Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Dannah Gresh: The lights come up illuminating the dark stage. With 7,000 pairs of eyes watching her, Hannah begins to speak. She knows the words. She’s spoken them hundreds, if not thousands of times—so many times it’s like they’re written on her heart.

Hannah Leary: 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Ps. 1:1–3 NKJV)

Dannah: The occasion is a recent True Woman conference. Hannah’s recitation comforts, inspires, and even challenges the women in the audience.

Hannah: 

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Ps. 1:6)

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for April 20, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Hannah Leary and her sisters Rebekah, Sarah, and Leah recited Scripture multiple times that weekend.

Rebekah Leary: 

The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength there are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow for it is soon cut off and we fly away. (Ps. 90:10)

Unison: 

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Ps. 90:12)

Dannah: They were also joined by their mother, Julie Leary.

Julie Leary: 

Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Eph. 5:22–24)

Dannah: Many women told us it was one of the highlights of the conference for them.

Woman 1: The conference renewed my hunger for God’s Word and Scripture memorization, and it reminded me of the power of hiding His Word in my heart.

Woman 2: I think this has just kicked me off my I-study-the-Bible-a-lot-so-I-know-it pedestal. I still need to put my nose in the Book and memorize Scripture so I can use it in my ministry with younger women.

Woman 3: One thing the conference did for me was encourage me to be more disciplined in memorizing Scripture.

Woman 4: I was so encouraged as a woman, and it reignited a passion for hiding God’s Word in my heart through Scripture memorization.

Dannah: Hannah and her family have spent a lot of time memorizing God’s Word.

Hannah: When we signed up, it kind of like, it was just going to be Bible trivia questions that we were going to be asked. I had no idea. But it was the first year, so we signed up. Then we got this package in the mail. It was this big box of verse cards. And that first year, there were over a thousand verses that we had to learn.

Dannah: Credit is largely due to an organization known as The National Bible Bee.

Hannah: It’s not just this rote memory so we can just spew out these verses for the competition. But it’s knowing it, not just up in our heads, but in our hearts.

Dannah: Here at Revive Our Hearts, we’re pro-Scripture memory, which means we’re also pro-National Bible Bee.

Not too long ago, our host, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth sat down with Hannah Leary and some younger friends to talk about their experiences with studying and memorizing Scripture as they participated in the National Bible Bee’s summer study and game show competition.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Somebody tell me—Kate—do you remember what the goal of the Bible Bee is?

Kate Russell: Definitely! To know God’s Word and to make Him known.

Nancy: So you guys are learning to know God’s Word and to make Him known to others. That’s a really important part of this. So thank you for staying long enough to be a part of this. We’re going to talk to some of your parents, too, and see who their favorite kid is (sounds of laughter) and that kind of thing.

Kate, I think you’ve been—of all the people here—have competed the most number of years. Tell us how old you were when you first started being involved in the Bible Bee and why you got involved.

Kate: I was eight years old when I began. Basically, my dad just saw an ad in a church newsletter, and he said, “Oh, we have to try this.” So we did. And the first year, my older brother made it to Nationals, which was in Washington, D.C. So we all went as a family. Ever since then, someone in my family has qualified for Nationals.

So we’ve been to every national, which is cool, because we’ve gotten to travel a lot more than we would have without the Bible Bee. It’s just been a really great experience.

I can’t remember life without the Bible Bee. It’s just been since day one, pretty much, because when you’re eight, that’s when you start remembering things. It’s been really great.

Nancy: So you’ve been involved now for how many years?

Kate: Nine.

Nancy: And you’re still competing?

Kate: Yes.

Nancy: What’s the oldest you can compete?

Kate: Eighteen. So I’ll finish off at eleven years.

Nancy: Wow. And so you’re going to do it again this year.

Kate: Definitely.

Nancy: You’re going to be involved in the summer study.

Kate: Yes.

Nancy: I hear that nobody knows yet what the topic is going to be.

Kate: Nope. It’s a secret.

Nancy: It’s a secret. I see you have your brother next to you—Daniel. How old are you, Daniel?

Daniel Russell: I’m nineteen.

Nancy: Are you still involved in competing?

Daniel: No. I’m not involved in competing any longer, but I’ve had some great opportunities to serve, along with the other alumni that have moved on from Bible Bee in the last competition.

Nancy: How many years did you participate?

Daniel: Oh, about eight, I think. I made it to nationals about five times, I believe, out of those eight years.

Nancy: So you’ve memorized a lot of Scripture.

Daniel: Yes.

Nancy: Is it different Scripture each year?

Daniel: There tends to be some overlap, but yes, there are new ones every year.

