Scripture

Posts about specific passages of Scripture, their interpretation, meaning, and applicability through history.

Word Count for Each Chapter in the Bible

I recently sat down to work on a Bible reading plan for the coming year. There are many great plans out there but I want to outline a custom plan, for various reasons. I also want the length of daily readings to be fairly consistent, hence my interest in the word count for each chapter. Surprisingly, this information seems rather difficult to locate. I found this and this. Interesting stuff but not what I want. At the first link, comments from 2019 suggest others have had similar difficulty finding this information.

I also found that trying to understand methodologies for counting “words” is mind numbing. Fortunately, I don’t really care how “words” are counted, or about differences in original languages, translations, or anything else that may be relevant for other applications. Relative numbers are all I really need for developing a balanced plan.

Before getting too deep into a rabbit hole, I remembered a spreadsheet I put together a few years ago. I don’t know where I got all the data but it has every verse for five different public domain Bible translations (ASV, BBE, KJV, WEB, and YLT). Adding a few columns to calculate the word count, then a pivot table for totaling by chapter didn’t take very long. The formula I used to calculate the word count for each verse is here. The table below has the word count for each chapter (based on 66 books) and can be exported as a CSV.

Hopefully others will find this helpful. Merry Christmas!

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Sacred Tradition and Saint Paul’s Spoken Word

The concept of “Sacred Tradition” — extrabiblical church tradition, customs, and teaching that are equal in weight and authority to God’s Holy, infallible, and inerrant Word (i.e. that which is God-breathed, theopneustos in 2 Timothy 3:16) is one of the most divisive ideas to develop in church history. Proponents are quick to pit it against the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. However, they typically do so with a gross misunderstanding of what Sola Scriptura means. This often results in an ignorant, even dishonest implication that Sola Scriptura is a rejection of historical, church tradition as a valid and edifying source of authority in the Christian life and community. Mischaracterization aside, Scripture mentions “tradition” in both negative and affirming terms, though there is far more of the former. One of the few verses that speaks positively about unwritten tradition is 2 Thessalonians 2:15. It is also the one most “sacred tradition” proponents cite:

“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (ESV)

References

References
1Images from: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org. PAUL IN THESSALONICA AND BEREA, Acts 17:1–15. Free Bible images, www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/paul-thessalonica-berea. Accessed: August 17, 2022

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Simon Peter: Son of a Son of a Rock

Jesus and his disciples in Matthew 16 where the "rock" was associated with Simon Peter
Jesus and His disciples in Matthew 16, when the meaning of the “new” name that had previously been given to Simon Peter would have been made clear. (image source: Hole, William, 1846-1917, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Songs, sailors, and Simon’s sonship

Jimmy Buffett’s album “Son of a Son of a Sailor” along with it’s title track was released in 1978. About 12-13 years later, I was in High School and can remember purchasing the album as one of my first Compact Disc’s (CDs). I remember how eager I was to play “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” the song I had bought the CD for, but the title track is the first on the album and it was the first to echo through my speakers. In my minds eye, I can still see myself kneeling down, placing the disc in the tray of my Pioneer CD player, pressing play, and hearing the sound of those ship bells ring for the first time. The addition of Buffett’s guitar, Greg “Fingers” Taylor’s harmonica, and the rest of the instruments of the Coral Reefer band made for a masterful tune. Thus began an obsession with the iconic crooner that lasted at least two decades and included more than 40 visits to see Buffett in various venues around the country with fellow “Parrotheads.”

I have many fond memories of those years and have never really lost my appreciation for Buffett’s music, though my love for the tunes and the times cannot compare to love for the Lord and the wonder of His Word. Now, I will occasionally cycle through a few Buffett songs on the road with the window down on a warm sunny day, or maybe inside during winter when cabin fever sets in but reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word is a superior joy.

He certainly doesn’t appear to be a believer but Jimmy Buffett is well known for the Margaritaville “state of mind” (and corresponding song) and a beachcomber style he’s popularized, making over a half-billion dollar fortune in 50+ years. What many may not know is that he was raised a Roman Catholic and has alluded to his religious upbringing in song, books, and interviews, many times over the years. In a lesser known song (though most Parrotheads know it well) named “We are the People Our Parents Warned Us About” he begins by decrying: “I was supposed to have been a Jesuit priest…”

Getting back to “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” I recently read a blog post and commented with some observations I’ve made regarding Simon Peter’s name and Jesus’ use of the word “rock” in Matthew 16:18. Afterwards, it occurred to me there are a number of parallels one can draw between the famous Buffett song and Simon Peter. Buffett’s background and the importance of that verse in Roman Catholicism are unintentional irony, I’m sure, but they inspired me to write this.

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