The bible Guy

Steven Tuell, James A. Kelso Professor emeritus the Hebrew and also Old Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

I to be a long-time fan of the tv quiz show “Jeopardy.” plenty of categories throw me fully (pop culture, sports, and also geography in particular), yet usually I can hold my own. I specifically enjoy holy bible questions, i m sorry often totally throw the on-screen contestants. Last week, i was tickled once the last Jeopardy concern was in the classification “Old testimony Books.” So, ~ the commercial break, ns was a little bit thrown as soon as the reservation was, “By Hebrew indigenous count, the longest publication bears this name that resulted in a word for a lengthy complaint or rant.” The referral to “jeremiad” made the answer castle were searching for clear, yet I believed (and stated out loud to the tv screen) “Jeremiah isn’t the longest book!”


Jeopardy has gotten it dorn before. Usually, they gain it right in the end–often, before the final credits roll. But this previous year, one inquiry with a dorn answer was not corrected. The clue, under the classification “Where’s that Church?”, was, “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.”

Needle, a sleeve supervisor indigenous Brooklyn, responded it was in Palestine but was told she answer was wrong. One of the various other two contestants,Jack McGuire, then buzzed in with the reply “Israel”, which organize Alex Trebek embraced as correct.

You are watching: What is the longest book of the bible?

As the happens, I have been come the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem in the West Bank. I know world who live and also work in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is no in the state of Israel: you have to pass with a security checkpoint in ~ the border in between Israel and also the West financial institution to acquire there.


As the Arab news company Al-Jazeera correctly reported,

The Church the Nativity, asserted a world heritage site, is situated in Bethlehem in the inhabited West Bank, i beg your pardon is internationally-recognised as component of Palestine.

Particularly together Israel proceeds to annex Palestinian land, displacing families, countless of them Christian, who have lived in the land for generations, the is tragic that this error has actually still not, to my knowledge, to be corrected.

At any type of rate–knowing, as I did, the the longest book in the bible is the book of Psalms, ns was confident the Jeopardy had actually erred again. Yet my old friend from graduate school, other United Methodist minister open minded Norris, set me straight. He posted on on facebook a connect to an write-up by Justin Taylor in “The Gospel Coalition” title “What Is the Longest publication in the Bible? (Hint: It’s not the Psalms).”

The post cited the occupational of David J. Reimer, a other Ezekiel scholar. The publication of Psalms is certainly the longest by chapter divisions (there are 150 Psalms, after all; no other biblical book gets out of twin digits!), or by verse counting (2,527 in the Psalms). Yet Dr. Reimer known that city or chapter counting wasn’t the best approach, as these divisions are mainly late, and not generally consisted of in the biblical messages until the center Ages. He proposed three other criteria for length:

The “Bytes” number calculates the length of the Hebrew book in ASCII layout (i.e., so there is no interference indigenous extraneous word-processor code).

Placing the peak ten in a chart:

OrderBook# Verses in BookGraph-unit HitsMorph-unit HitsBytes
9.2 Chronicles82213,52020,000154,125
10.1 Samuel81113,50619,211147,392

So–Jeopardy DID gain it right: by Hebrew native count, Jeremiah is the longest book. Psalms is not even the second-longest book–by Hebrew native count, that would certainly be Genesis. I was wrong–and happy to find out something new! The scriptures does this to me every the time, ns find.

The trivial concern of the relative size of biblical publications opens onto other, an ext interesting questions–specifically with regard come Psalms and also Jeremiah. The Greek message of the Psalms differs in numerous ways indigenous the Hebrew Masoretic message (MT) native which ours Old testament is translated. An ext of the Psalms are offered titles in the Greek text, and much more of those titles ascribe the poems they present to David. Many notably, however, the Greek text includes an additional, 151st Psalm.

I was little among mine brothers,and the youngest in my father’s house;I tended my father’s sheep.

My hand made a harp;my fingers fashioned a lyre.

And who will tell my Lord?The lord himself; the is he that hears.

It to be he who sent his messengerand took me from my father’s sheep,and anointed me through his anointing oil.

My brothers were handsome and also tall,but the mr was not pleased through them.

I went the end to satisfy the Philistine,and that cursed me through his idols.

But I attracted his own sword;I beheaded him, and also took away disgrace native the human being of Israel.

This psalm is uncovered in Hebrew in 11QPsa (the great Psalms Scroll, among the so-called “Dead Sea Scrolls”), a manuscript that the Psalter indigenous Qumran dating to roughly the time of Jesus. Return not used in western churches, Psalm 151 is had in the Bibles of plenty of Eastern Orthodox communities, including Greek and Slavonic Orthodox Churches. So the length of the publication of Psalms may well count on wherein you worship.


Similarly, the text of Jeremiah in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) differs significantly from the Hebrew MT–but this time, the Greek text is shorter (by around an eighth), and also its chapters are differently arranged: chapters 46–51 (the prophet’s oracles versus foreign nations) in ours Old Testament appears instead complying with Jer 25:13a: “I will certainly unleash upon that land every little thing I decreed, all that is composed in this scroll.” Then, in the LXX, the material in our Jer 25:13b–46:5 resumes, followed by ours Jer 52. In this case, the find from Qumran are particularly intriguing.


