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Keeping Old Testament straight in our heads

The Books of the Old Testament are sometimes hard to keep straight. Sure, some of us might be able to list them in order, but we might not remember what to find where.

Here’s a down and dirty little primer to help you remember what you can find in each of the 39 books found in the our Hebrew scriptures:

•Genesis: Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.

•Exodus: We gotta get out of this place.

•Leviticus: I fought the law and the law won.

•Numbers: I have looked over and seen the Promised Land.

•Deuteronomy: More wise words from Moses.

•Joshua: He fought the battle of Jericho. The walls. They came a tumblin’ down.

•Judges: Rated R for violence and gore.

•Ruth: David’s grandma knows how to catch a man.

•1 Samuel and 2 Samuel: Saul and David and the prophets who loved and loathed them.

•1 Kings and 2 Kings: From the death of David to the busting out of Babylon.

•1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles: Just like Samuel and Kings, but different.

•Ezra: How Ezra put the Jews back in Jerusalem.

•Nehemiah: Let the wall come up. Let the wall come up.

•Esther: Incognito Jewish queen saves her people from evil scheme.

•Job: Had it all. Lost it all. Got it back. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

•Psalms: Sing. Sing a Song. Sing of good things and bad. Sing of happy and sad.

•Proverbs: Be good and do what’s right. It’s the only way you’ll be happy.

•Ecclesiastes: To everything turn, turn, turn.

•Song of Songs: Rated PG-13 for adult situations and explicit lyrics.

•First Isaiah: Rodgers to Handel’s Hammerstein.

•Second Isaiah: Take comfort in God’s strength.

•Third Isaiah: Hang on! Help is on the way!

•Jeremiah: It’s my prophecy and I’ll cry if I want to.

•Daniel: Read the writing on the wall: It’s cool in the furnace and cozy in the lion’s den when you keep your eyes on God.

•Ezekiel: Dem bones gonna rise again.

•Jonah: Three days in the belly of whale doesn’t always put a man’s heart in the right place.

•Zechariah: (sing along with Eddie Money) We’ve got eight visions of paradise

Build that temple, we’ll start tonight

•Micah: All you had to do was try to do good, be nice and not get the big head, and you couldn’t even do that.

•Hosea: Your cheating heart will tell on you.

•Joel: Those plagues really sucked, but hold on for the blessings to come.

•Amos: If you party and prosper at the expense of the suffering of others, God is going to be ticked.

•Jonah: A whale of a tail.

*Habbakuk: You can keep the faith, even when you don’t understand.

•Zephaniah: Return to the simple life, or it’s gonna get bad up in here.

•Haggai: What to say about Haggai? He was around for the building of the second temple.

•Zechariah: A reminder of the past and advice for the future.

•Malachi: Shape up, people! Before Jesus gets here.

The Rev. Anne Russ is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of North Little Rock. E-mail her at

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