Nancy: Well, I want to talk with some of you who’ve been there longer about what’s involved in the study and the memory. But we have another . . . I don’t know what you call it. Is it alumni? Is that what you call yourselves when you’ve aged out?

Kerestel Leonard: Yes, it’s alumni.

Nancy: So, Kerestel, have others in your family been involved?

Kerestel: Oh, yes. Actually, my sister has competed longer than me as well, or as long as me. She was at the first Nationals as well. I have eight siblings in all, so it was really fun. In 2016, all eight of us were able to compete, and that was a great pleasure.

Nancy: Wow. So you had them in all the different age groups.

Kerestel: Yes.

Nancy: Which are what? Tell us, because our listeners may not be familiar with it.

Kerestel: Well, it starts with primaries, which is seven through ten. Then you have the juniors, which is eleven through fourteen. And the seniors are fifteen through eighteen.

Nancy: And did you participate in primaries, juniors, and seniors?

Kerestel: I wish. I just was too old for the primaries. I was ten at the local contest, but I just was old enough to be a junior. So I participated in just the last two.

Nancy: And now are you involved in volunteering or supporting?

Kerestel: Definitely, yes. Last year I was able to be a division guide, and this year I get to be a moderator in the community.

Nancy: So I want our listeners to understand, first, this starts at home and in the community. It doesn’t start on the big stage at Nationals. When you get the information about what the year’s theme is going to be, what the summer study is going to be, do you just dive right into it? Kate, tell us what that looks like when you get started.

Kate: Well, it’s always really fun and exciting to find out the new book we’re studying. In the summer, it’s more simple than Nationals because they give you the study. You don’t have to create your own study, which is what you do at Nationals. Both are feasible things to do, but it’s fun in the summer because you know exactly what to study.

They also give you verses to memorize. You’re not actually tested on those, but they just help you to know the study material more in depth, and you can see all the correlation between the context of the verses and the context of the book you’re studying. It’s really neat to see how so much of the Bible intertwines, and it’s just one big story of God’s plan for us.

Nancy: So, Daniel, is this something your family did together, or you do it mostly on your own?

Daniel: No, actually, it became like a family thing right off the bat because there’s times when you need encouragement as a younger kid to press on in a big responsibility like this. It’s a long-time commitment, so your family is really crucial in helping you get through that. It’s so worth it in the end. It drew us together as a family and gave us a common bond to share throughout our childhood.

So, yes, it was really a blessing. The vacations that kind of came out of Bible Bee and the friendships we made there were invaluable was really good.

Nancy: Kerestel, talk about some of the friendships that you’ve developed with other families and kids that are like-minded.

Kerestel: Well, I probably met Hannah way back in 2010, so it was really fun. So I’ve known her for a long time.

I met Daniel probably in 2012. A few years back they had placed us according to our last names. Then we’d have to wait to recite. They’d take us into rooms, and then we’d say our passages. So while we were waiting, someone decided to play “Name That Song.” We both knew a lot of the same songs, and we were kind of, like, “Who’s this?” He was right behind me, so I ended up meeting him because of that, and that was really fun.

Nancy: So you’re memorizing Scripture and songs and people’s names. (laughter) You guys are just good at memorizing. Did it come naturally? Did you always find it easy to memorize Scripture?

??: I wouldn’t say it’s easy. I’d say that with certain people it’s a little bit easier than others. But the whole idea of memorizing . . . anyone can memorize. You just have to find your technique for memorizing. For some people it’s kinesthetic. For some people it’s writing it. For some people it’s repeating it. For some it’s attaching meaning to objects around the house. But everyone can memorize Scripture in some fashion(??—not sure what he said here—audio: 0:10:08.2).

Nancy: So, Kate, what did you find to be a most helpful way to memorize?

Kate: Definitely writing songs and putting the verses to the songs.

Nancy: You wrote the songs?

Kate: Yes.

Nancy: Wow.

Kate: Or I’d use my favorite song at the moment, and I’d put the verse to it. Typically, if you have your original tune, though, it’s easier, because then you don’t get the words of the actual song mixed up with the verse. But that also takes more time.

Sometimes you just have to buckle down and just use strict repetition. That is, I feel, the fastest way to do it for me. But when you do a song, it takes a little bit longer, but you never forget it. The verses I’ve used a song for, I’ve never forgotten—ever—like the ones I’ve learned when I was eight years old.

Nancy: Isn’t that interesting.

Kate: When I was younger, because my mom taught us the alphabet by having a verse to a song for each letter, I have never forgotten those songs.

Nancy: You still know the alphabet. (laughter)

Kate: Yes. I know the verses that go with the alphabet.

