“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”—Psalm 34:11, NIV
If you were asked to name eight of the 10 sons of Haman, would you be able to do it? (Esther 9:7-10) This was just one of many areas Pathfinders were expected to answer questions about for this year’s Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE). The books of the Bible they were required to study were Esther and Daniel.
Back in March, a total of 19 Pathfinder teams qualified to participate in this year’s Atlantic Union Conference Pathfinder Bible Experience. Nine of those teams scored in first place and went on to participate in the annual North American Division PBE (see Gleaner, May 2018). Then, at the division-level PBE, five of those nine teams placed first (see pages 4-7).
The purpose of PBE is “to promote and encourage in-depth Bible study and memorization by Pathfinders, so their understanding of scripture will increase and their relationship to Christ will grow.” Regardless of all the attractions around them, many Pathfinders opted to spend months preparing to compete in PBE. This competition allows them to bring their individual best to their team and collectively exhibit their knowledge of God’s Word in an assigned subject area.
By participating in this type of memory work, the knowledge is theirs to keep. It is information that no one can take away from them. Their minds are being trained to store and recall information more fully and effectively. They are also increasing their own personal biblical database of facts about the Bible to draw from at any time. Once the Pathfinders are participating in a competition, they have to rely strictly on memory and information they have taken the time to study.
At PBE all Pathfinders are winners, regardless of their standing at the conclusion of the competition. They are winners simply because they took the time to immerse themselves in the study of God’s Word and improve their knowledge of the books of the Bible.
It is exciting to see that the number of teams participating in PBE is on the rise. At the Atlantic Union PBE, participation more than doubled over last year. Hopefully, the trend will continue and there will be an even larger number of teams participating in the future.
The Pathfinder Bible Experience is just one of the ways churches can help Pathfinders increase their knowledge of scripture and foster teamwork. It’s definitely worth considering. “Let the youth be taught to love the study of the Bible. Let the first place in our thoughts and affections be given to the Book of books, for it contains knowledge which we need above all other”—Child Guidance, p. 513.
Ednor A.P. Davison is the communication director for the Atlantic Union Conference and editor for the Atlantic Union Gleaner.