Friday, January 30, 2009

Bible Ballad: Memorizing the Books of the Bible

Would you like to have your family memorize all the books of the Bible in order? Would you also like to include an idea of the contents of each book?

Look no further!

I think the rhythm and rhyme of this verse by Mary Daly simplify the task immensely. We've been working on it for the last couple of months. The oldest children have nearly the whole thing memorized now.

I've made some minor changes (improvements, I hope); click on the post title for the original.

Bible Ballad
by Mary O. Daly, modified

Old Testament

Part I: Historical Books
Genesis -- when we began;
Exodus is when we ran;
Leviticus is priestly lore.
Numbers tells the sons we bore;
With Deuteronomy, we close
The tale of Moses, whom God chose.
(The Pentateuch is these books' name;
The Jewish Torah is the same.)

Then Joshua said, "I serve the Lord.
Through all my house, he is adored."
(And Jericho fell by the shout of his men
For the praise of God was strong in them.)
Soon the Judges led in war, in peace,
Deborah among them, and Gideon with fleece.
And a loyal heart with Naomi trod,
Ruth came to Judah, and to her God.

Two books of Samuel the prophet we hold
In two books the stories of Kings are told
Two more Chronicle the housing of the ark
In Solomon's temple, with seraphic spark!
There Ezra the priest, copier of books,
became a great author the way it looks!
And Nehemiah spoke at length,
"The joy of the Lord is my strength."

Though trouble for Jews is ever the tale,
Still God sends heroes that never fail.
So Tobit was healed by the angel's craft,
And Judith took sword on her people's behalf.
And Esther with beauty and wits and prayer
Protected her people from Haman's lair
And finally (twice) the Maccabees sons
Gave limb and life for the chosen ones.

Part II: Holy Wisdom
But to worship God as He is revealed
Takes holiness more than sword and shield.
So Job is the teacher for those in sorrow,
The Psalms give praise; the Proverbs borrow
from Solomon. And Ecclesiastes writes
There's time for everything, days and nights,
And birth and death, and mourn and dance,
And build and break, and plans and chance.

There's time for love in the Song of Songs.
Then, lest we forget the rights and wrongs,
We seek deep Wisdom in Solomon's prayer
We go to her house and breathe her air.
Last, but not least (did the Jews forget?)
Ecclesiasticus* ends the set
Of the books of widsom the Bible gave
While the prophets taught how God will save.

Part III: Prophetic Words
Isaiah has words of comfort;
Jeremiah speaks of grief;
His Lamentations move the heart;
Baruch is wise though brief.
Ezechiel gives warning
and knits to life dry bones
Daniel sees Judgement,
the wrath and the thrones.
Hosea speaks of love
and promise of return;
Joel foretells the Spirit
to pour into hearts that yearn.
Amos speaks of famine
not of bread but the Word;
Obadiah warns Edom
of heaven's wrath incurred.
Babylon's prophet is Jonah
(he rode in the fish -- but how?).
Micah speaks of an end to war
when sword shall turn to plow.

"The Lord," says Nahum
"will break the yoke,"
And Habakkuk waits
for the vision's stroke.
And Zephaniah teaches us
that God will rest within
While Haggai preaches
a final end to sin.
Zechariah warns the shepherd,
"Stay beside my flock!"
Malachi, the final prophet,
speaks of the marriage lock
And teaches that in the latter days
we'll see a new Elijah
To reconcile men with sons
before the great Messiah.

These 46 books tell the ancient story
Of our faithful God and all his glory.

Part IV: The New Testament
Countless ages come and go
The plan of God seems very slow
But in the Father's perfect way,
Jesus was born and slept in the hay.
Then he grew to be healer, teacher, and friend
Til he died for love, but it wasn't the end,
For he rose in glory and sent one gift --
the Spirit of Truth -- the Gospel Lift.

So Matthew wrote for the Jews in Rome
And Mark was brief for those at home
Luke wrote for gentiles, healing and kind
While John grew old with tales to wind.
The Acts of believers next are told,
'Specially of Paul, who, brave and bold
Traveled the sea lanes, end to end
and wrote his letters to many a friend.

To the Romans he wrote that all works for good
And twice to Corinthinans how love's understood.
Then: 'You Galatians are crazy! Faith is the way!'
To Ephesians: 'Praise God, and live in the Day.'
'From my heart,' dear Philippians, 'endless thanksgiving,'
-- plus a word about Jesus and humble living.
Then to Colossians, on faith, angels, friends,
Twice to Thessalonians, preparing for ends.
Two for Timothy, though he was young
One each for Titus and Philemon.

Paul's letters amaze us, from chains or free
Yet others wrote of the mystery:
One to the Hebrews on sacrifice,
the priesthood of Jesus, and its price.
"Be doers of the word," says James in his letter,
"Follow God and His Church," exhort two from Peter.
Three letters from John speak of God and his love,
While Jude confirms authority from above.

You who read this Revelation knowing my word is true,
Guard your hearts through tribulation; I will come for you.

* Note: Ecclesiasticus is also known as the book of Sirach

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