How to Memorize Old Testament Books: Shocking Easy Methods You Haven’t Tried Yet

Ever found yourself struggling to remember the order of the Old Testament books? You’re not alone. With 39 books to recall, it can feel like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Understanding the Structure of the Old Testament

How to Memorize Old Testament Books: Shocking Easy Methods You Haven’t Tried Yet

The Old Testament, often daunting due to its length and complexity, becomes manageable once you get a grasp of its structure. Let’s break it down.

Overview of the Books

The Old Testament consists of 39 books. These books get categorized into distinct sections: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. First, we’ve got the Law, also known as the Pentateuch or Torah, which includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Next, the Prophets are split into the Former Prophets (like Joshua, Judges) and the Latter Prophets (including Isaiah, Jeremiah). Lastly, the Writings feature a diverse set of books, from Psalms and Proverbs to Job and Daniel.

Major Themes and Divisions

Each section of the Old Testament targets different themes and historical contexts. The Law, for instance, primarily discusses the creation, early history of humanity, and the laws given to Israel. Meanwhile, the Prophets focus on Israel’s history, moral teachings, prophecies about future events, and calls to repentance.

Within the Writings, you’ll find wisdom literature like Proverbs, stories of personal faith like Job, and poetic books like Psalms. This profound diversity offers a nuanced view of Jewish history and thought.

Understanding this structure aids greatly in memorizing and appreciating the richness of the Old Testament.

Hey there! I’m Adam Phillips, a youth pastor with over 20 years of experience. Today, I’m diving into a topic many people find challenging: memorizing the books of the Old Testament. Whether you’re a seasoned Bible reader or just starting out, knowing the order of these 39 books can enhance your understanding and appreciation of Scripture. Let’s dig in.

Techniques to Memorize the Old Testament Books

Memorizing the Old Testament books doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are some of the most effective techniques:

Mnemonics Methods

Mnemonics are memory aids that help you recall larger pieces of information. For example, to remember the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), you might create a sentence where the first letters of each word correspond: “Great Elephants Leap, Dancing Nightly.”

Combine Books: Group books into sections. Remembering the Pentateuch as a whole instead of five individual books can be easier.

Use Acronyms: Create acronyms for sections. For instance, the books of the Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel) can be “IJLED.”

Visual Learning Techniques

Visual aids make a big difference. One method involves using flashcards. Write the name of each book on a card, shuffle them, and try to put them in the correct order.

Create a Visual Map: Draw a timeline or a chart showing the order of the books. Seeing them laid out visually can help solidify the sequence in your mind.

Use Illustrations: Find or create illustrations that represent each book. Associating a visual image with a book’s name can enhance your memory.

Repetition and Review Strategies

Repetition is crucial in memorization. Set aside a few minutes each day to review the books you’ve learned and practice the new ones.

Daily Practice: Spend just 10 minutes a day reciting the books in order. Consistency is key.

Engage in Group Activities: If you’re part of a Bible study group, turn this into a group activity. Recite the books together and quiz each other.

Review in Context: As you read the Bible, refer to the table of contents and mentally recall where each book falls. This contextualizes your learning.

These techniques can make a huge difference. Some people find one method more effective than others. Feel free to mix and match.

Incorporating these strategies into your Bible study routine can make memorizing the Old Testament books not just doable but also enjoyable. Ready to give it a try? Let’s strengthen our understanding and appreciation of Scripture together.

Practical Exercises for Memorization

Everyone finds their own way to memorize the Old Testament books. Here are some tried-and-true techniques I’ve used and recommended to my youth group.

Creating Personalized Study Plans

Making a personalized study plan helps keep things organized. I usually start by breaking down the 39 books into smaller sections. You can, for instance, tackle them by their categories – the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. One week, focus just on the Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). Another week, move on to the Prophets starting with historical books like Joshua and Judges, and so on.

Jot down a daily schedule. On Mondays, for example, quiz yourself on the first five books. By marking progress in your plan, you can track which sections give you the most trouble and which you’re nailing down.

Use flashcards to drill these sections. Write the name of a book on one side and key themes or notable verses on the other. You can shuffle these cards and test yourself regularly. Engaging repeatedly with the material helps reinforce your memory.

