How many chapters are there in the Bible?


By BibleAsk Team

Who Divided the Bible into Chapters and Verses?

Many of us have read parts of the Bible, or have at least navigated through its many books, chapters, and verses. At some point, while going through the pages, one must wonder how many chapters does the Bible have? For the most part, all Bibles have the same number of books, though some include additional books (see the apocrypha). But, across all books there is a fixed number of chapters, though some new translations have less or missing chapters. For this answer, we will discuss the King James Version (see Which Bible Version is the most reliable?)

When the books of the Bible were originally written, there were no chapters or verses. Each book was recorded without any divisions from the beginning to the end. The chapter and verse divisions were done for convenience. Thus, there is no inspirational basis for the breaks. The divisions of books of the Bible into smaller sections started in the fourth century A.D. Codex Vaticanus, a fourth century Greek manuscript, used paragraph divisions. And in the fifth century, Jerome divided Scripture into short passages, called pericopes.

The person responsible for dividing the Bible into chapters and verses is Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton put the modern chapter divisions into place in around A.D. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern. Since the Wycliffe Bible, nearly all Bible translations have followed Langton’s chapter divisions.

The Hebrew Old Testament was divided into verses by a Jewish rabbi named Nathan in A.D. 1448. Robert Estienne, who was also called Stephanus, was the first to divide the New Testament into standard numbered verses, in A.D. 1555. Stephanus used Nathan’s verse divisions for the Old Testament. From that time, starting with the Geneva Bible, the chapter and verse divisions used by Stephanus have been used into almost all the different Bible versions.

How Many Chapters Are There in the Bible (KJV)?

In the King James Version of the Bible (KJV), there are 1,189 chapters, with 929 chapters in the Old Testament and 260 in the New Testament. The Bible is also divided into 31,102 verses, with 23,145 verses in the Old Testament and 2,957 in the New Testament. All together, the Bible has more than 3 quarters of a million words (783,137) with 602,585 in the Old Testament and 180,552 in the New Testament.

SectionBooks   Chapters      Verses         Words
Old Testament39   929      23,145            602,585
New Testament27   260      7,957            180,552
Whole Bible66   1,189      31,102           783,137

Bible Versions Word Count

According to a study by Word Counter, the following is a list of the number of words in the different English Bible versions:

  • The King James Version (KJV): 783,137 words, though according to another source it says that the 1611 King James Bible has 788,280 words
  • New King James Bible (NKJV): 770,430 words
  • The New International Bible (NIV): 727,969 words
  • English Standard Version (ESV): 757,439 words
  • New American Standard Bible (NASB): 782,815 words

Bible Facts

  • The book with the most chapters is Psalms at 150 chapters, followed by Isaiah at 66 chapters
  • The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117 with only 2 verses which would also place it as the middle chapter of the Bible
  • The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119, with 176 verses
  • If we divide the Old Testament in two, we see the middle chapter being Job 29 and the middle chapter of the New Testament is Romans 13
  • Five books of the Bible just have 1 chapter, including Obadiah, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude
  • The most chapters in the New Testament books would go to Matthew and Acts – both at 28
  • The middle verse in the Bible is Psalm 118:8, which states: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
  • The verse in the middle of the Old Testament is 2 Chronicles 20:17. This verse says: “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”
  • Finally, the verse in the middle of the New Testament is Acts 17:17. This verse says: “Therefore disputed he [Paul] in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.”

The Miracle of the Bible

One of the significant miracles we see today is the Bible’s unity. There are 66 books that were written on three continents by 40 different people in three languages. These writers consisted of kings, priests, army generals, attorneys, shepherds, scientists, fishermen, and a physician. Even more, this took place over a period of about 1,500 years. 

The Bible is written on the most debated topics and by people who, in most cases, had never met each other. Yet, despite all this, these 66 books are in full harmony as if they were recorded by one mind. Therefore, this can only prove its divine origin. For, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). 

The Lord declares, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is the Word of God. It is the manual for human life. If people study it, the Holy Spirit will lead them to the truth and eternal life.

People and nations have tried to get rid of the Bible. However, they failed in their efforts. These people passed away but the Bible remains as the bestseller of all time and is in constant demand. “The word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25). The principles of God’s kingdom will endure as long as God Himself exists (Matthew 5:17, 18). “The word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). And it will accomplish His good plans and “prosper” (Isaiah 55:11).

Please check out our Bible Answers page to discover more of what the Bible has to say about various topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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