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What’s in a Bible?

What’s in a Bible?

The Bible has been in the news this week. It is important to many of us as a source of guidance, comfort, revelation, and conversion; a word from God.

So what is in your Bible?

Obviously, translations vary, so all counts are approximate, but a completely unscientific but prayerful scan of word count websites and Strong’s Concordance suggests that in an average Bible:

words relating to humility might number around 46

words relating to domination might account for around 50

words about breath (this one surprised me) might account for around 55

repent/ance more than 100

words of truth might take up 232

words of mercy maybe 250

justice might take up anything from 200-1576 words

the word peace perhaps 428

the word life around 450

and words of love appear up to 810 times

by an unscientific survey of an average, every day Bible.

Several years ago, researching the translation of William Tyndale for a sermon, I discovered that the man martyred in Antwerp for the heresy of translating the Bible into a language I might recognize is credited with conjuring the word “beautiful,”* which occurs a couple of dozen times, and carries the weight of the Gospel embodied.

*C.S. Lewis, English Literature in the Sixeenth Century, Excluding Drama (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1954), 188

The Revd Rosalind C Hughes is Rector of the Church of the Epiphany in Euclid, Ohio, and author of AFamily Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (April 2020, Upper Room Books). She blogs at over the water /


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Robin Garr

The frequency of “breath” is not surprising. The Hebrew “ruakh” also means “spirit,” first appearing right there at the beginning of Genesis and frequently thereafter.

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