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The Bible:all-time bestselling book

Updated on June 22, 2016

The Bible : best or worst -selling book

How many Bibles have been sold? It is impossible to obtain exact figures. But the numbers / figures from various sources are surprising.

Certainly the Bible is not the worst best-selling book. In fact, it is the bestselling and most popular Book of all time.

A survey by the Bible Society concluded that around 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975. According to Guinness World Records, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with over 5 billion copies sold and distributed.It is estimated that100 million+ new Bibles are sold every year.

There is no doubt that a few comedians mock the Bible and some university professors scorn the Book. There is increasing trend of anti-God and anti-Christian and anti-Bible across the globe.

Don’t be influenced by the world and read the Bible yourself. There are more reasons to believe that the Bible, more than any other book ever written, is the only God-breathed written Word of God.

Yes, the Bible is voluminous containing 66 books and not easy to understand. However, if you read the Bible with an open and honest mind, asking God for guidance, you will discover that the Bible is a ‘living’ Book.

Perhaps one of the reasons why the Bible is so hated and attacked is that it does cut deeply through the many layers and facades of human beings and shines into the human heart, exposing us for who we really are.

The Bible is one of the few books that Abraham Lincoln had read it, and that have influencing effects on the life and thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi.

In this age of knowledge and information, would you like to be different? Different for good! ... For God? Start reading the Bible today.

Holy Bible
Holy Bible

Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid

— Martin Luther

The Bible: Books, Chapters and Verses

  • Holy Bible: 66 books / 1,189 chapters/ 31,102 verses

  • 3 John– 1 chapter or 299 words

  • Shortest Chapter: Psalm 117– 2 verses

  • Shortest Verse: John 11:35– 2 words, “Jesus wept.”

  • Psalms–150 Chapters or 43,743 words

  • Longest Chapter: Psalm 119– 176 verses

  • Longest Verse: Esther 8:9– 90 words.

  • Longest Word: Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:3)

N.B. The Bible didn’t have Chapters until Cardinal Huge de S. Caro added them in 1238. Robertus Stephanus added verse divisions in 1551

What is Bible

Christians recognize the Bible as the authoritative basis of their faith and practice. The Bible is the most widely read and influential book in the history of humankind.

The word Bible is derived from ‘bibilia’ meaning books. In fact, the Bible (of Protestants) comprises of sixty-six books containing 1189 chapters and 31101 verses.

God has not given any other message to men. The Bible is the only written communication or revelation that God has given to us.

The Bible opening verse is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” (Genesis 1:1) and it ends with the word “Amen” (Revelation 22:21).


  • Written by approximately 40 Authors

  • Written over a period of 1,600 years

  • Written over 40 generations

  • Written in three languages: Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic

  • Written on three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa

  • Written in different locations: wilderness, dungeon, palace, prison, in exile, at home

  • Written by men from all occupations: kings, peasants, doctors, fishermen, tax collectors, scholars, etc.

  • Written in different times: war, peace, poverty, prosperity, freedom and slavery

  • Written in different moods: heights of joy to the depths of despair

  • Written in harmonious agreement on a widely diverse range of subjects and doctrines

  • There are 8,674 different Hebrew words in the Bible, 5,624 different Greek words and 12,143 different English words in the King James Version.

The Bible is God’s Written Word

The 66 Books of the Bible were written by about 40 authors under God’s inspiration over a period of about 1600 years.

The Bible is referred as ‘the word of God’ and ‘Scripture’ as seen in the following passages. The word of God implies that the truths revealed in it do not have their origin with men. The Scripture literally means what is written. The Bible does not contain the entire knowledge or purpose of God in all aspects. It is highly selective and intended primarily for the human beings.

2 Timothy 3:16, 17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Hebrews 4:12

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

2 Peter 1:20, 21

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Bible- its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true and its decisions are immutable. The Bible contains the light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you.

The Bible is the travel’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christians charter.

