The bible Guy

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

I to be a long-time fan of the tv quiz present “Jeopardy.” countless categories throw me completely (pop culture, sports, and also geography in particular), yet usually I deserve to hold my own. I specifically enjoy scriptures questions, i beg your pardon often totally throw the on-screen contestants. Last week, ns was tickled when the final Jeopardy concern was in the classification “Old testament Books.” So, ~ the commercial break, i was a little thrown once the reservation was, “By Hebrew native count, the longest book bears this surname that led to a word for a lengthy complaint or rant.” The referral to “jeremiad” do the answer they were in search of clear, however I assumed (and said out loud to the television screen) “Jeremiah isn’t the longest book!”


Jeopardy has gotten it wrong before. Usually, they acquire it appropriate in the end–often, before the final credits roll. Yet this past year, one inquiry with a dorn answer was not corrected. The clue, under the group “Where’s the Church?”, was, “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church that the Nativity.”

Needle, a sleeve supervisor from Brooklyn, comment it was in Palestine however was told she answer was wrong. Among the various other two contestants,Jack McGuire, then buzzed in through the reply “Israel”, which hold Alex Trebek embraced as correct.

You are watching: The longest book in the bible

As that happens, I have actually been come the Church the the Nativity, in Bethlehem in the West Bank. Ns know people who live and also work in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is not in the state that Israel: you should pass with a protection checkpoint at the border in between Israel and the West financial institution to get there.


As the Arab news firm Al-Jazeera that s right reported,

The Church of Nativity, asserted a world heritage site, is located in Bethlehem in the inhabited West Bank, i m sorry is internationally-recognised as part of Palestine.

Particularly together Israel proceeds to annex Palestinian land, displacing families, many of lock Christian, who have actually lived in the land because that generations, it is tragic that this error has actually still not, to mine knowledge, been corrected.

At any rate–knowing, as I did, that the longest publication in the holy bible is the publication of Psalms, ns was confident the Jeopardy had actually erred again. However my old friend from graduate school, fellow United Methodist minister frank Norris, collection me straight. He post on on facebook a attach to an post by Justin Taylor in “The Gospel Coalition” title “What Is the Longest publication in the Bible? (Hint: It’s no the Psalms).”

The short article cited the work of David J. Reimer, a fellow Ezekiel scholar. The publication of Psalms is certainly the longest through chapter departments (there room 150 Psalms, after ~ all; no various other biblical book gets out of dual digits!), or through verse count (2,527 in the Psalms). But Dr. Reimer recognized that verse or chapter count wasn’t the finest approach, as these divisions are greatly late, and also not generally consisted of in the biblical texts until the middle Ages. The proposed three other criteria for length:

The “Bytes” number calculates the size of the Hebrew publication in ASCII format (i.e., so over there is no interference native extraneous word-processor code).

Placing the top 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 get it right: through Hebrew indigenous 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 discover something new! The holy bible does this come me every the time, ns find.

The trivial inquiry of the relative length of biblical books opens top top other, more interesting questions–specifically v regard to Psalms and also Jeremiah. The Greek text of the Psalms different in countless ways native the Hebrew Masoretic text (MT) indigenous which ours Old testament is translated. An ext of the Psalms are provided titles in the Greek text, and much more of those titles ascribe the poems they introduce to David. Many notably, however, the Greek text consists of an additional, 151st Psalm.

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

My hands made a harp;my finger fashioned a lyre.

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

It was he who sent his messengerand take it me from my father’s sheep,and anointed me with his anointing oil.

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

I went out to accomplish the Philistine,and he cursed me by his idols.

But I drew his very own sword;I attach him, and also took away disgrace indigenous the civilization of Israel.

This psalm is found in Hebrew in 11QPsa (the an excellent Psalms Scroll, among the so-called “Dead Sea Scrolls”), a manuscript of the Psalter native Qumran date to about the time of Jesus. Although not supplied in western churches, Psalm 151 is consisted of in the Bibles of plenty of Eastern Orthodox communities, consisting of Greek and Slavonic Orthodox Churches. For this reason the length of the book of Psalms may well rely on whereby 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 its chapters are in different way arranged: chapters 46–51 (the prophet’s oracles versus foreign nations) in ours Old Testament appears instead complying with Jer 25:13a: “I will unleash upon the land everything I decreed, all that is created in this scroll.” Then, in the LXX, the product in our Jer 25:13b–46:5 resumes, followed by our Jer 52. In this case, the find from Qumran are an especially intriguing.


