In just a few days, thousands of young people from across the nation will take the Qualifying Test for the 2021 National Bible Bee Competition. If you are one of these people, you’ve likely been spending the last few months studying everything you can from your Discovery Journal, study passage, memory passages, cross-references, and Greek. It’s also likely that you’re getting nervous about the upcoming test. It’s easy to become stressed about whether or not you’ll qualify, what you should and shouldn’t study, and how you can best use what little time you have left. I want to encourage you to put all of those thoughts aside for a few moments and refocus yourself on the true purpose of the National Bible Bee, “to know God’s Word and make Him known” and ask yourself, “how am I fulfilling this purpose?”
If you’re preparing for the Qualifying Test, you’ve spent a lot of time learning more about what the Bible says, but it’s important to look at what you’re learning as more than just trivia. If your focus is only on doing well on the test, that’s what your outlook will become. However, the Bible is unique in that it’s the Word of the living God, and thus it’s transformative, as His Word will not return void (Isa. 55:11). Studying the Word of God is thus completely unlike studying anything else, because of its very nature as proceeding from God. As you study, continue to keep this thought in mind, and remind yourself of how powerful His Word is. If you’re studying or reviewing your Greek for example, ask yourself how the word you’re studying contributes to the meaning of the text, and the implications of it. Ask yourself how the cross-references you’re studying contribute to your study passage and add to its meaning. Continue to think critically as you approach the Word, and be open to hearing from God through it, because it is through the Word that God speaks to you. Having the privilege to hear from the infinite God of the universe is vastly greater than any score you could get on the Qualifying Test.
In fitting with the purpose of the National Bible Bee, and this year’s theme of Witness, is making God known to others. Edifying others is a privilege God has given us, and He enables us to do it by giving us His Word to study and learn. When something sticks out during your study, or you learn something you didn’t know before, share it! It can be to your parents, your siblings, or your friends, so that they can profit from your studying as well as you. Not only is it edifying to others, but sharing what you learn helps you to learn it better, and further solidifies the content in your mind. The best way to learn something is to teach it, because teaching forces you to articulate your thoughts coherently. Writing down what you learn in your journal is another way to do this. Soon you’ll find that by focusing on the eternal aspect of God’s Word, you will not only profit more from your study, but also do better on the Qualifying Test as an added bonus.
It can’t be overstated how great of a privilege it is to commune with God through His Word. Don’t take this privilege lightly or for granted. Use these next few days to truly meditate on His Word and grow your relationship with Him. This will be more valuable to you than any score on the Qualifying Test could ever be.
Written by NBB Alumnus: Dylan George