The third week of the National Bible Bee Game Show opened the competition with, “In the book of Esther, how many provinces were sent the edict for the Jews to arm themselves?” Yes, the answer was multiple choice but how many adults would have known the answer? In the NBBGS, four teenagers compete each week for two spots to advance to the semi-finals in front of emcee Kirk Cameron and hosts Hannah Leary, Jason Benham, and David Benham, showing off some of the 850 verses that each of them memorized.
The Benham twins 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. Several of this week’s competitors had competed against Leary, even beating her in the rounds they faced her in. Each teen represented their faith and Biblical knowledge in their interaction with the hosts, and in playing the game.
Here is a brief look at each of this week’s contestants:
Courtney Minica, a sixteen-year-old from San Antonio, TX, likes playing different kinds of music. She plays the piano and lap harp, and takes voice lessons. “You may not think you can memorize a verse a day, but God has given us the smartest computer invented in our heads, and just try, that’s where it starts,” she told the judges. “God can do more with us than we think He can.” Her role model is her mother, who is pregnant with her eleventh child, because she has “given her life to raise us in the way that we should go.” She recited Psalm 34:1-10 and her favorite scripture is Psalm 27.
Caleb Hoverson, an eighteen-year-old from Burlington ND, wrote a devotional book A-Z with his grandmother which he sold to the NBBGS, who distributed it to all of the contestants. He wants to serve in a mission field to “people I encounter in everyday life, plus those I meet through intentional ministry, such as being a pastor if that is God's will. I also have felt a slight calling to minister to Native Americans.” He recited John 1:45-51 and his favorite scripture is Psalm 103:12.
Febah Matthew, a sixteen-year-old from New Hyde Park, NY, loves playing piano and admires the Biblical person of Paul who “acknowledging that he was indeed the chief of sinners and less than the least of all the saints. “ She shared that her favorite memory was “at Bible Bee Nationals, after the Closing Ceremony, a group of contestants/families hung around to sing hymns together, standing in the hotel lobby, until well past 2 a.m.” She recited II TImothy 4:1-8 and her favorite verses are Isaiah 53:1-12.
Holly Ciampi, a seventeen-year-old from Glendale, AZ, has a handlettering hobby where she takes verses and put pictures with them. She shared that “When I was twelve, I started having irrational fear. Over the years it has turned into much stronger fear, in which I get panic attacks and have trouble breathing at times. As I was trying to figure out how to deal with the fear, I was encouraged to find several verses in Scripture that deal with fear. It was then that I came upon some of my most favorite passages in Scripture. When I would start having a panic attack or just starting to fear, I would meditate on one of these passages. It was amazing at how fast my fear would leave me when I was dwelling on God's truth of not being afraid or fearful!” She was assigned to recite I John 4:9-16 but was unable to finish it and her favorite verses are Romans 8:37-39.
This week’s winners were Febah Matthew and Caleb Hoverson.