Writer: Caroline Perez
They looked like 10, 11, and 12-year-olds, but with Bibles grasped tightly in their hands, they were transformed into fearless, fierce and fast Bible drillers.
On April 26, more than 140 children gathered from across South Carolina to demonstrate their Bible skills at the State Children’s Bible Drill. Children, leaders and parents met at three locations: Taylors First Baptist Church, St. Andrews Baptist Church in Columbia, and Florence First Baptist Church. The participants raced the clock to show how quickly they could locate books in the Bible and how well they had memorized verses.
Ryan Barton of Pleasant Union Baptist Church (Carolina Association) is the youngest of five siblings to participate in Bible drill. This was his first appearance at the state drill. He approached the warm-up drill nervously, unsure of what was to take place. Both his leader and parents admitted he was anxious. But as Ryan lined up for his drill, he confidently found his books for the first six calls. During one key passage call, he triumphantly found the correct verse to read aloud to the caller. Ryan completed the rest of the drill and was presented a “winner” seal for his participation at the state drill. Ryan was just one of the many participants who arrived uneasy but left as confident as champions.
Another participant, Elizabeth Joye Smoak, from Reedy Creek Baptist Church (Marion Association) enjoys Bible drill because she is learning God’s Word, and it has helped her want to learn more Scripture. “During her last year of children’s Bible drill,” said her mom, Ellen Smoak, “she was so excited, and prayed that she would make it to state [drill] this year so that she would receive her three-year medal. She ended up with three straight years of State Perfect.” Based on their scores, drillers are recognized as State Participant, State Winner or State Perfect.
Mrs. Smoak further explained how Bible drill has had an impact on her family. “Once Elizabeth learns a verse, she doesn’t forget it,” she said. “If we say something or do something that isn’t what God wants us to do, she will spit out a verse. In the last state drill, they called out Ephesians 4:32. She just smiled at us. She used this one on us a few months ago.”
Florence First Baptist pastor Daniel Inabinet said Bible drill “complements every aspect of my children’s lives. In their daily devotional time, Sunday school and worship time, my daughters are able to easily find Bible passages that are being studied. When faced with difficult situations or decisions, memorized verses quickly come to mind to guide them. I am a firm believer in and promoter of the importance of Bible drill for every young person.”
As God promises in Isaiah 55:11, His Word will reach beyond the written page: “So My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do” (HCSB).
As God’s Word emerges in the hearts of these youngsters, it impacts not only the children involved but the lives of their families and the community of churches as well.
Caroline Perez is Bible drill consultant for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.