Updated: Nov 2, 2019
When I teach the Connecting the Dots of the Bible class, one of the things I ask the students to try to do is memorize the books of the New Testament in order. People have a hard time memorizing anything. Especially as you get older.
Knowing the books of the New Testament in order helps you to look up Scripture.
Yes, you could put tabs on your Bible, but I don't recommend this. They stick out, get caught on things, may rip the page and are very annoying.
Yes, you could get a Bible that has indexing - the indents with the books of the Bible on it, but this adds $10 to the price of the Bible.
It really isn't necessary to have either tabs or indexes.
Yes, you could also turn to the index in the front of your Bible and find the book you are looking for. And the more you read the Bible you just learn the order the books are in. But knowing the order of the books of the Bible, well, it is just a useful thing to know.
Knowing the types of books helps you memorize the order of the books.
There are 27 books in the New Testament. The New Testament is organized by the 4 Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Followed by Acts which is about the founding of the universal church and the spread of the Gospel. These first 5 books of the New Testament are called the Historical Books.
Then comes the Letters or called the fancy name, Epistles.
The Epistles are not organized chronologically. First comes Paul's letters - first his 9 letters to the churches and then his 4 letters to individuals. Paul wrote 13 letters - Romans through Philemon. All are named by who received them. For example Galatians is addressed to the church at Galatia. And Philemon is addressed to the individual named Philemon.
After the Pauline Letters (written by Paul) comes what is called the General Letters which are the 8 books Hebrews through Jude. These 8 letters are named after who wrote them, their authors, - except for Hebrews which we aren't sure who wrote it. Hebrews met the other criteria to be placed in the Canon though. James wrote the book of James. Peter wrote 1 Peter and 2 Peter. John wrote 1 John, 2 John and 3 John. Jude wrote Jude.
All the Letters, Pauline and General, are instructional in nature - how to live as a Christian.
The book of Revelation, while in letter form addressed to 7 churches, is considered a Prophetical Book.
5 Historical Books
1 Prophetical Book
[To read more about the organization of the New Testament books see my post The Books of the New Testament dated December 13, 2015.]
As I said, when I ask the students to memorize the books of the Bible few actually do it. But when they do, and they recite them in front of the class, they get to choose a prize. And I have some good prizes! Most are books - like Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place (affiliate link*) or the classic devotional by Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (affiliate link*.)
I had a couple taking my class and the husband practiced memorizing the books of the Bible at the dinner table. His 3 girls would open their Bibles to the index and quiz him. I thought this was incredible! The girls were learning too and witnessing their father putting his time into things that matter. He was setting an example for them. They were learning as a family. Proverbs 22:6 comes to mind: Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. Smile.
There are lots of songs to help you memorize the books of the New Testament. Google it. People sometimes learn easier through songs. Here are three.
Tune isn't too catchy on this one.
Kind of a goofy song. Tune isn't that catchy, but it repeats the order a few times.
People seem to have trouble remembering the order of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. Many years ago a Christian friend taught me to remember "Go Eat Popcorn Candy" to remember their order. I put this on social media one day. Someone replied he likes "Gentiles Eat Pork Chops" better. Ha ha. That one makes me laugh!
Spend some time memorizing the order of the New Testament Books.
It will be worthwhile.
CHALLENGE: DO IT!
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