Nancy: So, Kerestel, what was one of your favorite methods for memorizing Scripture?

Kerestel: Probably repetition as well. I think when I was younger, I just dived in. I didn’t think about the concepts. But as I got older, I started to look into mnemonics a little bit and memory techniques. But probably my favorite way was to just read it over and over again. Then I’ll get a visual representation in my mind to kind of associate and to think through the story as it’s happening. I’ve found that’s something that really helps.

Nancy: Okay. I want to talk to some of these younger contestants. Samuel and Thomas, you are brothers. And you guys have memorized a lot of Scripture. Thomas, I got to see you recite at an event the other day, and you got up there and . . . I forget what the passage was, but you did it with such confidence. Were you at all nervous?

Thomas: I was. I had gone over it all day, so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t forget it.

Nancy: Well, you didn’t forget. You were ready. That practice all day, it paid off. You did it for a room full of several hundred adults who were just staring at you. But you did it. And, Amy, you did it as well.

Amy Mathew: Yes.

Nancy: Were you nervous, Amy?

Amy: Yes. I was nervous. That was my first bigger recitation at the conference. So I was nervous.

Nancy: But it went so well. And you know what? Amy, when I was watching you, and I’ve watched many of you at the national competition because I love watching it on the livestream, but you looked like you were really thinking about what you were saying. You were meaning it. You didn’t just go ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba. You actually recited it like you were understanding it. Had you thought a lot about that passage?

Amy: Well, yes. I tried to think of what does it mean? and how should it be expressed?

Nancy: So, Seth, talk to us about . . . By the way, we have people here with last names of Moss, Ross, and DeMoss, so I’m trying to keep everybody straight here. This is Seth Ross. And, Seth, how old were you when you started participating in the National Bible Bee?

Seth Ross: Nine.

Nancy: So just a few years you’ve been doing this.

Seth: Yes.

Nancy: Why do you think your parents want you involved in the Bible Bee?

Seth: Well, many other competitions are just memorization. You memorize the Scripture, but you don’t necessarily understand it. The Bible is like a box of tools. You have a lot of tools. They’re really useful. If you memorize, you get the tools. But if you don’t know how to use them, they’re more or less worthless.

The Bible Bee teaches you the context, their use, their significance. So you not only have the tool box, but you have the manual, and you can use the tools, which is, of course, much better than just having them.

Nancy: Wow. I love that explanation! I think someday you’re going to be writing the instruction manual for something.

Can you think of a passage—any one of you—just a passage that you’ve studied and memorized that has come to mean something really special to you or that has been helpful to you in your life? I’m sure there are a lot of them, but can you think of an example? And, Seth, I’ll let you start.

Seth: Acts 17. It’s a long passage, but I’ll start somewhere near the end. 

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Nancy: So, I don’t think there are very many people listening to this conversation today who could just recite that passage as you just did. But you’ve also studied that passage. Just tell us a little bit about what it means and why it matters.

Seth: So this is actually when Paul was on Mars Hill, talking to a very superstitious group of people. They had, like, a trillion altars. Of course, you can’t fit that much in a small space, but they had probably about a hundred altars to these random gods. They didn’t want to miss anybody. So at least you can give them credit for being kind. They even had a credit to the unknown god, which, they actually had no credit to the only God besides that altar.

So Paul was starting to say, “You’re more or less a very superstitious lot.” (This is paraphrased, of course.) And he told them that their altar to the unknown god was actually an altar to the God.

There were two groups of people. One was very serious. Their stance on life was, “You go with life. You don’t smile. You don’t do anything.” You (??—Seth talks way too fast for these old ears to hear. I can’t catch what he’s saying here—audio: 0:15:54.4) boring Algebra professor who says, ‘This is what we will study today.’

Nancy: You would not be in that category. (laughter)

Seth: No. The other group were the people who were on the opposite, total opposite side of the spectrum. They were just enjoying life. “Don’t think about anything but enjoying it because if you’re there for only a moment, then enjoy the time and don’t waste it in that form and fashion. Which is, of course, not entirely correct. So they were imbalanced, in other words.

Paul told them that their poets were actually correct in what they said that “it is God in whom we have our being.” But their altar to the unknown gods, they still had other gods. They weren’t monotheistic. They were actually polytheistic. So polytheistism is, of course, having multiple gods. It’s from the root poly and theos, which is many and god. So we are, of course, monotheistic. There’s only one God, and He is the true God. So Paul talked to them about that.

Their gods are graven by art and man’s devices. They used their chisels to make them of stone. The Bible also says that “you chisel ears on your gods, yet they cannot hear. They have eyes but cannot see.” And Elijah told the prophets of Baal when they were trying to call fire down from heaven, “Uh . . . maybe he’s asleep and you perhaps should try waking him up, send him an alarm clock or something.”

