Bible at a glance

Layout of Bible books

Number of chapters in each of the 66 "books" with a list of the books in order from most chapters to the least number of chapters

The chart below is a list of all 66 canonical books of the Bible along with the number of chapters in each book. Most of the books were written for a group of readers. Those written to specific individuals are identified with an asterisk. This list of Bible books has them in the order in which they appear in Bibles today. The order is more in terms of subject matter -- history, wisdom literature, prophecy, gospel accounts, letters, and so on -- than in the chronological order in which they were written.

For example, Bible scholars say Mark was likely the first Gospel account to be written. However, Matthew is the first book of the New Testament, likely because it makes more references to the Old Testament than any of the other three Gospel accounts. Scholars also think1Thessalonians was the first of Paul's letters or epistles to be written. However, Romans the first book in the section containing his letters to churches and individuals. The same kind of thing occurs in the Old Testament. Esther, for instance, is about events during the Babylonian exile while books like Psalms and Isaiah, which were written prior to the Exile, appear in the Bible after Esther's story.

Book of the Old Testament, a.k.a. the Hebrew Bible

list of Bible books
Genesis through Song of Songs with number of chapters in each book

list of Bible books
Isaiah through Malachi with number of chapters in each book

Books of the New Testament

list of New Testament
books showing types of writings and the number of chapters in each book

*Biblical writings addressed to an individual

nextSee the Old Testament portion of this outline in a graphic table [ more ]

What are the longest and the shortest books of the Bible?

There are three ways to measure the length of the books of the Bible. One way is by the number of chapters. The second is by the number of words. The third is by the number of verses into which the books are divided.

By number of chapters and total number of verses, Psalms is by far the longest book. Jeremiah is the longest Bible book in terms of words.

In terms of the shortest Bible book, five have only one chapter: Obadiah, Second John, Third John, Jude, and Philemon. Third John has the fewest words while Second John has the fewest verses.

Bible books ranked by the number of chapters

From the most chapters to the least number of chapters

Note: Books having an equal number of chapters are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Psalms -- 150
  2. Isaiah -- 66
  3. Jeremiah -- 52
  4. Genesis -- 50
  5. Ezekiel -- 48
  6. Job -- 42
  7. Exodus -- 40
  8. Second Chronicles -- 36
  9. Numbers -- 36
  10. Deuteronomy -- 34
  11. First Samuel -- 31
  12. Proverbs -- 31
  13. First Chronicles -- 29
  14. Acts -- 28
  15. Matthew -- 28
  16. Leviticus -- 27
  17. Second Kings -- 25
  18. Second Samuel -- 24
  19. Joshua -- 24
  20. Luke -- 24
  21. First Kings -- 22
  22. Revelation -- 22
  23. John -- 21
  24. Judges -- 21
  25. First Corinthians -- 16
  26. Mark -- 16
  27. Romans -- 16
  28. Hosea -- 14
  29. Zechariah -- 14
  30. Second Corinthians -- 13
  31. Esther -- 13
  32. Hebrews -- 13
  33. Nehemiah -- 13
  34. Daniel -- 12
  35. Ecclesiastes -- 12
  36. Ezra -- 10
  37. Amos -- 9
  38. Song of Solomon -- 8
  39. FirstTimothy -- 6
  40. Ephesians -- 6
  41. Galatians -- 6
  42. First John -- 5
  43. First Peter -- 5
  44. First Thessalonians -- 5
  45. James -- 5
  46. Lamentations -- 5
  47. Second Timothy -- 4
  48. Colossians -- 4
  49. Jonah -- 4
  50. Malachi -- 4
  51. Micah -- 4
  52. Philippians -- 4
  53. Ruth -- 4
  54. Second Thessalonians -- 3
  55. Second Peter -- 3
  56. Habakkuk -- 3
  57. Joel -- 3
  58. Nahum -- 3
  59. Titus -- 3
  60. Zephaniah -- 3
  61. Haggai -- 2
  62. Second John -- 1
  63. Third John -- 1
  64. Jude -- 1
  65. Obadiah -- 1
  66. Philemon -- 1

Note: The writings of the Bible were not originally divided into chapters. Around A.D. 1227, Englishman Stephen Langton developed the 1,189 chapter divisions used today by every Bible publisher I know of. The 929 chapters in the Old Testament were divided into verses by a Jewish rabbi in 1448 A.D. Robert Estienne divided the 260 chapters of the New Testament books into numbered verses in 1555 A.D.

Longest and shortest chapters

With 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest Bible chapter. It is divided into 22 stanzas. Each stanza starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

With just two verses, Psalm 117 is the shortest Bible chapter. Since it is the 595th of 1189 Bible chapters, Psalm 117 is also the middle chapter of the Bible..

Chapters cited most often

ChatGPT says that Psalm 23, John 3, and Romans 8 seem to be the commonly cited Bible chapters in discussions, sermons, articles, and social media posts.

Chapters that are difficult to understand

Three of the most difficult Bible chapters to understand are:

  1. Revelation 13: This chapter contains vivid imagery and symbolic language about beasts and the mark of the beast.
  2. Ezekiel 1: The opening vision of Ezekiel involves strange and elaborate imagery, including wheels within wheels and living creatures.
  3. Daniel 7: Similar to Revelation 3, this chapter contains visions of beasts and apocalyptic imagery.

