward sin. It is necessary to call to mind God’s promises as revealed in Scripture. It’s vital for my spiritual growth to be both reviewing what God has already taught me, and learning new things as He reveals them. ‘Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day’ (Ps. 119:97, emphasis added).”

Composed by NBB Alumnus: Dylan George