Biblical mnemonics

Ps 117: the shortest chapter in the Bible.
Ps 119: the longest chapter in the Bible.
Ps 118: the middle chapter in the Bible.

Ps 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

1188/2 = 594.

There are 594 chapters before Ps 118 and 594 chapters after it if one includes the whole New Testament.

These are rather uncanny coincidences in view of the relatively late formulation of the chapter divisions in the Bible.

The Hebrew Bible has a different order of books, so these statistics apply only to the English Bible with its order of biblical books, but this is where it gets complicated and loses the simplicity of the above mnemonic.

Strictly speaking the middle chapter of the English Bible is Ps 117, but this is Ps 116 in the Hebrew Bible.  However if the English Psalms were numbered the same as the Hebrew Psalms, the middle chapter of the English Bible would be Ps 118, as in the simple mnemonic above.

So, one can remember 1. the middle chapter in the English Bible is also the shortest chapter in the Bible, but 2. to remember how many chapters are involved the mnemonic above carries more information.

There is greater disparity in calculating the middle verse of the Bible because of the different numbering of verses in the Psalms, where the Hebrew Bible sometimes makes the title of the Psalm a separate verse, whereas the King James Version incorporates the titles into the first verse.  Some websites claim that Ps 118:8 is the middle verse of the Bible, while others claim that the King James Version has an even number of verses and, on this reckoning, the two middle verses are Ps 103:1-2.

The Septuagint (LXX) version is an early Greek translation of the Old Testament. It numbers the Psalms differently from the Hebrew and English Bibles. As this blogpost is about mnemonics, for those who want to know the LXX number from the English number, simply remember that the LXX joins Ps 9 and Ps 10 together and splits Ps 147 in two, so between Ps 10 and Ps 147 just subtract one from the English Psalm number and you will have have the LXX number. If the Psalm has a title, you will probably have to add one to the verse for the correct verse number – for example, Ps 67:6 in the Hebrew and English Bible is Ps 66:7 in the LXX.

The shortest verse in the English Bible is “Jesus wept” Jn 11:35.  The Greek version of this text has three words, and the Hebrew version of Job 3:2 “And Job spake, and said” has three words also.

The Old Testament has 3 – 9 = 39 books

The New Testament has 3×9 = 27 books = 66 books in total.

  1. there is one God.
  2. there are two natures in Christ: His divine and human natures.
  3. there are three Persons in one Godhead: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
  4. there are four Gospels and the four corners of the Earth – north, south, east and west – suggest comprehensiveness.
  5. there are five books of Moses and five sections in the book of Psalms.
  6. six is reckoned to be the number of imperfection – and 666, the number of the beast Rev 13:18, is the apotheosis of religious imperfection.
  7. there are seven days in the week, and seven is the biblical number for perfection.
  8. eight is the biblical number of new beginnings: circumcision was on the eighth day and Christ’s resurrection was on the eighth day.

The Hebrew Old Testament has three sections; there are four Gospels in the New Testament, and the prophecy of Isaiah in the Old Testament is sometimes called ‘the fifth Gospel‘ because it has so much of Christ in it.

There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet.
There are 26 letters in the English alphabet.

One thought on “Biblical mnemonics

  1. Pingback: Titles in the book of Psalms – Donald's Thoughts

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