The Bible is God’s message to people. It is also a long continued story – of how God created the world, chose a special group of people, blessed (and punished) his special people, promised to send a Savior, sent Jesus into the world, and directed Jesus’ friends to go everywhere telling about him. Most importantly, the Bible tells how every person can have a personal relationship with God.
The Bible consists of 66 books, which were written by many different people under God’s leadership. These books are divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament, with five divisions in each. Understanding what is contained in each division helps us see the progression of events in the Bible.
- Old Testament – Events occurring before Jesus came into the world
- Law – God chose Abraham’s family as his special people. After they became slaves in Egypt, God sent Moses to lead them out and to give them his laws.
- History – God’s people entered the land he had promised them. After they repeatedly disobeyed God, he allowed them to be taken to another country as slaves.
- Poetry – These books contain songs and wise sayings written during the times recorded in the books of history.
- Major Prophets – These men spoke God’s messages to the people during the reigns of the kings, the captivity, and the return home.
- Minor Prophets – These men also spoke God’s messages to the people. These books are shorter than the books of the major prophets.
- New Testament – Events occurring during and after Jesus’ life
- Gospels – Each of the four gospels tells how Jesus lived, died on the cross for our sins, came back to life, and went back to heaven.
- History – The book of Acts tells what Jesus’ friends did after he went back to heaven.
- Paul’s Letters – Paul wrote several letters to individuals and churches, teaching more about God.
- General Letters – Several other people also wrote letters teaching about God.
- Prophecy – The book of Revelation tells about heaven and future events.
Is it a good idea to memorize the names of the books of the Bible? This should be part of a larger learning experience – learning about the people, stories, and important verses in each book, along with which division the book is in and how it fits into the overall story told by the Bible.
Grade school is a good time to start learning about the structure of the Bible. In any Bible class the teacher can talk about where today’s story is located in the Bible and whether today’s Bible character lived before or after other Bible people that have been studied.
Bible Bingo introduces younger grade school students to the structure and divisions of the Bible, emphasizing the Old and New Testaments, the first and last books of the Bible, and the four gospels, which tell the story of Jesus.
When the Bible Book Cards collection is complete, it will include a card for every book of the Bible. The card will show how the book fits into the overall structure of the Bible, what the book is about (people, stories, and ideas), and the reference of a well-known verse in the book. The cards can be used to practice putting the books in order or to play “trivia” games about the books of the Bible.
In a future post I will talk about how to set up a Bible bookshelf as a physical and visual representation of the divisions and books of the Bible.
In the meantime, I would love to see some comments on my blog. How have you used Bible Bingo or the Bible Book Cards? What other ways have you helped people learn about the books of the Bible?