Nancy: Okay, I’m going to stop you right here (laughter) because I think you could probably do a whole week’s seminar on Acts 17. You just illustrated my point. The point of the Bible Bee is that you don’t want to just memorize the Scripture rote in your head, but you want to understand it. So, obviously you have studied this, and you’ve come to understand it, and you can explain it to others.

This is what we all want to be—no matter what age we are—what we want to be able to do with God’s Word. And thank you for illustrating that from Acts 17. I would love to hear your whole explanation, but I want to hear some of these others talk about how studying God’s Word or a passage has been special to you.

Kate: Specifically, Philippians 4:12–13, which says, 

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

To me, that passage just, even though it’s very common, means so much because there are a lot of times when we become discontent and think that we deserve more. But God is calling us to be hungry, to not have enough to eat, to be full or to be needy. But through it all, we can do anything through Him.

God used that verse in so many ways in my life. Interestingly enough, at one point when I really felt incompetent, particularly when I was on a game show for the Bible Bee, the verse, Philippians 4:12–13, when I recited it and got a perfect score, I made it to the semi-finals in that game show, which was the first time I’d ever done anything like that in Bible Bee. God just really showed me that I could do anything through Him. It’s when I feel the weakest that He’s the strongest in me, so that passage just means a lot.

Nancy: Which doesn’t necessarily mean that when you trust in God you will win everything you do.

Kate: Exactly! No, believe me, I’ve been in the competition for nine years and actually never made the semi-finals in the real competition. I’ve come as close as 17th, 20th, 25th. I’m always right there, but God has taught me so much more in not doing well, that I’m thankful for never really accomplishing what I’d hoped to do. But God has shown me that He had so much more for me in other ways that I didn’t expect.

Nancy: And, really, you did do well because you were faithful to what God wanted you to do, to hide God’s Word in your heart.

Kate: Exactly.

Nancy: I can tell you, when you’re an old lady like me, it’s not going to matter so much that you won, but that you were faithful to get God’s Word in your heart. And you already know that.

Kate: Yes.

Nancy: Samuel, we haven’t had a chance to hear from you. Can you think of a passage that you’ve studied and memorized and recited that is particularly special to you, and can you tell us why?

Samuel Moss: One of my favorite passages is from Acts 4. Peter and John are in the council with some of the chief priests. They say, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (v. 12).

That’s just really special to me. It’s just that Peter and John were bold. It gives me a good model to be bold like them.

Nancy: Amy, what’s a passage that’s been special to you?

Amy: Well, I really liked the one that Kate was saying: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But I also like Isaiah 43:1–2, that says, 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the flame, they shall not scorch you. 

And it goes on. So when I feel fearful, this verse really calms me. God is with me, and He knows the best for me.

Nancy: And also, today we have Hannah Leary, who’s been a part of the National Bible Bee for years. We’ll be telling some of her story. I had to hug you when you walked in the room because I’ve been watching you since you were a girl. Now you are now a woman who loves the Word of God and is encouraging others to do the same.

We have moms listening today, young women, older women, grandmoms, and I hope that this conversation is going to encourage you to get your children into the Word, get the Word into them, and maybe participate in the National Bible Bee. We’ll be giving you some information about how you can do that in a summer study that’s coming up and then potentially in the competition that takes place in early December.

Hannah: In my last year competing, I was seventeen, and the passage that I was really enjoying studying was really convicting to me. I had competed for six years, and I had never won anything. I was kind of struggling with that attitude of competition of, “Oh, I want to win”—because I’m competitive, too—“and all this studying and memorizing, is it really worth it?”

And this one passage God just used in my life that year as we were memorizing it in preparation for the competition. It was Ecclesiastes 12. And it starts off, Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, 

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come and the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them.”

Here I am as a seventeen-year-old senior in high school, and, “Is it really worth it to be spending so many hours studying God’s Word? Has it been worth it for these past six years?” I wanted to move on, and I was just struggling with some of those things. As I was competing that year in the competition and at the game show, the final passage I was asked to recite was that passage.

Man (from the National Bible Bee Competition): Hannah, please recite Ecclesiastes 12:1–14.

Hannah: Ecclesiastes 12:1–14, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come and the years draw near when you say . . ."

I had learned it in my head, and it had been speaking and convicting me throughout the whole season. But as I stood there and I was speaking it at the final competition, it just overwhelmed my heart. The Lord was just saying, “No. I’ve given you this time as a young person. That is your opportunity to build that foundation, to be equipped with the Word of God so that you can take it and live it out in your life. And who knows what you’re going to face in the days to come. There’s going to be hard times, and you’re going to need that foundation.”

