First of all, I commend you for learning the books of the New Testament. That is one of the best and most important ways of getting at ease with your Bible and getting from place to place. There are 27 books in the New Testament and they can be memorized by almost anyone. However, I realize that those of us who have not done a lot of memorizing in a long time may find the job daunting. Let me see if I can give some recommendations.
- When you read the books that have a number in front of them, read them as first and second and so on. For instance, the last few books of the New Testament would be read with these exact words: "First and Second Peter, First, Second and Third John, Jude, and Revelation." Most people find it easier to say and remember them this way.
- Some people find it easier to put lists like this to music. There is a common song made up for the books of the New Testament, but I cannot give it in a letter. Sometimes, people just make up their own music. It does not have to be a good song, just something you can remember.
- Divide and conquer. That is, break the 27 books up into several smaller groups. Memorize each group very well and then start putting them together. Here is a suggestion on grouping, but feel free to use what work best for you.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and Romans
First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians
First and Second Thessalonians, First and Second Timothy, Titus, and Philemon
Hebrews, James, First and Second Peter, First, Second and Third John, Jude, and Revelation
- Now, overlearn the list. Overlearning refers to the practice of continuing to go over the list again and again even after you think you know it. This will make you so familiar with the list that it will be second nature to you. It will also stick it deeper in your memory so that you will not soon forget it.
- Finally, make it fun. Allow youself to enjoy the challenge.
If you have a chalk board or erasable board, put all of the books up in order. Read through the list and erase one of the books every time you finish. When you start missing some of them, write all of the books in again and start all over erasing them one after each reading. Before you know it, they will begin to be easy for you to remember.
A lot of it is just taking the time to go over the list again and again. Set aside some time to do it. It will be well worth your effort. You might even find someone to work with and the two of you can memorize them together. Different people work better with different approaches. Keep trying until you find the one that works for you. And don't forget to ask the Lord to help you. He will be pleased with your efforts. Besides, when you get the New Testament down, you may want to tackle the Old Testament books. But not yet. One step at a time.