rebelling against low expectations

Do Hard Things: The National Bible Bee


Young people are pretty good at memorizing. We’ll memorize our favorite scenes from movies. We’ll memorize songs. We’ll memorize jokes. We’ll memorize tongue twisters. We’ll memorize lines for plays, information for quizzes, and speeches for competition. For most of us, memorization is not that hard and will never be easier.

But of all the things we have stored in our minds, readily available, far too little of it is Scripture. The verses we memorized as kids are crowded out of our minds by trivial “stuff.” Consistency, meditation, and dedication (the hard, little things) are lacking. Instead of the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” we have an empty scabbard. Movie lines an are a poor defense against temptation.

Nothing will better equip us to live as rebelutionaries than for “the word of God to dwell [us] richly” (Colossians 3:16). That’s why Brett and I are so excited about a new project we just found out about. The National Bible Bee is a first-of-its-kind annual competition that challenges young people — age 7 to 18 — to make a passionate commitment to Scripture memory and Bible knowledge.

The National Bible Bee already has almost 350 officially registered Local Bible Bees in 49 of the 50 states — and over 6,000 enrolled contestants and counting! The top contestants from around the country in each age group will advance to the national contest at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. — and unlike most other competitions, there really are no losers in this Bible-focused event.

Visit the official website to find and register for a Local Bible Bee competition near you. The deadline for enrollment is April 30th — just 12 days away!

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • I absolutely love to memorize Scripture!
    It is so beautiful and comforting.
    It’s great to be able to remember a Bible verse that
    pertains perfectly to the situation that I am in.
    Sometimes I don’t even remember them on my own,
    the Lord seems to shove certain verses to the forefront
    of my mind when temptation looms on my path.
    Being home schooled I am required to memorize a
    certain amount of Scripture each year, so that helps
    a bit too! ; )

    Enjoy your delay, I am sure you will find plenty to do
    while sitting in the airport for a few hours!

  • I have heard about this National Bible Bee… sounds very interesting!
    Memorizing things are hard for me to do, but it will give me some practice in “Doing Hard Things.”

    Keep up the good work!


  • I started doing Bible memory for an ACE convention when I was in highschool, and have tried to keep doing some ever since. It can be “hard”, but it’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’m so glad I started! Everyone who can should be in the Bible Bee!

  • My little sister is already signed up for this and really excited! It looks like this will be awesome!

  • I am signed up for this competition! I think I’ll really enjoy doing it.

    Actually, it’s not possible to sign up anymore this year: one must first register with the Local Planning Committee, and that’s not been possible since February.

    Nate: Sorry, one must be within 7 and 18 on the last day of competition to complete.

  • I’m signed up!! (been signed up for awhile actually) I’m really excited about it!!

    …and you know, if you make it to nationals, and win nationals, you get $100,000!!!! (at least for my age group. 😉 )

    I’m sooo excited for this!!! 😀

  • Ooh, yay! I’m so glad it’s national now. I was in this when it was for only a few states (Oregon, Washington, and Idaho)… I’ll have to look into it!


  • There’s one on Kauai!!!!
    Micah: what do you mean, you can’t register anymore? The Website says you can sign up from April 15 through 30.

  • Micah: That may be specific to your local planning committee. Enrollment is open until the end of this month — per the executive director of the sponsoring Shelby Kennedy Foundation.

  • Hey, how cool is this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My Mom is in the process of signing me and my sister up.
    I am soooooo excited!!!!! THIS IS AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate talking in front of people so this is going to be a ‘Do Hard Things’ step for me!!!

  • Have you guys ever heard of Bible Quizzing?

    For Bible Quizzing, we are given a certain book or group of books each year, usually from the New Testament, and we study in teams from each participating church. We study a few chapters each month plus selected quote verses, and compete at monthly tournaments with teams from various local churches, where we are asked questions about the passages, including quote questions. There are team and individual competitions.

    The Bible bee sounds interesting.

  • What I mean is: Enrollment in the National Bee is available until April 30, but a place must be reserved at the Local Bee first before February 15. I don’t know if it differs between LPC’s, but that’s what the website said. Let me know if anyone manages to get enrolled after then!

