As I study the Bible, I’m constantly amazed. With so many books, writers, and locations, I’m in awe of how God weaves it all together to make a tapestry of His love for mankind. The Bible involves so many imperfect people and yet through it all God demonstrates His perfection and holiness.
Today, I’m going to take a break from inside the Bible in order to look at the book as a whole.
1. The Old Testament is a collection of 39 book. These books were written between 1450 BC and 400 BC. Job is usually considered the oldest of all the books.
2. The Old Testament tells of God’s relationship with the family of Abraham, his son, Isaac, and Isaac’s son, Jacob. The ancestry of these three men become the Jewish people or the Israelites.
3. The Old Testament is broken down into five categories:
- The Pentateuch or Torah — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Most scholars believe that the Pentateuch was written by Moses.
- History — Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. We don’t know the author for any of these books except Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra wrote Ezra and Nehemiah wrote Nehemiah.
- Poetry — Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. We don’t know the author for Job. The Psalms were written mostly by David but it does include a few other authors. Proverbs was mostly but not all Solomon. Solomon also wrote Ecclesiastes and (probably) Song of Solomon.
- The Major Prophets — Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. All these books were written by the person whose name became the title.
- The Minor Prophets — Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Again, all written by the person whose name is in the title.
4. Song of Solomon can also be called Song of Song. Song of Songs is the Hebrew name for the book. There is some disagreement about whether or not Solomon actually wrote the book.
5. The New Testament is a collection of 27 books, all of which were written in the 1st century.
6. The New Testament tells about Jesus, his death and resurrection, the foundation of the early Church, and it gives a much more practical guide for living. It’s addressed to all who have faith.
7. The New Testament is broken down into four categories:
- The Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Written by the person whose name is the title.
- Acts — Written by Luke
- Letters or Epistles — This breaks down into 2 sub-categories
- Letters or Epistles by Paul — Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon. The group of people receiving the letter is found in the title. Example: Romans was written for the Christians in Rome.
- Letters or Epistles written by Others — Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John. The writer of each is found in the title with the exception of Hebrews. We don’t know who wrote Hebrews.
- Prophecy or Revelation — Revelation. Written by John the apostle.
8. Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible.
9. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.
10. Psalm 118 is the middle chapter of the Bible. There are 594 chapters before and 594 chapters after. Further, If you add up all the chapters except Psalm 118, you get a total of 1188 chapters. Note: This is based on modern translations and compilations.
11. Psalm 118: 8 is the middle verse of the Bible. “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”
12. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew but there was also some Aramaic.
13. The New Testament was written in Greek.
14. The book of Psalms is the longest book based upon chapters.
15. Jeremiah is the longest book based upon word count in the original language. Jeremiah has 33,002 words. The next closest is Genesis with 32,046 words.
16. The shortest book depends on the version of the Bible that you read. In the NIV, 2 John is the shortest but in the KJV 3 John has fewer words. In the original language, 3 John is the shortest with 219 words.
17. The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11: 35. “Jesus wept.“
18. The longest verse is Esther 8:9. “The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language.“
19. The longest name in the Bible is found in Isaiah 8:1. Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
20. The Bible as we know it today was compiled in 325 AD during a meeting of church leaders from all over the world called the Council of Nicea.