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The National Bible Bee

By Bill Pride
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #85, 2008.

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Bill Pride


We sometimes talk about what we would do if God blessed us with a lot of money. One of the ideas we came up with was a national Bible bee. “Wouldn’t it be great,” we asked each other, “if there were a way to provide heftier scholarships to Christian colleges.” Our idea was that a national Bible bee could both provide incentive for Bible training and locate new students for Christian colleges, while also funding them.

While “lots of money” hasn’t materialized in our lives, any more than it has in yours, the Bible Bee has!

The Bible Bee is sponsored by the Shelby Kennedy Foundation.

Who Was Shelby Kennedy?

The foundation was started in memory of Shelby Kennedy, a young woman who died May 31, 2005, after an intense struggle with cancer.

Shelby Kennedy was the daughter of missionary parents. For most of her life, she accompanied her father and mother to some of the roughest parts of Mexico, building homes for the indigent, helping local churches, and teaching the Gospel to young girls, many of whom were already mothers in their early teens. Those who met her never forgot her.

In October 2004, Shelby was diagnosed with a rare disease called leiomayosarcoma with a tumor approaching the size of a volleyball. The initial test revealed that the sarcoma had spread to her right shoulder and a few other spots in her pelvic area. The sarcoma had eaten away a good part of the bone in the pelvic area. Shelby knew that only a small percentage of people in her condition survive.

Why a Bible Bee?

Shelby’s faith and testimony of hope through the ordeal leading up to her death, as well as her joy in studying God’s word, inspired a friend of Patrick Henry College chancellor Mike Farris to approach him with the idea of starting a national Bible bee in her honor.

Mike assembled a board of directors, and hired Mark Rasche as Executive Director to launch this new ministry. Mike, himself, serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The philosophy of the Bible Bee is summarized as “Learn it! Speak it! Live it!” To read a more detailed description, visit http://www.biblebee.org/families/overview.php?p=10.

How Can Your Child Participate?

The first step to participating in the Bible Bee is to reserve a place in a local contest by contacting a local planning committee. Contact information for the local committees is online at the Bible Bee website.

Then you have to enroll online between February 15, 2009 and April 30, 2009, sign a parental consent form, and pay a non-refundable $20 fee.

Local Bible Bee contests will be conducted throughout the United States on Saturday, September 12, 2009. One hundred finalists from each of three age categories will then advance to the National Bible Bee for a two-day, world-class competition held in Washington, DC, on November 5-6, 2009.

What Can They Win?

Winners will be awarded cash prizes and trophies. For the senior group, ages 15-18, the first prize (Gold) is $100,000 plus the Gold Bible Bee Contest trophy; the second prize (Silver) is $25,000 plus the Silver Bible Bee Contest trophy; and the third place prize (Bronze) is $15,000 plus the Bronze Bible Bee Contest trophy. For the junior group, ages 11-14, the first, second, and third prizes are $50,000, $20,000, and $10,000 plus a gold, silver, or bronze trophy respectively. The primary group, ages 7-10, receive $25,000, $10,000, and $5,000 plus a trophy.

They recommend that prizes be awarded in the form of scholarship funds, held for contestants in special educational trust funds. Alternatively, prizes may be received in the form of lump sum cash payouts or as disbursements over time.

This is a great idea that, with additional funding, could in time become a serious source of support for students at Christian colleges. We urge all readers who are interested to participate and/or donate to this worthy cause.

Contact Information

To find a local Bible Bee in your area, or for information and forms to sign up for the Bible Bee, go to biblebee.org. To read a tribute to Shelby written by Doug Phillips president of Vision Forum go to this page.


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