I am not a numbers guy....in any respect.
So I don't know how many times I've been involved in the National Bible Quiz tournament...but it has been a bunches...in places like Chicago, Minneapolis, St Louis, Pittsburgh, Omaha, Huron , Colorado Springs, Denver, Louisville, Des Moines, Sandusky, Harrisburg...and more.
For many years I had the privilege of directing quizzing for Family Life in NY (and PA), and after moving to Midland Ministries I have the joy of continued involvement.
And here we are in Green Lake, Wi awaiting the start of this year's Nationals.
Many, many adults pour hours upon hours into Bible quizzing. I am so grateful for the staff members of ministries across the nation who are involved...and even more thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who assist by coaching, table officiating, transporting, etc.
Why do we do it?
Unless you've seen it, is is hard to appreciate. The competition is intense, the teens are amazing, and experience can be life changing, life transforming, life moulding.
Of course there are "issues." Some can't stand the idea of "competing over God's Word." Some don't like the translation we use. There are differering levels of competitiveness...and that opens the door for other "issues."
But the bottom line is that hundreds of teens are memorizing God's Word.
How many people do you know who have memorized the book of Matthew? There are several here. Most have 7-10 chapters down pat.
A quiz lasts twelve minutes...and the focus and determination evidenced by quizzers is astounding. The quizmaster asks a question, for instance, "According to Matthew 3.11, For what do I baptize you with water?" with the answer being "repentance." Three teams compete at each quiz site (this year we have 12 sites), seated on pads connected to a computer. As soon as the teen thinks he/she knows the question, they leap to their feet, at which point the quizmaster stops...mid syllable if possible...identifies the quizzer, says "number 2 (team name) finish the question."
At that point the quizzer has 20 seconds to come up with the correct question and answer, without giving information not contained in the cited verse. The more skilled quizzers often jump on the reference, watching the quizmasters mouth to see if he is saying "what, when, where, why, how, who."
Again, words can't do justice to the incredible skills of the quizzers.
But the competition passes. Only the quizaholics remember what teams won a year ago, much less ten or twenty years ago.
But the living, active Word of God continues...
Over the years I've often heard, from an ex-quizzer who has gone on to college or work, saying, "Jack, I was about to do something really stupid when this verse I memorized came back to my mind," or, "Jack, I was really in a tough situation trying to figure out what to do when God brought back a verse..." or "My college prof can't believe the amount of God's Word I've memorized."
Is it fun? Oh, yeah. But "fun" passes.
The Wordof God endures forever...and that is why we do it.