Learning the books of the Bible can be fun! The peg idea is out there on pinterest and various sites so I thought I would have a go and make my own. I have added some colours to make it easier to work out where the books belong and what type of books they all are. I’ve given a very brief snapshot of each book. It helps children to know a few things about the names – are they names of people or places or descriptions. We often assume that they will automatically know but why should someone realise that Obadiah was a person rather than a place!
Genesis – all about beginnings
Exodus – all about leaving – who, when and where
Leviticus – laws
Numbers – God’s people in the wilderness
Deuteronomy – The law for a second time
These five books are grouped together under the heading – law
Then the history books are grouped together – Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Esther, Nehemiah and Ezra.
Joshua – taking possession of the Promised Land
Judges – Israel’s faithlessness; God’s faithfulness in sending judges to rescue them
Ruth – a story about ordinary people during the time of the Judges (people who are in the family tree of David and Jesus)
1 and 2 Samuel – Israel gets a monarchy
1 and 2 kings – the good kings and bad kings of Israel
1 and 2 Chronicles – a history book written for those who had experienced the exile. the future of God’s people is secure in the dynasty of David.
Ezra – God works to fulfil his purposes. Ezra was a scribe. The exiles return from captivity and rebuild the temple. Ezra teaches the people about God.
Nehemiah – the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.
Esther – God’s people are rescued. God is at work even when his presence isn’t obvious of acknowledged. The Purim festival celebrates this true story.
Then we have the poetry books –
Job – the righteous do suffer even when they are living in a way to please God. Part of Wisdom literature.
Psalms – songs written by various authors and different times.
Proverbs – wise sayings. Part of wisdom literature. A general principle of how to live in a God-ordered world is followed throughout the book. If you live like this – then this will happen and things will go well. (Job is a contrast to this as he suffered even when doing good)
Ecclesiastes – wisdom literature. Compares life without God and life knowing God.
Song of Solomon – a song/poem about love
After the poetry which includes the Wisdom literature we arrive at the Major Prophets
Isaiah – a prophet for more that 40 years (kings at the time were – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah)
Jeremiah – a prophet and a priest. He prophesied the exile of the Southern Kingdom of Judah and lived to see it. A very sad prophet living at a very sad time for God’s people. (Kings at the time – Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiakin and Zedekiah.
Lamentations – a coming to terms with the loss of Judah. Loss and also hope.
Ezekiel – warnings to God’s people, exile and hope for the future
Daniel – a book of two parts. Stories about Daniel in Babylon followed by visions of the future.
Then the twelve Minor Prophets.
Hosea – prophecy and warnings to the northern kingdom (Israel)
Joel – prophecy often written as poetry
Amos – prophet during reign of Jeroboam 2 (Israel) and Uzziah (Judah). Prophecy mainly against the northern kingdom (Israel). Poetic style.
Obadiah – a prophecy against Edom. (Descendants of Esau)
Jonah – short story about Jonah and God’s sovereignty and mercy
Micah – prophet during reign of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezikiah. Mainly aimed at Judah where the gap between the rich and poor was growing.
Nahum – about the fall of Ninevah (a follow up to Jonah’s story)
Habakkuk – the prophet’s struggles and prayers
Zephaniah – prophet during Josiah’s reign in the southern kingdom of Judah
Haggai – call to repent and rebuild the temple given to the people who had returned from exile.
Zechariah – very similar message to Haggai. They were prophets at the same time.
Malachi – telling God’s people that the story isn’t over yet; there is more to come…someone is coming ‘I will send you Elijah the prophet..’ Malachi 4:5
Then we wait for the New Testament. (That’s another post!)
To make the pegs you need wooden pegs! ball point pen (felt tip will just soak in and not look clear), some stickers or permanent markers to colour code (doesn’t matter that a blob of colour soaks in) Attach the pegs to a wire coat hanger. (You’ll need more than one). I had two types of colour coding – a colour for OT and one for NT at one end of the peg and then different colours for the types of books at the other end of each peg. I make a key too.
To use – play a few games with re ordering the pegs. the idea is for children to get an idea of where things are in the bible. It’s meant to be fun. You could mix up a few of the pegs and get the children to put them back in the right order. play find me a book beginning with (choose a letter). Find me a book about (poems, history or law) The colours will make it easy. If you want to make it more challenging then don’t colour code.