What is the shortest chapter in the NIV?

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By BibleAsk Team


The Shortest Chapter in the NIV

The shortest chapter in the NIV translation of the Bible is Psalm 117. It contains 2 verses and 17 words in the Hebrew language. Also, it is the middle chapter of the Bible. It is the 595th chapter, with 594 chapters before it and 594 chapters after it. 

RankChapterVersesWords (NIV)
1Psalm 117229
2Psalm 134353
3Psalm 131365
4Psalm 133368
5Job 25681
6Esther 10393
7Psalm 125595
8Psalm 1275103
9Psalm 155106
10Psalm 236112

Psalm 117

Although Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter, nevertheless it is glorious in its theme. The Psalmist says, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” 

Psalm 117 stands as a remarkable testament to the universal scope of God’s mercy and faithfulness. Despite its brevity, comprising only two verses, this psalm encapsulates profound truths about the character of God and the nature of His relationship with humanity.

The psalm begins with an exhortation to praise the Lord, addressing all nations and peoples: “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” (Psalm 117:1 NKJV). Here, the psalmist extends the invitation to worship beyond the borders of Israel, embracing the entirety of humanity. This inclusivity reflects the psalmist’s recognition of God as the Creator and Sovereign of all nations, deserving of praise and adoration from every corner of the earth.

The universality of God’s reign and the call for global worship echo prophetic passages throughout the Old Testament, anticipating a time when God’s salvation would extend to all peoples. For instance, Isaiah prophesies, “Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth'” (Isaiah 49:6 NKJV). Psalm 117 embodies this vision of God’s redemptive purpose encompassing all nations, inviting them to join in praise and thanksgiving.

The second verse of Psalm 117 provides the reason for this universal call to worship: “For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 117:2 NKJV). Here, the psalmist highlights two key attributes of God: His merciful kindness and His enduring truth.

Firstly, the psalmist celebrates God’s “merciful kindness,” which speaks to His abundant love, compassion, and grace extended toward humanity. Despite our shortcomings and failures, God’s mercy remains steadfast and unfailing. The psalmist acknowledges this divine attribute as the foundation of our praise, recognizing that God’s mercy transcends human limitations and encompasses all peoples, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or background.

Secondly, the psalmist affirms the enduring nature of God’s truth. Unlike the shifting sands of human opinion and ideology, God’s truth remains constant and unchanging throughout generations. His promises are sure, His word is reliable, and His faithfulness endures forever. This eternal truth provides a solid foundation for our faith and a source of hope in times of uncertainty and turmoil.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul quotes the words of the shortest chapter showing that, in Christ, God’s mercy has been extended to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. He says, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!”(Romans 15:11). Christ’s revelation of God’s truthfulness by His fulfillment of the promises made to Israel is also the basis of Father’s mercy to the Gentiles.

The Son of God was “a minister of the circumcision” so that not only Jews but also Gentiles might be redeemed. Therefore, Jewish Christians should accept Gentile converts and treat them as brethren. In like manner, Gentile Christians should respect and love Jewish believers, seeing that God’s mercy has come to them upon the rejection of the Jews as a nation when they crucified the Son of God (Matthew 21:43; 23:37-39).

In conclusion, Psalm 117 serves as a powerful reminder of the universal scope of God’s mercy and truth. It calls upon all nations and peoples to join in praise and worship, acknowledging God’s sovereign reign over the earth. As we reflect on the merciful kindness and enduring truth of the Lord, may our hearts overflow with gratitude and adoration, echoing the psalmist’s final exhortation: “Praise the Lord!”

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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