FamilyLife Today® Podcast

A Trophy in My Heart

with Brittany Schlichter, Dan and Cheryl Schlichter | May 4, 2011
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How many scripture verses could you recite? 10? 50? Dennis Rainey welcomes homeschooler Brittany Schlichter, a participant in last year’s National Bible Bee. Brittany memorized over 1,800 Bible verses to win 2nd place in her division. She is joined by her parents, Dan and Cheryl Schlichter.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • How many scripture verses could you recite? 10? 50? Dennis Rainey welcomes homeschooler Brittany Schlichter, a participant in last year’s National Bible Bee. Brittany memorized over 1,800 Bible verses to win 2nd place in her division. She is joined by her parents, Dan and Cheryl Schlichter.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

How many scripture verses could you recite? 10? 50?

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A Trophy in My Heart

With Brittany Schlichter, Dan and...more
May 04, 2011
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Bob:  (Applause in background) For months 13-year-old Brittany Schlichter had studied, preparing to be a contestant in the National Bible Bee.

Dennis:  Contestants, are you ready?

Contestants:  Yes.

Bob:  After months of preparation she found herself as one of the seven finalists, competing for $50,000 in prize money.

Dennis:  Brittany?  Let’s go.

Bethany:  The first round consisted of each contestant had to answer two Bible knowledge questions, multiple choice Bible knowledge questions, and then the next two rounds, each contestant had to recite two passages from the verses that we memorized.

What man is he that desireth life and loveth many days that he may see good.


Well, I got to verse 17 and I quoted that verse:

The righteous cry and the Lord heareth and delivereth them out of all their troubles.


And then I just couldn’t remember the next verse, and that had never really happened. So I totally blanked out and I couldn’t remember the next verse or anything.

Bob:  This is FamilyLifeToday for Wednesday, May 4th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  Today Brittany Schlichter and her parents join us to share their memories of competition in the first annual Bible Bee back two years ago.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us.  I remember very clearly the dramatic moment that I shared . . .

Dennis:  It was poise under fire.

Bob:  . . . with our guest today.

Dennis:  13 years old!  To be on a stage in front of a thousand people . . .

Bob:  I had her on the hot seat.

Dennis:  With you grilling her.

Bob:  I was grilling her.

Dennis:  Our audience can understand that, Bob.

Bob:  We’ll save the story for later on in the program, but it was one of those moments that was – well, everybody kind of held their breath to see what was going to happen.

Dennis:  They did.  Brittany Schlichter joins us on FamilyLife Today, along with her parents, Dan and Cheryl.  Hey guys, welcome to the broadcast.

Dan:  Hello.

Bethany:  Hi.

Cheryl:  Hi.

Dennis:  I don’t know that we’ve had this large of a rooting . . .

Bob:  Of a studio audience?

Dennis:  . . . audience, in the history.  We’ve got Brittany’s seven brothers and sisters, six brothers and one other sister, okay. They’re videotaping this thing, and I think it’s just cool.

What are their names, Dan?  Can you remember them all?

Bob:  I hope so.

Dan:  Yes, sir.  The oldest is Tiffany, and then of course there’s Justin, and then Brittany.  Of course, she’s in here, and then . . .

Dennis:  Oh, you’re doing them sequentially.

Dan:  That’s the only way I can remember them.


Dan:  I don’t want to miss anybody.  And then Gideon, Ethan, and then there are twins, Jonathan and Jason, and then Nathan.

Dennis:  Dan, you’re a police officer in Houston, Texas.

Dan:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  Cheryl, you’re the mom of this crew.

Cheryl:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  Do you remember when you first heard about the Bible Bee, that there was going to be competition by young men and women, really in three different age groups, all the way from I guess what, six or seven?

Bob:  Elementary age up to high school.

Dennis:  Right.  And going to offer some cash prizes to the winners.  Do you remember when you first heard about it?

Cheryl:  I remember it vividly.  I was sitting in the living room and Brittany brought me a Vision Forum catalog.  There was an article and she wanted me to read it about the Bible Bee. 

I remember saying to Brittany, “This is for you, Brittany.”  I just knew that it would be something she would love, because she’s always loved and cherished the Word of God since she was little.  I do remember that very vividly.

Brittany:  I had always heard of the National Spelling Bee, and when I was younger I always thought it would be exciting to participate in the National Spelling Bee and go to nationals and everything.  And so when I saw that there was a National Bible Bee, I thought that just sounded like a really neat idea.  I had never heard of anything like that.