As a young person growing up in modern-day America, there’s so many things bombarding young people today and so many different messages: What’s important? What’s the meaning of life? What does the future hold?” All of these different things.

And Ecclesiastes 12 ends by saying, 

This is the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil (vv. 13–14).

And as I was saying that—my last passage I was going to be saying in this competition—I knew that was my last passage

(from the competition): Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:1–14.

And just to have that Word living and active in my own heart, and the Lord using it to speak to my life. Yes, life gets complicated and life is hard, and there’s decisions and confusion. But, really, the Word of God is so simple, and He just wants us to love Him, to know Him, and then to make Him known to this world.

And that just gives me so much hope and confidence and peace as I face my future—not because I know what my future holds, but because I know the one who holds my future.

Nancy: I want to ask some of you older kids here, now that you’re aging out of the competition season of the Bible Bee, how do you think what you’ve done over these years . . . Maybe we’ll start with you, Kerestel. Is it going to make a difference in your life when you’re older, you have a family of your own. Is this just going to be something you did in your childhood and teenage years? Or, what kind of value is it going to have to you for the rest of your life?

Kerestel: That’s a really good question. I think, for me, doing it all these years, it really helped me learn how extremely valuable God’s Word is. It says in Proverbs how His Word is wisdom, and how it’s so precious. And I think in Psalms it says it’s sweeter than honey.

I think a lot of times in our Christian walk we think, Oh, it’s the Bible. It’s cute. It’s great. But when you’re spending so much time in it year after year, you realize how extremely valuable it is. I mean, it’s beyond your comprehension.

Nancy: Thomas, I have a question for you: How many years have you now competed in the Bible Bee?

Thomas Moss: I’ve competed in four. A family member has been to the National Bible Bee for six.

Nancy: Can you remember the first time you got up on the platform to recite? Was that scary for you?

Thomas: I forgot when it was, but I was really nervous then.

Nancy: You were really nervous?

Thomas: Yes.

Nancy: So how did you do?

Thomas: I didn’t make it to finals the very first time, but God helped me.

Man (recording from the National Bible Bee): Okay, Thomas, please recite Psalm 95:3–5.

Thomas: Psalm 95:3–5, 

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth;the heights of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. 

Nancy: I’ve watched the little ones, the medium-sized ones, and the bigger, older ones, and watched God help you. My husband and I watched last year, and we’re just going, “This is so precious. This is so amazing.”

It’s not like you guys are great, and you’re smart—you are—but it’s that you want to honor the Lord, and you want to glorify Him, and you love His Word so much that you want to spend time memorizing it.

Samuel, you spend a lot of time in the summer doing the summer study with your family, studying God’s Word, and then a lot of time in the fall memorizing more verses. Other kids are probably playing more, doing more sports, doing more of other things. Do you think sometimes, do you ever feel like, “Oh I wish I could be doing other things instead of this?” Or do you feel like it’s a good investment of your time in the summer to do this?

Samuel: Well, the Bible will help us when we’re adults more than playing on a football team or something like that. So I know that the Bible will be an eternal treasure for me, so it doesn’t feel bad.

Nancy: You don’t feel like you’re missing out on something important?

Samuel: Sometimes I do, but most of the time I know God’s Word is more important.

Nancy: Now, I know you do other things. What are your other interests?

Samuel: Math. (laughter)

Nancy: Math? Okay, you and I are on different pages with that one. I never was so good at math. But the time that you spend in the summer and during the year memorizing Scripture, do you ever think, Oh, this is so hard. I don’t know if I can keep doing this?

Amy, you’re nodding your head. Tell us when you felt that way.

Amy: Yes. Especially, the summer is not that much. Well, I do have moments when I feel like I can’t do it, but a lot during Nationals. Like, you’re just overwhelmed with this huge stack of verses. You think, I can’t finish this. Maybe I can do part of it, but I don’t think I can do it.

Nancy: What keeps you going?

Amy: Well, when I think of how Nationals is, and how rewarding it is at the end when I’ve finished the verses.

Nancy: Okay, you say it’s rewarding. Is it rewarding even if you don’t win?

Amy: Yes, it is.

Nancy: And can you think of why? What makes it worthwhile and rewarding?

Amy: Well, one reason is because it’s always going to help us wherever we are in all stages of our life. And at nationals you meet so many friends, you meet so many great people, and you’re so encouraged by their studying and how they are very motivated. You feel more like you want to be more like them, and you want to study.

