In 1999, with great anticipation I joined my church’s Bible Quiz team. I tried to start slowly, but I was asked to memorize 41 verses for the first quiz – in one month! The Lord helped me work on my verses each day, and I was surprised at the end to be able not only to memorize them but also to quiz out in my very first quiz. That became a mile-stone in my life, the beginning of a path I have never regretted. I quizzed for six years until I graduated, and then I coached for several years after that. Right now I am about to graduate from Seminary, get married, and in the next few years go as a missionary to the Middle East. Looking back, I can honestly say that Bible Quiz has been one of the greatest influences in my life.
In one way it was my sport. I well remember meticulously adjusting my light between questions, leaning forward on the edge of my seat, waiting for the exact second to spring, and then standing poised, quoting in my head and evaluating each possibility as the clock raced. Eagerly, my teammates and I would watch the list of remaining teams in each tournament, wondering how far we could make it. Sometimes we went all the way. I remember that in high school the “Athens Tournament” was my favorite day of the year.
But the quizzing itself was only the fun part: the accountability for something much bigger going on in my life. God changed me through the Bible. I spent time daily (or nightly) memorizing my new verses and reviewing. At school I walked around with bulging pockets full of 3×5 cards with my verses written on them. In 10th grade, when I memorized John, I remember sitting in the living room with Dad as he drilled me. I still have shoe boxes full of piles of verse cards rubber-banded together. After the first couple years I began to review my previous material – I didn’t want to lose it after all that effort! I would quote my chapters in the Pauline epistles while I washed dishes. And I would quote from John in the morning while I showered. I typically spent only 20 to 30 minutes a day (or less) of sit-down-and-study-time on Bible Quiz since I didn’t have time any more than most people. But doing a little each day made a big difference, and it helped me form some wonderful habits that have helped me all the way through college. I think I look back even more fondly on the memorizing than on the quizzing – although I still get itchy to compete at times.
More than anything, however, I appreciate what God did in my heart through His Word. Bible Quiz motivated me and showed me that I could do more with my Bible than I ever realized before. One of my greatest joys is meditating on chapters while I walk around at school, drive my car, or have my devotions. The Bible is not just something I have – now it has me. It is one thing to know a truth, but it is another thing to hear God’s actual words in your mind. The Holy Spirit brings back verses from the epistles and John constantly right at the moment of temptation or when I am sharing God’s message of salvation or encouragement. I have forgotten to some degree many of the chapters I learned, but others have become embedded by constant use. And no one can ever take them away from me.
During college, I did not memorize quite as much, although I did some. But this summer, God led me to start on a new adventure – one that thrills my heart: I am trying to memorize Isaiah. Every night I review while I drive home, memorize my next three verses, and then read a column or two ahead. I have discovered that doing a little a day goes a long way. Now I am working on chapter 19. Before the summer, the book was a mystery. But now some of the prophecies of Christ’s future kingdom are becoming good friends, and I am praying that God will change my life through this book, just as He has changed my life before.
Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” Can I say from the bottom of my heart that you who know the Lord will never regret the time you invest in memorizing passages of Scripture? God’s Word is becoming part of me, and I have tasted and seen God so much more than I could have imagined otherwise. Thank you, Lord, for Bible Quiz!
Class of 2002
The Bible Quiz through the Eyes Series
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