Unsurprisingly, the most popular book of all time has an interesting history. With thousands of translations, over forty original authors, and a two millennium history, let’s take a look at the trails, tribulations, changes, and status of the world’s most popular book.

The Bible:

Date of Publication: 1500 BC to 100 AD
Authors: 40 authors over the period of 1600 years
Note: On average 1 author every 40 years.

How it Stacks Up:

(number of copies printed compared to other famous books)

The Bible: 6 billion+
Quotations from Chairman Mao: 800 million+
The Qur’an: 800 million+
Xinhua Dictionary: 400 million+
Le Petit Prince: 200 million+
A Tale of Two Cities: 200 million+
The Lord of the Rings: 150 million+
The Book of Mormon: 120 million+
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: 107 million+
And Then There Were None: 100 million+
The Hobbit: 100 million+
Dream of the Red Chamber: 100 million+
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: 85 million+
The Da Vinci Code: 80 million+

Books, Chapters and Verses

66 books*/ 1,189 chapters/ 31,102 verses

Shortest Book:
3 John– 1 chapter or 299 words.

Shortest Chapter: Psalm 117– 2 verses
Shortest Verse: John 11:35– 2 words, “Jesus wept.”

Longest Book:
Psalms–150 Chapters or 43,743 words

Longest Chapter: Psalm 119– 176 verses
Longest Verse: Esther 8:9– 90 words.
Longest Word: Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:3)

Fact: The Bible didn’t have Chapters until Cardinal Huge de S. Caro added them in 1238. Robertus Stephanus added verse divisions in 1551.

*in the Protestant canon

A Work in Progress

100 million+ new Bibles are sold yearly[6]
98% of the world’s population have access to parts of or the whole Bible

Number of translations to new languages in progress: 1,300[2]
Number of languages with New Testament translation: 1,185
Total number of languages spoken in the world today: 6,900
Equals 2485 languages in translation
And 4415 to go

Thousands of editions of the Bible have been printed, copied, or released.

Most Popular Translations:

ESV–
Word for Word: Yes
Based on Earliest Greek and Hebrew Manuscripts: Yes
Publication Year: 2001
NLT–
Word for Word:No
Based on Earliest Greek and Hebrew Manuscripts: Yes
Publication Year: 1995
NKJV–
Word for Word: Yes
Based on Earliest Greek and Hebrew Manuscripts: No
Publication Year: 1963
NIV–
Word for Word: No
Based on Earliest Greek and Hebrew Manuscripts: Yes
Publication Year: 1978
KJV–
Word for Word: Yes
Based on Earliest Greek and Hebrew Manuscripts: No
Publication Year: 1511

Most popular book infographic