Did you know this about the Bible

General facts in numbers

  • The Bible was written by around forty different people from different backgrounds, from kings, prophets, and writers to fishermen, shepherds, and prisoners.
  • The Bible was written during a period of 1,600 years. That's about forty generations.
  • The first division into chapters was made in 1238.
  • The first division into verses was made in 1448 (Tanakh) and 1551 (NT). The first full Bible divided into chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible, printed in 1560.
  • The Bible was the first book ever printed in 1456.
  • The Bible is the most sold and most translated book in the world . . . and the most shoplifted.
  • The Bible, or parts of it, is available in 2,508 different languages (UBS figures of December 31, 2009).
  • Every minute about fifty Bibles are sold.
  • The smallest printed Bible in the world is 4 cm long, 3 cm wide and 2 cm thick. It has 878 pages and was printed in England. It must be read with a magnifying glass. It weighs 20 grams.
  • The smallest Bible ever can only be read with a microscope and was reduced by PCMI-technology which can shrink it to a scale of 1:48000. This means that an entire Bible in English, some 1,245 pages, was fit on a page that is 3 x 3.5 cm. The physical space the zeroes and ones of a full Bible in digital format takes up can fit on a human hair.
  • The largest Bible in the world is 547 kilos and is 2.5 meters thick. It was created by a carpenter in Los Angeles who decided to cut out the entire Bible in wood. He worked on it for two years.
  • The oldest preserved Bible is Codex Vaticanus, written before the year 350 AD. It is preserved in the Vatican Museum in Rome.
  • The oldest preserved fragment of a Bible text is 2,600 years old. You can read more about it here.
  • Orthodox and Catholic Christians include a number of additional books in their Old Testament (commonly referred to as the Apocrypha or Deutrocanon) and some additional material in books accepted by Protestants (Daniel and Esther).

Bible statistics 
(Unless otherwise stated, "Tanakh," refers to the Old Testament, and "Bible" refers to the sixty-six books of the Jewish-Protestant canon.)

  • The Bible has 1,189 chapters (1,334 including the Deutrocanon). If you read four chapters a day, you will finish within 298 (or 334) days.
  • It takes around eighty hours to read the entire Hebrew Bible.
  • The longest book in the Bible is Psalms.
  • The shortest book in the Tanakh is Obadiah with only twenty-one verses.
  • The shortest book in the Bible is John 3 with 13 verses.
  • The longest book in the New Testament is Luke. Matthew and Acts have more chapters than Luke, but Luke has the longest text.
  • The Tanakh has 929 chapters and the New Testament has 260. The Catholic Old Testament, including the DC, has a total of 1,074 chapters.
  • The book of Joel is divided into three chapters in the Latin Vulgate and the KJV, but four chapters in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Septuagint.
  • The book of Malachi is divided into four chapters in the Latin Vulgate and the KJV but three chapters in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Septuagint.
  • The shortest and the longest chapters in the Bible are both in Psalms, Psalm 117 and 119.
  • The longest verse in the Bible is Esther 8:9. The shortest is John 11:35.
  • The longest parashah in the Torah is parashat Naso; it has 176 verses, the same as the number of verses in Psalm 119. It goes from Numbers 4:21 - 7:89. This parashah includes the priestly blessing in Numbers 6:22-27, which also appears on the oldest preserved fragment of a biblical text. This parashah is always read in the synagogues on the Shabbat that is closest to the feast of Shavuot (Pentecost).
  • The New Testament has twenty-seven books. The Tanakh has twenty-four books according to the Jewish tradition, and thirty-nine according to the Protestant Christian. The difference is only in the division of books; the amount of actual text is the same. The Catholic and Orthodox Old Testament has additional books.
  • The total number of verses in the Bible is around 31.000. The exact number differs depending on translation, sources, etc.

Facts about the people and time of the Bible

  • The oldest man in the Bible is Methuselah, who lived to be 969 years old.
  • The wisest man in the Bible is Shlomo (Salomon). The strongest is Shimshon (Samson).
  • The most successful warrior in the Bible is Gideon. With an army of three hundred men armed with pots and torches, he defeated the Midianite army of 135,000 men.
  • The third chapter in the Bible describes how the snake made sin enter the world. The third chapter from the end in the Bible describes how the snake is defeated, and how sin is removed from the world.
  • The tabernacle was covered with "tachash" skin. No one knows what that animal was. Some scholars have guessed zebras or okapis, but most think it was a sea animal like a porpoise or a manatee.
  • A warrior chariot of the time of the Bible was worth around $77,000 USD in today's money.

 

Scientific facts in the Bible

Although the Bible is not primarily a book of science, it does contain numerous scientific facts. We laugh at the scientific knowledge of just a hundred years ago. If man alone were the author of the Bible, we would expect to find it to contain many such humorous errors. However, if we examine the scientific data of the Bible and find it to be accurate to present-day knowledge, then we have powerful evidence for divine authorship.

  • In Job 26:7 we can read that the earth "hangs upon nothing."
  • The father of modern oceanography, Matthew Maury (1806-1873), searched for "the paths of the sea," inspired by Psalm 8:8. He discovered the warm and cold continental currents.
  • The Bible states that the stars cannot be counted: For centuries, scientists and astronomers thought they could count the precise number of stars in the universe. Brahe, for example, said there were 777. Kepler claimed the total was 1,005. Hipparchus said there were 1,022 stars. Ptolemy raised the number to 1,056. Eventually, scientists, including the great Galileo, concluded that the stars could not be numbered, just as the Bible had always claimed.

 

Quotes about the Bible

  • "Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand." --Mark Twain
  • "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." --George Washington
  • "I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man." --Abraham Lincoln
  • "The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity." --Immanuel Kant
  • "There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history." -- Sir Isaac Newton
  • "The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it." --Napoleon
  • "Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face." ---Ronald Reagan
  • "The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious, and national identity was formed. Here they achieved independence and created a culture of national and universal significance. Here they wrote and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books." ---The opening of Israel's declaration of independence

Nine types of prayer in the Bible

  • Confession (Psalms 51; Luke 18:10-24)
  • Praise (1 Chronicles 29:10-13; Luke 1:46-55)
  • Thanksgiving (Psalms 105:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  • Petition (Genesis 24:12-14; Acts 1:24-26)
  • Intercession (Exodus 32:11-13; Philippians 1:9-11)
  • Commitment (1 Kings 8:56-61; Acts 4:24-30)
  • Forgiveness (Daniel 9:4-19; Acts 7:60)
  • Confidence (Psalms 23; Luke 2:29-32)
  • Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26; Jude 24)

The reliability of the New Testament

When examining the reliability of ancient texts, one usually examines: 1) How many ancient manuscripts do we have? 2) When were they originally written? 3) What is the date of the earliest manuscript we have of it and what is the time span from the writing? Below are those figures for the New Testament, compared with a few other ancient works, whose reliability is never questioned:

Document

# of Manuscripts

Date written

Date of earliest copy or portion

Time span(years)

Caesar's Gaulic Wars

10

58 - 50 BC

900 AD

950

History of Herodotus

8

480 - 425 BC

900 AD

1300

Roman History of Livy

20

59 BC - 17 AD

after 300 AD

350

New Testament

5250+

48 - 100 AD

125 & 250 AD

35 & 160

History of Tacitus

2

100 AD

800 AD

700

History of Thucydides

8

460 - 400 BC

900 AD

1300

Source:  F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents