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How Long Is The Bible? A Comprehensive Overview

The Bible is one of the most influential books in human history, but have you ever wondered exactly how long this sacred text is? If you’re looking for a quick answer, the total word count of the Bible is around 783,137 words.

However, to fully understand the length and depth of Scripture, we need to explore further.

In this comprehensive article, we will analyze the length of the Bible from multiple angles. First, we’ll look at the word count of the entire Bible as well as the word count of individual books. Next, we’ll compare the length of the Bible to other famous works of literature.

We’ll also examine the number of chapters and verses. Finally, we’ll suggest different reading plans to help digest this meaty book over time.

Total Word Count of the Bible

Old Testament Word Count

The Old Testament contains roughly 593,493 words across 39 books written originally in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek between approximately 1400 BC and 400 BC. This collection of scripture narrates God’s creation of the universe and his relationship with the Israelites up until a few hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Here is an approximate breakdown of the word count across the different sections of the Old Testament:

  • The Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy): 187,044 words
  • The Historical Books (Joshua to Esther): 206,185 words
  • Poetic and Wisdom Books (Job to Song of Songs): 104,618 words
  • The Major Prophets (Isaiah to Daniel): 133,062 words
  • The Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malachi): 67,582 words

As you can see, the Pentateuch and the Historical Books contain the most content in terms of word count. The Pentateuch lays the foundations with stories like the creation, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, and the Exodus.

The Historical Books cover the tumultuous history of the Israelites entering the Promised Land, establishing a kingdom, exile, and return from exile. The Poetic and Wisdom writings contain psalms, proverbs, and poetic books like Job that wrestle with suffering and the human condition.

The Prophetic Books call Israel back to faithfulness and point to a coming Messiah.

New Testament Word Count

The New Testament contains roughly 181,253 words across 27 books written originally in Greek between approximately 45 AD and 150 AD. This collection of scripture covers the life of Jesus Christ, the beginnings of the early Christian church, and prophecies about the end times.

Here is an approximate breakdown of the word count across the different sections of the New Testament:

  • The Gospels (Matthew to John): 64,127 words
  • History Book (Acts): 18,451 words
  • Paul’s Letters (Romans to Philemon): 32,278 words
  • General Epistles (Hebrews to Jude): 19,482 words
  • Prophecy (Revelation): 13,635 words

As expected, the four Gospels contain the largest portion of the New Testament, documenting Jesus’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The book of Acts describes the early church’s growth, while Paul’s letters provide theological foundations and practical advice for Christian living.

The General Epistles offer encouragement and instructions for believers, and Revelation gives an apocalyptic vision of future events.

Entire Bible Word Count Comparison

When you combine both Testaments together, the total word count for the entire Bible is around 774,746 words. This makes the Bible a fairly long book, though not nearly the longest single book in existence. For comparison, here are estimated word counts for some other famous lengthy books:

Book Word count
Bible 774,746
Harry Potter Series 1,084,170
Lord of the Rings Trilogy 479,859
War and Peace 587,287
Encyclopedia Britannica 44 million

As you can see, the Bible contains significantly more words than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but far fewer words than the Harry Potter series or Encyclopedia Britannica. Given its age and near-universal availability, the Bible’s length is quite remarkable!

Word Count by Bible Book

Longest Book (Psalms)

The Book of Psalms is the longest book in the Bible with a total of 150 chapters consisting of 43,743 words. Psalms has the most chapters of any Old Testament book. The authorship is mainly credited to King David, though multiple authors contributed over time.

Psalms covers various poetic genres including prayers, praise, instruction, and lament. Given its length and diverse content, Psalms offers deep wisdom and comfort for many aspects of human emotion and life.

Shortest Book (3 John)

The shortest book in the Bible is 3 John, with only 1 chapter comprised of 219 words. 3 John is one of the three epistles or letters attributed to the apostle John along with 1 John and 2 John. The brief Book of 3 John was written to Gaius, whom the letter commends for his hospitality and commitment to truth.

John warns against Diotrephes who loves preeminence and refuses to welcome other believers. Despite being the shortest, 3 John offers meaningful instruction on walking in truth and shunning prideful motives.

Most Words Spoken by Jesus (Gospel of John)

The Gospel of John contains the largest number of direct words quoted from Jesus Christ Himself. While the exact count varies by Bible translation, most estimates put Christ’s words in the book of John around 8,500.