Bible: Timeline

300 BC-300 AD: Bibles only in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek

100 AD-400 AD: Latin translations spread through the Roman Empire.

Pope Damasus asks St. Jerome to complete a definitive version.

In 405 AD the Latin Vulgate is completed.

360 AD: Ulfilas, a missionary to the Goths writes down the language of the Goths (only oral before this point) and translates large sections of the Bible.

Original Manuscripts

700 AD-1300 AD: The Roman Empire falls and Latin is lost to all but the learned. The Latin Vulgate is largely held as a privilege of the educated (mostly priests) and they are thought to be the only ones worthy of interpreting the text.

Late 1300’s AD: John Wycliffe and helpers produce full English versions of the Bible, slightly democratizing the text.

1516-1537 AD: In a 1516 Latin translation Erasumus notes in the preface his wish that the Bible be in every language so that even Scots and Irishmen can read it.

The Reformation gathers steam as Martin Luther completes a German translation of the New Testament in 1522.

William Tyndale translates the New Testament into English in 1526. Tyndale is burnt at the stake as a heretic in 1536.

1604-1611 AD: 47 scholars edit the King James Bible, meant to provide an authorized English copy of the Bible. The KJB takes heavily from Tyndale.

1800-1900’s AD: During the 1800’s, the Bible is translated into 400 new languages, the 1900’s offer a much greater number of translations.

A Brief History of the Bible

The first hand-written English language manuscripts of the Bible were made by Wycliffe, an Oxford theologian in 1380's AD.

The first book to be printed in Gutenburg’s invented printing press was the Bible. It was, however, in Latin rather than English.

William Tyndale was the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language.

Myles Coverdale produced the first complete printed translation of the Bible in English. The Bible was printed on October 4, 1535, and is known as the Coverdale Bible.

King James Bible (1611)

Also called Authorized Version, the King James Bible was published on the order of King James of England.

It came to be seen as a work of surpassing beauty and grandeur. Its significance goes beyond its religious use. A good number of expressions from this version have entered the common language.

Its literary influence is unmatched and can be felt in English even today.

One of the most widely translated works in history has been given a 21st-century update with the publication of the Emoji Bible.

The new Bible translation “Bible Emoji: Scripture 4 Millenials” has been released for sale online and it’s comprised of 3,000 pages of emoji and text retelling all 66 books of the Bible. It is based on a Twitter feed that has been posting emojified Bible verses for almost a year.

Top 10 longest & shortest books in the Bible

10 Longest Books in the Bible

  1. Psalm - 150 chapters, 2,461 verses, 43,743 words
  2. Jeremiah - 52 chapters, 1,364 verses, 42,659 words
  3. Ezekiel - 48 chapters, 1,273 verses, 39,407 words
  4. Genesis - 50 chapters, 1,533 verses, 38,267 words
  5. Isaiah - 66 chapters, 1,292 verses, 37,044 words
  6. Numbers - 36 chapters, 1,288 verses, 32,902 words
  7. Exodus - 40 chapters, 1,213 verses, 32.602 words
  8. Deuteronomy - 34 chapters, 959 verses, 28,461 words
  9. 2 Chronicles - 36 chapters, 822 verses, 26,074 words
  10. Luke - 24 chapters, 1,151 verses, 25,944 words

10 Shortest Books in the Bible

  1. 3 John - 1 chapter, 14 verses, 299 words
  2. 2 John - 1 chapter, 13 verses, 303 words
  3. Philemon - 1 chapter, 25 verses, 445 words
  4. Jude - 1 chapter, 25 verses, 613 words
  5. Obadiah - 1 chapter, 21 verses, 670 words
  6. Titus - 3 chapters, 46 verses, 921 words
  7. 2 Thessalonians - 3 chapters, 47 verses, 1,042 words
  8. Haggai - 2 chapters, 38 d, 1,131 words
  9. Nahum - 3 chapters, 47 verses, 1,285 words
  10. Jonah - 4 chapters, 48 verses, 1,321 words.

