The Bible is a long book containing 66 individual books. Some common-use Bibles can weigh between 4 and 5 pounds. Some decorative church and family Bibles can weigh much more. It’s not uncommon for Bibles to exceed 2,500 pages in length in a two-column format. All 66 books are divided into verses, but how many are there in total?
The Bible contains 31,102 verses when all Old and New Testament books are combined. The Old Testament has 23,145 verses. The New Testament has 7,957 verses.
Which book of the Bible has the most verses? Which book has the least amount? What author wrote the most verses in the Old Testament? Did John, Luke, or Paul write the most verses in the New Testament? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
See What Is the Longest Book of the Bible? (by chapters, verses, and words) for more.
Total Number of Verses in the Old Testament
There are 39 books in the Old Testament. They are commonly grouped into five categories: the Pentateuch (5 books), History Books (12 books), Wisdom Literature (5 books), the Major Prophets (12 books), and the Minor Prophets (5 books).
- Psalms, in the Wisdom Literature section, has the most verses with 2,461
- Obadiah, in the Minor Prophets section, has the least amount of verses with 21
Total Number of Verses in the Pentateuch
Moses is the traditional author of the Pentateuch, i.e. the first five books of the Bible (also called the Torah or Law). No other Old Testament author comes close to writing as much as Moses did.
Did the authors of the Bible divide their books into chapters and verses? No. It was conventional in the ancient world to divide large books into chapters and verses. Many people attempted to create a verse-structure system for the Bible, but most early attempts were so complex that they made Scripture hard to read. One early attempt divided Matthew into 120 chapters, as opposed to the 28 it has today.
Who divided the Bible into the chapters and verses we use today? Stephen Langton (1150-1228), who was an English Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Canterbury, divided Old and New Testament books into the verse divisions that are still in use today. While theologians consider the words of Scripture inspired, most don’t consider chapter and verse divisions equally inspired.
See How to Read the Bible to learn more.
Total Number of Verses in the History Books
The historical books of the Old Testament are generally shorter than the books in the Pentateuch, Wisdom Literature, and Major Prophets. Only a few Minor Prophets have fewer verses than Ruth.
Total Number of Verses in the Wisdom Literature
The book of Psalms is about half the size of the five books of the Pentateuch. David wrote 73 of the 150 Psalms, falling far short of Moses’ total output. No other Psalmist comes close to 73.
|Song of Solomon||117|
See Why Does the Catholic Bible Have 7 Extra Books? to learn more.
Total Number of Verses in the Major Prophets
Jeremiah is the traditional author of the book that bears his name, as well as Lamentations, which means that he wrote a total of 1,518 verses.
Total Number of Verses in the Minor Prophets
The “Major” and “Minor” Prophets aren’t biblical or theological category titles. They are traditional labels, which are intended to differentiate books according to their size.
Readers may notice that there are two “Minor” Prophets that contain more verses than one of the “Major” Prophets. Zechariah has 211 verses and Hosea has 197, while Lamentations has 154.
See Where Should I Start Reading the Bible? to learn more.
Total Verses in the Old Testament
The Old Testament contains about 23,000 verses in total, which means that it accounts for approximately 66% of the Bible.
Total Numbers of Verses in the New Testament
There are 27 books in the New Testament. They are commonly divided into 4 or 5 sections, as some people group the Gospels and Acts together and some categorize them separately.
Altogether, the New Testament consists of the Gospels (4 books), Acts (1 book), Paul’s Letters (13 books), the General Epistles (5 books), and John’s Letters and Revelation (4 books).
- Luke, one of the four Gospels, has the most verses with 1,151
- The epistle of 2 John is the shortest book with 13 verses
Total Number of Verses in the Gospels and Acts
Although Matthew has 28 chapters and Luke only has 24, Luke’s Gospel has 80 more verses than Matthew’s. Luke also wrote Acts, which means that his books contain a total of 2,158 verses. Although Paul wrote 13 New Testament books and Luke only wrote two, Luke wrote 25 more verses than Paul.
|Gospels and Acts||Verses|
Scholars debate the end of Mark’s Gospel. Some believe it ends with 16:8. Others believe it ends with 16:20. Therefore, the “longer ending” of Mark 16 has 12 more verses than the “shorter ending.” The table above reflects Mark’s longer ending.
Why are there two different endings to Mark? The reason there are two versions of Mark 16 is that some ancient manuscripts have the shorter ending and other ancient manuscripts have the longer ending. For centuries, scholars have been debating which ancient manuscripts are the most reliable.
See A Suggested Reading Order for the Bible to learn more.
Total Number of Verses in Paul’s Letters
Compared to other writers, Paul wrote a lot of books. However, his books, which are actually letters, are generally shorter than others. His verses tend to contain fewer words in them as well.
Romans and 1 Corinthians are each 16 chapters in length, yet as the table above shows, 1 Corinthians is four verses longer than Romans. Some believe that Paul wrote Hebrews (see below), whose author is technically anonymous. If this is true, then it would be Paul’s third longest book, at 303 verses.
Total Number of Verses in the General Epistles
“Epistle” is another term for letters. Readers have debated who wrote Hebrews since the early church. Most scholars believe that Hebrews wasn’t originally a letter, but probably a sermon that was written down. James, Peter, and Jude wrote the other letters in this section of the New Testament.
Also see Bible Reading Plans to compare multiple options
Total Number of Verses in John’s Epistles and Revelation
John is the traditional author of the Gospel of John, 1-3 John, and Revelation. All five books together amount to 1,415 verses. This means that John has the third most amount of verses in the New Testament after Luke and Paul.
|John’s Letters and Revelation||Verses|
Total Verses in the New Testament
The New Testament contains almost 8,000 verses in total, which means that it accounts for approximately 34% of the Bible.
|Gospels and Acts||4,786|
|John’s Letters and Revelation||536|
Most consider the Bible to be a long book. Yet those who believe that it’s God’s Word to people and that it’s inspired by the Holy Spirit, wish it were even longer!
- The numbers above reflect the Protestant Bible, not the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox versions.
- Protestant Bible translations handle disputed verses differently, so it’s best to consult each translation individually to determine exact figures.
There are 66 individual books in the Bible. There are 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Many readers can read the shortest books in the Bible in 5 to 10 minutes. The longest book...
There is a reason why the Bible is the most widely-read book in human history. There is a reason why nations have been founded upon it; universities have been started to study it; and men and women...