Bob:  Have you been memorizing Scripture?  Was that a part of home school, or just a part of your own personal spiritual discipline?

Brittany:  Well, I had memorized chapters here and there or verses here and there, but never very much.

Bob:  Well, now wait.  “Chapters.”  You understand there are people who hear you say “I had memorized chapters but never very much,” and they’re going “You memorized a whole chapter of the Bible before?”

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  When you heard about the competition and you found out what was expected of you, how much did you start studying?

Brittany:  Well, I didn’t start studying very much in 2009 when I first heard about it.  I didn’t start studying that much.  I might memorize twelve verses a day, and considering how many verses there were to memorize, that wasn’t a whole lot.  And I might spend 30 or 45 minutes working on the verses every day, so not a whole lot in the beginning.

Bob:  So 12 verses a day.  How many did you need to memorize to be a legitimate contender for the championship?

Brittany:  Well, probably about 1200 verses.

Bob:  1200 verses.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  Amazing.

Bob:  So if I asked you today . . .

Dennis:  No, no, here’s. . .

Bob:  No, no, I got . . . (laughing)

Dennis:  Here’s what I want you to do, Brittany.  Bob is always doing this to me on the broadcast, alright?  I want you to ask Bob a question.

Bob:  (laughing)  I’ll ask you one; then you ask me one.  How’s that sound?  Okay?

The lady who sold purple garment in the book of Acts – what’s her name?

Brittany:  Lydia.

Bob:  That’s exactly right.

Dennis:  Way to go.

Bob:  How about that.  Okay.

Dennis:  And what’s your question for Bob?  This is your chance, Brittany.  He was the one who – remember him?  He was the one who put you on the spot at the first Bible Bee.

Bob:  Don’t go to 1 and 2 Chronicles, okay?  Please, don’t do me on that, okay?

Dennis:  (laughter)

Brittany:  What’s the main focus of Romans 16?

Romans 16.  That would be where Paul offers greetings to all of those people in Rome that he wants to remember, right?  Is that what you’re thinking? 

Brittany:  I think so.

Bob:  Or are you thinking Romans 16:13 and 14, where it says, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong, let all that you do be done in love.”

Dennis:  That’s. . .

Bob:  1 Corinthians . . ….

Dennis:  1Corinthians 16.

Bob:  Doggone it!  Doggone it!  It’s not Romans 16, is it?


Bob:  Romans 16:19.  Is that the one that says “Be innocent in what is good. . .”  No, what’s that one?

Dennis:  Wise in what is. . .

Bob:  Good, but innocent in what is evil. 

(Buzzer sounds)

Bob:  Is that the one?

Dennis:  Your time is up.  Your time is up. 


Bob:  Yeah, okay.  Alright.

Dennis:  And what’s the main focus, Brittany?

Brittany:  Well, Paul lists a lot of different people that helped him and things like that, people who were in Rome.

Bob:  So I was pretty close, wasn’t I?

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Bob:  Give me five, right there, Brittany.  We’re a team here.


Dennis:  Let’s talk to the parents here about how you helped prepare Brittany to be able to do this.  You undoubtedly read all the contest rules and you realized this was not some kind of easy competition, that this was serious stuff. 

There was a reason for that: first prize for the elementary age children was $25,000, $50,000 for Brittany’s age group, and then the senior high was $100,000 for first prize. 

So I mean this is serious competition.  As you looked over the materials though, what hit you about what Brittany was going to need to do to be able to compete?

Cheryl:  In the inaugural year, I know at first I printed off the materials, gave them to Brittany, and I would see her walking around with a Ziploc baggie full of verses, and she would just memorize them on her own.  I really wasn’t very involved for about the first month, other than she would just come to me every once in a while and say, “Would you please quiz me on my verses?”

I would just go through cards with her.  It was actually pretty wonderful, because I memorized so many verses doing Bible Bee with Brittany.

Dennis:  I would think.

Cheryl:  I couldn’t get the references, but as she would quote sometimes I would just look away from the card and I would quote them, too, and check myself with Brittany as she was quoting the words. 

That’s what I would do with Brittany.  She’s a pretty independent learner, so she did the source study on her own, and whatnot.

Bob:  So when you got to the regional competition and there were a couple dozen other students who were there, how long did it take from the time the regional was over until you got word that you had in fact made it?

Brittany:  About one week.  On the Bible Bee website they were going to post all of the finalists.  They were going to be posted on a certain time, and our family doesn’t have the internet, so we had asked my grandmother to check the website every now and then to see if names were posted yet.