Engaging with Community Learning

Studying with others can make a big difference. Join a study group at your church or find friends who want to memorize these books as well. Something I’ve found useful in my youth groups is creating a little friendly competition. We’d see who can name the most books in order, or who remembers the key points from each one. It makes the whole learning process fun and interactive.

Use social media to connect with groups focused on Bible study. There are several platforms where enthusiasts share quiz questions, memory tips, and more. You can also learn from others’ experiences and methods, which might introduce you to new and effective strategies.

So, combine your personal study plan with the support and motivation from a community. This approach makes the memorization process not just easier but more enjoyable, giving a holistic edge to your Bible studies.

Tools and Resources to Aid Memorization

Making the task of memorizing the Old Testament books manageable often requires the right tools and resources. Below, I’ll share some practical options I’ve found incredibly helpful in my journey as a youth pastor.

Recommended Books and Guides

Books and guides can provide structure and depth to your memorization efforts. One book I frequently recommend is “Know Your Bible” by Paul Kent. It’s concise and offers summaries, key verses, and useful trivia. For those wanting something even more in-depth, “How to Enjoy the Bible” by E.W. Bullinger is a fantastic choice. This book dives deep into scripture study methodologies and can be a great aid for serious learners.

Guides specifically tailored to memorization can also make the process smoother. Memorize the Faith!” by Kevin Vost uses memory techniques that align with traditional methods you’d find in classical education. It’s designed to reinforce not just the books’ names but their order and significance.

Digital Apps and Tools

In today’s digital age, apps and tools can revolutionize how we memorize. I’ve found several that work wonders:

  • Bible Memory App: This app utilizes spaced repetition and interactive quizzes. You can create custom lists, which is perfect for focusing solely on the Old Testament.
  • Quizlet: I use Quizlet for more than just scripture; it’s versatile, letting you create flashcards and engage with study sets created by others.
  • Scripture Typer: Another excellent tool, Scripture Typer allows you to practice typing verses, aiding both memory and quick recall. It’s especially good for visual and kinesthetic learners.

Free online resources also offer valuable support. Websites like BibleGateway provide tools like reading plans, commentaries, and various versions of the Bible to cross-reference. These added resources can deepen your understanding while reinforcing memorization.

Incorporating these tools into your daily routine can make a significant difference. Whether you prefer books, digital apps, or a mix of both, these resources can support and enhance your memorization journey.


Memorizing the books of the Old Testament can seem daunting but with the right tools and techniques it becomes an achievable goal. By using mnemonics visual aids and practical exercises we can make the process engaging and fun. The combination of books digital apps and free online resources offers a variety of ways to reinforce our learning.

Whether you prefer studying solo or with a community there’s a method that will suit your style. Remember the key is to stay consistent and make it a part of your daily routine. Happy memorizing!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can mnemonics help in memorizing the books of the Old Testament?

Mnemonics can help by creating easy-to-remember associations or phrases that link to the books of the Old Testament. This technique simplifies and shortens the memorization process, making it easier to recall the order of the books.

What are some practical exercises for memorizing the Old Testament books?

Practical exercises include creating personalized study plans, using flashcards for repetitive learning, and engaging in community study groups for collaborative reinforcement.

Are there any recommended books for memorizing the Bible?

Yes, recommended books include “Know Your Bible,” “How to Enjoy the Bible,” and “Memorize the Faith!” by Kevin Vost. These guides provide structured approaches and insights for effective memorization.

What digital apps can assist with memorizing the Old Testament books?

Digital apps like Bible Memory App, Quizlet, and Scripture Typer are excellent tools for assisting with memorization. They offer interactive features that enhance and reinforce learning.

Can free online resources help in memorizing the Old Testament books?

Absolutely. Free online resources such as BibleGateway can provide additional support for deepening understanding and memorization efforts through various translations and study tools.

How can visual learning aid in memorization of the Old Testament books?

Visual learning aids memorization by using images, charts, and diagrams to create visual cues. This approach helps in better retention and recall of information through visual associations.

Why is community learning beneficial for memorizing the Old Testament books?

Community learning offers a supportive environment where individuals can share insights, challenge each other, and reinforce their learning through group discussions and collaborative exercises.

How can I incorporate these tools into my daily routine?

Incorporate these tools by setting aside specific times for study, integrating digital app exercises into your daily tasks, and joining study groups or online communities to keep you motivated and accountable.