The Holy Bible is one of the most popular and most well-known books in the world. Whether one has made a habit of reading it every day or whether it is a book that just sits on the shelf, still it has a place in a majority of homes – or once did. Here are some number-related things you may or may not already know about the Bible.
1. The Bible is the most widely distributed book of all time. In Guinness World Records, it holds the record for most books sold, with over five billion. Over 100 million copies are sold each year.
2. According to the International Bible Society, the Gideons, and Wycliffe International, there are over 168,000 Bibles given or sold every day in the United States.
3. As of the end of 2017, the Bible has been translated – at least partially – into over 3,324 languages.
4. The original text of the Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
5. The entire Bible as a whole has, by the end of 2017, been translated into over 674 languages.
6. The original books of the Bible were penned by over 40 men. These men were from all walks of life and from a large range of prosperity levels.
7. The writing of the Bible took about 1600 years. The earliest book was written around 1500 BC, and the latest was written around 100 AD.
8. The Bible consists of either 66 or 80 books, depending on whether your Bible includes the 14 books known as the Apocrypha. The reason these were dropped from the list of Old Testament books is due to having been originally written in Greek, rather than Hebrew or Aramaic.
9. There is one verse in the Bible that contains only nine letters, in two words. This is John 11:35, which says, “Jesus wept.”
10. The longest word in the Bible is twice as long as that verse, at 18 letters, and is a name. Maher-shalal-hash-baz is found in Isaiah 8:1.
11. There are 176 verses in the longest chapter of the Bible, which is Psalm 119.
12. Esther 8:9 is the longest verse in the Bible, containing 90 words.
13. There is a book in the Old Testament called Numbers, because it contains information about the census that God commanded Joshua to take of the Israelite people.
14. One chapter has only 2 verses in it – Psalm 117.
15. While the phrase “three wise men” is common, the Bible does not actually say how many magi actually visited the young Christ. It only says that the group brought three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh).
16. While there is only one Jesus Christ, He had at least six siblings. His four brothers are named in the New Testament, along with reference to His “sisters,” which indicates at least two.
17. Women feature often in the Bible. There are 188 women specifically named in the text.
18. The center chapter in the King James Version of the Bible is Psalm 117; there are 1189 chapters total.
19. By chapters, the longest book is Psalms, with 150 chapters. However, by words, Jeremiah is the longest with 33,002 words. However, if books were combined as they once were, the Torah (the first five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) would definitely be the longest, as it is about one-fifth of the entire Bible.
20. The shortest book is 3 John, which contains only 219 words.
21. A person who reads 200 words per minute (the average for adults), reading the Bible for just half an hour, five times a week will result in reading through the entire Bible twice in a year.
22. 969 years are attributed to Methusaleh’s life, which is the longest ever lived in the history of the world.
23. King Solomon, known as the wisest man ever, was the man with the most women in his home. He surrounded himself with 700 wives, and 300 concubines (today they would likely be called “mistresses”), for a total of 1,000 women! The intention was to create alliances with surrounding countries, kingdoms, and nations by marrying into their families.
24. All of the population in the world today are descended from 8 people: Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives. This is because they were the only survivors of the great flood.
25. 40 is a number that occurs often in the Bible. During the flood, it rained forty days and forty nights. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land. Moses, Elijah, and Jesus each fasted 40 days. The Israelites spent 40 years captured by the Philistines. Ninevah had 40 days to repent to prevent their destruction. It was 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension into Heaven.
26. Another number that appears often in the Bible is seven. Creation spanned seven days (including the day of rest). He told Noah to take clean animals on the ark by sevens. Jacob served his uncle seven years for his beloved wife, only to be given Leah – the wrong woman; he then served another seven years for Rachel. The Feast of Unleavened Bread required seven days. The Israelites were not allowed to gather manna on the seventh day (indeed, it was to be a day of rest). Every seventh year, the land was supposed to lay fallow. Many of the sacrifices included sprinkling the blood seven times. Isolation for cleanliness was usually seven days. The fiftieth year (the year after seven sevens) was set apart as the year of Jubilee, which had specific rules for observation.
27. One of the more important numbers that occurs often in the Bible is the number three. Beside the fact of a single God with three parts, also to be found are items or people, including Noah’s three sons, Job’s three daughters, the Ark of the Covenant’s three objects, Satan’s three temptations of Christ, Paul’s three prayers to remove the “thorn in the flesh,” and more.
Many measurements contain threes, such as the three-day journey the Israelites wanted to go into the wilderness from Egypt, three days after leaving Mount Sinai before the Israelites began to complain, three days’ warning before they arrived at the Jordan River, three days the men of Timnah could not figure out the riddle Samson had presented, three days and three nights that Jesus was to be in the grave before His resurrection.
Three months show up in the story of Moses, whose mother hid him that long; in the story of Obed-Edom, who had the Ark of the Covenant for that time period; in the story of Jesus’ birth, when His mother visited His aunt Elizabeth for three months; in Acts when Paul was in Ephesus and then in Greece for three months, as well as after his shipwreck when he was on Malta for another three months.
Three years is also a regular occurrence. It is the time period when Israel was to leave fruit trees’ fruit alone, being allowed to partake after that. It is how long the harvest of the sixth year was expected to last, since the seventh year was supposed to be a time to rest the land. It is how long Absalom hid after killing his brother.
Numbers can be fascinating things to study, and those that appear in the Bible are no exception! Some people have found other patterns that appear throughout the Bible and followed them to learn new concepts. Every time the Bible is read, new things come to light.