She checked it around the time they were supposed to be posted, and she called us and said that the names were posted.  She read all the names of the finalists to us, out loud – to our family – and my name wasn’t there.  So she read the list again, and it still wasn’t there.  We thought that I didn’t make it to nationals. Then, later on, my grandmother realized that she had been looking at the senior finalists’ names, not the juniors’ so . . .

Bob:  Read the wrong . . .  She read the wrong list.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  Man, was she in serious trouble.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Bob:  (laughing)  Were you pretty disappointed when she’s reading the list twice and your name’s not on it?

Brittany:  I was disappointed.  Yes, sir, I was.  I had studied really had, and so I was pretty disappointed.

Bob:  But she called back that afternoon and said, “Whoops?”

Brittany:  Yes, sir.  Just about ten or 15 minutes later she realized her mistake.

Bob:  Alright.  So once you got word you’re headed to nationals, and the nationals were in Washington, D.C., but all of a sudden there was more to memorize before you got there, right?

Brittany:  Yes, sir.  For nationals I had to memorize about 700 verses more.

Bob:  Wow.

Dennis:  700 more, in addition to . . .

Brittany:  Yes, sir.  In addition to the other 1100.

Bob:  So here you are, working hard from the end of summer all the way to the first couple of weeks in November.  I think it was the second week in November that you came to Washington, D.C.  You were having to memorize a lot of Scripture every day.  How much time each day were you taking to do Bible memory?

Brittany:  For the local competition I studied about four or five hours every day, and then for the national competition I studied about six or seven hours a day.

Bob:  Six or seven hours a day.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Bob:  Did you get tired of it?

Brittany:  A little bit.  Sometimes I would get a little tired.

Bob:  I mean you have to take a break, yeah.  But six to seven hours a day of studying God’s Word – that’s pretty cool.

Brittany:  It was.  It was really exciting.

Bob:  So the whole family, Cheryl, Dan, did you all get in the van to drive up to Washington, D.C.?

Dan:  Yes, sir.  It was an adventure just getting there in the van . . .

Bob:  I bet it was.

Dan:  . . . and then, trying to find a place to park.  We have a 15-passenger, and it wouldn’t fit in the parking at the hotel.  But the hotel was beautiful.  It was, I think, two blocks from the White House.

I remember standing, looking out the window, and I thought that usually it’s a father that brings things to his children, adventures or memories, and I thought, “Here my 13-year-old daughter has brought me to Washington, D.C.  I’m here because of her accomplishment.”  It was very humbling and it was very touching to me.

Dennis:  Right.  That’s cool.

Dan:  It was.

Dennis:  You know, I wasn’t a contestant, but when Bob and I walked in there, it was a wow.  The room was filled with all the contestants, which was I guess about 100 in each age group, made the nationals, right?

Bob:  Yes.

Dennis:  So 300 students, and all their families.  Over a thousand people.

Cheryl:  Yes.

Bob:  And the next morning you found yourself in Mr. Rainey’s group, didn’t you?

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  (laughing)

Bob:  Tell me about gathering with the other students your age.  You got together in Mr. Rainey’s group, and what did you have to do?

Brittany:  Well, that was the semi-final challenge.  The top 20 contestants in every age category from the top 100 – that part of the competition was quoting Scripture and answering Bible knowledge questions.

Bob:  And you sailed through that pretty well, didn’t you?

Brittany:  I think so.

Bob:  You think so, because you were one of the seven finalists to come out of the semi-final round.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  Right.  And you had judges, of course, that were there that were rendering a judgment as to whether or not you had said it perfectly or answered the question with the right answer.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  And then went to the final round, which – that put you face to face with Mr. Lepine.

Bob:  (laughing)

Dennis:  So there are seven from the elementary age, seven from the junior, and seven from the senior high, and at that point, you’re no longer quoting a couple of verses at a time.  You’re quoting extended passages of Scripture. 

I remember being back in the audience just marveling.  I’m sure you were, as parents, too, listening to these young people, again, all the way from seven, eight years of age all the way to 18, just quoting hundreds, hundreds of passages of Scripture.


Bob:  And in that final round, if I remember right, there was just one hiccup, and it came with you.

Brittany:  I think so.

Bob:  Brittany walked up to the microphone, and it was my job to tell her what verse or passage she needed to recite.  I remember looking up at Brittany.  I said, “Are you ready to go?” and she said, “Yes.”  I said, “Okay, recite Romans one, verses 21 through 32.”  And what did you think when I said that?

