For the third year in a row, local youths headed to Sevierville, Tennessee to take part in the 2013 National Bible Bee Competition sponsored by the Shelby Kennedy Foundation.
At a regional testing site in August, five area young people – Ronnie Matthews of Girard, and siblings Nathanael, Joshua, Caleb and Hannah-Abigail Toth of Newton Falls – secured top qualifying scores from across the country by excelling in Bible study and memorization.
This is the largest number of local qualifiers since Nathanael and Joshua earned the right to compete together at Nationals in 2012.
Fostering family discipleship throughout the year is the goal of the Shelby Kennedy Foundation. The Bible Bee’s vision is to equip parents to lead their own children into a deeper relationship with Christ Jesus through in-depth Bible study, Scripture memorization and prayer. This vision impacts every level of the Bee, from small local support groups to the National Competition.
The National Contest is intended to jointly celebrate God’s Word through family-focused events, engaging guest speakers, and other uplifting activities – while also deeply impacting culture in the home by encouraging regular family worship and Bible study. Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron’s co-host of “Way of the Master”, will return as this year’s guest speaker.
Caleb Toth, 14, one of ten homeschooled children of Ron and Tamara Toth, finished as Junior Regional Champion in the local Final Challenge Round. He is returning to the National event for a second time after being the first Trumbull County qualifier in 2009.
Ronnie Matthews, 12, has qualified for his first trip to the Bible Bee Nationals this year in the Junior Division. He is one of seven homeschooled children of Ron and Nicole Matthews.
Nathanael, 17, and Joshua, 16, will again compete in the Senior Division for a second year in a row. And Hannah-Abigail, 12, who qualified nationally in 2011, will compete alongside Caleb and Ronnie as a Junior-level contestant.
To glorify God and enjoy Him forever – and with the hope of receiving the blessing of multigenerational faithfulness – devotions occur around the supper tables most evenings in the Matthews and Toth homes throughout the year. And to corporately honor God and know Him better, both families worship weekly at the North-Mar Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Warren.
In qualifying this summer, contestants memorized over 60 Bible verses, and they enthusiastically studied the New Testament book of 1st John in depth with their families by researching its history, original Greek words and definitions, and many cross references.
Regional Bible Bee testing was held locally at the Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Royalton. There, summer support and social activities were offered under the leadership of co-sponsorers Tim and Darlene Alexander, Steve and Erin Denny, and Charlie and Christi Upole.
The National Contest requires participants to further learn in excess of 600 additional verses. Along with other qualifiers and their families, the five locals are now doing an inductive study of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church where Apostle John served as an elder.
The 2013 National Bible Bee Competition took place at the Wilderness Resort Lodge in Sevierville, Tennessee. More than three hundred 7-to-18-year-old students divided into three age levels (Primary, Junior and Senior) participated in this 5th annual event.
National Qualifiers, some from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, demonstrated their diligence in Scripture knowledge and memorization through both oral and written rounds. More than $260,000 will be awarded to the top 5 winners of each age division, and every contestant will be recognized and encouraged for their Biblical excellence.
Further information about attending the National Bible Bee, placing a sponsorship ad to support the local qualifiers, donating directly to the Shelby Kennedy Foundation, and getting involved locally in 2014 is also available at www.BibleBee.org.