In most of my posts, the Bible is quoted freely. What I have failed to pay attention to is that some of my readers may not be familiar with the Bible and they may wonder how they can verify my statements.
So if you are interested in learning the names of the books of the Bible in order, here is where the old maxim, "divide and conquer" fits really well. I might mention that I am speaking only of the Protestant Bible; in this case, it makes a big difference.
People say that to learn the books in order, put them to music and sing them in order. Great idea, with one major problem, I have absolutely no musical ability and so it does not work for me. Acrostics also help.
First, imagine a room with two bookshelves; an old one with five shelves and a new one with only four shelves. We will look at the old bookshelf first.
The Old Bookshelf
On the top shelf, there are only five books; these 5 are called "The Law".
The second shelf has 12 books called "The History of Israel".
The third shelf has 5 books called "Poetry".
The next one has 5 "Major Prophet's" books;
and the bottom shelf has 12 "Minor Prophet's" books.
- Once you instil the 5, 12, 5, 5, 12 "mantra" into your mind in a rhythmic pattern, it helps to organize them in your mind. 5, 12, 5, 5, 12, again 5, 12, 5, 5, 12.
- Note also that 5+12+5+5+12 = 39. That is the number of books in the Old Testament.
- Or you can picture it like this: The first two shelves, 5+12, the last two shelves, 5+12 with a 5 between the two groups.
1. Now, back to the top shelf; in the right order:
Genesis - a beginning or origin of anything. How fitting that this should be the first book.
Exodus - (Exit us) The children of Israel exit Egypt.
Leviticus - Jacob had a son called Levi; Levi's sons became the priests for the whole Israelite nation.
This book, named after them, contains a list of the priestly sacrifices and order of conduct.
Numbers - A census of Israel is taken and recorded in chapter 1 of this book, hence the name, Numbers.
Deuteronomy - (duet - two); this is a second recording of the law of Moses.
An acrostic: Getting Every Last Number Down.
2. Now, down to the second shelf which has 12 books:
Although this approach is not exactly biblically accurate, because, the name, Judges isn't one man, it did help me to organize them in my mind. It goes like this:
Judges - two men,
Ruth - a woman
1 + 2 Samuel -
1 + 2 Kings -
1 + 2 Chronicles - three sets of twins
Nehemiah - two men
Esther - a woman
That's easy - 2 men, a woman, 3 sets of twins, 2 men, a woman.
3. Then the shelf with 5 beautiful books:
Job - (Pronounced with a long o)
Literally or prosaically its theme is, "why do good people suffer?"
Psalms - The Jewish hymnal.
Just for interest's sake: Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Protestant Bible; Psalm 118 is the middle chapter of the Bible, and Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.
Proverbs - These are not statements of fact; they are "probablys".
Ecclesiastes - A preacher talks about the futility of life.
Song of Solomon also known as Canticles - a young couple deeply infatuated with each other and missing each other terribly.
An acrostic: John Planted Petunias Exceedingly Sparsely.
4. The second from the bottom shelf - The Major Prophets. Major because they are longer than The Minor Prophets, not because they are more important.
Isaiah - preached to the Israelite nation (the Northern tribes), the first of the two to go into exile.
Jeremiah - preached to Judah, (the Southern tribes), the second to go into exile.
Note that Isaiah with an I preached to Israel with an I and Jeremiah with a J preached to Judah with a J. Isaiah comes before Jeremiah, as I comes before J.
Lamentations - This also is Jeremiah's book, so, logically it follows the Book of Jeremiah. He weeps over the destruction which has come to his beloved Jerusalem because the Israelites have turned their backs on Jehovah.
Ezekiel - He is best known for the fact that he saw and described a spaceship.
Daniel - Is it the last book on this shelf because he was "a hard act to follow".
An acrostic: I Just Loath Everything Depraved.
5. On the bottom shelf, with 12 books, The Minor Prophets are:
Hosea - Having
Joel - Jewels
Amos - and
Obadiah - opals
Jonah - just
Micah - might
Nahum - not
Habakkuk - help
Haggai - hear
Zechariah - Zechariah
Malachi - moan.
In the next post, we will look at the new bookshelf.