4QJera from before 200 BCE, and 2QJer, i m sorry on the basis of paleography (that is, the form of old writing used) dates around to the first century CE, location the oracles versus the nations at the end of the book, and otherwise typically preserve the textual legacy of the MT. However, parts of Jer 9:21–10:21, created in Hebrew, were found in a fragment, 4QJerb, the looks an ext like the LXX. The truth that old Hebrew texts relating come both the LXX and the MT the Jeremiah were discovered at Qumran mirrors that old communities of confidence treasured and studied both execution of Jeremiah. So the makes little sense in this case to ask whether the “real”–the best, most ancient, or original–book of Jeremiah is the shorter or the much longer version!

We need to know that over there is not just one, pristine initial Hebrew version of Psalms, or Jeremiah, or without doubt of any type of biblical book. Because of this Bible translators perform not begin with how best and most faithfully to render the biblical languages into clear and also understandable English. The prior question is which ancient version of a message to translate. Addressing text vital questions requires experienced knowledge–and even experts may disagree regarding their resolution. However, every leader of Scripture requirements to be conscious that these concerns exist. Otherwise, we are breakable to misunderstanding and misinterpretation–and even to intentional attempts to deceive.

For example: simply this morning, a friend common this meme, and asked me if there was anything come it (spoiler alert: there is NOT–and I have actually not contained the poster or the deal with so as not to provide them an additional platform to spread out this deception).

VERY critical ALERT!!!NIV was released by Zondervan however is currently OWNED by Harper Collins, who also publishes the Satanic Bible and also The pleasure of happy Sex.•The NIV and ESV has actually now removed 64,575 words from the Bibleincluding Jehovah, Calvary, divine Ghost and omnipotent to name but a few…•The NIV and also ESV has additionally now eliminated 45 complete verses. Most of us have the holy bible on our devices and also phones specifically “OLIVE TREE scriptures STUDY APP.”•Try and find these scriptures in NIV and also ESV on your computer, call or maker right now if you room in doubt:Matthew 17:21, 18:11, 23:14;Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46;Luke 17:36, 23:17;John 5:4; action 8:37.…you will certainly not believe your eyes.•Refuse to be blinded by Satan, and do not act favor you just don’t care. Let’s no forget what the mr Jesus said in john 10:10 (King James Version).There is a crusade geared towards altering the bible as we recognize it; NIV, ESV and many much more versions room affected.•THE SOLUTION:If you need to use the NIV and also ESV, BUY and also KEEP AN earlier VERSION that the BIBLE. A hard Copy cannot be updated. Every these transforms occur once they ask girlfriend to update the app. On her phone or laptop etc. Please spread the word…

To resolve the first claim make above: that is true that Zondervan is owned by HarperCollins. But they to buy Zondervan end thirty years ago, in 1988. Girlfriend can, if you wish, still accessibility the NIV indigenous 1984 online and compare the with later on editions, do after 1988. Once you carry out so, girlfriend will discover that the 2 passages cited in this meme review no differently in the 1984 NIV than in that is post-1988 revisions.

So, an initial of all, the basic claim in this meme, the the NIV has actually been corrupted by “godless” editor from HarperCollins, is merely false. Refusing to upgrade the NIV on her phone or computer, as this short article recommends, provides no sense–again, the distinctions with the KJV the this short article decries were already there end thirty years ago. Also, because that the record, I very recommend the HarperCollins study Bible, which I have actually used in my holy bible classes for years, and the HarperCollins scriptures Dictionary and Bible Commentary. All three were all set under the auspices the the society of Biblical Literature, and should it is in on every pastor’s bookshelf.

However, the meme is definitely correct the the indigenous cited here from the KJV perform not appear in the NIV that those same passages, either before or after 1988. Not only the NIV, yet the NRSV, the CEB, the ESV, and also most other modern-day translations skip this sentences–although they are sometimes provided in footnotes. That is since these words space not found in the oldest and also best Greek texts of the Gospels.

The KJV translators in 1611 did not have accessibility to as numerous texts as we do, and often included in your version very late enhancements and expansions come the biblical messages they were translating. Luke 9:56 and Matthew 8:11 are yet two examples. Others incorporate the Lord’s Prayer doxology in Matthew 6:13; the Trinitarian formula in 1 john 5:7-8, i beg your pardon is not uncovered in any Greek text of 1 john from prior to the 16th century, and also the consist of of Erasmus’ explanatory expansion, “of lock which room saved,” in Revelation 21:24.

See more: Do Park Rangers Get Drug Tested ?: Parkrangers Do Rangers Get Drug Tested

These translators space not part of part imaginary “crusade aligned towards transforming the scriptures as we understand it.” come the contrary: castle have determined to use the oldest and also best texts accessible to productivity the ideal translation that the Bible, quite than simply aping timeless language. We do not need to know the biblical language or the ins and outs of text criticism to be faithful readers of Scripture, friends. However, we do need to be conscious of these worries if we space to prevent senseless controversies (1 Timothy 6:20), and to check out the scriptures responsibly, comparing and also selecting amongst translations, “rightly splitting the native of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV).