The National Bible Bee Game Show kicked off its 2017 season with a premiere live on Christian Cinema’s Facebook page, and episodes that are available via streaming through ChristianCinema.com. Hosted by Kirk Cameron, four contestants faced off in front of a panel of judges to compete for a chance at $100,000. As Cameron said, “this is what it’s about - proclaiming God’s word.”
The first week’s host panel included twin brothers, Jason and David Benham, who previously played minor league baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system, published two books, Whatever the Cost and Living Among Lions, co-hosted Flip It Forward, and now run BENHAM Real Estate Group in Charlotte, NC. The two men bookended the third judge, last year’s National Bible Bee Game Show winner, Hannah Leary.
The first four contestants were:
Jenae Orluck, a seventeen-year-old from Sentinel Butte,North Dakota. She shared that the show had “changed my spiritual walk with God because without the NBB, there are plenty of things I could spend my time on. But the NBB has encouraged me to spend that time with God. God’s word is the only thing that will last. That’s the main reason I’d encourage people to get into God’s word.” Orluck plays basketball and track, but said she strengthened herself through reading the Bible.
Andrew “AJ” Nichols, a sixteen-year-old from Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia. He has lived on several GA state parks, and participates in dual enrollment classes at a local Christian college. “Faith means you can’t see God, but I know he’s moved in my life,” he said. His mission field is wherever God puts him, which right now is teaching three and four year olds at his church.
Denver Bontrager, a sixteen-year-old from Kalona, Iowa. He spends his spare time coon trapping, as he lives with his nine siblings on a dairy and grain farm for half of the year and travels around the country for the other half. He enjoys study guides to learn more about God’s word and make it meaningful.
Katherine Forster, a sixteen-year-old from Lutz, Florida. She previously won $50,000 by winning Junior version of the game. She says that the game has transformed her relationship with God, as memorizing verses for seven years has allowed her love for God to grow as she knew God’s word better.
Each contest memorized 850 Bible verses from 250 passages, knowing that at some point in the competition, they would have to recite an entire passage from memory.
The four-round competition began with the Bible Knowledge Buzzer Round, and the multiple choice question, “Which of the twelve tribes was Esther from?” After several questions, the competition segued to the second, Recitation Round, as one at a time, the contestants stepped forward to recite a passage from the Bible and interact with the judges over its content.
In the third, General Bible Knowledge Round, each contestant had a chance to answer the questions via a written response so that everyone had a shot at the correct answer to questions like “In John 8:59, some Jews picked up stones to throw at Jesus. What is the Greek word for ‘stone’?” Finally, in the fourth, Recitation Buzzer Round, a judge would read a portion of a passage, the contestants would identify the larger passage and then recite it correctly. As each round increased in the value, the final round proved to be decisive in determining which two contestants would move on to the semi-finals.
The winners of Week 1 were AJ Nichols and Denver Bontrager.