Dennis:  Well, now wait a second.  I’m in the back, and I’m watching her up front, and I’m going, “She’s either completely blanked out . . .”

Bob:  Yes.

Dennis:  “. . . or something is going on here,” because she’s looking at the floor, she’s kind of looking and has a puzzled look on her face, and there was a reason for that.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.  Romans 1:21- 32 wasn’t a passage that the juniors were given to memorize, and so I was pretty confused.  I was trying to think of another passage in Romans that possibly that passage was supposed to be.  I was just confused.  So I asked Mr. Lepine if maybe the passage was Romans 3:20-31.

Bob:  And I looked down at the sheet of paper that’s there in front of me, and I said, “No, it’s Romans 1, beginning at verse 21.”  I said, “Why don’t you just start at verse 21 and we’ll see how far you can get?”

Well, the problem was she hadn’t memorized any of it, because it wasn’t on the assignment. 

Dennis:  Right.

Bob:  At that point there were some people in the audience, parents, who knew what had been memorized and what hadn’t, and they started calling out, “That’s not on the list.”  Of course, I’m just the pretty voice.  I don’t know any better.

Dennis:  You’re just doing what you’ve been told to do.

Bob:  So I said, “We’re going to take a minute and confer with the judges.”  We conferred with the judges, and sure enough, that was not on the list, and I think at that point we just gave you a pass and you went and sat down.  Is that right?

Brittany:  Yes, sir.  I got to sit down for a couple minutes.

Bob:  And then a couple minutes later we had you come back up, and this time we asked you to recite Psalm 34.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Bob:  Now, you had memorized Psalm 34, right?

Brittany:  Yes, sir.  I had memorized all of the passages.  That one I felt pretty confident in.

Bob:  And as I remember, you were just plowing along, doing great, and what happened?

Brittany:  Well, I got to verse 17, and I quoted that verse, and then I just couldn’t remember the next verse, and that had never really happened to me except for a couple times when I was quoting to my Mom.  I had never really blanked out. 

So I totally blanked out, and I couldn’t remember the next verse for anything.  And so I just tried to repeat in my mind the verses I had just quoted and I couldn’t remember.

Bob:  Cheryl, do you remember sitting in the audience?

Cheryl:  I do.  I do remember that very well, and as a matter of fact, when she got Psalm 34 – because it was all kind of confusing to us, because when she did get the passage that you gave her originally in Romans, I knew something was wrong. 

I could tell on her face something’s wrong, but I really didn’t know what it was, because I didn’t know all the passages she had memorized, and I didn’t know if it was one of them or not. 

It was funny, because I told my husband, “Dan, do something.  If she’s saying it’s wrong, it’s wrong.  She knows those verses.”  And he said, “What am I going to do?”

Bob:  Get your gun and your badge.

Dennis:  Get your badge and arrest somebody.  Arrest Mr. Lepine.


Cheryl:  But he just looked at me like, “What am I supposed to do?” and then about that time other people in the audience knew that it was wrong.  But when she got Psalm 34, I told him, “Oh, good.  She knows this one.”  I knew that she knew all of them, but it was one she had known for a while, and it was one that she was just so confident in. 

As a matter of fact, with all the other passages she was given, she always paused first, because I had told her, “Now when they give you the passage, don’t just immediately start.  Just for a second, get your footing, make sure you’re going to quote the right one.” 

With that one she was so confident she just went forward.  22 verses long, and she got through all 17 word-perfect before she blanked out.  But I thought, “Oh, this is good.  She’ll be glad to get that one.”

Bob:  When she blanked out, weren’t you just dying?

Cheryl:  Oh, it was really hard for me.  I just, oh, I just felt so bad for her.  I really did.  I did, because I knew she knew it.  I knew she knew it.  But, you know, God orchestrates things the way we don’t understand sometimes.  But it was hard for me.

Dennis:  Brittany, just to make up for it, I’m going to read verse 16 and 17, and then I want you to take the rest of it to the barn, through verse 22.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  Alright?  The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.  The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

Brittany:  The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

He keepeth all his bones.  Not one of them is broken.  Evil shall slay the wicked, and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.  The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants, and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Dennis:  That was perfect.

Bob:  And when did you last review Psalm 34?

Brittany:  It was a while back.

Bob:  But it still comes in just like that, doesn’t it?

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Bob:  It is so rich to have God’s Word hidden in your heart.

Brittany:  Definitely.

