- There are over 6 billion bibles printed today.
- There are 788,258 words in the Bible. As a side note, my Accordance bible software lists 790,868 words in the KJV.
- There are 31,102 verses (31,218 in Accordance) in the Bible.
- There are 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament). An easy way to remember this statistic is to count the number of letters in old and testament as well as in new and testament. Old equals 3, testament equals 9 and if you join those side by side you get 39 which is the number of books in the Old Testament. If you do the same with New Testament, you get the same 3 and 9, but this time multiply the two numbers for a sum of 27, which is the number of New Testament books.
- The shortest chapter is Psalms 117 and the longest is Psalms 119.
- The total chapters are 1,189.
Desiderius Erasmus produced one of the first Greek New Testaments in the modern era (1516) and titled it Novum Instrumentum omen, diligent ab Erasmo Roterodamo recognitum & emendatum… With a clever play on words, Erasmus decided to name his Greek New Testament the New Instrument, citing that a written testament is called an instrument. His view was not popular, and was later changed back to New Testament.1 He was a very controversial Dutch scholar, and priest during his day. He decided to use slightly differing words in his translation from the Greek into Latin, the common spoke tongue of the day. For instance, St. John’s gospel begins ‘In principio erat verbum…‘ in the Vulgate, but Erasmus chose to use ‘In principio erat sermo…‘ in his translation. Both mean word, and are translated from the Greek logos, but verbum is a grammatical entity while sermo is that entity being spoken.2 While this might seem trivial to us now, it held major theological connotations to theological concepts in Erasmus’s day.
Martin Luther, a German priest, first broke completely with the Catholic church in 1520. Having used Erasmus’s Novum Instrumentum, he determined to teach his doctrine of justification by faith alone. In 1521 he was excommunicated and went into hiding in Wartburg Castle near Eisenach in Thuringia. There he was said to have translated the New Testament into modern German.3
The first “Authorized or King James” version of the bible was printed by Christopher Barker who had an exclusive patent to print it given by Queen Elizabeth. This first edition was printed in 1611. In 1623 monopolies were abolished in England, which eventually opened up the printing of the KJV to others, most notably Oxford and Cambridge. Cambridge took advantage of this first in 1628 printing its first New Testament. The first Oxford Bible was printed in Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford in 1675.4
Robert (Stevens) Stefanus and Theodore Beza separately revised Erasmus’s original Greek text and Beza published his edition in 1565. A later edition of Beza’s work, the 1598 edition as well as the 1550 and 1551 editions of Stephanus’s were used by the editors of the 1611 Authorized or King James Version. Later, in 1624, the Elzevir brothers published their revision of the Greek text at Leyden and in his preface to the 1637 edition said “Textum ergo babes, nunc ab omnibus receptum…” meaning the text received by all denominations, branches, peoples, languages, etc… thus the received text or Textus Receptus was coined.5
Thus a brief introduction to the birth of the King James Version of the Bible. This version has been the most popular and most widely read and memorized version of the Holy Scriptures, and is the version I will be quoting from during the remainder of the Bible study.
Our method of interpreting the Bible is defined by Bernard, in Understanding God’s Word: An Apostolic Aproach to Interpretting The Bible, and as such, is quoted here: “… to identify and examine their presuppositions and to approach the Bible with an attitude of learning.”6 This is the way I will be approaching our Bible study. In scholarly circles, this method is known as the hermeneutical spiral. It boils down to this: 1. Start with an assumption. 2. Read the text. 3. Adjust our assumptions. 4. Re-read the text. 5. Adjust our assumptions. We continue like this until it is no longer possible to adjust our assumptions (theology) without going outside of the spiraling inward towards the truth that we’ve already done. In this manner, we zero-in on the true meaning of the Scriptures.
Our next lesson will begin with an overview of the Old Testament, and then we will eventually get into each book of the Bible as we study the Scriptures.
1. De Hamel, Christopher. Bibles of the Protestant Reformation. The Book. A History of the Bible. Chapter 9, p 225. Phaidon Press Limited, 2001.
2. De Hamel, Christopher. Bibles of the Protestant Reformation. The Book. A History of the Bible. Chapter 9, p 226. Phaidon Press Limited, 2001.
3. De Hamel, Christopher. Bibles of the Protestant Reformation. The Book. A History of the Bible. Chapter 9, p 228. Phaidon Press Limited, 2001.
4. De Hamel, Christopher. The English and American Bible Industry. The Book. A History of the Bible. Chapter 10, p 248. Phaidon Press Limited, 2001.
5. Trinitarian Bible Society. Preface. H KAINH ΔIAΘHKH. 7.5M/06/05 The Bath Press, Bath. Tyndale House, Dorset Road, London, England.
6. Bernard, David. Principles of interpretation 1. Understanding God’s Word: An Apostolic Approach to Interpretting the Bible. Chapter 2, p 38. Word Aflame Press, 2005.