Bible Quiz through the eyes of…J Barker

My story in bible quizzing started in about 4th grade. At this point in time things like junior age quizzing were still a decade away, even Jr. High quizzing didn’t really take off until I was in Jr. High. Our church had quizzing every Sunday night before the evening service and so as a 4th grader every once in awhile I would pass on a football game and go up and watch. Before long, maybe by 5th grade I was able to convince the youth pastor to let me fill a pad every now and then. It didn’t take much before I realized this was something I really wanted to do and would end up doing for the next ten or so years.

I have always been pretty competitive and I had also grown up in a church that encouraged memorizing scripture through AWANA and other programs. So to be able to mix those two was a no brainer for me. Until my 8th grade year those younger than high school did not have the chance in our program to travel to any of the national tournaments. We did have the chance to watch some really good quizzers and I have to say these individuals more than anything else helped to keep me interested in quizzing. They helped model for me both the competitiveness and discipline it took to be a good quizzer, but even more than that the application and understanding of what they were learning to their lives. From my vantage point it seemed that quizzing helped to shape the life decisions they made. This is one of the great benefits of bible quizzing. Yes, it is a competition and we all work really hard to do well at it, but we are putting in effort to learn something that is beneficial long after the quizzing is over.

Bible quizzing provided me with some wonderful memories. I had the awesome chance to get to quiz together with some of my best friends. From 8th grade – 12th grade we had the chance to travel all over the country to Michigan and Illinois, California and Kansas City, Georgia and South Carolina. Sometimes those trips went as planned and sometimes 7 hours turned into 40+ hours driving through blizzards, cancelled flights, missing SCQUANIT and arriving well after midnight the morning AACS started – but we always had a good time. I built some great friendships that I still have – even being separated by thousands of miles – and learned lots along the way. We were also fortunate enough to have some really great success – and some failures – and these were lessons God used to show us what it was that truly mattered. Because as big as AACS or SCQUANIT or the CI are they are tools to help shape character and encourage young people to spend time learning and understanding the Bible.

After I graduated in 2005 I went to college at Northland and studied for a BA in 2009 and a MA in 2010. During that time I also married an incredibly wonderful girl. We certainly don’t know exactly what God’s plan is for us in the future. He has burdened us both to be a part of seeing the Gospel go around the world and so that is what we are living to do. For the past year and a half we have been living overseas and living as believers where we are and helping to see the Gospel reach more people. We have seen God teach us and grow us a lot. I am so grateful for the foundation I have in the Bible that came from bible quizzing. Wherever he leads us – whether full time ministry or another field – the time spent in studying the Bible will continue to be beneficial. Even five or six years removed I still constantly find passages I memorized coming to mind and shaping my thinking in life. In my opinion bible quizzing is a worthwhile pursuit on the way to knowing God and loving and serving Him.

I’m grateful for the chance to learn how to go deep in learning and memorizing the word of God and hope that “by reason of use” we are able to apply it to make wise decisions for life (Heb 5:11-15) living in a way that brings glory to God.

J Barker,
Woodside, CO
Class of 2005
The Bible Quiz through the Eyes Series
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