Misc,  Scripture

What is the Longest Book of the Bible?

There are 1,189 chapters in the English bible, and 31,103 verses. But which book of the Bible is the longest? The answer surprises most people! Hint: It is not Psalms! At least depending on how you are counting.

I am at least partially motivated to write this blog post on the issue of the longest book of the Bible because it makes such a great youth group trivia question! But, it also helps puts things in perspective for what you can expect when reading through the Bible.

podium commemorating the longest book of the Bible

There are a variety of ways to calculate the longest book of the Bible. You can count chapters, verses, or words. You could also technically make a differentiation between Greek or Hebrew, and the common English translations that we use. Of course, it should be noted that we are not combining any books of the Bible. So, although 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, or 1 & 2 Chronicles were originally composed as one book (respectively), and would thus be the longest in the Bible, since we typically view them as separate books, they will be counted as separate.

In order to be as thorough as possible, I will list three categories: Longest Book by Chapter, Longest Book by Verse, Longest Book by Hebrew/Greek Word Count.

Longest Book of the Bible by Chapter

Others of course have compiled lists which contain the chapters and verses for all the books of the Bible. In the interest of brevity, I am only making reference to the top 10 longest books of the Bible by chapter (you are welcome to double-check my work through counting).

  1. Psalms (150)
  2. Isaiah (66)
  3. Jeremiah (52)
  4. Genesis (50)
  5. Ezekiel (48)
  6. Job (42)
  7. Exodus (40)
  8. Numbers (36)
  9. 2 Chronicles (36)
  10. Deuteronomy (34)

Of course, technically Psalms is not composed of chapters but of individual psalms. So, perhaps Isaiah might win on a technicality. But most people would count Psalms as the longest book of the Bible by chapter count.

Additionally, Matthew and Acts both hold the honor of being the longest book of the New Testament by chapter, each being composed of 28 chapters.

Longest Book of the Bible by Verse

Chapters only tell part of the story. We get a little better picture when we look at the verse count for each book. Again, the book of Psalms heads the list, but now Genesis has moved up in the rankings!

  1. Psalms (2461)
  2. Genesis (1533)
  3. Jeremiah (1364)
  4. Isaiah (1292)
  5. Numbers (1288)
  6. Ezekiel (1273)
  7. Exodus (1213)
  8. Luke (1151)
  9. Matthew (1071)
  10. Job (1070)

Matthew and Luke were able to crack the list by verse count, making into a list dominated by the Old Testament books.

Longest Book of the Bible by Word Count

Of course we understand that chapters and verses are not inspired, nor were they part of the original text of Scripture. Thus, the best standard for determining the longest book of the bible is through word count. Because Hebrew combines multiple lemmas to form words, it is a little different. For example, the phrase “your house” is two words in English, but in Hebrew it is technically one word. But, since the component parts are marked in Logos, we will distinguish by lemma. Thus, here is the list of longest books of the Bible by word count, using the Logos concordance feature.

  1. Jeremiah (33,008)
  2. Genesis (32,053)
  3. Psalms (30,150)
  4. Ezekiel (29,919)
  5. Exodus (25,958)
  6. Isaiah (25,616)
  7. Numbers (25,048)
  8. Deuteronomy (23,009)
  9. 2 Chronicles (21,349)
  10. 1 Samuel (20,839)

On the Greek side of things, Luke (19,446) and Acts (18,412) head the list of longest books in the New Testament by word count.

Based on the above information, I hope you are prepared if someone asks you what the longest book of the Bible is!

Photo by Joshua Golde on Unsplash

Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He loves studying the Bible and helping others understand it. He also runs the Bible Sojourner podcast.

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