Books of the Bible

The bible is divided into two major sections. The first section, the Old Testament, comprises of 29 books. Originally it was written in Hebrew and Aramaic.

The Old Testament reveals the various important aspects of God’s character and it particularly emphasizes God’s faithfulness to keep the covenants and promises He makes.

The second section, the New Testament, contains 27 books, which were originally written in Greek.

The New Testament records the fulfillment of promise made in the Old Testament in the person of Jesus Christ. The word Christ derived from Greek word Christos is the same as Hebrew word Messiah meaning the anointed one (the one God had promised in the Old Testament).

Old Testament

Number of books: 39

Chapters: 929

Verses: 23,114

Words: 602,585

Letters: 2,278,100

Middle book: Proverbs

Middle chapter: Job 20

Middle verses: 2 Chronicles 20:17,18

Smallest book: Obadiah

Shortest verse: 1 Chronicles 1:25

Longest verse: Esther 8:9 (78 words)

Longest chapter: Psalms 119

New Testament

Number of books: 27

Chapters: 260

Verses: 7,957

Words: 180,552

Letters: 838,380

Middle book: 2 Thessalonians

Middle chapters: Romans 8, 9

Middle verse: Acts 27:17

Smallest book: 3 John

Shortest verse: John 11:35

Longest verse: Revelation 20:4 (68 words)

Longest chapter: Luke 1

The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner.

Is the Bible really good for you?

See results

How to start reading the Bible?

Reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) will familiarize you with Christ’s life and ministry

The Epistles (Romans, Ephesians, and Philippians etc) teach us how to live our lives in a way that is honouring to God.

Start reading the Old Testament with the book of Genesis. It tells us how God created the world and how mankind fell into sin, as well as the impact that fall had on the world.

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are about all the laws God required the Jews to live by (may be difficult and boring)

Read Joshua through Chronicles to get a good history of Israel.

Reading Psalms through Song of Solomon will give you a good feel for Hebrew poetry and wisdom.

The prophetic books, Isaiah through Malachi, can be hard to understand as well.

Sometimes the BIBLE is referred to as “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. "Jesus Christ is the grand subject of the Bible. Love the Bible and read it with enthusiasm every day.

Read the Bible to be wise; belief the Bible to be saved and practice the Bible to be holy.

If you are by chance not familiar with the Bible, each 66 books of the Bible is divided into chapter(s) and each chapter is further divided into verses. This reference is written as book of the Bible Chapter: range of verses; e.g. Genesis 1:1 means the Book of Genesis Chapter One Verse One.

Today there are various versions of the Bible. The popular versions are King James Version (KJV), Revised Standard Version (RSV) and New International Version (NIV).

The Bible is its own best teacher. The Bible however is not arranged like an encyclopaedia. It is not written strictly in chronological order.

You do not have to read straight through every word of Scripture at the first time. Start with the basics. After you feel comfortable at this level, then you can go on to the entire Bible.

Pray first before opening God's word. Ask for guidance and to be able to accept what is written and to be able to apply His will to your life.

Start reading the Bible with any of the four gospels, preferably the Gospel of John. The four Gospels focus on the centrality of Jesus Christ which the entire Bible actually points toward since He is the sole means of redemption and salvation.

  • John” (It contains a lot of the life of Jesus. It emphasizes the love of God as found in Jesus Christ and if you read the first chapter and first few verses of John, you will discover that it starts God’s plan for man even before the creation in Genesis One)

  • "Mark" (It is written in chronological order.)

  • "Matthew” (It goes into better detail of some events and adds more about Jesus.)

  • "Luke” (it emphasizes the historicity and Jewish lineage of Jesus Christ) then "Acts” (Both written by Apostle Paul's travelling companion Luke. Acts is a continuation of Luke. It describes the early church history.)

The key to understanding the Bible is Christ. Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5). God is the author of the Bible, and He wants you to understand His Word.

Are you saved by faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)?

Are you hungering for God’s Word (1 Peter 2:2)?

Are you diligently searching God’s Word (Acts 17:11)?


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