Have you ever wondered what the longest and shortest books of the Bible are? The Bible is more than 600,000 words long in its original languages—but how are those words distributed across the 66 books of the Bible?
I’ve put together word counts for every book of the Bible. These numbers are pulled from the original languages using Logos Bible Software—you can see how I did it below. I used the Lexham Hebrew Bible and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece for these word counts.
(By the way, if you want to know what I think of Logos . . . here’s my honest take.)
You can check out the Web versions, or just download the spreadsheet and play with the numbers all you want:
Word counts on every book of the Bible (from longest to shortest)
You can click on any book of the Bible to read an overview of what it’s about.
|44||Song of Solomon||2,020|
How I got these Bible word counts
As you can imagine, I don’t have the time nor original-language knowledge to tally all these words on my own.
So I used one of Logos Bible Software‘s not-so-famous features: Word Lists. (Heads up: I’m a Logos affiliate.)
I know that a good deal of you use Logos. If so, feel free to open it up and follow along. If you don’t use Logos, you’re about to see why I do. =)
I’ll walk you through my process step-by-step.
Step 1: pick a Bible
I needed word counts for every book of the Bible, so the first thing I had to do was choose the text I’d be drawing from. I went with the following three Bibles:
- The NA27 Greek New Testament
- The Lexham Hebrew Bible
- The New American Standard 1995 Update (for the little slivers of Aramaic)
Obviously, you could do this using just one Bible. I made a similar list using the ESV.
Step 2: create a word list
Once I chose my Bibles, it was time to start getting word counts. First thing I did was create a new Word list. I did this by going to “Documents” …
… and then selecting “Word List” from the options.
This opened up a new Word List, which looked like this:
And of course, I chose a title.
Step 3: add text
Then I added the words from a single book of the Bible. That was easy. First, I clicked “Add.”
Then I selected the Bible I was using (let’s say the ESV for this post). This tells Logos which text to pull words from when I designate a book of the Bible.
I’ve told Logos where the words are coming from (the selected Bible) and where the words are going (the Word list). Then I just enter in a book of the Bible. Let’s say Ruth.
I click “Ruth,” and blammo—Logos pulls in every Hebrew lemma in the book of Ruth (as far as the ESV is concerned). Here’s what it looks like:
Now I have a list of every Hebrew lemma in the book of Ruth.
What’s a lemma? Good question. A lemma is a word’s dictionary form. For example, “run,” “ran,” and “running” are all different words, but if you were to look up their meanings in a dictionary, you’d look up “run.” “Run” is the lemma. Learn more about lemmas here.
Here’s where it got time-consuming: I built one Logos Word List like this for every single book of the Bible. That should probably count as another step.
Step 3b: repeat step 2 for every book of the Bible
That left me with 66 Logos Word Lists, each giving me every original-language word in a given book of the Bible. We can do all sorts of things with these lists. We could print flash cards, see which words occur most, and more.
But I wanted all the words of the Bible in a spreadsheet, so I had to take it a step further. I exported each Word List as a CSV spreadsheet. To do that, I clicked the Word List icon and selected Print/Export.
Then selected “Spreadsheet” and exported it as a CSV file.
And of course, I did this with all those books, so …
Step 4b: repeat Step 4 for every book of the Bible
Step 5: Add ’em up!
From here on out, it’s just doing the math.