It is always inspiring to hear stories from past National Bible Bee participants, but also from people who are still participating.  Let’s hear from Brooke Sowards about her time in the National Bible Bee and how she uses her time to study.

“My favorite part of the National Bible Bee is definitely the fellowship. I can’t tell you how many friends I have made at NBBC and on the online community that I will have for the rest of my life. I believe it is because when a young person spends their time digging deeper into God’s Word they are sanctified and cleansed in a way that they become a better sibling, a better friend etc. Of course it’s not completely automatic. We still have to apply what we’ve learned, but you can’t spend hours upon hours in the inspired Word of God without experiencing some sort of change. I love many other aspects of the ministry. A few examples are the way it motivates me to memorize more verses than I ever would on my own, and how it has taught me step by step how to effectively dig deep into the Word.

“The way I spend my time in study depends on the season of study. One thing that has been extremely beneficial to me (both for the NBBC, and when the National Bible Bee is over) is memorizing the study passage. I did this in 2018 when we studied James and God gave me an opportunity to recite the entire book in front of my church last summer. Several families from our church joined the NBB that year and I even had one mom tell me her little girl decided to memorize Psalm 23 after hearing me recite. That was really special to me.

“I like to memorize while pacing back and forth outside, or swinging on a swing. Whatever I do, I have to keep myself moving! Another thing I’ve discovered this year is that the way you use your morning is the way you’ll use your day. (For me at least) If I procrastinate all morning, I likely won’t accomplish much that day, but if I get up and get right to it, I am usually more successful throughout the rest of the day.”

Everyone has many different memories, but certain ones stick out more to different people.  “Choosing my favorite memory from NBB is like trying to pick a favorite Bible verse! That’s hard! One that almost gives me chills (good ones) is singing “In Christ Alone” during worship at the NBBC in 2017. There are so many good memories, but you have to experience it to fully appreciate them. The music, the lights, the friends, the recitations, all combined together at NBBC after spending all summer and fall in study is just incredible. My favorite moments in NBB are the reunion moments at NBBC when I finally see the friends I’ve been waiting to see all year. Those are the most cherished memories. I have good memories from my study time too, like times when I finally perfect a super hard passage. I also think it’s funny how many times I have been given a verse to memorize for NBBC, not finished it because it was too challenging and then discovered the next year that they gave me the exact same verse again. I guess it’s just the Lord teaching me to finish what I start. 

“One thing that I frequently laugh at myself for is the way I entered the National Bible Bee: My family registered for the NBB Summer Study for the first time in 2017 after seeing an ad for the 2015 gameshow on “Living Waters” website. My mindset then was “Oh! You just memorize a few verses and you can go on stage and recite them in front of a bunch of people.. that’s not that hard. I’ve memorized passages that were like 10 verses long before and I’m sure I won’t face anything harder than that.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and I’m glad I didn’t because I might not have jumped into it the way I did! God used NBB to teach me how much I didn’t know.

The National Bible Bee is a challenge, but it’s worth it! I’ve never made it to semis. I’ve never made it to finals. I don’t know that I ever will, but I have pushed myself to memorize so much Scripture and none of the time I spent went down the drain. I can’t remember all the verses I’ve memorized perfectly but what I have retained are the truths contained in the verses. Sometimes when I’m most in need of guidance, encouragement, correction, or maybe a verse to encourage someone else, a verse I memorized for NBBC from 2017 or a summer study verse from 2019, or maybe part of the study passage from 2018 will come back to me. Maybe it’s not word perfect, sometimes I can quote it, and sometimes I can’t, but it’s usually just what I need to hear.

“It may seem bizarre, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned from NBB is how much I still have to learn! God’s Word is like a treasure chest, and I need to gather up as much of that gold as I can while I’m young enough to carry big armfuls!”

Composed by Abigail Charleston