Memorize the Books of the Bible
On this page, you’ll find a list of visual mnemonics for all 73 books of the Bible.
All these mnemonics are visual. They’re pictures you can see in your imagination.
And they’re mnemonics, because they’re easy to remember, and they’ll remind you of the names of the books. You might not be able to imagine “Haggai” very easily, but you can imagine an old hag.
Scroll past the list for a longer explanation.
|Genesis||Apple with bite|
|Deuteronomy||Huge dew drop on top of on switch|
|Ruth||Ruth or root|
|1&2 Samuel||Two Sams|
|1&2 Kings||Two crowns|
|1&2 Chronicles||Two old chroniclers, writing in a big book|
|Ezra||A PEZ dispenser|
|Tobit||A big toe that has bit|
|Esther||A frightened queen Esther [holding big ‘E’]|
|Job||Computer monitor, for someone’s job|
|Psalm||Lyre (a harp-like instrument for singing)|
|Proverbs||Chunk of pave-ment|
|Ecclesiastes||Mexican napping in a siesta [with ‘E’ on hat]|
|Canticles||A cantor singing (Canticle of Canticles, Song of Songs)|
|Wisdom||An old, white beard.|
|Sirach||Sir Ack — a knight hack-ing & coughing (Ecclesiasticus)|
|Lamentations||A handkerchief, soggy from tears|
|Baruch||A big bar|
|Ezekiel||Dry bones dancing (Ezekiel’s vision of bones coming to life)|
|Daniel||Lion (Daniel in the lion’s den)|
|Amos||Mouse holding paws to make an A|
|Obadiah||Bed shaped like an O|
|Habakkuk||Prophet Habakkuk carried by hair|
|Zephaniah||Z-fan (E.g. big Z or Zebra stuck in fan)|
|Zechariah||Z-car (E.g, Zebra driving zebra-striped car.)|
|Malachi||Mail-man (Malachi also means “messenger of God”)|
|1&2 Maccabees||Two giant bees|
I group the New Testament books differently. I don’t need help remembering the Gospels or Acts, and Apocalypse (or Revelation) at the end is pretty easy too.
What mixes me up are the Epistles. But you can break them into three equal groups! The first 10 are by St. Paul, and the last 5 aren’t. (Assuming Hebrews isn’t his). On a side note, the Pauline letters are ordered from longest to shortest. Philemon is tiny.
Note that I’m combining “1 and 2” sets into a single mnemonic. For example, 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians are two apple cores.
|Matthew, Mark, Luke, John||Newspaper (Gospel means “good news”)|
|1&2 Corinthians||Two apple cores|
|Ephesians||Elephant (has E, ph, an)|
|Philippians||Phillip or Phillip’s head screwdriver|
|1&2 Thessalonians||Two saloon doors|
|1&2 Timothy||Two Timothys|
|Titus||Tie-dye shirt, in T shape|
|Hebrews||Jew (Hebrew) in traditional garb|
|1&2 Peter||Two keys|
|1&2&3 John||Three Johns in triangle|
|Jude||St. Jude’s image of a face, or a dude|
Kinds of mnemonics used in this list
As you noticed, this list includes different kinds of mnemonics.
A name of someone you know
Many Bible books have names which are still common today, like Joshua, Judith, and Timothy. Do you know someone who has this name, either in real life, or even a movie character or a celebrity? You can imagine that person as a mnemonic. Usually, you’ll just imagine the face.
|Isaiah||Isaiah/Isaac (Isaac is different, but it’s more common now, and sounds similar.)|
|1&2 Samuel||Two Sams (With two Sams, we combine both books into one mnemonic.)|
A symbol of something that happens in the book
Sometimes, you can imagine one thing that happens in the book. Or you can imagine something that reminds you of the book’s meaning.
|Genesis||Apple with bite|
|Numbers||Calculator (There’s no calculator in Numbers, but it reminds you of “numbers.”)|
A reminder of the sound of the book’s name (a bad pun)
Sometimes, all you can do is pick a mnemonic that sounds a little like the book’s name. The sound of the mnemonic will remind you of the word. I’ve put these sounds in italics.
Of course, if any mnemonic doesn’t work for you, just make up your own.
Is this the only way to remember all these books?
Not at all. You could use a poem, or try putting each chunk of 5 names on a flashcard. But if you like visual mnemonics, these might help.
How am I supposed to keep track of 73 different mnemonics?
You’ll probably want to store the Old Testament books using the “loci method.”
For the New Testament books, I only need the three groups of epistles. So in each group, I use the first book as the base for the rest, and I don’t really need to bother with loci places.
For instance, for the first group, I imagine a Roman with the other four book mnemonics attached to him, from top to bottom. He’s hold two apple cores (1 & 2 Corinthians), he has a galaxy (Galatians) around his waist, he’s riding an elephant (Ephesians), and the elephant has a Phillips’ head screwdriver (Phillippians) in its trunk.
You can do the same sort of thing with the other two groups.