  • OK, I saw a news article that implies that yes, it is still possible to sign up. However, if the Local Planning Committee is already out of room, then it’s too bad that you didn’t reserve a place.

  • I rejistered for this last night, My church is the center for our entire region in Missouri. So far only three people have sighned up counting myself, which the lack of Competition is kind of depressing, I hope it turns out good, but this is only its first year.

  • Sounds Like fun!! i would love to get involved! Memorizing things is not my strong point but i WILL ” Do Hard Things”

  • I don’t know about Bible Bees, but I DO know about Bible Drill! I’ve been involved with that since I was in kindergarten, and it continues all the way through high school if you want. It’s really cool to learn new verses each year, and sometimes build on stuff you’ve learned in previous years. There’s a national competition for this also. It’s lots of fun and focused on God! Doesn’t get much better than that!

  • I just want to say, for those of you who don’t know, that this Bible Bee is a part of the Shelby Kennedy Foundation.

    Shelby Kennedy was a true rebelutionary. She dared to do big, hard things for the gospel and the God she loved. She spent most of her life working in Mexico and Haiti with her family’s Only a Servant Ministries. She started an orphanage in Haiti that continues on – today! It was so incredible for me, from the time I was little, to watch Shelby’s life. Though I didn’t know her very well, my little eight-year-old-eyes would often observe her return with her family from the mission field. Even though I was pretty little, I could see that she was always so excited about the work that God was doing. As the years went by, and I continued to watch her life, her message that God’s work was important and exciting to her was consistent.

    It was with heavy hearts that our church and the many that loved her were forced to watch her tremendous, courageous battle with cancer. Her faith amazed doctors, her sweetness and trust in God encouraged the many hundreds who prayed for her. Her life, beyond doubt, changed many. One of her prayer updates that she wrote said,

    “Last night I realized that if I have my eyes fixed on Jesus I am at complete rest. Only when I turn to look at the possibilities or problems do I get scared or worried. The Lord reminded me of Peter walking on the water and that I must keep my focus on HIM! It made me realize how easy it was for Peter to turn and look at the waves … but in His strength I am keeping my gaze on Him.”

    The day of Shelby’s memorial service was one of the most heart-breaking days I ever experienced. Yet, the story of what motivated her life was proclaimed and even now, her life is making a difference through this Bible Bee. How inspiring her life can be for us – to so live and so die that our lives count for Christ. I think, also, that her words can speak to us who are striving to “Do Hard Things.” If we could just remember in the midst of trying to “Do Hard Things” that the most imperative thing is to “keep our focus on Him,” think of the difference it could make. This is how I want to live, and I have had an amazing example in Shelby’s life.

  • I think I’ve heard of this…hmm.
    However, Bible memorization is not unfamiliar to me. I’ve had the privilege to be involved in AWANA Clubs ever since pre-school…I think I’ve memorized around 600 verses…give or take a few. Gratefully, I acknowledge my parents for caring about my walk with God and putting me in this program. It really has been so awesome!

  • I had one question…do you have to go somewhere to take the bible bee or can you do it from home?
    I won’t be able to make it if it is out of state.
    We just moved into house in Minnesota and we are pretty busy.

    Sounds interesting though!


  • I think around 6000 students are participating in total. The local bees are within an hour from home (more or less depending on where you live), but the national bee is in Washington D.C.
    Only 300 contestants will go to Washington.

  • Okay…so how do you do it? Is it on their website? Do you do it from your computer?
    Does the website have all the information I would need?



  • Okay, sorry Micah for all the questions, but i couldn’t find one thing out on the website.
    If I can’t make it, could I just go to one of the local bible bees and watch what they do?

    Thanks for all the answers!


  • I don’t think you could really watch the bee in progress. Even the parents aren’t allowed in competition rooms—just the judges/quizzers and other contenstants. I’m not sure, but I would guess not.

    The website does go into pretty fine detail about the procedure, though, and I think the study booklet will be freely available to anyone outside the bee.

