New Testament Mnemonic

I was surprised to discover in my googling today that there does not appear to be an easy and common mnemonic device for remembering the 27 books of the New Testament. (When you finish reciting your list, by the way, you can remember that the number of books should add up to 27, because that’s 3-cubed — and three is of course the key number to us Trinitarians.)

So how’s this?

My Mother Loves Jesus, And

Romans Can Carry Groceries Easily.

Please Carry 5 T-shirts.

Please Help James once, Peter twice, and John three times.

Jesus Rocks!

I suppose a mnemonic either works for you or it doesn’t, but here’s my apologia for this one. You ought to be able to remember “My mother loves Jesus,” especially given the subject matter, so you’re off to a good start. I think the transition to “And Romans can carry groceries easily” works: Again, given the subject matter, remembering “Romans” shouldn’t be a stretch (you could change “groceries” to “Greeks” or “Galileans,” I suppose, but I think the image of carrying groceries is more natural but just weird enough to be memorable, too). Note that the word “carry” takes us to the next line, just as the word “please” takes us to the line after that. And finishing with “Jesus rocks!” is, I must say, a stroke of genius.

Now, you do have to remember the names James, Peter, and John, but I rather like the way the number associated with each is worked in, and you can substitute in something else for J-P-J if it works better for you. (I’d suggest “John Paul Jones,” except the “John” and the “Paul” might lead to confusion, and I’m always surprised by what’s no longer taught in American history.)

I admit that the weakest line is “Please Carry 5 T-shirts,” since it requires you to remember that the 5 T’s are I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy, and Titus. Well, no one said that becoming a Bible scholar would be easy. I will give you one last tip: Those particular T-books appear in alphabetical order.