Bible Drill is a tradition in my family. Not only did my wife and I grow up competing in Bible Drill, our two sons also participated. Bible Drill is an important part of our churches and state conventions, and at Lifeway, we are proud to contribute by providing resources that churches can use to prepare for their state drills. Read on for a closer look at the history and future of this time-honored tradition!
What is the purpose of Children’s Bible Drill?
Children’s Bible Drill is a discipleship program for children (grades 4-6) with a long history of helping churches be intentional about developing Bible skills to aid in turning our kids into passionate followers of Christ. The goal of Bible Drill is to help children increase in their knowledge of the Bible by
- developing skills in locating Bible books and key passages of Scripture
- memorizing the names of the books of the Bible in order
- memorizing core Bible verses
- learning to apply the Bible to their lives
Getting children excited about and comfortable with using the Bible lays a foundation for the study of God’s Word as they continue to grow. The techniques used in Bible Drill will stay with children for the rest of their lives.
How did Children’s Bible Drill begin?
Bible Drill has a long history. In fact, we don’t know exactly when it started In the earliest days of our country, children learned to read in order to read the Bible, so it only makes sense that kids were taught to quickly find passages in the Bible. Through personal correspondence, we have written evidence of what were often referred to as “Sword Drills” as early as the 1890s!
By the mid-twentieth century, Baptist churches, and then state conventions, organized what we now call Bible Drill. I have talked personally with people who were involved in youth Bible Drills in Texas and North Carolina in the 1950s. Children’s Bible Drill seemed to arise naturally out of youth drill and became commonplace in the 1960s. Church and state convention Bible Drill leaders brought the need for standardized materials to Lifeway, and we started producing curriculum at their request as part of Discipleship Training in the 1970’s and Children’s Bible Drill products in the 1980’s.
Today each state has its own guidelines for Children’s Bible Drill. Lifeway tries to meet the needs of these churches and states with products preparing children for drill. You can find your local association and state convention by searching here: http://www.sbc.net/stateconventionsearch.
What about middle school and high school youth?
Many states also have a youth Bible Drill and a high school Bible Drill that go deeper into Scripture knowledge and Bible skills and offer a speakers’ tournament, where entrants write and deliver 4-6 minute speeches on selected topics. Each year, these age groups also have a tournament, where state winners from across the USA compete for a national title. You can find out more about this competition annually at https://nationalbibledrill.wordpress.com.
What will 2017-18 Bible Drill look like? Great question! Check out Bible Drill Part 2 on Wednesday for the latest information!
William Summey is the Publishing Team Leader for ParentLife, kids devotionals, and short-term products. He is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University. William lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Christy, and two boys.