When I was a kid, about the only incentive I ever had to memorize a Bible verse was getting a gold star by my name in Sunday school class or Vacation Bible School. Needless to say, I never memorized a lot of Bible verses as a child.
I wonder if I would have been motivated to spend more time in God’s Word if there had been a bigger carrot?
The inaugural National Bible Bee will take place this fall and will offer $260,000 in cash prizes to the top three finishers in three age groups. The cash prizes are huge but so are the benefits of participating, says Duane Riffenburgh, spokesman for the event.
“The cash prizes are meant to get people’s attention,” Riffenburgh said. “We want kids to learn how to internalize the word of God. Our philosophy is learn it, speak it, live it.”
So far, more than 10,000 students have entered the nationwide competition. Currently, event organizers plan to hold 360 local bees beginning in September, with the top 100 finalists in each age group advancing to the national competition in Washington, D.C., Nov. 5-6.
The event was inspired by Shelby Kennedy, who died in 2005 at age 23 after a long struggle with cancer. Kennedy was known as a “one-in-a-million Christian who radiated joy, life and hope to everyone she met.” The National Bible Bee is being conducted by a foundation that bears her name. The cash prizes for this year’s bee were donated by an anonymous donor.
Anyone from age 7-18 is eligible to enter. It’s not too late to sign up. The entry deadline is May 15.