Memorizing the Books of the Bible

There are 66 books of the Bible.  That’s a lot of books.  Why should you memorize their order?

Let me answer that first with another question (honestly, the most effective way to answer most questions): Why did you memorize the alphabet?

Seriously, who put the letters in that order?  Why did you memorize their order as a three year old?  There doesn’t seem to be a point to the specific order.

I can think of two reasons to know the alphabet’s order. One, organization (e.g. English paper citation and dictionaries).

Two, knowledge.  As a preschooler, you learned the alphabet.  You needed to know all 26 letters and learning them in order was the simplest way.

The books of the Bible can be viewed similarly.  Knowing the Books of the Bible in order makes finding them way easier.  Rather than going to the table of contents and going by page number, you can just know where the book you’re searching for is by looking at the one you’re on!  This makes evangelism easier, and makes you sword drill champ (ask me how I know).

Also, it broadens YOUR knowledge of the Bible.  The “minor” prophets and New Testament letters can get quite jumbled.  Knowing that they exist and where they are is helpful in your own devotion time with God.

An additional plus side to knowing the books in order is that your Teen Mission Int’l team will love you.  The Luggage portion of Boot Camp’s Obstacle Course will either be easy or difficult, depending on your team’s knowledge.  Our team had enough members who knew the books’ order that half the team would work on the New Testament while the other half did the Old.

So, it took you months of Sesame Street singing to learn the 26 letters of the alphabet.  How in the world can you memorize the 66 books of the Bible?

Well, there are books of the Bible songs.  Type “Books of the Bible songs” in the YouTube search box and BAM.  Tons of songs for you to choose from!  I like the particular song I learned in Sunday School, but I didn’t learn it by heart until I had already learned the books without singing.

To memorize something, my mind organizes it.  Here is how the books of the Bible are organized in my mind.  I hope it’ll help you in your endeavor to memorize the order of the books!

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are all the Torah, the first five books.
Then comes two J’s: Joshua and Judges.
Now a rather random Ruth.
Three sets of doubles (Ruth, the Samuels and Kings are in chronological order): 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles.
Here’s an tiny pattern E-?-E-?: EzraNehemiahEstherJob.
Now the poetic books (following Job because Job is also poetic): Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs)
Major prophets are next.  Isaiah, then Jeremiah and Lamentations, which have to go together because Jeremiah wrote Lamentations (think lament, so therefore, the weeping prophet)  Ezekiel and Daniel both end with ‘iel’.
Hosea, Joel, & Amos are minor prophets I struggled keeping together.  Now I know their order simply because of practice.
Then it’s Obadiah and Jonah, which I always remembered with “obey, Jonah did” (after being swallowed by a big fish).
Micah & Nahum go together like M & N in the alphabet.
Here’s another pattern: Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah. H-Z-H-Z.  Be careful, because these can be especially confusing.  The longer ‘H’ goes first, Habakkuk.  Zechariah (with a hard ‘c’) is followed by Malachi (also with a hard ‘c’).

Good job!  We’re made through the Old Testament!  The New gets a bit easier for me.

First are the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Next is Acts, the other narrative story.
Now we start Paul’s letters.  First is Romans, followed by 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians.
My mom taught me to remember Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians with the acronym G.E. Power Company.  More recently, my TMI teammate taught me one I like better: Girls Eat Pop Corn (or Go Eat Pop Corn).  Take your pick.
Next are a bunch of ‘T’s in order of number of syllables: 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus.
Here comes a group of three rather like Hosea, Joel, & Amos: Philemon, Hebrews, James.
Homestretch now with 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, (another ‘J’), and Revelation.

When I was in third grade, my church’s Wednesday night kids program featured a competition of kids rapidly reciting the books in order.  The kids would go in pairs.  One said “Genesis”, the other “Exodus”, then the first kid said “Leviticus”, and so on.  I wanted to compete so badly, I started trying to memorize the books myself so that my sister and I could beat the other kids.

I hope that you’re encouraged to memorize the order of the books and that you’ve gleaned some advice.  Remember, memorizing the books does not make you a better Christian.  You have to read the books themselves to learn more about God, therefore deepening your relationship, therefore growing to be a stronger Christian.

Books of the Bible @ Unreached by the Frost


One thought on “Memorizing the Books of the Bible

  1. I love this! Jace, Dad and I teach the books of the Bible in our Sunday school class (6 year olds) so I get practice every year as we teach a new set of kids the skill!


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