How to memorize the old testament books of the bible

Written by christina sloane
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How to memorize the old testament books of the bible
Split Old Testament books into five categories for easier memorisation. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

In church, religious classes and Bible studies, facilitators often instruct the group to turn to a specific Bible passage. Since many students and churchgoers have different Bible sizes, styles and translations, facilitators assign readings by books, chapters and verses rather than page numbers. If you are unfamiliar with the books of the Old Testament, you must flip around in your Bible or consult the table of contents until you find the appropriate passage. This takes up time and detracts from your study. If you memorise the books of the Bible in their proper order, you can access passages quickly and easily.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Memorise the number of books in the Old Testament. You can do this by taking the word "Old" and breaking it down into the number of letters --- three. The word "Testament" has nine letters. Put "3" and "9" side by side, and you have "39," the number of books in the Old Testament.

  2. 2

    Divide the books of the Old Testament into chunks: The Books of the Law (Pentateuch), Historical Books, Poetic Books, Major Prophets and Minor Prophets. Devote a day or a week to memorising all the books in one chunk rather than trying to memorise all 39 books at once. Since there isn't a perfect mnemonic for each chunk, use flash cards or practice writing the names down to memorise each section before moving on to the next one.

  3. 3

    Memorise the names of the books in the Pentateuch, which are the first five books in the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These books were written by Moses and describe God's laws for people of the Jewish faith. These five books are also called the Torah.

  4. 4

    Memorise the names of the 12 Historical Books: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. Notice that the six books in the middle all have a number preceding them. This means you only need to memorise nine names, not 12. The Historical Books describe the establishment of Israel, the Israelites' struggles with sin and God's punishment and exile of the Assyrians and Babylonians.

  5. 5

    Memorise the names of the five Poetry Books: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon (Song of Songs). The last three books are easy to remember with the mnemonic "PrESS."

  6. 6

    Memorise the names of the five Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel. These prophetic books hint at the coming of Christ. Notice that the first two names end in "--iah," and the last two names end in "--iel." You can remember Lamentations by thinking about how the prophets foretold the coming of Christ, an innocent lamb, or that Daniel spent time in the lions' den, and the lamb is the antithesis of the lion.

  7. 7

    Memorise the names of the 12 Minor Prophets. These prophets are no less important than the major prophets, but the books are much shorter: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Notice that the first five prophets all have the letter "o" in their names, and the last five each have two "a"s in their names.

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