Laura Christensen Colberg

Laura Christensen Colberg

Director of Free Methodist Bible Quizzing

Laura Christensen Colberg is the director of Free Methodist Bible Quizzing. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Jason, and son Fox. Click here to support her leadership of this ministry or contact her at to learn more about starting a Bible quiz ministry at your church. Current quizzing events can be found at

by Laura Christensen Colberg

Scripture to me is like the frame of a jigsaw puzzle. What’s the first thing you do when you shake out all the pieces? You start gathering the border pieces, finding a straight edge or a corner piece, pulling those out and assembling the frame. This gives you the dimensions. You figure out where the top and bottom are, and from that point, figuring out which sections will go where comes more easily than working from the inside out.

That’s the role God’s Word has played in my life — setting up the framework, the boundary within which the pieces can fit together. Eventually, colors match, outlines coordinate into a subsection of a whole image, and form emerges out of chaos. Over time, perspective shifts, but a cohesive picture starts to emerge. 

Without those edges (have you ever done a puzzle without a square or rectangle shape?), it’s a lot harder to see which pieces fit where. The Bible as a frame for life’s decisions allows us to find a secure and intentional place for our actions to fit within a larger whole, and to knit events together with purpose.

Where does one find the edge pieces? How does one put together that frame? For me and hundreds of others, memorizing verses, chapters and books in the context of friendly competition is the tool God used to knit that border into place. Free Methodist Bible Quizzing was the start and motivation. Those words came to life and gave life in real-life situations long after the games were behind me.

FMBQ is still providing the opportunity and motivation for teenagers to construct for themselves the spiritual framework for living. Listen to some of these voices from 2021.

Alethia Diener

Alethia got her start memorizing Bible verses through National Bible Bee (even ranking near the top in its national event one year). When her family moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, she wanted to keep memorizing Scripture as part of her routine, and it was the opportunity to Bible quiz that led them to make Hillsdale Free Methodist Church their church home. Learning Scripture in the context of quizzing creates not just the building blocks for life, but a community for living life together. This October, after returning to in-person quizzing and hugging a friend, “within ten minutes,” she says, “I was talking with her about the same spiritual struggles, and we were praying the verses we were studying over one another — for peace, power and protection.” (Hebrews 4:16 tells us to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”)

For Alethia, quote verses pop into her head when she hears similar phrases in daily life. It’s as if Hebrews 4:12 (“For the word of God is alive and active …”) is a tangible thing.

Studying John last season, she was humbled to read that Jesus prayed for her. “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name …” “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message” (John 17:11, 20). These words were particularly reassuring to her when she was recently disappointed by not being cast for a part she auditioned for in a school play. Stung by the feelings of not being seen for the gifts and skills she thought she could bring, she was comforted to remember Jesus too felt rejected: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). And she held onto these words from Isaiah 43:1, “I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Other verses, which she she has studied in these times of COVID-19 restrictions, have given her guidance too. Rather than get caught up in the divisiveness about how to act or respond in these tense times, she has taken to heart Paul’s lessons to the Corinthians about food sacrificed to idols — each has their own level of faith, and we should not act to cause others to stumble. Our consciences are known to God, and we don’t have to “make” anyone else see things the same way we do.

Alethia puts into practice the command to love people with different views, even within her Christian high school. Scripture remains her rock, an objective absolute she can count on even when conversation and opinions around her compete for her attention. She is keen to try to listen and discern where and when to speak — curbing any instinct to be obnoxious with the verses she has learned. “I regularly pray that the Lord will work through me — in spite of myself,” she says.

As busy as anyone with activities and commitments, Alethia’s alarm is set to start an audio CD each morning, so she awakens to a voice reading the words of Hebrews (this year’s text). Multitasking is her key to studying. She’s often listening to the text while she does something else, like cleaning house.

Above all, Alethia emphasizes, it’s not about winning a quiz at the end of the day. The words, the connections, those things that do stick in her mind are the ultimate benefits of the time she spends studying, and people shouldn’t feel guilty for not doing any more than they can. 

Aby Price

Aby got her start in Bible quizzing when Dale Bigger, a pastor at Lapeer Free Methodist Church in Michigan, handed her a portion one Sunday and said, “I think you will like this. Come to practice.” She did, and that started her quizzing journey at the end of sixth grade.

She returned the next season out of sympathy for another quizzer who needed a teammate. Now she’s hooked, and she’s the sole quizzer for Waypoint Church and the one looking for someone to join her team.

Last season, quizzing in Michigan was online, and this opened the door for a friend she’d met at summer camp, Sabina Gasperoni, to join her in studying and quizzing together. As a team they earned first place at Quiz Finals (the first time Sabina had quizzed on actual jump seats).

