Whether you know the Bible like the back of your hand or are looking to learn something new, busting out this trivia at your family Christmas party will keep guests of all ages entertained. Play some cheerful Christian tunes in the background, slip into some comfy Christmas jammies, and kick off what's sure to be a great night.
The English word for the Good Book is "bible," which is derived from the Latin word 'biblia' or the Greek word "byblos. According to the Encyclopedia of Britannica, byblos traces to the Phoencian port city of Gebal, which the Greeks called Byblos. One of the oldest cities in the world, Byblos was a hub for papyrus, a thick paper used by ancients for writing. The Greek name for papyrus was 'byblos,' which linked the city with the modern word.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Bible is the best-selling and most widely distributed book in the entire world. Though it's impossible to know exactly how many have been sold over the last 3,000+ years, Guinness estimates somewhere around 5 trillion.
It may or may not come as a surprise to you that China is the largest producer of Bibles in the world, as they've been the largest exporter of goods since 2009. The country exports Bibles to 70 other countries thanks to a partnership between the Amity Printing Company and United Bible Societies, who have distributed more than 160 million Bibles as of March 2017. That number may not rise as quickly as first anticipated though — CNN reports that earlier this year, Beijing pulled Bibles from online stores like Amazon in an effort to control religion.
Although Jesus' life and teachings are a central aspect of the Bible, it's construction actually began many years before his birth. The Old Testament, which was the original Hebrew Bible, is a compilation of many sacred Jewish scriptures that were written between 1200 and 165 BC, according to BBC.
Filled with letters, stories, songs, and poetry spanning the course of hundreds of years, the Bible is essentially an entire library. According to BBC, the Old Testament containing Jewish scripture and the messages of Moses has 39 books, while the New Testament has 27 books focusing on the life and teachings of Jesus.
The Book of Psalms is a collection of 150 lyrical hymns in the Old Testament that were written between 1400-450 BC. It's one of the only two Old Testament books (Proverbs is the other) to contain the work of multiple authors, according to the Catholic News Agency, including David, Solomon, Asaph, and countless others.
With just two verses, Psalm 117:1 is short and sweet, calling on mankind to praise the name of the Lord, according to Bible Study Tools. The shortest verse, on the other hand, comes from John 11:35, which simply states, "Jesus wept."
Reading this ancient book takes you through such a large chunk of history. Its messages and stories were initially passed by word and then recorded by scribes, leaving us with a 788,280-page book that's been translated into more than 600 languages.
The Old Testament, which is the Hebrew Bible, was canonized during the 1st century C.E. Though scholars are not exactly certain when Jesus was born, many believe it's somewhere around the 4th century B.C. After his life, death, and resurrection, many of his followers tirelessly scribed his messages, translating them into various languages and spreading them to other civilizations.
An attempt to compile Jesus' teachings into what's known today as the New Testament didn't happen until 2nd century A.D. Rome. A Turkish businessman and church leader named Marcion suggested a distinction between the Old and New Testaments, which was highly controversial at the time and even led to his ex-communication from the Church. Years later, around 200 A.D., the Muratorian Canon was compiled, which is the oldest known list of books resembling the modern New Testament. Then, in the 5th century, all Christian churches came together and acknowledged an official Biblical canon, which is the Holy Book containing the Old and New Testaments that you see today.
With a book that's been translated into so many different languages, it's not surprising that there were various interpretations of meaning throughout the course of history. According to NPR, researchers at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary have combed through some of the earliest versions of the New Testament and recorded over 17,000 pages of variations to the text.
One interesting 17th century Bible issued by publisher Robert Baker accidentally wrote the 7th Commandment as, "Though shalt commit adultery," encouraging people to cheat on their spouses. According to Reader's Digest, about 1,000 copies of the Sinner's Bible — also known as the Adulterous Bible or the Wicked Bible — were distributed before anyone had noticed.
The Gutenberg Bible was the first edition to be produced with a moveable-type printer throughout the 1450s, according to Reader's Digest. A copy sold to Japanese bookseller Maruzen Co. Ltd for a whopping $5.4 million, and to this day it holds the record for the most expensive Bible ever sold.
Don't worry, not all copies of the Bible cost millions. In fact, you can get one for free. Stop by your local parish and there's a good chance you'll be able to grab a copy, or the United States Bible Society, as they promise to send a free Bible to anyone in need. All you have to do is fill out a simple online form and your holy book will arrive in about 30 days.
If you're on the go and in need of some inspirational reading, you can download the The Bible App by YouVersion. They even have a kid's version available for your little ones.
OK, not really, but that teeny tiny dot that's no larger than the tip of a ball point pen is indeed a Bible. According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa managed to place 1.2 million letters of the Old Testament onto this miniature silicon disk. However, you'll have to magnify the font about 10,000 times to read the contents. If you're interested in seeing this famous mini Bible, it's on display at the Israel Museum.
If anyone was determined to read this 788,280-page book straight through, it would take you 43.79 hours, according to a graphic by Personal Creations. Turns out that's about half of the time it'd take the average person to get through George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, aka Game of Thrones, so it's not the biggest book on the market.
According to a 2017 report commissioned by the American Bible Society, women are 20% more likely to read the holy book than men. Another fun fact: 20% of the entire U.S. population engages with the Bible at least four times a week.
Not everyone is a fan of the Holy Book. The American Bible Society report also found that a large percentage of U.S. adults are skeptical of its teachings, with 19% of adults noting that they believe the Bible to be another book written by men with their own advice. It's also reported that 78% of Bible skeptics believe that the Bible was written to manipulate or control other people.
Published by King James I of England in 1611, the King James Version is the most popular Bible in the U.S., Statistica reported in 2017. The New International Version and English Standard Version are two other popular interpretations.
Can you even think of a word that has 18 letters? The winner for the longest word in the Bible is none other than Maher-shalal-hash-baz. According to Bible Study Tools, the word (found in Isaiah 8:1) refers to the symbolic name that Isaiah was commanded to write on a tablet to indicate a future attack on Damascus and Samaria by the king of Assyria.