Episode 6: Bible Myths and Factoids


Shownotes below are unrefined, unedited and unattributed. I’ll eventually fix that.

Today we’re talking about the Bible itself – the longest verses, books, chapters, etc. Chapters and verses are NOT found in the original autographs, or writings of the Books of the Bible. These books were written like letters and books, and did not have chapter divisions or verses, or even punctuation like modern books. 

Prior to the 800s, the Bible was divided up in various ways, but it wasn’t until the 800s that some kind  of chapter divisions that were similar to modern chapters came into view. Chapter divisions, with titles, the 9th century Tours manuscript the so-called Bible of Rorigo.

Archbishop Stephen Langton and Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro developed different schemas for systematic division of the Bible in the early 13th century. It is the system of Archbishop Langton on which the modern chapter divisions are based

The first person to divide New Testament chapters into verses was Italian Dominican biblical scholar Santi Pagnini (1470–1541), but his system was never widely adopted. His verse divisions in the New Testament were far longer than those known today. Robert Estienne created an alternate numbering in his 1551 edition of the Greek New Testament which was also used in his 1553 publication of the Bible in French. Estienne’s system of division was widely adopted, and it is this system which is found in almost all modern Bibles. Estienne produced a 1555 Vulgate that is the first Bible to include the verse numbers integrated into the text. Before this work, they were printed in the margin

What is the shortest verse in the New Testament? Did  Most would say, Jesus Wept, but in the ORIGINAL Language of the Bible, that’s not the shortest verse. It is, in many English translations. 

, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) is the shortest verse in English. In English it is 9 letters long. But in Greek it is 16 letters long (Ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς). 

There is a shorter verse in the original Greek: That is 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “rejoice always,” which is only 14 letters in Greek (Πάντοτε χαίρετε).

But even that passage isn’t the shortest verse in the original…the absolute shorters  is Luke 20:30 “and the second,” which in Greek has only 12 letters (καὶ ὁ δεύτερος). This ridiculously short verse is found in the section where Jesus is being verbally challenged by the Sadducees (Luke 20:29-32): “Now there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and died childless; 30and the second 31and the third married her; and in the same way all seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally the woman died also.”

The shortest verse in the Greek New Testament is Luke 20:30 (“και ο δευτερος”, “And the second”) with twelve letters, according to the Westcott and Hort text. In the Textus Receptus, the shortest verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:16(“παντοτε χαιρετε”, “Rejoice always”) with fourteen letters,

So “Jesus wept” comes in third. “And the second” comes in first.

Esther 8:9 is the longest verse 78 Words. in the Masoretic Text. The discovery of several manuscripts at Qumran (in the Dead Sea Scrolls) has reopened what is considered the most original text of 1 Samuel 11; if one believes that those manuscripts better preserve the text, several verses in 1 Samuel 11 surpass Esther 8:9 in length.

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” 

 -Psalm 118:8

The King James Version has an even number of verses (31,102), with the two middle verses being Psalm 103:1–2

My soul, praise Yahweh, and all that is within me, praise His holy name.

2 My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits.

Here are the five shortest books of the Bible, beginning with the very shortest. These measurements are by words in the original languages. Each of these books is only one chapter long, and would take you a few minutes to read, tops:

  1. Third John (219 words)
  2. Second John (245 words)
  3. Philemon (335 words)
  4. Obadiah (440 words)
  5. Jude (461 words)

Bible Statistics:

Chapters: 1,189 

Commands: 6,468 

Fulfilled prophecy: 3,268 verses 

Letters: 3,566,480 

Words: 783,137

Longest book: Psalms (150 chapters) 

Longest chapter: Psalm 119 (176 verses) 

Longest name: Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:1) 

Middle books: Micah and Nahum 

Middle chapter: Psalm 117 

Number of books in the Bible: 66 

Number of different authors: 40 

Number of languages the Bible has been translated into: over 1,200 

Number of promises given in the Bible: 1,260 

Number of questions: 3,294 

Number of times the word “God” appears: 3,358 

Number of times the word “Lord” appears: 7,736

Shortest chapter (by number of words): Psalm 117 

Longest chapter: Psalm 119. 

Verses: 31,101 

So, we’ve had a little Bible Trivia today, but, make no mistake: THE BIBLE IS NOT TRIVIAL. 

Hebrews 4: 12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

Revelation 19: 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness.12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on His head. He had a name written that no one knows except Himself. 13 He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is the Word of God.


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