How to Memorize the Books of the Old Testament

by Sara Ipatenco

The Old Testament is made up of 39 smaller books, each with a different name. Many of these books have unusual names that are hard to remember, but with the help of a few entertaining activities that make use of memorization techniques, you'll be able to recite them in order. According to an article on memory published in "Monitor," a journal of psychology, in 2005, engaging such techniques will help you remember the information for a longer amount of time.

Puzzle

Write the name of each book of the Old Testament on a piece of blank white paper. Leave about an inch of space between each name.

Cut the paper in 39 pieces, each with the name of one book of the Old Testament written on it.

Lay the "puzzle pieces" side-by-side in the correct order. Then mix them up and try to put them back in order without looking. Over time, having a visual picture in your mind will help you remember the correct order more easily.

Imagery

Devise a mental picture to help you recall the names of each book. For example, when you get to "Judges," picture a stern court room judge shaking his finger or when you get to "Lamentations," picture a group of people falling on the floor wailing and crying out in sorrow.

Think of the books in order once you've come up with a mental picture for each one by creating a story that connects them. For example, because "Judges" comes before "Lamentations," you might craft a story that has the judge passing down a sentence that makes the people from other books, such as "Ruth," "Ezra" and "Esther," lamenting about the sentence.

Recite the books of the Old Testament in order several times, recalling your mental picture for each one.

Recitation

Recite the books, in order, repeatedly. Do this out loud so you can hear yourself saying the name of each book.

Start by saying the first five books, "Genesis," "Exodus," "Leviticus," "Numbers" and "Deuteronomy." Once you've memorized these five, add the next five, but continue reciting from the beginning.

Keep adding the books, five or so at a time, until you can say all 39 in order.

Tip

  • Avoid distractions while working. According to the Mayo Clinic, you're more likely to remember the books in the correct order if you're able to give the memorization task your full attention.These strategies are effective for children and adults alike.

Items you will need

  • Bible
  • Blank white paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Scissors

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

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