4QJera from before 200 BCE, and 2QJer, i beg your pardon on the basis of paleography (that is, the type of ancient writing used) dates roughly to the an initial century CE, location the oracles versus the nations at the end of the book, and otherwise usually preserve the textual heritage of the MT. However, sections of Jer 9:21–10:21, written in Hebrew, were discovered in a fragment, 4QJerb, that looks more like the LXX. The reality that old Hebrew messages relating come both the LXX and the MT the Jeremiah were uncovered at Qumran mirrors that ancient communities of confidence treasured and studied both versions of Jeremiah. So that makes small sense in this instance to ask whether the “real”–the best, many ancient, or original–book the Jeremiah is the shorter or the much longer version!

We need to know that over there is not just one, pristine original Hebrew variation of Psalms, or Jeremiah, or undoubtedly of any kind of biblical book. As such Bible translators execute not begin with how best and most faithfully to render the biblical languages right into clear and understandable English. The prior concern is which ancient version of a message to translate. Addressing text an essential questions requires experienced knowledge–and also experts might disagree regarding their resolution. However, every leader of Scripture requirements to be aware that these inquiries exist. Otherwise, us are breakable to misunderstanding and also misinterpretation–and also to intentional attempts to deceive.

For example: just this morning, a friend common this meme, and also asked me if there to be anything come it (spoiler alert: over there is NOT–and I have actually not had the poster or the resolve so as not to give them one more platform to spread out this deception).

VERY critical ALERT!!!NIV was released by Zondervan but is currently OWNED through Harper Collins, who likewise publishes the Satanic Bible and also The pleasure of happy Sex.•The NIV and ESV has now gotten rid of 64,575 words from the Bibleincluding Jehovah, Calvary, divine Ghost and omnipotent to name however a few…•The NIV and ESV has likewise now gotten rid of 45 complete verses. Most of us have actually the holy bible on ours devices and also phones especially “OLIVE TREE scriptures STUDY APP.”•Try and also find these bibles in NIV and ESV on her computer, phone call or maker right currently if you are in doubt:Matthew 17:21, 18:11, 23:14;Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46;Luke 17:36, 23:17;John 5:4; acts 8:37.…you will certainly not believe your eyes.•Refuse to be blinded by Satan, and also do not act prefer you just don’t care. Let’s not forget what the lord Jesus said in man 10:10 (King James Version).There is a crusade aligned towards changing the bible as we understand it; NIV, ESV and also many much more versions room affected.•THE SOLUTION:If you must use the NIV and ESV, BUY and also KEEP AN earlier VERSION of the BIBLE. A hard Copy cannot be updated. All these alters occur as soon as they ask you to upgrade the app. On her phone or laptop etc. Please spread the word…

To resolve the first claim make above: it is true that Zondervan is own by HarperCollins. However they to buy Zondervan end thirty year ago, in 1988. You can, if girlfriend wish, still accessibility the NIV from 1984 online and compare it with later on editions, make after 1988. As soon as you carry out so, girlfriend will find that the two passages cited in this meme read no in different way in the 1984 NIV 보다 in that post-1988 revisions.

So, first of all, the an essential claim in this meme, that the NIV has actually been corrupted by “godless” editor from HarperCollins, is simply false. Refusing to upgrade the NIV on your phone or computer, together this short article recommends, makes no sense–again, the differences with the KJV that this article decries were already there end thirty year ago. Also, for the record, I very recommend the HarperCollins examine Bible, which I have used in my holy bible classes because that years, as well as the HarperCollins bible Dictionary and Bible Commentary. All 3 were prepared under the auspices that the society of Biblical Literature, and should it is in on every pastor’s bookshelf.

However, the image is definitely correct the the words cited right here from the KJV carry out not show up in the NIV the those exact same passages, either prior to or ~ 1988. Not only the NIV, however the NRSV, the CEB, the ESV, and most other modern translations skip this sentences–although they are sometimes given in footnotes. That is because these words are not found in the oldest and best Greek texts of the Gospels.

The KJV translators in 1611 did not have access to as countless texts together we do, and often included in their version very late additions and expansions come the biblical texts they to be translating. Luke 9:56 and also Matthew 8:11 are however two examples. Others include the Lord’s Prayer doxology in Matthew 6:13; the Trinitarian formula in 1 man 5:7-8, which is not uncovered in any kind of Greek message of 1 john from prior to the 16th century, and the consist of of Erasmus’ explanatory expansion, “of lock which room saved,” in Revelation 21:24.

See more: Which Factor Most Influenced The Southern Way Of Life? ? Us History Final Flashcards

These translators room not part of some imaginary “crusade geared towards transforming the holy bible as we know it.” come the contrary: they have determined to use the oldest and best texts available to productivity the best translation that the Bible, rather than merely aping timeless language. We perform not require to recognize the biblical language or the ins and outs of message criticism to it is in faithful readers of Scripture, friends. However, we do should be aware of these concerns if we are to prevent senseless controversies (1 Timothy 6:20), and to check out the holy bible responsibly, comparing and also selecting amongst translations, “rightly splitting the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV).