From the advent of the printing press to recent times, the Christian Bible has been the most popular book of all ages.
The Bible tops the chart as the best-selling non-fiction book of all time. If we go by the 2021 report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, we will see that over five million copies of this holy book have been already circulated.
Captivating and enlightening, but can it be called the longest book in the world? No, the bible is not the longest book in the world. However, the Christian Bible is definitely among the largest religious texts in the world.
Brief History of the Bible
More than half of the population in the world follow Abrahamic religions, and they consider the Bible to be a sacred book. However, if we focus specifically on the Christian Bible, it is a compilation of the Old Testament and New Testament.
Told simply, the Old Testament prophesies the arrival of the Lord’s Son, who will bring salvation from all mortal sins and sufferings. The New Testament, however, establishes the arrival and supremacy of God’s Son, Jesus of Nazareth.
It was not easy for the Early Church to define the standard or the familiar form of the Bible. Some books were included as those were preached by Jesus’s apostles or their close companions. Other books were considered the “Words of God” for the human race by the Church and got a place in the Bible.
Despite the confusion and differences of opinions, the current form of the New Testament has remained unchanged since Athanasius the Apostolic made the first list of books in a letter in 367 AD.
The New Testament establishes the Old Testament as the creation of God. However, the creation or writing of the Old Testament covers the vast span of more than 1000 years. Forty scribes, including the Biblical figures like Solomon, David, and Moses, wrote the scriptures between the mid-2nd and mid-1st millennium BC.
What are the Longest Religious Books in the World?
As we are already talking about the Bible, it will be relevant to make a list of some of the longest religious books.
- The Bible has a total of 31102 verses when we combine the Old Testament and the New Testament.
- The Quran, or the Holy religious text of Islam, comes with 114 chapters and 6349 verses.
- Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, or the Holy Book of the Hindus, has 700 verses spread over 18 chapters.
Some other longest religious books in the world are the Tripitaka (Buddhism), The Torah (Judaism), Tao-Te-Ching (Taoism), etc.
What are the Longest Books in the World?
Making the list of the longest books in the world is not an easy task, considering different genres and other variations.
- According to the Report of the Guinness Book of World Record, the longest novel is Remembrance of Things Past. It has 9,609,000 characters comprising the spaces. However, if we go by word count, Marienbad My Love by Mark Leach will be the longest novel in the world, with 17.8 million words.
- If we consider the “Long Poem genre,” the Mahabharata tops the chart as the longest epic poem.
- Kalle Paatalo’s Iijoki series is considered to be the largest autobiographical work written to date.
- In Epic Fantasy Novels, Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson is the longest epic series with 13 books already published and yet unfinished.
What is the Longest Book in the Bible? It’s Unclear.
To begin with, it would not be right to announce the name of the longest book in the Bible at once. First of all, the word counts in the original Greek or Hebrew version will differ from the standard English version. We think that to pay due respect to the original scriptures, it will be better to go by the word count in Hebrew or Greek.
There is another concern to naming any book in the Bible as the longest one. The concern here is the determinant factor. We will get different results if we judge on the basis of chapters, verses, and word counts. So, let’s explore what are the largest books in the Bible based on these parameters.
The Longest Book in the Bible Based on Word Count
There is one thing to note while determining the longest book in the Bible based on word counts. Books like 1 Samuel & 2 Samuel, 1 Kings & 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles & 2 Chronicles are originally parts of the same book. And if we follow that, these books will surely be among the largest ones in the Bible.
Then Kings will have 39,145 words, Chronicles will have 38,013 words, and Samuel will have 38,003 words. However, as it is more widely accepted, we will consider them as separate books, and count the words accordingly.
Based on word counts, Jeremiah in the Old Testament is the longest book in the Bible which features 33,002 words. This book is about the prophecies of Jeremiah and is composed of autobiographical elements, poetic verses, and narrations in prose. The second and third-longest books in the Bible based on word counts are Genesis and the Psalm, with 30,147 and 32,046 words, respectively. These books are also in the Old Testament.
The Longest Book in the Bible Based on Chapters
The Book of Psalms in the Old Testament is the longest in the Bible when we assess it based on the number of chapters. The Guinness Book of World Records has also deemed it as the longest book in the Bible. It has 150 chapters and is the work of many authors spanning from the 9th century BCE to the 5th century BCE.
The Book of Isaiah stands at the second position with 66 chapters, and the Book of Jeremiah comes in 3rd with 52 chapters.
The Longest Book in the Bible by Verse
Based on the number of verses, the Book of Psalms once again tops the list with 2461 verses. Genesis and Jeremiah follow the list with 1533 and 1364 verses, respectively.
Conclusion: Is the Bible the Longest Book in the World?
The Books of Jeremiah and Psalm top the list on more than one account. To explain further, Jeremiah is the longest based on word counts, and it is the third-longest if we go by the number of chapters and verses.
At the same time, the Book of Psalm is the third-longest, depending on the word counts. However, it is the longest book in the Bible if the number of chapters and verses are counted. We think that it is wiser to call Psalm the longest book in the Bible.
Overall, the Bible is not the longest book in the world but it is a deep, interconnected story that has transcended through time. You can learn more about the Bible and the essence of Christianity on our site.