Nancy: So you’re encouraging each other and challenging other kids.

Amy: Yes.

Nancy: And you younger kids, do you ever look at the older kids and say, “Wow! That encourages me to keep going?”

Amy: Yes.

Nancy: So you older kids have been role models, and you probably had older kids when you were younger who were role models and encouraged you. I’d love, maybe Daniel, would you, or anybody else who wants to jump in here, say a word about how you study God’s Word. What are some of the tools, because some people are saying, “Study God’s Word? How do you do that?”

We heard some of you kids talk about what passages meant. How do you dive into it and get a lot out of it?

Daniel: Well, to start off, any study of God’s Word at any level is going to be a positive impact on your life. But to really dive in, Bible Bee always provides us with these really great materials in the summer. And we kind of follow that pattern when we make our own study in the fall.

We’ll read over the book, say, Ephesians. We’ll read over chapters.. We’ll read that for a week. We’ll kind of look into the background, the author, who it was written to. So you kind of understand the audience Paul’s writing to. Because, especially in Corinthians, that’s important because of the state of the city of Corinth at the time, for example.

Then we’ll go more in depth. We’ll study it verse by verse, going through cross-references, Greek words . . . because in Greek, you can get more meaning out of a word in Greek because they have, for example, a bunch of different words for love. In English, you just have love. But they have agápe, philéo, storge, all these different types of love, so you can understand exactly what the verse is meaning. So we like to use that and cross-reference that.

And then, yes, that’s basically about it.

Nancy: Do you use some commentaries?

Daniel: Yes, we do use commentaries, like Matthew Henry’s Study Bible, John MacArthur’s Study Bible we’ve used. We kind of use different versions. We study in King James, my sister and I, which can be difficult to understand at times. So we’ll go through it with a NLT/KJV side-by-side Bible. We’ll go through and just compare it in different versions.

There’s all sorts of different things that you can do, and the more you do, the more you’ll get out of it. So it’s really rewarding.

Nancy: The more you do, the more you’ll get out of it. That is true about all of life, and particularly as it relates to our walk with the Lord.

Daniel: Yes.

Nancy: I’d love to hear from a few of you what you learned that was new to you or really interesting to you from Genesis 1–3 from your study last summer. Can you remember back that far and tell about something? Kate, we’ll start with you.

Kate: Well, when I heard that it was Genesis 1–3, I was a little, I don’t know, I just wasn’t expecting to study that. I was thinking because when you study something like Colossians or one of those books, it seems like you’re going to get more out of it. But I was so wrong. There was so much to learn.

Sometimes we just go, “Oh, yes, it’s Genesis 1, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,’ and that’s what happened.” But we don’t really fully understand how great God is and how much He created for us and what He did for us.

So for me, I just really fully—more fully, I can never fully understand—understood the creation of God and how incredibly powerful He is and how He intricately created Adam and Eve and planned everything for our good.

It also portrayed the sin nature of man and how the grass is always greener on the other side. Eve wanted that fruit because she thought it would make her better, and, really, it just made everything worse. So it also taught me to be content with wherever I am, because as I was saying in Philippians 4, God teaches us to be content with whatever circumstance it is. He will give us the tools to get through whatever season of life we’re in.

So I really got so much out of studying Genesis 1–3 and learning about the creation of God was really a blessing.

Nancy: I love that. Someone else—what did you get out of your study? Thomas?

Thomas: I think there was a lot of simple stuff I tried to do, like, figure out which day was the first all the way to the seventh and go over and over it again in my head. When I found out we were studying that, I was at the Ark, and there was a lot of stuff there on Genesis 1–3.

Nancy: So you were able to actually see some of that time period and how God created animals. Is that right?

Thomas: Yes, Ma’am.

Nancy: So Genesis 1–3 is a really important part of God’s work, because if we don’t have that part of God’s Word, then we don’t know how this all got started and where we came from and who’s responsible for all this, life is meaningless. It’s going to be chaos if we don’t get that first part down.

It’s a foundation. Like, if you don’t have a foundation on your house . . . are any of you builders? Seth, are you a builder? I think you could be.

Seth: (laughter) Oh, yes, of programs.

Nancy: If you don’t have a foundation, then your house is not going to stand. And we need a foundation for our world, for our lives. Genesis 1–3 gives us that.

Samuel, can you think of anything you learned from the creation study?

Samuel: Well, at first I just didn’t see the pattern with creation. But then God’s Spirit revealed to me that He had a purpose when He created everything. It wasn’t, like, “I’ll just create the heavens the first day. I’ll just create the sky on the second,” or something like that.

Nancy: So it wasn’t some random thing. He just said that He was intentional and purposeful about how He did this?

