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 takes an average reader a few hours to complete. Many people want to know what book of the Bible is the longest.
The book of Psalms is the longest book of the Bible by total chapters, total verses, and the total number of words. Isaiah has the second most chapters. Genesis has the second most verses. Jeremiah has the second most words. Jeremiah has the third most chapters and verses. Ezekiel has the third most words.
What are the longest books of the New Testament? What authors wrote the most chapters, verses, and words of each Testament? What author wrote more words than are in the Psalms? Keep reading to learn more.
Also see How Many Verses Are In the Bible? to learn more.
Longest Books of the Bible By Total Chapters: Top 25
At 150 chapters, Psalms more than doubles the second-longest book of the Bible with regard to the total number of chapters. Psalms is part of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, as is #6 on the list, the book of Job.
Yet three out of the top five longest books by chapter are part of the prophetic literature of the Old Testament — Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
The first New Testament books on the list are the Gospel of Matthew and the book of Acts, which are tied at #14 with 28 total chapters. The Gospel of Luke is the next New Testament book on the list, with 24 chapters, followed by Revelation with 22. There are eight New Testament books in the Top 25 (including ties).
Four of the five books of the Pentateuch — Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy — make the Top 10. Leviticus ranks #16 on the list (see below). 2 Chronicles is the only book in the section of Historical Books in the Old Testament to make the Top 10.
Also see How to Study the Bible to learn more.
How do these rankings change when book length is measured according to total verses and words? Are there books that have fewer total chapters but more total verses and words? See below.
Romans and 1 Corinthians are the only two epistles or letters in the Top 25. Paul is the author of both books. Some scholars speculate that letters were short because people initially had to carry them over long distances, which was easier to do if the scrolls were small.
What is the longest chapter in the Bible?
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It contains 176 verses. Depending on the English translation, the chapter contains about 2,500 words.
What is the shortest chapter of the Bible?
Psalm 117:1 is the shortest chapter in the Bible. It contains two verses. They read: “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.” (KJV)
Also see Why Does the Catholic Bible Have Extra Books? to learn more.
Longest Books of the Bible By Total Verses: Top 25
Psalms is the longest book of the Bible by total chapters and total verses. It has almost 1,000 more verses than the second-longest book, Genesis. While Genesis had the fourth most number of total chapters, it has the second most number of verses.
Isaiah had the second most number of chapters with 66, but it has the fourth-highest number of verses. Jeremiah finishes third on both lists.
Not one New Testament book is ranked in the Top 10 on the previous list, but on this one, there are two. The Gospels of Luke and Matthew are ranked 8th and 9th, respectively.
Also see Bible Reading Plans for several options.
Many New Testament books have more words per verse than Old Testament books. Consider that Matthew and Luke both have over 1,000 total verses. Matthew has 28 chapters, and Luke has 24.
Job follows them on the list because it has three fewer verses than Matthew and 103 fewer than Luke. Yet Job is 42 chapters long.
Total chapters and total verses are common ways to measure the length of biblical books, but the total number of words is the most accurate. See the 25 longest books of the Bible by total words below.
What is the longest verse in the Bible?
Esther 8:9 is the longest verse in English Bibles, with 90 words and 528 characters. The verse is only 43 words in the original Hebrew. Jeremiah 21:7 is second with 83 words and 441 characters. Ezekiel 46:9 is third, with 81 verses and 377 characters.
What is the shortest verse in the Bible?
John 11:35 — “Jesus wept” — is the shortest verse in English Bible with two words and 9 letters. In the original Greek, John 11:35 is 16 letters. However, 1 Thessalonians 5:16 — “rejoice evermore” — while 15 letters in English is only 14 letters in Greek.
Also see What Book of the Bible Should I Read First? to learn more.
Longest Books of the Bible By Total Words: Top 25
Not surprisingly, Psalms is #1 again, but the margin between it and second place — the book of Jeremiah — may surprise people. Psalms has 98 more chapters than Jeremiah but only 50 more words.
Some scholars claim that when detailed aspects of the original Hebrew language are considered (e.g., morphological units), Jeremiah is actually longer than the Psalms.
Although Luke only authored two books of the Bible — the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts — he wrote 49,869 total words. Luke wrote more words than the Psalmists and Jeremiah. While Paul wrote 13 of the 27 New Testament books, his total word count falls short of Luke’s, with 43,293.
How many words are popular English Bible translations?
- King James Version (KJV): 788,280
- NKJV: 770,430
- ESV: 757,439
- NIV: 726,109
- CSB: 718,943
- NLT: 747,891
- NRSV: 895,891
- NASB: 782,815
“Oftentimes in reading [the Bible], every word seemed to touch my heart. I felt a harmony between something in my heart, and those sweet and powerful words. I seemed often to see so much light exhibited in every sentence, and such refreshing food communicated, that I could not get along in reading; often dwelling long on one sentence, to see the wonders contained in it; yet almost every sentence seemed to be full of wonders.” – Jonathan Edwards
Also see Reading Order of the Bible to learn more.
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