  • Wow!! This is awesome!
    The Bible is the most IMPORTANT and LIFE-CHANGING book ever written. I am so glad that someone started this project. This will be amazing!
    I would love to get involved, but living outside the States makes it hard… anyway, blessings to those of you who are going to take up the challenge!
    In Christ alone,

  • My Mom is going to sign up my sisters and brother and myself for Bible Bee and we’re so excited about it. We do Bible Drill and so now am thankful that there is Bible Bee so we don’t have to stop learning God’s word during the summer. I don’t think My parent will let us go on to Washington DC though because that would be to far. Although it would be an awesome thing to win just even a smaller sum than 100,000. THe money is not the reason that I want to do this. It is to grow closer to God and to become more and more like Christ.
    Sister in Christ

  • When I was in elementary school, we had a Bible Bee every year. I won once and always came in the top five. This sounds awesome. I’m really going to look into it. Thanks for blogging about it!

  • Josiah: I found out about spectators. No spectators at all are allowed in the local bees; in national competition only direct family members are allowed because of limited space.

  • I’m signed up, along with all my brothers and sisters! We’re all a little nervous, but excited too. The Bible Bee is an awesome oppurtunity to get you motivated to study the best book ever!

  • Micah: Okay, thanks.
    I think I will have to sign up next year, my family and I are just to busy.

    Thanks again!


  • I told my mum about this! I think my sisters and I will be doing it. Thanks so much for telling us about it! What a great opportunity to learn more from, like Karen said, the best book ever!!!!

    Be blessed,

  • It is odd, I think, that teenagers can memorize a bunch of stuff execpt for the Bible.

    I could probably sing to you every song on my iPod ’cause I know them all by heart, but I can’t remember for the life of me where a verse is found.

    I just bought a CD the other day, and one of the tracks is just a dude reading a chapter of the Bible. I’ve already gotten some of it memorized, just because it’s on there and I hear it over and over again. It’s a little odd….

  • For those of you who can’t do the Bible Bee, or would like a different format, you might want to check out Bible Quizzing. I’ve been involved for several years, and it’s been a great motivation for getting the verses learned. There are several styles of quizzing, but the one I’ve been involved most with is World Bible Quizzing. You can find more information and links to several of their tournaments on their website: If you live near enough, you could also join us in Rochester Minnesota for our monthly competitions. More info on their website:

  • I think I am going to sign up! I’m so excited! Thanks again for letting us know about this awesome event!

  • This is awesome! My area doesnot have a bible bee (last time I checked) but I think I should ask if my church could host a local bible bee. Everyone should study and memorize the Bible, but this is an incentive.

  • I Totally agree I love this so much this is sooooo awesome my area does not have a Bible Bee i think this is so awesome

    I think this is so cool

  • I have a quick question, I emailed but didn’t get a reply to it. When does the early bird registration end for the June conference? I’d really appreciate that info. Thanks!
    God Bless,

  • I wish I could compete, unfortunately though I will be somewhere else. China I think. But my little brother is doing it!

  • I think this is great!
    I think it’s a great way to challenge us to memorize something worth memorizing. I find that a lot of people don’t enjoy memorizing the bible, “it takes too long,” or “I just don’t have time.”
    If you compete, I find you’re more determined. So much knowledge is absorbed by this without even realizing! You’ll appreciate it for a different reason in the end!

  • What a great way to encourage memorizing parts of the Bible! Whether or not you manage to get into the program on time, practicing this daily is important. I’ve been pushing this to the back burner for some time… thanks for the reminder!

  • I am all signed up! I’ve always loved memorizing the Word, and am very looking forward to this competition.

  • Hello!! I have a question, kind of unrelated to this post. The past few days I have been trying to get on the forum and it won’t let me sign in. It doesn’t say anything like “this page is unavailable” or “incorrect username and password” it just won’t sign me in. I have tried repetedly and at different times of the day, but it doesn’t make a difference. Do any of you have any ideas as to why I might be having this problem?

    Blessings to you all!

  • Alex and Brett.

    I have Just started reading Do Hard Things. after reading only so far i knew i’d have to visit your site! i love what you guys are doing, to make the difference. I have to say i agree that we should be better with knowing even just a little of the bible. in my religion class at school whenever i need an answer to a theological arguement i know i can look to the bible for help. and with just problems in life where i feel lost i’ll look for help. so i might say God’s word definitly equip me as i start to work towards being a rebelutionist!!