Samuel: Yes, Ma’am.

Nancy: And why did that bless you? What does that tell you about your life and this world today and what God has to do with that?

Samuel: Well, it tells me that God, when He had a purpose for creating, He also has a purpose for my life.

Nancy: And it’s different than His purpose for your brother’s life or your parents’ lives. Right? He’s got a purpose for Samuel Moss. And does it make you want to say “yes” to the Lord about whatever His purpose is for you?

Samuel: Yes, Ma’am.

Nancy: That’s always the right answer to God, “Yes. Yes, Lord.” Right?

Seth, can you give us a short version of what you got out of Genesis 1–3? One little thing, I’d love to hear that.

Seth: (laughter) I believe so. For Genesis 1–3, we always think, Oh, well, we’ve already studied that. We go over that so many times in church. But it’s often those things that we think we know that we actually don’t know. Like when we’re flying in an airplane to get somewhere, we often fly over that we don’t know. We know something else farther away better than what we go over more frequently.

So when you actually dive in depth into Genesis 1:1–3, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” first He created the heavens. There’s an order to everything. It’s like you said with building. I used to do Legos a bit . . . but with computer programs. If you’re using the random library or the secret library, then you have to make sure that you import the library as the foundation for those commands that you’re going to use later in your program. If you don’t, the entire thing falls apart.

Nancy: And if we don’t have the right direction and foundation from God’s Word for our lives and for this world, the whole thing would fall apart. Right?

Seth: Exactly.

Nancy: Sometimes as you look around this world, and the older you get, the more you see and hear of what’s going on around the world, it could look like the whole thing is falling apart. But the fact is: Heaven rules. God’s in charge. He knows what’s going on.

You guys are going to face some times in your lives—maybe you already have a little bit. But the older you get, the more times you will face when it seems like nothing makes sense, nothing is going right.

We have some people listening to this program today who feel like their lives are falling apart. Maybe their husband or wife doesn’t love them anymore. Maybe their kids have grown up and are running away from God. Maybe they lost their job. It feels like life is falling apart.

I’m encouraged as I listen to you guys talk about Genesis 1–3 to remember that God’s in charge. He doesn’t make mistakes. Everything He does is good, and He does it in an order.

So these foundational lessons you got last summer working on Genesis 1–3, that is going to go with you—or I hope it does go with you—through all of your life. I think it will.

Amy, anything from Genesis 1–3 that stood out to you?

Amy: Well, I liked a lot of the cross-references. The Bible only has given us so much. You learn so much when you’re using the cross-references. You’re like, “Wow! These actually match. And this means this. And it’s all connected.” It’s amazing how stuff from the other side of the book can match.

Nancy: Yes. I love that. In fact, if you open my Bible here, you’ll see that some Bibles have cross-references in them. I like to get a Bible without cross-references printed because I like to find my own.

In Isaiah 40 here, I have a cross-reference to another verse in Isaiah because it helps you piece the whole thing together and see these are not just separate, independent passages that don’t connect. They really do connect.

Then you get to see the whole gospel story through all of the Scripture, which is why I love hearing you recite because you’re reciting passages from the Old Testament, the New Testament, the different parts of Scripture.

Did you want to say something, Daniel?

Daniel: Yes. I just wanted to say, to what you said about the foundational aspect of God’s Word. I actually went through the Genesis study with them last year even though I wasn’t part of the competition. And it’s, like what you’re saying, it’s so true that it really establishes a foundation. That’s what I got out of it.

I was wondering why we were studying it at first, but it really establishes the problem of sin, and then it sets forth God’s solution to sin right there in Genesis 3. Then we capped it off with Colossians at the end of the year, which is kind of the fulfillment of that. It talks in Colossians about the signs, the symbols in the Old Testament like the Sabbath and fruit and things, that pointed to Jesus in the New Testament.

So it was a really cool study that kind of encompassed the sense of the Bible between Genesis 1–3 and Colossians. So it was cool.

I’ll just say that my favorite verse is Psalm 18 where it says that God’s way is perfect and His Word is tried, and He’s a buckler to all who trust in Him, and He’ll keep our step; He’ll hold us up. That’s just so comforting to me as I move on in my life toward a career and college and whatever God has for me.

That’s what the Bible Bee has really done. I have those verses in me that give me comfort and purpose, and it’s such a blessing.

Nancy: I love hearing that.

Why would you encourage the moms who are listening to this program—and we have a few dads who listen—but the moms and grandmoms, why would you encourage them to get their family involved in the summer study and the National Bible Bee? Kate, we’ll let you start.

