Tuesday, April 12, 2011

18-year-old Mallory Powell Inspires You to Memorize God’s Word (Part One)

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Mallory Powell
“For as long as I can remember, memorizing has come easy to me,” admits Mallory Powell, an 18-year-old high school senior. “Songs, movie quotes—the more I hear something, it just comes easy to me, and that’s really how I started memorizing Scripture."

Mallory, whom I’ve always claimed as a niece, is the daughter of my husband’s cousin Bryan and his wife Missy. To date, Mallory, who placed second in the 2010 National Bible Bee, has memorized the entire books of Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter.

“I think it’s like any gift God gives us,” she explains simply. “Some people are more musically inclined. I am able to memorize.” Mallory learned that she had something special when, a few years ago, she realized she had memorized the entire screen play of the movie Pride and Prejudice. Over the course of several days, while still attending to her homeschool studies, she literally went through the movie's script, line after line, in her head. When Mallory told her mom that she had been able to do this, Missy encouraged her, urging her to use her gift of memorization to glorify God.

Mallory started with a chapter in Psalms. Just as she was wading in, a guest teacher at her church one Sunday challenged the youth to memorize large portions of Scripture. He had been inspired by someone who had memorized Romans 1-8. “So the Lord spoke to me about doing this,” Mallory remembers. “I thought I couldn’t do eight chapters of Romans, so I wanted to start with a shorter book.” She decided on Ephesians, a favorite for its rich theological underpinnings. Being already familiar with the Armor of God passage in chapter six, Mallory also liked the fact that it’s a letter. “I thought it would be easier to memorize something that was basically one continuous thought,” she notes. She started in January and finished memorizing it before Easter.

After memorizing Ephesians, the words of the guest teacher began to resurface. “I knew I wanted to memorize Romans 1-8; that kept coming up in my heart. I was reading a book about the sovereignty of God at that time, and the book was filled with references to Romans. So all these things were coming together, and I thought, I’m going to go for it!" After memorizing Romans 1-8, Mallory wanted to go on to chapter nine. But she decided chapter nine wasn't really a good stopping place. "So I just said, Okay, I’m going to do the whole thing.”

Mallory offers three reasons for memorizing Scripture:
  • Scripture is the Word of God. "It convicts; it is life to a believer. We have to at least be studying the Word or we have no idea of His commands or His ways. Taking it internally is even more beneficial."
  • No one can take it away from you. "If you’re memorizing Scripture, no one can take it away from you. In this day and age, it is a very uncertain time. Memorizing God's Word is very important."
  • You're armed with an answer. “Your own words and opinions don’t have nearly as much weight as the Word of God does. Not just for yourself, but in dealing with other people, in counseling, I think it’s vital."

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