When I was a child, I learned the books of the Bible in the Christian school I attended. I don’t really remember how we learned them except that we reviewed them over and over and over and over . . . . Learning the books of the Bible is an important skill for anyone who will be doing Bible study. You have to know where to look if you want to find things in the Bible, just like in any other book.
When my daughter was three or four years old, my husband and I decided it was about time to start teaching her the books of the Bible. She was in Cubbies in AWANA, but I didn’t know that she would have to learn the books of the Bible in Sparks and T&Ts. She had received The Word and Song Bible for Christmas and listened to the stories and songs every night. (To let you know how long ago this was, she had the cassette tape version.) This Bible has a song and/or story for each book of the Bible, which was wonderful for reinforcing what we were teaching during the day.
We taught the books of the Bible in natural groupings: Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Gospels, History, Paul’s Epistles, General Epistles, Revelation (note: this is not the only possible grouping). I made index cards with the name of the book in marker in large letters with the grouping name written in small letters in the upper right hand corner (in the same color). On the opposite side, I wrote the name(s) of the stories and/or songs from the Word and Song Bible that corresponded to that book. When she got into Sparks, I discovered that there was a page in her AWANA book that could be cut up into books of the Bible cards for review, very similar to what I had done (but smaller and without the really fun colors).
Between AWANA and work at home, my daughter learned the books of the Bible pretty easily. My son hasn’t had quite as simple a time. He doesn’t learn by rote as quickly as my daughter and I do (and he has dyslexia), so he has had to put more effort into this task. Nonetheless, I threw all the books of the Bible cards onto the dining room floor today and he was able to put them in order. He said all the books in order with only two mistakes.
Hints for teaching your child the books of the Bible:
- Start early, but not too early. Once a child is reading independently, they should start learning the books of the Bible. If they can’t yet read, it’s probably an exercise in frustration.
- Learn the books in groups – it’s easier to try to learn groups of five or six books instead of a whole lump of 27 books.
- Practice, practice, practice – there’s not much rhyme or reason to the books of the Bible, so practice is essential to get them “stuck” in the child’s brain.
- Start with the New Testament – there are fewer books to learn in the New Testament, and their names are less exotic, so it tends to go a little faster for most kids.
- Put it in context – when you read a Bible story, try to “set” it in the Bible for your kids. Help them understand that the story of Moses is in in Exodus, the story of David is in the History books, etc.
- Play games – one of the best games with the cards is to throw out the cards that the child has learned so far and have him or her put them in order as quickly as possible. My son loves to do this one.
So, what other great ideas do you have to help kids learn the books of the Bible?
*homepage image courtesy Beth of Pages of Our Life
Catherine is a homeschooling mom of a 13 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. Her children were homeschooled by their father while Catherine worked as a Family Physician until three years ago. Since that time, Catherine has been the homeschooling parent since she is no longer able to work due to illness while her husband is developing a business doing math tutoring. Her hobbies include blogging, reading, knitting, and trying to stay (somewhat) sane. Please visit her blog at Domestic Adventure.