Pages from the Codex Vaticanus, ending of 2 Thes and beginning of Heb

Looking for some quick  facts about the Bible itself?  Check this list of interesting (and little-known) Bible historical facts and trivia.

  • The Bible contains 66 books – 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.  The 66 books of the Bible are divided into 1,189 chapters consisting of 31,173 verses. The Old Testament has 929 chapters, the New Testament 260. (King James version).
  • The word “testament” means “covenant” or “contract”.
  • The Bible was written by over 40 different authors including farmers, shepherds, doctors, fishermen,  ministers and priests, philosophers, and kings.
  • Moses contributed the most books to the Old Testament.  He wrote the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch).
  • The Apostle Paul wrote the most books in the New Testament.  Fourteen different books, over half of the New Testament, were written by Paul.
  • Jesus is the English transliteration of the Greek name Iesus (meaning Yahweh saves or Jehovah is salvation).
  • It is estimated that the earliest biblical work, the first five books written by Moses,  dates from around 1450 BC although some believe that the book of Job, written by an unknown Israelite, was written around 1500 BC.  The most recent book in the Old Testament is Malachi which was written around 400 BC.
  • The most recent biblical work (Book of Revelation) dates to around 100 AD (following the death and resurrection of Christ).  The newest book in the New Testament is probably the book of James which was written around 45 AD.
  • The original works of the Bible were written in three different languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek (Koine).
  • Christ is not a name, but rather is a title.  When the Old Testament refers to the Messiah (in Hebrew), it is referring to the same “Christ” (in  Greek) mentioned in the New Testament.  Both Messiah and Christ mean anointed one.
  • The New Testament was canonized (becoming the writings accepted by Church leadership) very quickly after it was written, sometime before 375 AD.  The Old Testament was canonized long before Jesus appeared on Earth.
  • The first English translation of the Bible was made by John Wycliffe in 1382 AD.
  • The centermost verse in the Bible is Psalm 118 – “It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man.”
  • In Old Testament times, the Mediterranean Sea was called the Great Sea.
  • Two books of the Bible are named after women: Esther and Ruth.
  • A chariot imported from Egypt cost around 600 shekels of silver (1 Kings 10:29). That would be about $77,000. One shekel was 4 days wages.
  • Although we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25 (Christmas), the exact date of this birth is unknown. Many scholars put Jesus’ date of birth sometime in the winter or early spring.
  • The Bible was first printed in 1454 AD by Johannes Gutenberg (who invented the “type mold” for the printing press).
  • Jesus had several brothers and sisters including James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (his sisters were not named in the Bible).
  • The oldest near-complete manuscript of the Bible is the Codex Vaticanus which dates from around 325-350 AD.  Written on 759 leaves of vellum, it contains both the Old and New Testaments and is currently housed in the  Vatican Library.
  • Longest book in the Bible: The book of Psalms.  Shortest book (number of verses): 2 John.  Longest chapter: Psalm 119.  Shortest chapter: Psalm 117.  Longest verse: Esther 8:9.  Shortest verse: John 11:35.
  • The oldest person mentioned in the Bible is Methuselah who lived to be 969 years old (Genesis 5:27).
  • Two people in the Bible never died – Enoch, who walked with God and was no more and Elijah, who was caught up by a whirlwind into heaven.
  • The Bible is the best-selling book in history.  About 50 Bibles are sold every minute.  It is also the world’s most shoplifted book.
Sources: Minister Book, What Christians want to Know, Christian Talk