Inside View Sep/Oct 2018
In the book of Deuteronomy, God told the Israelites to teach His Word diligently to their children—when they were in their homes, when they went out, when they were lying down, and when they rose up so that all may be well with them (6:1–7). The psalmist said the Word of God will guide us in truth; it is a lamp to light our path (Ps. 119:105).
The value of Scripture in teaching us how to live and guiding our way through life is undeniable. It is the Book of immeasurable value upon which we should base our faith and order our conduct. It promises a better life to those who fear it and obey. No country seems to appreciate that truth more than Israel. Please allow me to explain.
Each spring, as part of its Independence Day celebration, Israel hosts the International Bible Quiz at the Jerusalem Theater in Israel’s capital. Broadcast on state television throughout the country, the International Bible Quiz has become an immensely popular component of Israel’s annual celebration. People everywhere gather around televisions to see who will win the year’s contest.
According to the website of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the International Bible Quiz focuses the attention and awareness of many of the world’s Jewish people ages 14 to 18 on how important the Bible is to their Jewish identity and heritage. Thousands of Jewish teenagers participate in the international quiz each year.
What begins with local quizzes followed by country-wide quizzes culminates in the finals that involve teens from around the world. The top contestants are brought to Israel for the final rounds of the international competition on Independence Day.
One of the goals of the International Bible Quiz is to increase the number of Jewish youth, both in Israel and abroad, who study the Bible. Through the Quiz, Israel also aspires to bring Jewish youth closer to loving Israel—the people, the land, and the heritage—and to add a spiritual dimension to the celebrations on Israel’s Independence Day.
The Quiz tests contestants on their knowledge of the Bible. This year 4,000 teens participated from 41 countries, competing for a chance to go to Jerusalem to win the Bible Quiz championship of the world. The title this year went to Azriel Shilat, 17, from Hatzor Haglilit, a village in northern Israel.
Why does a small country of merely 7 million Jewish people hold a Bible quiz for its youth, not only for those living in Israel but also for those who live in the Diaspora?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained: “Because the Bible is the rock of our existence.” The Quiz is important to Israel because the Bible is foundational to the nation’s identity and existence. It is intricately woven into the fabric of the Jewish nation. Israel’s very right to exist and live in the Land of Promise is based on the Word of God.
At this year’s Quiz the prime minister remarked, “The verses of the Bible cause a great spirit to flow into our national existence in the homeland. . . . From there we received our strength. And this strength returned and beat within us when we returned to our land. Not to a foreign land did we come. We returned to our homeland, to the inheritance of our forefathers. Here lie our roots, God willing, forever.”
Israel’s International Bible Quiz sends a clear message about the importance of teaching God’s Word to youth and its value for guiding their lives. It is one of the ways Israel is living out God’s command in Deuteronomy 6.