“Frenemies” are one thing that keeps Aby coming back. They are the rivals a quizzer initially fears, but the quizzer then grows in confidence to take on and beat them in friendly competition. They’re friends too, she explains, but she still likes to outscore them when it’s time to quiz. Now in the Senior Teen division, Aby had to stretch and grow more confident in pre-jumping to hold her own against other veteran quizzers, and she has done well enough to earn first place in Individuals already at a monthly quiz this season.

Aby appreciates the details she notices when she studies for quizzing — having to quote certain verses means every word gets some attention. That’s when she notices little things that stick with her or help her to see the big picture from a slightly different perspective.

Verses that stick with you are helpful. “I was anxious about a situation,” she recalls, “and then I remembered John 14:27 [‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’]. That really helped me get through it.” This and prayers from a mentor at summer camp have given her control over her anxiety.

It’s not just memorizing words for Aby. She will sit down and read through the text, think about it, and get to the bottom of something that’s confusing or that she doesn’t understand. But she loves it when there’s a sermon over something she’s studied. “I know that!” she’ll think to herself when a pastor begins reading from a chapter she has studied. Studying John 11 last season, it really hit her in a powerful way when she read what is probably a lot of people’s favorite verse, because it’s the shortest: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). “If you read it, and then think about it — Jesus crying — it’s super-powerful, and it really hits you in a new way. I almost started crying to realize how much He cared in that moment,” Aby says.

Aby’s part of a choir with a schedule of concerts throughout the school year, but she’s embracing the challenge of making sure she can still attend as many Saturday quizzes as she can — even if there’s a concert to dash to right afterward. 

Caleb and Andrew Brown

Caleb and Andrew are brothers and teammates who quiz for Bedford Free Methodist Church in Indiana. Quizzing is in their blood, so to speak, or maybe just their DNA. Their grandfather (Jerry Mullis) coached a quiz team, and their mother, Rachelle (Mullis) Brown, was a successful quizzer in her day. It might not have been a viable option for them not to quiz — or at least try! But they love doing it and have done very well in competition. (Caleb took first place in Individuals at Quiz Finals last summer.)

While competition is a driving force, studying passages keeps God at the forefront of Caleb’s mind. He doubts he would have studied the book of Hebrews on his own if it weren’t the selection for this season. Andrew adds that through quizzing, “I’ve gained an appreciation and love for the Bible.” It’s been an “essential part” of his spiritual journey.

Something from last season that stands out for Caleb comes from John 17:3. (Jesus prays: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”) 

“We often think of ‘eternal life’ as just going to heaven when we die,” Caleb writes. “Jesus suggests that it is even grander than that. He says that it is having a relationship with Him, in heaven, but also now.”

Both Caleb and Andrew encourage everyone to give Bible quizzing a try. Apart from the strangeness of learning something new, Andrew notes that the benefit of setting goals and the discipline of study spill out into other areas of life, like schoolwork. His system of studying is to break up the text into small sections and then try to memorize using the first letter of each word in a verse. “It doesn’t have to take a lot of time,” he says. Caleb agrees, “Even doing one or two verses a day will get you very far.”

Transforming Adults Too

Quizzing is not just for quizzers. Tanya Perkins — a mother of champion quizzers, a coach and now the Genesis Conference director — writes that quizzing “has transformed our lives. Every year the book(s) of the Bible we are studying continue(s) to draw me closer and closer to a better understanding of who God is and His unfathomable love for all of us. And this past month tapped into my love for the imagery and reality of how what Jesus did for us allows us to be led by Him into the Holy of Holies, the inner Sanctuary, so that we can be in the presence of God because that is what God wanted from the beginning. Such love! I pray we allow ourselves to walk with Jesus into the Holy of Holies to just be in the presence of God and allow Him to lavish on us with His riches and blessings.”

The bottom line: “Knowing God’s Word is a gift” as Andrew Brown says.

That brings me back to puzzles. Though I’ve gained more appreciation for them over the years, I recall shaking the presents under the tree at Christmastime and hoping not to see my name on those boxes that so obviously held a jigsaw puzzle. I recall once adding “filler” to a puzzle as I wrapped it so that it wouldn’t give out that telltale rattle when shaken. Puzzles are not everyone’s favorite gift, I realize, and every analogy breaks down at some point.

Whether you think of your life being bounded by the edges of a pool, the edges of a canvas, the edges of a bowl, a field or a room, think of God’s Word — His words — as the defining elements that bring meaning, shape, and form into your life. Start there. Then fill in the rest. 

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Your frame will last. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).


Laura Christensen Colberg

Laura Christensen Colberg

Director of Free Methodist Bible Quizzing

Laura Christensen Colberg is the director of Free Methodist Bible Quizzing. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Jason, and son Fox. Click here to support her leadership of this ministry or contact her at to learn more about starting a Bible quiz ministry at your church. Current quizzing events can be found at