When I was 13, I joined a teen Bible Quiz team at my church, and our group was led by a young married couple. Our quiz topic was the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and we needed to learn the books inside and out, chapter and verse.
We spent once a week for practice at Jean and Roger’s house, where we studied and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we learned. We practiced the questions, the answers, along with practicing with a buzzer set.
If you’re not familiar with teen Bible Quiz, here’s the short explanation. We competed against other teams from other churches and did some traveling around our district for contests. The matches would consist of three of us team members competing at a time for our team. A quizmaster would read the questions and we’d have buzzers in front of us to press for a chance to answer. The buzzers had wires running to a box with lights on the top. Whoever buzzed in first, would light up first.
Not only did we learn the Scripture references, but we had dozens of questions to learn along with their answers, taken directly from the books.
The rules were strict. No answering until recognized by the quizmaster, who’d verify the first quizzer to buzz in. You had a time limit to answer, and questions requiring a direct quote meant no varying or rewording of the answers. If you pressed the buzzer because you already recognized the question the quizmaster was asking, you had to finish the question and then give the answer.
It was fun, and I was a pretty good player. We knew who the top church teams were, and there was no shortage of egos among us. I remember us all eye-rolling when we saw one team whose boys wore matching watches, and as they took their seats at the quiz table, they’d remove their watches and lay them on the table in front of them in a nice little row.
I ended up memorizing most of those two books, although I couldn’t recite them today verbatim.
Over the years, I told people that yes, I was familiar with those books. I’d read them extensively, over and over again.
Fast forward, ah, a few decades, and I’m working through a Beth Moore Bible study, Children of the Day based on—yep, 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
All these years later, and I’m enjoying these books even more than I did the first time. The first time, I was learning the Scriptures and the facts. Now, I have the benefit of years of experience. I didn’t realize then how much Paul cared about the people he was writing to. You can hear the gentleness and exhortation in his words.
Back then, I was learning facts and quotables. Yes, those nuggets have stayed with me. But this time around, I’m learning more than I did then. Or maybe it’s that I’m adding to what I’ve already learned.
We’re only partway through the first book and I’m looking forward to what’s next.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever read or studied something when you were younger, and it seems new and fresh again when you’re older? Fiction, nonfiction, the Bible, or another book?
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Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip. Her newest release is A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride, a Christmas novella collection from Barbour Publishing.