What Are The Longest And Shortest Verses In The Bible?

The Bible, the sacred text of the world’s 2.3 billion Christians (per Pew Research Center), is divided up into chapters and verses — an addition that didn’t occur until centuries after the texts were written. As a study and/or reference tool, dividing the text up into manageable chunks makes perfect sense. Since different editions of the book are printed by different publishers, page numbers aren’t going to be helpful, and simply expecting a reader to skim until they get to the part that the teacher or preacher is referencing isn’t going to help, either. Instead, the reader can be directed to, for example, John 3:16, and they can find it quickly and easily.

But anyone who has studied the Bible can tell you that the division of the different chapters and verses can best be described as “haphazard.” New verses occur in the middle of sentences, and in many cases, the break is downright nonsensical. As such, some verses vary considerably in length, with some only a couple of words long, while others are almost whole paragraphs.

The shortest and longest verses in the Bible are…

The Bible has 31,102 verses, according to Just Word Ministries. And here are the shortest and longest of those verses.

According to Biola University, the shortest verse in the English Bible is John 11:35, coming in at just two words and nine letters: “Jesus wept.” However, the New Testament was written in Greek, and in the original language, that verse is 16 letters long: “Ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς.” The shortest verse in the original Greek is Luke 20:30, at 14 letters long: “καὶ ὁ δεύτερος.” In English, this roughly translates to “and the second.”

The longest verse in the Bible occurs in the Old Testament, according to Legit. The verse in question is Esther 8:9, which won’t be reprinted here because it’s, well, long — approximately 71 words, depending on which translation you’re using.

For the sake of thoroughness, the shortest verse in the Old Testament, according to Testimonio, is Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder.” And the longest verse in the New Testament, according to Got Questions, is Revelation 20:4. Further, it bears noting that the latter verse is longer in its original Greek (58 words) than the previously mentioned Esther 8:9 is in the original Hebrew (43 words).

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