Bob:  And those times when the Holy Spirit just taps you on the shoulder and says, “Remember this one?  Remember this one?” and it applies.

In fact, you went on to write a book about your experience at the 2009 Bible Bee called A Trophy in My Heart, and you put Psalm 119:11.  What does that say?

Brittany:  Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

Bob:  You put that on the front of the book.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Bob:  I can’t think of a more appropriate verse to remind all of us – you may not participate in the National Bible Bee –

Dennis:  Right.

Bob:  -- but Scripture memory is a good and healthy discipline for every one of us.

Dennis:  Here’s another great illustration of this.  Your mom gave you a verse before you went into competition.  I know you remember that verse.

Brittany:  Yes, sir.

Dennis:  Go ahead and quote it for our audience.

Brittany:  That was Psalm 138, verse 8:  The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.  Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth forever.  Forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Dennis:  You know, as I sat in the back listening to these young people quote reams of verses, I just couldn’t help but think what an edge they’re going to have for the rest of their lives because they’ve committed these verses to memory.  Just the few verses that I committed to memory and have committed to memory over my lifetime, those pop into my head at the most interesting times. 

God does use his Word to guide us, convict us, to teach us, instruct us, and to comfort us.  You have to believe that other young men and women like Brittany are going to find themselves 30, 40, 50 years from now remembering Scripture at key points in their lives.

Bob:  And everything is geared up now for the 2011 Bible Bee.  Are you going to be a contestant in the 2011 Bee?

Brittany:  Yes, sir.  I’m definitely going to compete.

Bob:  Do you think you’ll do 2012, 2013, or – I guess once you win, are you knocked out?  Can you keep competing even if you win one year?

Brittany:  Yes, sir.  You can compete, I think, even if you win first place.  You can keep on competing until you’re too old.

Bob:  So, let’s see.  You’re fifteen;  you’ve got this year –

Dennis:  Are you going for the big $100,000 first prize this year?

Bob:  Are you a junior or senior this year?

Brittany:  I’ll be a senior this year.

Bob:  First time in the category.

Brittany:  A little harder.

Bob:  Yeah.

Dennis:  That’s some serious change.

Brittany:  Definitely.

Dennis:  Your mom and dad are probably going, “Go. Go Brittany, go!”


Bob:  And we want to encourage listeners to sign up and take you on this year in the elementary division, in the junior division, or with Brittany in the senior division.  You can find out more about this year’s Bible Bee when you go to and click on the link to the Bible Bee. 

Registration is underway right now, and the first round competition is going to take place at the beginning of the fall.  I think it’s in September.  All the details are online.  Go to, click on the link for the Bible Bee, and while you’re there, get a copy of the book that Brittany wrote. 

She wrote a book telling about her experience at the Bible Bee.  It’s called A Trophy in My Heart, and we’ve got copies of it in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.  Get a copy when you go to; you can order a copy from us online.  Or call 1-800-“F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “Today.”

We want to ask you to think about something here during the month of May that would really help us out.  We’ve had some friends of the ministry who came to us, and they said, “We know that during the summer FamilyLife, like a lot of ministries, sees a decline in donations.  So we thought we would help you here in May, be like a squirrel and gather up some acorns to help you get through the summer. “

“So what we’re going to do is we’re going to make a matching gift available to you, $750,000 in matching gift money that’s available if your FamilyLife Today listeners will call and make a donation.  If they make a donation we’ll match it, up to a total of $750,000.” 

Now, that’s great news for us, but you need to know, that’s the largest matching gift that has been given to us outside of the month of December.  Honestly, for us to take full advantage of it, we need as many listeners as possible to do whatever you can do.  Call and make a $10 or a $20 or a $50 or a $100 or a $200 or a $500 or a $1000 donation, whatever you can do.   If everybody will do what they can do, I think we can take full advantage of that matching gift opportunity.

We’re asking you today, go online at or pick up a phone and call 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation; when you do your donation is going to be matched dollar for dollar until we get to that total of $750,000.

We have a thermometer on the website if you want to check that out and see what our progress looks like.  We’ll keep that updated throughout the week, so go online at for more information.  Let me just say thanks in advance for whatever you are able to do to help us take advantage of this matching gift, and to help support FamilyLife Today.  We appreciate it.

Now, tomorrow we want to encourage you to be with us when we talk with a mom and her daughter about some of the really hard things that God often asks women to do.  Kathy Reimer and her daughter, Lisa Whittle join us tomorrow.  I hope you can be back as well to hear about that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today

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