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The Center of the Bible

Years ago, I read that there are 31,173 verses in the Bible, and that the median verse, the verse at the absolute center of the Bible, is Psalm 118:8. The same source went on to say that “from the very middle of the Scripture we are reminded that, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

But when I recently checked this information in the popular urban legends website, Snopes.com, I found an alternative claim that there are actually 31,174 verses in the King James Version of the Bible. Snopes.com went on to say that because this is an even number, the actual center verse of the Bible would have to be a combination of the 15,587th and 15,588th verses. That would mean that the center verses of the Bible would be, “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9).

Snopes.com went on to confirm that on either side of “the center” lie the shortest and longest chapters of the Bible. Psalm 117 has 2 verses, and Psalm 119, which has 176 verses.

I don’t know of anyone who claims that the verse or chapter divisions of the Bible are themselves inspired. At the same time-for whatever reason-I find myself drawn to these three chapters. What seems so important to me is that, in a discussion of trivia, I find myself thinking once again about one of the most basic truths of the Bible– that will stand the test of time: It is better to trust in the Lord than to put trust in human leaders. In an election year, the thought seems especially significant.

Around this, I also find in Psalms 117 and 119 a focus that really is central to the Bible. Both of these chapters reflect hearts overwhelmed and changed by the profound truthfulness, faithfulness, and wisdom of the One who is Himself found at the center of what He has said.

In 2 verses, Psalm 117 says what Psalm 119 takes 176 verses to say. But the 176 verses reflect the obsession I long for, just as the 2 verses offer the simplicity I crave. With the psalmist, I long to celebrate for the rest of my life the truth, wisdom, faithfulness, and life-changing Spirit of the Lord, who wants His people to meditate day and night on what He has said. It is through His Word that He shows Himself faithful. Through His Word, His Spirit changes our perspective, redirects our thinking, quiets our fears, softens our anger, and restores our hope. Through His Word, He gives us insight into ourselves and others. Through His Word, He comforts our pain and renews our vision.

My guess is that this “center” resonates with “the center” of your heart as well.

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5 Responses to “The Center of the Bible”

  1. brownsfan1642 says:

    Yes. In a world full of disappointment and hurt, nothing is more important than knowing there really is a place (and Person) of trust and safety. In a world of uncertainty and fear, there is no greater comfort than knowing the One who can give us security of heart and peace of mind. To me, at least, that is part of that “center” of the heart you speak of.

  • B Murphy says:

    Isn’t it funny that trivia (trivial) holds a significant spiritual truth. I’ve received and shared this trivia in an e-mail several times. Each time serves as a reminder of how simple and perfect our life with the Lord is. This piece of trivia gives us a glimpse of the order of our Lord. This placement of scripture at the center of the bible sandwiched between the shortest and longest chapters raises our eyes and hands toward heaven to say “God you are awesome.”