From the Mind of a Bible Quizzer

From the Mind of a Bible Quizzer

By Carson Ziemer | April 28, 2024
     I will never forget the first year I started Bible quizzing. The association in which I quizzed only allowed those sixth grade and up to compete. My dad, however, started me on memorizing the book of Matthew in fourth grade—two years before I would ever start officially quizzing. To be honest, I cried when I first started. Even though I was only doing one verse a day, the thought of memorizing the entire book of Matthew seemed an insurmountable task casting its looming shadow over my life. However, I kept at it and had over half of the book memorized by the time I started quizzing. I eventually memorized the entire book, although the last few chapters were a little fuzzy.
     I have seven older siblings, most of which many would consider to be Bible quizzing legends. They would consistently place in the top ten quizzers in every tournament in which they competed. I was privileged to quiz alongside them, and after a few years, I was almost as good as the best of them. We would occasionally have one or two from our church join our team, but most of the time it was just our family competing in major tournaments across the country. Nothing brought our family closer together than Bible quizzing. From long road trips to nail- biting championship quizzes, our family grew closer year after year. Even to this day my siblings and I will recall with great fondness our many quizzing memories. In fact, some of my greatest childhood memories are those of Bible quizzing opportunities (especially road trips).
     The benefits of Bible quizzing are numerous. One of the most obvious benefits has already been alluded to—personal connections. Obviously, Bible quizzing helped our family connect on a deeper level, but beyond that, we were able to meet many other families that had a similar passion for Bible quizzing. I looked forward to seeing my friends each month and making new ones. Gathering with a group of young people that want to study and discuss God’s Word is a rarity in our day, even among good, Christian circles. The connections I made and the relationships that I developed are still benefiting me to this day. I thank God for the friends that I made during Bible quizzing, several of which are ministering alongside me today. Even my greatest opponents in Bible quizzing, at the end of the day, are my greatest allies in the Christian life.
     Another tremendous and practical benefit of Bible quizzing is character development. This involves not only preparation months before a tournament, but also attitudes on the day of the tournament. If an individual is going to memorize large portions of Scripture, they must be disciplined and stick to a rigorous schedule. Learning this sort of diligence from a young age sets a young person up for great success in the future. Although this aspect of character development is important, one of the greatest tests of character occurs on the day of the quiz tournament. Bible quizzing for an entire day is extremely exhausting both physically and mentally. Young people are often pushed to their limits and are forced to rely on God for strength and mental clarity throughout the day.
     Still the greatest test of character in my opinion is learning to lose or win with a good attitude. This sportsmanlike conduct is crucial for young people to obtain. Losing a tournament can be extremely frustrating, especially after the countless hours spent in preparation. My parents had many talks with us children about the importance of having a kind and thankful spirit even after losing. But beyond this, an even greater test was learning to be humble when we would win by giving God the glory. Ultimately, God is worthy of all the glory for He is the one who gave us the ability to memorize His Word and enabled us to recall what we had learned.

Young Carson with Trophy

     The greatest benefit of Bible quizzing is a fairly obvious one—the memorization of God’s Word. The Bible itself tells of the many benefits of Bible memory: it helps us to not sin against God (Psalm 119:11), it makes our way prosperous and gives good success (Joshua 1:8), it keeps us right with God (Psalm 37:31), it leads us (Proverbs 6:20-22), it brings spiritual nourishment (Psalm 1:2-3), and much more. All these benefits are directly connected to the internalizing of God’s Word. In fact, recollection of God’s Word is a ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). This is an incredible way to see the Holy Spirit at work in your life. There have been multiple times when I have been counseling an individual, preparing a sermon, giving the gospel, or even going through a trial, and the Holy Spirit brings a verse to my mind that is exactly what I need in that moment. Often it is a verse that I learned years ago, and yet the Holy Spirit enables me to recall it at just the right time.
     One of the greatest examples of Bible memory is that of Jesus Christ. Although He was omniscient, because of His humanity He still had to train His mind and would have most likely memorized much of the Scripture as part of His training as a young Jewish boy. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He quoted Scripture as His defense. When questioned and tested by the Pharisees, Jesus would often quote Scripture to point them to truth. This has been my burden and goal in my Bible memory journey—that my heart and mind would be so saturated with truth from God’s Word that when I speak it would be like I am reading Scripture to those that hear my voice. In a day in which truth is so relativized, it is essential that our young people get the truth of God’s Word lodged deeply in their hearts.
     I honestly believe that Bible quizzing is one of the greatest investments I have made thus far in my life. Although there were times when I was reluctant in my studies, I eventually developed a love for Bible quizzing that has continued to kindle my passion to study the Scriptures every day. Bible quizzing may not be for everyone, but Bible memory most certainly is. I cannot think of a more exciting and engaging way to develop a love for God’s Word in our young people. So, if you are not sure what to think of Bible quizzing, take advice from someone who has had it as an integral part of his life. Invest in Bible memory, and it will change your life!

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