Kate: Just all in all, His Word will never return void. It will never be a waste of time. I have spent so much time studying the Word of God, and I do not regret a second of it.

The whole competition aspect of it is not the important part. It’s a great motivator, and it motivates people to study the Word of God more in depth. It’s fun. I have met so many friends there. Some of my best friends are from the Bible Bee. But that’s not the most important part.

I know that my relationship with God would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for the Bible Bee. It just wouldn’t. I am so thankful for it and for all the people who put it together.

It’s definitely something you should have your kids get involved in. Don’t be discouraged if it seems like, “Oh, listen to those kids who can recite all that. That’s so impossible.” It’s not impossible. We’re all just the same as any mom out there who has kids. We all had a mom that just had us study the Bible a little bit and just do it more and more. And with time, with everything, you get better. It’s really doable for any age and any person. There’s no person that’s more intelligent and can memorize better. It just has to do with hard work and enjoying it, having fun.

I promise you that you will never regret it, and you will reap so many benefits than if you hadn’t done it. It’s the most worthwhile thing you could do as a child, really.

Nancy: Great word. Thank you, Kate. That’s beautiful.

Amy, how would you encourage parents? Why should they get their families involved?

Amy: Well, I think that’s one of the most thing you could do for your children. You can’t make them a Christian, but you can help them to know God’s Word.

Hannah: Exactly. Amen.

Nancy: And God’s Word is what’s going to draw them and point then to Christ.

Amy: Yes.

Nancy: You want to add anything, Seth?

Seth: So, going back to the toolbox analogy: You give them the tools they need for life. You teach them how to use them. You give them the context so maybe they can even find new ways to use it. And then, also, that affords an experience. 

If you can get into semi-finals or finals, you get experience on the big stage, how to handle that. With prelims, if you don’t make it at first, then you can still understand how not to come in first gracefully. Of course, it’s not actually losing because you get God’s Word. You get that toolbox still. It’s not like they take away what you memorize. 

Nancy: Nothing can take that away! There’s no losing. There are no losers who are studying God’s Word, reading it, meditating on it, and memorizing.

Kerestel, do you want to add anything that you’d say to parents?

Kerestel: They’ve all summed it up very well, but, yes, I guess kind of what Amy was saying—. It’s probably the best thing you could do for your kids because as parents, you want the best school or you want to train them in the way they should go. But this is probably the most vital thing above all else that will really change them.

Kate: Yes, and one more thing is that I know is that a lot of people maybe would think that it would take up too much of their time. They say, “Oh, I’d love to do that. It sounds amazing, but I just don’t have the time.” People watch TV for an hour a day or whatever, but we all have an hour a day.

It doesn’t have to consume all of your time. You can still continue with your sports or your schooling or whatever you want to get done. You just set some amount of time away for the Word of God. That’s the best thing you can do and still go on with your life. It’s not going to hold you back. If anything, it will push you forward, and you’ll excel more in the things you are doing.

Nancy: Samuel, were you the one who quoted Joshua 1 this morning?

Amy: I did, yes.

Nancy: You did? Can you just recite for us a part of that because that passage says exactly what Kate is saying here, that if you meditate on God’s Word every day, day and night, you will be successful in whatever you do. I’m not sure what translation you have, but why don’t you recite just part of that passage for us because it just says exactly what we’ve been saying here.

Amy:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (v. 8).

Nancy: Amen. Do you have one thing to add?

Seth: Psalm 119: “Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” And Psalm 1 actually also says that he who is close to God is like a tree planted by a good river. He will be prosperous.

So investing the Word of God is never a bad investment of your time. It’s even better than investing in the stock market because you have 100% chance of R.O.I. (laughter)

Nancy: No question about that. Amen. Thank you for that.

Dannah: There’s something so energizing, motivating about hearing children who are spending the time and effort to hide God’s Word in their hearts.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been speaking with brothers, Samuel and Thomas Moss, Amy Mathew, Seth Ross, Kate Russell and her brother Daniel, and Kerestel Leonard. Tomorrow we’ll hear from some of their parents.

So The National Bible Bee is a fun way for the whole family to dig deeper into God’s Word. Every year thousands of young people join the journey to know God’s Word and make Him known through the summer study and the National Bible Bee competition. Between now and the end of May is the time to register for the 2020 summer study. There’s a link at our website that will take you to The National Bible Bee where you can get all the details and sign up. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Does it sound daunting to take your children through this kind of undertaking? Tomorrow Nancy speaks to the parents of several of the children we heard today, and the time commitment is one thing that they address. I’m Dannah Gresh. I hope you’ll join us for Revive Our Hearts.

Helping you know God’s Word and make Him known, Revive Our Hearts, with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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