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Pathfinder Bible Knowledge Tested at Annual PBE


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Miami Spanish Central earns a first-place finish at the 2017 Pathfinder Bible Experience in Chicago.
Photo provided by NAD Youth Ministries


By Kimberly Luste Maran
“We are incredibly excited and amazed with how God led hundreds of young people deep into the Bible,” says Armando Miranda, associate director of the North American Division (NAD) Youth Ministries department and NAD Pathfinder Club director, about the 2016-2017 Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE) season. “It’s fulfilling to see Pathfinders from all over North America and even England, come together because of the Bible.”
The season’s studies of the Pauline Epistles* culminated on April 22, 2017, as more than 500 Pathfinders on 79 teams met in Chicago for the sixth annual NAD Division testing event. 
“We want them to memorize and know God’s Word more and more,” Miranda says. “Another beautiful thing is that entire families are involved and committed to this! We had close to 2,000 people — and more than half of them were family members and supporters of the Pathfinders!”
Of the teams that participated in the NAD event, 53 scored 90 percent or higher, earning first place; 25 scored 80-89 percent for second place; and one team received a third-place finish with scores percentages in the 70s. One team achieved a perfect score upon completion of the question and answer period. Several other teams missed only one or two points.
The PBE is the official North American Division Pathfinder Bible study program. The program is still known in some circles as the Bible Bowl. Each year, teams of six club members study a book of the Bible, or several in this season’s assignment, memorizing large portions of God’s Word.
This season began with approximately 10,000 Pathfinders participating in the PBE testing at the initial area level.
In April, after months of study and local testing, teams from across the division who have advanced through the other levels of competition — area, conference, and union — participate in the final level of testing. The Pathfinders are quizzed over the assigned study books as well as the SDA Bible Commentary Introduction to each study book.

Pioneer Memorial Church Evergreen Pathfinders received a first-place finish at the 2017 PBE.

Photo provided by NAD Youth Ministries

According to the PBE website, winning teams incorporate a “total church involvement” approach. Teams have study coaches, but also involve the church elders and other local church members of the local to assist in making up sample tests, friendly Bible knowledge competition against the elders, become involved in worships comprised of talks from content in the assigned study book(s). The students may also perform skits depicting some of the biblical stories from their assigned study book.

Sixth grader Daniella Spence, from a Beltsville, Maryland, team, says, "PBE was interesting and fun. Meeting to study and eat with friends was the best part. Learning God’s word made me understand more about God. I am looking forward to next year."

“We are continuing to develop ways to connect the Pathfinder Bible Experience with the broader church life, Bible study, and revival, reformation and repentance,” says Gene Clapp, the NAD Pathfinder Bible Experience coordinator. “The PBE program is changing lives. Not only are the Pathfinders and parents reading and memorizing the Bible, they are also learning the application — and both young and older lives are being transformed because of spending time with God!”
The 2017-2018 testing season for PBE will be over the books of Daniel and Esther. “We are looking forward to seeing the Pathfinders understand and see the relevance of prophecies and God’s providence in their lives as they study and memorize those stories,” says Miranda.

Braintree Flames, from the Southern New England Conference, finished in first place at the 2017 PBE.

Photo provided by NAD Youth Ministries


* The Pauline Epistles are the New Testament books that have the name Paul (Παῦλος) as the first word, indicating authorship.

NOTE: Check with your Union magazine for published online coverage of Pathfinder clubs in your region that participated in this year’s PBE. And watch for the NAD video report of the event, coming soon!

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