Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bible Bee

Decently, I should apologize for seemingly forgetting about this blog for...over a year. But I'm too excited to be formal, and I'm afraid it wasn't that I seemed to "forget about this blog." It's that I did. Anyhow, with that awkwardness out of the way, I hope anyone reading this is doing splendidly!

Things in my rather dusty corner of the world have been busy, but totally lovely. Since June, God allowed me to be in the Word daily through the Bible Bee. Those months of study were sometimes overwhelming...sometimes terrifying. But they were so incredibly rich! And I'll try to explain, but I dunno if my bouncing keyboard will even touch the edges of this joy!

Bible Bee isn't an event where you spell "Corinthians" and "sunoikodomeo." Really, it's far, far, far more than a contest! Starting on June 1st, participants open their Bibles to an assigned book, and open their "boxes" (of pre-ordered summer study supplies, received through registration with the Bee) to find their Sword Study (a book teaching you how to inductively study the Bible) and memory verse passages. (I just spit out a lot of wordiness-and-parenthetical-note-stuff there-and-here!) For example: this summer, the assigned book was 1John. Students interviewed and examined and applied the book bit-by-glorious-bit, helped by the wonderful Sword Study the same time, memorizing around 60 Bible verses--which further illumined their understanding of 1John. It was an incredible crash course. And commitment-wise? It takes only 20 minutes a day to go through a lesson.

[My writing is potentially confusing and caffeine-ridden. So I'd totally recommend checking out these official sites:
On the Sword Study--Sword Study
On the Bible Bee--Bible Bee]

The amazing part of a Bible Bee summer is the reminder that you aren't simply turning on "rote" and packing information. Studying the Bible is not like poring over a dry textbook. That's because God's Word is living and powerful (Hebrews 4:12).

Summer study winds up with a local contest...which is an amazing thing!  Students are tested over their memory passages, and their knowledge of the given Bible book (example: 1John). Scores will be tallied to determine who will be invited to the National competition.
But the best part of this local level is the fellowship. We've acquired knowledge together (even if in separate homes/towns/churches), and the common ground is incredible! John 17:3 comes to mind: And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent. That's the knowledge that counts.

There's so much I could talk about here. Because you're likely one of my relatives, you've read thus far with wonderful patience--so thanks! I could go on about Nationals, but I feel like that merits another post. (Given I still remember this blog!)

But here's what I want to get down: why do I so love Bible Bee? Why is this Bible study so important to me?
There's two huge reasons. The first is that the proof of my love for Jesus is in obeying Him--If you love Me, keep My commandments! (John 14:15)
How can I possibly obey a perfect, holy God? Through my efforts and strivings to "be good"--when only God is perfectly, inherently, essentially "good"? (Mark 10:18)
Psalm 119:32 puts things well, I think. I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart. "You make my heart wide. You broaden it." Some versions take this as "You broaden my understanding." 
I can go in that way of obedience because God, Who is open-handed, is the One Who widens my heart. He's the one Who gives wisdom (James 1:5). I need Him to open up the Scriptures (1Cor 2:14, Luke 24:45). Because of what God has done, I don't have to stumble around without a clue of what He wants from me. His commandments aren't burdensome (1John 5:3). The course of obedience can be run through, with sureness (1Corinthians 9:24-27).
But how can we know God without knowing the Truth...His Word (John 17:17)? Psalm 1:1-2 tells of the blessing of the man who delights and constantly meditates on God's Word. And that makes it abundantly clear that we have to be in the Word.

To cap off this first reason: Bible Bee gets one into the Word, so by knowing it better, we can know the Living Word, Jesus, better. We can know His commandments...and obey.

Reason Number 2 is that I've seen through Bible Bee how getting into the Word--and receiving the knowledge of Jesus therein--transforms. I was born into a heritage of works-based religion. And I dearly loved that identity. I was proud of my self-sustained righteousness, of my inward-collectedness. I had things spiritually tied with a bow! The Bible probably had some neat bits. I'd flipped through the first pages of Genesis, maybe gagged at a randomly-opened Old Testament battle. Oh, and John 3:16? I knew that much. Existence was secure. Just as well-founded as the dust-laden, pink-covered children's Bible on my shelf--the only one in my possession.
In 2010, a couple of friends told me about this thing called Bible Bee. It sounded worth a shot--I had nothing to do that summer, and it sounded more interesting than reading over the dictionary. I registered late, and sometime in June my study supplies came in. The book of focus was Colossians.
And in four chapters, the world turned upside down (Acts 17:6). I met something totally new--the preeminence of Christ. I'd "seen Him" in pictures. Here He was in record--above everything. Here was the Master and Maker of creation! 
And something else became evident. I was not the quintessential goody-two-shoes. I wasn't good at all. Because if the Bible was true, then there was only One Perfect Man, ever. And we killed Him. He gave Himself up when He bore my sin. 
If I had no real knowledge of God's law, I had knowledge in conscience (Romans 2, 3). God's wrath was on me. I had attempted to bribe Him with stuff I did! I had assumed that He could be blinded, satiated by my donating to Salvation Army or throwing pennies into relief funds. The God of gods and Lord of lords doesn't show partiality, and He doesn't take bribes (Deuteronomy 10:17-22). My "good deeds" were like rags waved in the Creator's face, attempting to gain His favor (Isaiah 64:5-7). "Paying" my way to heaven with works was not getting me into the Wedding. There was only one sure dowry of a self-motored left me a hellbound sinner with a neat resume.
Jesus was perfect--I was wretched. And this amazing thing that we'd all heard of became real. God sends the Son. And Jesus, obedient to the Father, is the gift given to satisfy God's righteous judgment (1John 4:10). He dies. And by God's power, He rises (Ephesians 1:15-20). The tomb is empty. Death's power is empty. Because of Jesus, Satan's hold over me is empty (Hebrews 2:14-15).
In one summer, God brought the truth of the Gospel into my life. In one summer, salvation wasn't a rumor--it became founded in the Author, the Finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12). Out of one summer, my family and I came to know Christ--from getting into the Bible.

That's why I love the Bible Bee.  It's about more than memory. It's about more than trophies. Even if my name isn't engraved on a slab of glass, the solid foundation of God stands (2Timothy 2:19). It's about studying to realize who Jesus is through the testimony of the Book...because in believing, we have life in His name (John 20:29-31). What cause for rejoicing!
So why not get into the Word, now? And if you skipped checking out those above links earlier--you should check them out! Awesomeness!

While you're at it, why not think about this best-of-all-news called the Gospel? 

On the Gospel--Are You Good Enough?


  1. It's KAITLIN'S BLOG! So, I'm being naughty and commenting before I read the post, just because I'm so *excited* to see that you posted :) NOT to make you feel guilty in the least for neglecting it. We know there are much more important things that God brings that demand our attention. Anyway, I should probably actually *read* your post now :)

  2. Wow! Truly Awesomeness! Isn't it amazing how the Lord works! Something that strikes me fresh every year is how the life of Shelby Kennedy ties into it all. She is an inspiration to me more and more every year :)

    Thank you for taking the time to share these great thoughts about the Word! Praise the Lord!

    1. Thanks for the comments, dear Grace! I so laughed after reading the first one! :) And yes--it's amazing what God is STILL doing because of Shelby's faithfulness! :) Praise God! He is gracious.

  3. Excellent post Kaitlin! It so so sweet to read your testimony and see it almost identical to my own. God is so good, He can do abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think. I'm SO excited to see that you have a blog:) I look forward to reading more about your life in the future. I'm praying for you:)

    1. Thanks so much, dear Elanee! :) To Him be glory! Love your blog, and love ya lots!