Have you ever wondered why some books in the Bible seem to go on forever? What makes them so long?
The Bible has over 6600 pages. Some of these books include the Gospel According to Matthew (Matthew), The Gospel According to Luke (Luke), and the Gospel According to John (John).
These three gospels are considered to be the main sources of the Christian faith.
Some of the longest books in the Bible are the Gospels. They contain the stories of Jesus’ life and teachings. Each gospel is divided into chapters and verses.
The length of each chapter varies from book to book. For example, the Gospel of Matthew contains 28 chapters, while the Gospel According to John contains 21 chapters.
A lot of people believe that Psalms is the longest book in the bible because it has the most verses. This is a pretty reasonable conclusion to draw, but it turns out it’s actually not the case.
Jeremiah is actually the longest book in the bible because it contains the highest amount of individual linguistic units.
This might not make sense to you at first but stick around to find out exactly why we should compare the length of each book this way.
Why Is Jeremiah The Longest Book In The Bible?
To answer this question properly, we need to take a look at some linguistic research done by David J. Reiner, a senior lecturer of Hebrew and Old Testament.
Understanding The Research
He conducted a study of how the bible was written, in the original language of Hebrew, to find out exactly how long each book was when it was originally written.
To understand his findings, we need to understand two linguistic concepts: graphic units and morphological units.
Graphic units are simply individual words as written in Hebrew. Bear in mind that there might be more or fewer graphic units in one sentence in English as there will be in the same sentence in Hebrew.
Morphological units separate prefixed elements from words but do not consider pronominal suffixes. For example, the word ‘overestimate’ has two morphological units: ‘over’ and ‘estimate’.
Let’s look at Genesis 1:1 as an example of these units:
‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’
In English, this sentence has 10 graphic units and morphological units 10 morphological units.
However, in Hebrew, these figures are 7 and 11, respectively.
All the data collected in this study was then converted to ‘bytes’, which tells us the actual, true length of each book in the bible.
Without getting too technical about all the data that David J. Reiner found in his study, here are the top 10 books in terms of actual length in Hebrew:
- Jeremiah – 241,209 bytes
- Genesis – 226,894 bytes
- Psalms – 238,562 bytes
- Ezekiel – 214,416 bytes
- Isiah – 191,777 bytes
- Exodus – 184,372 bytes
- Numbers – 182,945 bytes
- Deuteronomy – 159,872 bytes
- 2nd Chronicles – 154,125 bytes
- 1st Samuel – 147,392 bytes
The results of this study are pretty remarkable, aren’t they?
Psalms has at least 1000 more verses in it than any other book in the bible, yet it’s actually only the third-longest in its original Hebrew!
It’s also pretty interesting that all the top 10 longest books in the bible are from the Old Testament. In fact, four out of five of the books of the Torah also feature, as well as all three of the major prophets.
What Is The Shortest Book In The Bible?
Now that you know all about the longest book in the bible and why it is so, you’re probably also wondering about the shortest book.
Using a similar study, we can tell exactly how many words there are in every book of the bible (in the original Hebrew language) and find out the shortest 10:
- 3rd John – 219 words
- 2nd John – 245 words
- Philemon – 335 words
- Obadiah – 440 words
- Jude – 461 words
- Titus – 659 words
- 2nd Thessalonians – 823 words
- Nahum – 855 words
- Haggai – 926 words
- Habakkuk – 1011 words
Considering the post you’re reading is only about 1000 words long, you should have no problems with getting through several of these books in one sitting.
In fact, one of the best ways to understand the books of the bible is to read them like this; all in one go.
What Can We Learn From The Longest Book In The Bible?
As we now know, the actual longest book in the bible is Jeremiah. With so many words crammed into one book of the bible, you’d expect there to be plenty of pearls of wisdom, and you’d be right!
Here are some of the most important lessons that can be learned from studying the longest book in the Bible:
1. Don’t Take Life For Granted
If you think about it, the first chapter of Jeremiah is really quite short. It starts off by saying “the word of the Lord came” and goes on to give a list of dates and events in Israelite history.
But what makes this chapter so special is the message it gives us.
This book is full of messages about God’s love for His people, but this isn’t just a generic message. Instead, it’s a message about how God loves His children even when they do things wrong.
This is an incredibly powerful lesson because it teaches us not to take our lives for granted. If we don’t appreciate God’s blessings in our own lives then how can we expect others to value ours?
2. Be Grateful
Another great thing about the first chapter of Jeremiah is that it teaches us to be thankful. This is something we often forget to do, especially if we live in a world where everything seems to be going wrong.
However, this doesn’t mean we need to make ourselves miserable all the time. Instead, it means being thankful for what we already have.
For example, let’s say you wake up tomorrow morning and your car breaks down. You might feel upset or angry about this, but instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the good.
Maybe you’ll get a lift home from a friend, or maybe you’ll be able to walk to work. Either way, you’ll still have access to your car and will be able to drive around town without any hassle.
So instead of feeling sorry for yourself, try thinking about all the positives in your situation. After all, who knows what else could happen tomorrow?
3. Keep Your Eyes Open
The last point I want to mention is that this book encourages us to keep our eyes open.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase before, “keep your eyes peeled”. What this means is that if you see something happening, you need to act quickly.
It also means that if you notice someone doing something bad, you shouldn’t ignore them. Instead, you should speak out against their behavior.
You may not always succeed, but at least you tried. And if you did manage to stop someone from doing something wrong, you’ll probably feel pretty proud of yourself.
In conclusion, the longest book in the bible isn’t the one that most people think it is. While Psalms does contain the most verses, in terms of individual linguistics units, Jeremiah comes out as the lengthiest.
The book of Jeremiah also contains three very important lessons that we can learn from reading it.
Firstly, it reminds us not to take life for granted. Secondly, it teaches us to be grateful for the things we already have. Finally, it encourages us to keep our eyes open.
Have fun reading these books and learning more about the word of God!