  • This sounds like a lot of fun! The closet one to me is an hour away! My mom said that we’ll form our own group for next year!
    It’ll give me time to work on memorizing! 🙂

  • You have to be signed up for the Bible Bee to have access to the MANUAL.

    Sorry to correct you but there are not ‘local’ Bee’s for everyone to drive an hour from your home. We are driving several hours and taking a hotel room for our children to participate.

    This is a wonderful opportunity for ALL young Children of Christ … “Learn It, Live It, Speak It”! There are t-shirst and hats with this year’s Bible Bee Motto. Check out the site.

    Pray for one another as you begin to study in just a few days, and as you travel this coming Fall to participate.

  • One of my sisters and I are singed up and we are so excited!!! Thankfully we only have to drive a little way. We have been memorizing scripture since we were really young and it is getting easier. So have fun everybody, good luck learning and God bless! Rachel

  • Information as in the study guide? it will be downloadable May 1st. *bounces excitedly* I can’t wait!!! 😀

  • I and four of my siblings are signed up! My Mom signed us up today! I’ve heard about this many times now…. word is spreading quickly. I’ve been memorizing scripture for twelve years of my fifteen now, so I think I’ll be prepared. 🙂 I’m really excited about this. I’m in the Senior group, so I guess I’ll be with a lot of people my age. I wonder how many people will participate over all the competitions nation wide. Who knows?! I imagine quite a few will. It’s a good chance to put your scripture memorization to the test. Good luck to all you other competitiors!

  • That’s really weird. I was on there the 28th, and they had a big blue sign saying people could enroll until the 15th, but now it is gone and I can’t find it anywhere. I guess they changed their minds. I know I’m not crazy because my siblings saw it too. Sorry about that.

  • Wow! That’s cool! I am going to have to think about it…hmmm
    May 15th, really?



  • I hadn’t heard of the Bible Bee, but I’ve been involved with National Bible Bowl for eight years (seven as a player, and one as a sponsor). National Bible Bowl paid my tuition for four years of Bible College, which I will spend at Mid-Atlantic Christian University, training for the mission field.

    It sounds similar to the Bible Bee, except that Bible Bowl is a team competition that does not address doctrinal issues. There is an individual test and a quoting bee, in addition round robin and double elimination competitions. Bible Bowl is very exciting, very rewarding, and helps you make lasting friendships with people all over the country.

  • I enrolled on the 30th and we got an email saying that the deadline has been extended to May 15th.

  • I just had a question for everyone.
    How many of you know Bible Quest?
    How do you like it?



  • I think this is an amazing idea and program. In my church organization, United Pentacostal Church, we have a program called Bible Quizzing where we memorize verses of the bible and have competitions. It is a lot of fun.

  • This Bible bee is so cool, but I just thought I’d mention that the deadline is extended to May 15. Don’t know if there’s a way to get this out, but it sure gives folks more time to sign up. And I believe there are around 14,000+ signed up now!!!!

  • You guys have a great book! Me and my siblings are all homeschooled and at our homeschool co-op we had a “Do Hard Things” class that my mom taught. We read the book, and we just finished it. It was such an amazing book with an amazing message! I know that the Lord is changing some of the kids in the class – their perspectives, their attitudes, their hearts. But, I know it was not just the book that made them want to change their hearts, it was the Lord doing miraculous things in them. Way to go and keep loving the Lord. He has big plans for each of our lives!

  • I participated in the Bible Bee! IT is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done with my time! Totally worth all six months! God is so much bigger than I ever imagined.
    This is all about the Bible, not the Bee! Thanks Alex and Brett for your time in speaking–it was really a challenge! Now, the struggle is still studying it every day, still making God the biggest things in my life! Do Hard Things–I thought the Bible Bee was hard, but I think keeping it the main thing will be even harder! I’m definitely going to do it next year! Those of you who didn’t do it this year–seriously consider it and pray about it! It’s worth every minute!

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rebelling against low expectations

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