Bible books ranked by the number of words

From the most words to the fewest words

Which Bible book is the longest? Well, it's not necessarily the one with the most chapter divisions. Take a look at this list.

The word count given is the number of words each book has in the original languages (Hebrew and Greek). The word count would, of course, vary from language translation to language translation.

  1. Jeremiah -- 33,002 words
  2. Genesis -- 32,046 words
  3. Psalms -- 30,147 words
  4. Ezekiel -- 29,918 words
  5. Exodus -- 25,957 words
  6. Isaiah -- 25,608 words
  7. Numbers -- 25,048 words
  8. Deuteronomy -- 23,008 words
  9. Second Chronicles -- 21,349 words
  10. First Samuel -- 20,837 words
  11. First Kings -- 20,361 words
  12. Luke -- 19,482 words
  13. Leviticus -- 18,852 words
  14. Second Kings -- 18,784 words
  15. Acts -- 18,450 words
  16. Matthew -- 18,346 words
  17. Second Samuel -- 17,170 words
  18. First Chronicles -- 16,664 words
  19. Joshua -- 15,671 words
  20. John -- 15,635 words
  21. Judges -- 15,385 words
  22. Job -- 12,674 words
  23. Mark -- 11,304 words
  24. Proverbs -- 9,921 words
  25. Revelation -- 9,851 words
  26. Daniel -- 9,001 words
  27. Nehemiah -- 8,507 words
  28. Romans -- 7,111 words
  29. First Corinthians -- 6,830 words
  30. Ezra -- 5,605 words
  31. Hebrews -- 4,953 words
  32. Esther -- 4,932 words
  33. Zechariah -- 4,855 words
  34. Ecclesiastes -- 4,537 words
  35. Second Corinthians -- 4,477 words
  36. Hosea -- 3,615 words
  37. Amos -- 3,027 words
  38. Ephesians -- 2,422 words
  39. Lamentations -- 2,324 words
  40. Galatians -- 2,230 words
  41. First John -- 2,141 words
  42. Micah -- 2,118 words
  43. Ruth -- 2,039 words
  44. Song of Solomon -- 2,020 words
  45. James -- 1,742 words
  46. First Peter -- 1,684 words
  47. Philippians -- 1,629 words
  48. First Timothy -- 1,591 words
  49. Colossians -- 1,582 words
  50. First Thessalonians -- 1,481 words
  51. Joel -- 1,447 words
  52. Malachi -- 1,320 words
  53. Second Timothy -- 1,238 words
  54. Zephaniah -- 1,141 words
  55. Second Peter -- 1,099 words
  56. Jonah -- 1,082 words
  57. Habakkuk -- 1,011 words
  58. Haggai -- 926 words
  59. Nahum -- 855 words
  60. Second Thessalonians -- 823 words
  61. Titus -- 659 words
  62. Jude -- 461 words
  63. Obadiah -- 440 words
  64. Philemon -- 335 words
  65. Second John -- 245 words
  66. Third John -- 219 words

Longest and shortest verses in the Bible

The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35: "Jesus wept."

The longest verse in the Bible is Esther 8:9: "At once the royal secretaries were summoned -- on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai's orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language."

Famous Bible chapters

Some of the most famous or well-known of the Bible's almost 1,200 chapters are these:

  1. Creation story -- Genesis 1 and 2
  2. The fall of mankind -- Genesis 3
  3. Noah and the flood -- Genesis 6
  4. The Tower of Babel -- Genesis 11
  5. Call of Abraham -- Genesis 12
  6. Ma href="https://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/moses.htm">Moses at the burning bush -- Exodus 3
  7. Crossing of the Red Sea -- Exodus 14
  8. Ten Commandments -- Exodus 20
  9. Fall of the walls of Jericho -- Joshua 6
  10. Samuel's response to God's call -- 1 Samuel 3
  11. David and Goliath -- 1 Samuel 17
  12. The Good Shepherd Psalm -- Psalm 23
  13. David's prayer for forgiveness -- Psalm 51
  14. The virtuous woman -- Proverbs 31
  15. The prophecy of Jesus' virgin birth -- Isaiah 7
  16. The Suffering Servant -- Isaiah 53
  17. The vision of dry bones -- Ezekiel 37
  18. Daniel and the lions' den -- Daniel 6
  19. Jonah and the big fish -- Jonah 2
  20. What does the Lord require? -- Micah 6
  21. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount -- Matthew 5-7
  22. Birth of Jesus of Nazareth -- Luke 2
  23. Parables of the Lost Sheep, Coin, and Son -- Luke 15
  24. The Word became flesh -- John 1
  25. The Lord's Supper -- John 13
  26. Coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost -- Acts 2
  27. Paul's Macedonian vision -- Acts 16
  28. The love chapter -- 1 Corinthians 13
  29. Fruit of the Spirit -- Galatians 5
  30. The armor of God -- Ephesians 7
  31. The faith chapter -- Hebrews 11
  32. Gossip: Taming the tongue -- James 3
  33. Letters to the seven churches -- Revelation 2-3
  34. Grand finale: Vision of people in Heaven -- Revelation 7
  35. New Heaven and New Earth -- Revelation 21

A Word of Cation

The good and the bad of chapter divisions in the Bible

Having the Bible books divided into chapters has both advantages and disadvantages.

Pros:

Cons:

    -- Howard Culbertson,

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