Let’s talk numbers in the Bible. Not the Book of Numbers, which is the fourth book of the Old Testament. Nor am I thinking of biblical numerology, though it’s fascinating to study the significance of numbers like three and seven and twelve and forty in Scripture. Any of those subjects would be meaningful; but the purpose of this article is numerical. So let’s crunch the numbers.


How many sections to the Bible?

  • Two: The Old and the New Testaments. The Old Testament was written over a period of about a thousand years. The New Testament was written over a period of about fifty years.


How many books make up the Bible?

  • Sixty-six. Thirty-nine in the Old Testament and 27 in the New.


How many chapters in the Bible?

  • That’s easy: 1,189.


How many verses in the Bible?

  • It varies from one translation to another, but the most standard count from the King James Version is 31,102.


What’s the middle verse in the Bible?

  • The two middle verses are Psalm 103:1-2: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”


Is Psalm 103 the middle chapter of the Bible?

  • The middle chapter is Psalm 117, which also happens to be the shortest chapter in the Bible. There are 594 chapters before Psalm 117, and 594 chapters after. 


            What is the shortest verse in the Bible?

  • In the original Greek, it’s 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (“Rejoice always”). In the King James Version, the shortest verse is the emotional opposite—John 11:35 (“Jesus wept”). There’s an interesting parallel here. Because Jesus wept, we can rejoice!


Here’s some more number crunching related to the Bible. The longest book in the Bible

is Psalms, and the shortest is 2 John. The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119, and the word “God” occurs in the King James Version 4,094 times.


That’s Scripture by the numbers. It’s exactly the right length with no wasted words, no unnecessary information, given in logical segments, designed for a lifetime of study, and filled with truth on every page.

Almighty God in His wisdom has given this world a Book containing everything we need to know about life and eternity. In a masterpiece of succinctness, the Bible is large enough to contain His mind, yet small enough to hold within our hands. It takes just a moment to read a verse, yet our study of Scripture is a lifetime pursuit.

In the Bible we have the mind of God revealed, the state of man disclosed, the problems of life described, and the mysteries of eternity explained.

The essence of all essential wisdom is between its covers. Without the Bible we’re lost; it’s our map. Without it we’re confused; it’s our guide. Without it we’re doomed; it’s our lifeline. It makes us wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), and its exceedingly great and precious promises enable us to be “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). It’s milk to the thirsty and meat to the hungry (Hebrews 5:12-14). It’s an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:18-19), and our daily bread for strength and nourishment (Matthew 4:4).

Yet sadly, many Christians don’t read the Bible on a regular basis or study it with seriousness. A recent study of churchgoers showed that only nineteen percent of respondents said they read or studied the Bible every day. Only 36 percent said they opened the Bible once a week or a few times a month.[1]

I would like you to consider making a resolution to read through the Bible in a year. It can be accomplished by reading fifteen minutes a day. But let me end with one caution. It’s possible to tackle a project like this and read several chapters each day only to discover that our mind is a hundred miles away. Learn to read the Bible systematically, but also prayerfully, thoughtfully, and personally. A daily visit in God’s Word will add to your blessings, subtract from your troubles, multiply your joy, and keep you from a divided mind. It will be the best resolution you have ever made.

[1] “Study: Most Churchgoers Do Not Read Bible on Daily Basis,” Michael Grybosky, The Christian Post, September 7, 2012.http://www.christianpost.com/news/study-most-churchgoers-do-not-read-bible-on-daily-basis-81277/, accessed September 21, 2012.