Bible Statistics

I grew up occasionally hearing Bible statistics like the middle verse, the middle word, and the number of words in the Bible. Unfortunately, these stats rarely agreed because they were usually done by hand and were almost always flawed in their methodology.

The stats were based on the King Jame Version, a translation whose text varies slightly from publisher to publisher (due to there being no copyright). Furthermore, verse divisions are relatively recent concept (AD 1551) and are are not universal. For example, many verses in the Psalms are numbered differently in the Hebrew text because verse one begins with the superscription (“A Psalm of David”, etc).

Here are a few stats on the Greek and Hebrew Bible. Getting an accurate word count is a little complicated. Depending on how and what you count, you will get different results. However, I have annotated my results.

Old Testament (Hebrew)

I used the Leningrad Codex as my text. The Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete manuscript of the Old Testament (AD 1008), represents the masoretic text, and is the text most commonly used by OT scholars as it is reproduced in BHS.

There are 468,748 words in the Hebrew Bible. This figure accounts for prefixed and suffixed words (for example,  וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ would count as four words [waw, preposition, article, and word], not one). If prefixed and suffixed words are not considered separately, the total word count would be 323,177. Words separated by a maqaf (hyphen) are treated as two words. If neither hyphenated nor prefixed/suffixed words are counted separately, the total would be 281,112. Note that all these totals include the entire Hebrew text of BHS (minus verse references). Thus things such as psalm superscriptions (“A Psalm of David,” etc) are included in the totals. For what its worth, the Hebrew Bible contains 2,243,936 characters (without spaces) or 2,525,047 characters (with spaces).

New Testament (Greek)

I used the NA27 text. This is the most common text among NT scholars. It has been recently replaced by the NA28, but the text is virtually identical as the vast majority of the changes occurred in the footnotes.

There are 138,020 words in the Greek New Testament. This number is much easier to calculate as Greek does not employ prefixed/suffixed words. You should note that this number reflects my minority opinion (at least among scholars) that the longer ending in Mark and John 7:53-8:11 are part of the biblical text. There are 879,270 characters (without spaces) or 1,009,365 characters (with spaces).

Middle Verse/Word/Letter/Etc

The middle verse, word, letter, etc is a product of what you count and how you count them. For example, the middle everything in the Bible falls somewhere in the Old Testament. However, the book order of the Hebrew Bible is different than that found in English translations. Therefore, the midpoint will vary widely depending upon how verses and words are counted as well as the order in which they are counted (the canonical order of books). I didn’t even try to generate stats on the midpoint. Instead, I took the easy way out.

There are 606,768 words and 3,123,206 characters in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures combined. There is no middle word or letter.

One thought on “Bible Statistics

  1. Great stats! Only place online with these easily available. Thanks!

    I needed this to slay some crazy guy’s joke who claimed that reading the NIV was not good enough because it was missing 64,000 words from the KJV. When really, both have more words than the Greek and Hebrew, so the KJV “added more words to the Bible than the NIV” 😛 (It was a joke).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *