Joshua led Israel and served the Lord faithfully. But Joshua, like all men, could not live forever. A time would come when the subsequent generations must take on the mantle and teach and lead their people in the ways of God … or not!
As the aforementioned biblical account clearly articulates, after Joshua died, a younger generation arose who “knew not the Lord.”
Current statistics concerning America’s present generation’s attitude toward God and His Word are discouraging.
A 2016 study by the Barna Group found that only 3% of teens ages 13-17 read their Bible daily. A 2019 Barna Group study revealed that a staggering 64% of young people raised in the church are no longer actively involved.
A familiar ministry
Past issues of The Stand (7-8, 2016; 3/20; 3/22) provided readers with a glimpse of the National Bible Bee’s (NBB) efforts to stem the tide of biblical illiteracy among youth.
However, readers may be encouraged to know that there is more to NBB than just an eight-week summer program.
After completing NBB’s summer program, highly motivated participants, ages 7-18, have the opportunity to take a qualifying test that could earn them an invitation to compete against their peers in a national contest.
Of thousands of participants across the nation, the top 120 in each age division – 7-10, 11-14, and 15-18 – are selected to battle it out.
Preparation for the competition is not for the faint of heart. Contestants must have a firm grasp on the summer course material and memorize an additional 500-1,000 verses of Scripture.
But the hard work and expectations are not without incentive, as the participants are competing for $150,000 in prize money.
As with most competitions, participants will advance or be eliminated over the course of various rounds.
In the preliminary round, contestants are scored via a Bible knowledge test and strictly judged Scripture recitations. Those combined scores determine who progresses to the next round.
The top 15 high scorers progress to the semifinals, where they will be on stage before a crowd of 1,500 or more, completing more Scripture recitations and competing for a spot in the finals in an intense sudden-elimination segment.
Only the top five contestants of each age division progress to the finals where their knowledge will be tested in an exciting game-show format, complete with buzzers, lights, and cameras.
The study is rigorous, and the competition can be intimidating. Eleven-year-old Aacen White, a five-year Bible Bee competitor, shared with The Stand why he participates.
“I do it to learn more from the Bible, but it’s not just about learning more. My walk with the Lord and my faith are greatly strengthened,” White said. “To shoot for nationals requires a lot, which means I have to pray much more for wisdom than at other times. So the whole process strengthens and enhances my faith and prayer life.”
(Digital Editor's Note: This article was published first in the November 2023 print edition of The Stand).