The context revolves around Christ’s public ministry and discourses on His deity as the divine Son of God. Key quotes include Jesus stating “I am the bread of life” (6:35), “I am the light of the world” (8:12), and “I and the Father are one” (10:30).

No other Gospel quotes Jesus’ teachings to the same extent. Given the book’s concentration on Christ’s divine claims, the elevated word count underscores the uniqueness and authority of His message.

Bible Length Compared to Other Famous Books

Word Count Comparison

With over 783,000 words, the Bible is an exceptionally long book compared to most other popular classic literature. Here’s how its word count stacks up against some other famous titles:

  • The Bible – over 783,000 words
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – 76,944 words
  • The Lord of the Rings – 455,125 words
  • Les Miserables – 530,982 words
  • War and Peace – 587,287 words

As you can see, the Bible far exceeds even voluminous titles like War and Peace in terms of sheer word count. The length of the Bible reflects the numerous stories, teachings, prophecies, and historical accounts contained within its pages.

Page Count Comparison

When printed, the Bible also dwarfs other classic books in page count:

Book Page Count
The Bible 1,182 (King James Version)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 309
Les Miserables 1,463
War and Peace 1,296

The King James Version of the Bible contains 1,182 pages, far more than even lengthy classics like War and Peace and Les Miserables. The sheer page count reflects just how much material is covered within the biblical text.

Overall, the exceptional length of the Bible highlights its status as one of the most expansive books ever written.

Number of Chapters and Verses in the Bible


The Bible contains 1,189 chapters in total. This includes 929 chapters in the Old Testament and 260 chapters in the New Testament. The Old Testament has 39 books while the New Testament contains 27 books.


There are a total of 31,102 verses in the entire Bible. The Old Testament contains 23,145 verses while the New Testament has 7,957 verses. On average, there are around 26 verses per chapter.

Longest Chapter (Psalm 119)

The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119, which contains a whopping 176 verses. This extensive chapter elaborates on the wonder of God’s laws and commandments, with each set of 8 verses beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Shortest Chapter (Psalm 117)

Conversely, the shortest chapter is Psalm 117, spanning just 2 concise verses. This brief song of praise calls all nations to acknowledge and worship God for his merciful love towards us.

Here is a comparison of the longest and shortest chapters in the Bible:

Chapter Number of Verses
Psalm 119 (Longest) 176
Psalm 117 (Shortest) 2

Bible Reading Plans

1 Year Bible Reading Plans

Popular annual plans include The Discipleship Journal Plan which has readers go through the Bible chronologically. The Crossway Chronological Plan is another good option that orders events biblically. Both help readers understand the overarching narrative of Scripture as it unfolded in history.Bible Gateway and the YouVersion Bible App offer some great one year reading plans to choose from.

2 Year Bible Reading Plans

For those desiring a more manageable reading pace, two year Bible reading plans allow more time to comprehend and reflect on passages. These plans break up readings into smaller daily portions to cover the entire Bible over 730 days.

The TGC Two-Year Bible Reading Plan is a great option that gives commentary and direction to supplement daily readings.

The Bible App also has many 2 year plans that focus on certain themes like leadership, grace, or guidance. Taking two years to get through the Scriptures allows for deeper meditation and application.

5 Year Bible Reading Plans

For an even more gradual approach, five year Bible reading plans split sections into small, daily bites to work through the entire Book over about 1825 days. These extended timeline plans only require 12-15 minutes of reading a day on average.

The 5-Year Chronological Bible Reading Plan from BiblePlan.org lays out Scripture in the order events occurred. This allows readers to follow the Biblical narrative without any confusing back and forth.

The Navigators 5-Year Plan also provides accompanying devotionals for each day’s passage to provoke reflection. With only about 15 minutes a day, these 5 year plans are great for creating consistent Bible reading habits over an extended timeline.


As we have seen, the Bible is an epic tome spanning 783,137 words. Yet its message of salvation and hope is accessible, life-changing, and available to all who open its pages.

We broke down the length analyzing total word count, individual books, comparisons to other works of literature, number of chapters and verses, and reading plans to digest it over time. Now that you understand the scope of Scripture, our encouragement is to pick up this Book of books and begin exploring its pages for yourself today!

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