Author, Collaborative Writer, Editor - Learn More

WRITE: The National Bible Bee–More than a Competition

Posted by on November 8, 2012 in National Bible Bee, Shelby Kennedy Foundation, WRITE | 0 comments

Scripture memory? Isn’t that for kids?

Well, yes. And no. The National Bible Bee, the Shelby Kennedy Foundation’s vehicle to advance the cause of Scripture memory, does focus on children. Primary (seven through ten years), Junior (eleven through fourteen years), and Senior (fifteen through eighteen years) divisions encompass a broad range of ages. Bee families, by definition, spend months studying, embracing, and memorizing Scripture.

And herein lies the rub—and the blessing. I use the term “Bee families” because unlike the National Spelling or Geography Bees, the National Bible Bee carries a strong focus on family discipleship. Sword Studies, the Bee’s primary source material for local and national competitions, allow families to dig into God’s Word together. These in-depth, inductive tools provide Bible-based insights and activities that span ages and stages.

Although Bee participants compete for more than $260,000, neither the Shelby Kennedy Foundation nor the Bee itself places excessive emphasis on the prize money. Rote memorization? Sure. The top 100 qualifiers in each division memorize at least 300 (Primary), 400 (Junior), or 600 (Senior) Bible verses between mid-August and early November alone.

But the National Bible Bee provides so much more than the typical memorize-to-win-a-prize challenge. Contestants’ scores come from both oral and written exams and reflect not only the accurate recitation of Scripture but an understanding of biblical languages, history, theology, and context.  In addition, families or individuals have the option of participating in Bee studies and local-level activities without the pressure of competition.

In other words, the National Bible Bee is more than a contest with great cash prizes. It’s more than a way to challenge a child’s memory skills. It’s more than a Bible study, a summer program, or a fad. The National Bible Bee, as Shelby Kennedy Foundation CEO Mark MacMahan says, “Focuses on getting families into God’s Word—so God’s Word can get into them.”

Next week, three of my daughters and I will spend time in Sevierville, Tennessee as National Bible Bee volunteers. I’ll help judge the preliminary rounds. I’ll pray with families and fellow volunteers. I’ll collect information for some stories I hope to write. I’ll experience the fruit of my labor (I had the privilege of writing the historical vignettes used in the 2012 Sword Studies). And above all, I’ll remember that Scripture memoryas defined by the Shelby Kennedy Foundation/National Bible Beeis more than a kids’ competition. 
It’s a discipleship-centered, family-focused way of life. 

Do you have experience with the Bible Bee at local and/or national levels? Feel free to leave a comment! 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *