Winning the 2009 National Bible Bee… The Rest of the Story

The view from our hotel

“Daniel Staddon! You may step forward and recite Psalm 145.” Amidst roaring applause and flashing lights, the moderator’s voice boomed out over the loudspeakers of the spectacular Ball Room at the J. W. Marriott, where the final three contestants in the Senior Oh the suspense!group of the 2009 National Bible Bee were embroiled in a grueling tie-breaker for the first place prize of  $100,000. There I stood. I cannot explain the excitement, intensity, and suspense that rushed over me as the reality of the situation broke upon me. The Ball Room could seat about 1,000 peopleMy mind was still a little confused over the rushed events of the past few days, making all the weeks and months I had spent preparing seem like a dream. A dream waiting for this very moment.

Going over the verses one last time with Dad!Comparing schedules for the final dayCelebrating with friends afterward up in our room 

This was when it was so helpful to remember where the Lord had led me to place my focus months earlier! When I began preparing, I had carefully calculated exactly how much memorization and study needed to be done every day in order to master all the content and be People or Prize?100% ready for the Local and National Contests. But alas! I found myself constantly getting farther behind schedule. If I wanted to be totally prepared, I was going to have to begin sacrificing time with the Lord and the rest of the family. They wouldn’t mind if I Having fun together as a family!skipped a few family nights, would they? Jonathan and David can do a few things without me for a while. My morning prayer time isn’t that important, is it? But then the Lord stopped me short, “Daniel, which is higher priority – people or the prize?” After thinking long and A monument to the value of God's Word!hard over this, I replied, “Lord, I’m not going to be able to prepare like I had planned. But I purpose to put my relationships with You and others above winning. I’m going to do my best, but if you want me to win, it’s really going to have to be a miracle of your doing.”

From then on, it was up to Him!

And it was an exciting ride. 🙂


  1. Allen P. November 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    Daniel, you have been a great encouragement. Thank you for sharing about this. It is wonderful to see how God rewards those who choose to do right!

    God bless,

  2. Andrew Biddinger November 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    Congratulations Daniel!
    You don’t know our family, (James does) but we were rooting for you all the way!!! I am very excited for you!

    Continue to cultivate a love relationship with God!

    ~ Andrew

  3. Mrs. Gunn November 14, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    Our congratulations to you, Daniel! Your testimony is very honoring to the Lord. Congratulations also to your mom and dad who have invested greatly in you and done such a great job, and praise the Lord, for He deserves all glory, honor and praise! What a wonderful story–it would make a great book! I know the Lord will use this event, even now that it’s “over,” in many ways in your life, and for His glory.
    May God continue to bless you as you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness! Keep hiding God’s Word in your heart!
    Mrs. G

  4. Esther Staddon November 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    People or prize? It’s a daily choice, isn’t it? I’ve been learning a lot about that myself and realizing that without the Holy Spirit there is no way to know how to prioritize. (I’m so glad Dave and Elspeth got to celebrate with you! So fun!)

  5. Mark H. November 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    Congratulations Staddon family for this awesome victory! (I say this because I can see from your website that you are that rare kind of family that truly wins and loses together.) Daniel, it was amazing getting to know you, albeit only a little bit, at Nationals, both inside and outside competition. (NIV still rocks! :D) I enjoyed competing against you, not just because you inflected your recitations :), but more importantly because, although I’m sure all seven of us wanted to win, you were also a great person to lose to—a glory to God and an encouragement to others. Congratulations again and God bless. If He’s willing, maybe we’ll meet again, even if not as fellow BB competitors.


    Romans 15:13

  6. the Potters November 16, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    Daniel and all the Staddons, Congratulations! We are so happy for you!

    It was great seeing you again, too, hopefully it won’t be long til the next time!

    Donna, did you get the kale recipes?


  7. Allen P. November 17, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    Daniel – here is a link to an article in the Washington Post. You may have read it, but I wanted to share it for others, too.

    God bless you, and I hope to see you and your family again before too long!


  8. Daniel Staddon November 18, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Thank you for the comments everyone! A few people have asked if I have any special studying techniques or memorization strategies. Robert suggested I write a book. (And who knows, maybe I will! So keep your eyes pealed.) But one resource that really helped me with the memorization was a fascinating article written by Steve Mugglin. If you are interested you can read it at

  9. Mom November 18, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    Thank you, Daniel, for persevering. What a thrill
    just being there with all those wonderful people. The Bible Bee staff were all so very friendly and accomidating and the contestants and their families – top notch. I was very impressed with the Marriot as well. I’ve never been to anything quite as thrilling! The Lord was definitely in charge! I would encourage everyone to be a part of the National Bible Bee! It was great meeting your family, Mark.

  10. Micah Williams November 21, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    Wow, priase the Lord for what He’s done in your life, not so much because you won a prize, but because your relationship with your Father was so much more important to you than any other part of it and you honored Him and put Him first. For that, I say, Good job and keep it up! 🙂

  11. missy parris November 21, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    Congratulations!! I know that was so much to learn. My daughter also signed up and practiced and worked hard all summer but was not able to compete in the local level. But she learned so much just by studying the Bible. Glad to see you kept your focus

  12. Dana December 1, 2009 at 6:27 am #

    Congratulations Daniel – God is good!! You are blessed!! I enjoyed the article in the Clarksburg Exponent.
    I am in the beekeepers club with Michael and your dad.


  13. Heather May 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    Dear David, I have recently heard about Bible Bee and am interested in it. Do you have any suggestions? I would be in the 11-14 age group. I would really appreciate it.
    You story is very inspiring and your faith in the Lord seems wonderful and mature.

  14. Michael Staddon May 10, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    Dear Heather,
    It looks like a reply to your e-mail failed so I’ll post our reply here – maybe it will help others too. Thank you for your inquiry. We are excited that you are entering the Bible Bee! This will be a very rewarding experience because of the true riches you will gain as you understand and apply God’s Word to your life. We suggest you get started in the memorizing as early as possible and try to estimate how much memorization you will need to do each day and each week in order to be completely prepared, and stay ahead of schedule, leaving time to review and refresh your verses. It takes a lot of help from family and friends to check you out on your verses for long periods of time. As Daniel said in the blog post, keep your relationships with God and your family a higher priority than the Bible Bee.

    I am copying this message to Daniel. He will probably have lots more good advice for you. He is writing a book all about his experience and the things that helped him, and we are hoping that it will be available later this summer! But don’t wait that long to get started. 🙂

    Wishing you God’s success,
    The Staddon family


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