Light for Israel: Hebrew Scriptures for the Jewish World
August 16, 2015

Bible Facts

(Terms: “Tanakh,” refers to the Old Testament, and “Bible” refers to the sixty-six books of the complete Jewish-Protestant canon.)

  • 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)
  • 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.