The Bible’s Favorite Words

This week I compiled a list of the top 10 most frequent words for various books and divisions of the Bible. I did a little editing, taking out extremely common words like “thing,” but I think the final lists bear out some intriguing trends. Most of them are pretty similar, but I think the small differences are rich in meaning—check them out:

Whole Bible:

  1. Lord
  2. God
  3. Son
  4. King
  5. People
  6. Man
  7. Israel
  8. Land
  9. Jesus
  10. Made

Old Testament:

  1. Lord
  2. God
  3. King
  4. Son
  5. People
  6. Israel
  7. Men
  8. Land
  9. Made
  10. David

Genesis:

  1. God
  2. Father
  3. Lord
  4. Jacob
  5. Son
  6. Joseph
  7. Land
  8. Abraham
  9. Years
  10. Wife

Books of the Law (besides Genesis):

  1. Lord
  2. Moses
  3. Offering
  4. God
  5. People
  6. Land
  7. Israelites
  8. Aaron
  9. Shall
  10. Priest

Major Prophets:

  1. Lord
  2. People
  3. King
  4. Land
  5. Israel
  6. God
  7. Man
  8. Declares
  9. Son
  10. Sovereign

Minor Prophets:

  1. Lord
  2. God
  3. People
  4. Almighty
  5. Land
  6. Israel
  7. House
  8. Nations
  9. Declares
  10. Jerusalem

New Testament:

  1. Jesus
  2. God
  3. Man
  4. Lord
  5. Christ
  6. Son
  7. People
  8. Father
  9. Spirit
  10. Law

Gospels:

  1. Jesus
  2. Man
  3. Son
  4. God
  5. Father
  6. Disciples
  7. People
  8. Lord
  9. Replied
  10. Heaven

Gospel of John:

  1. Jesus
  2. Father
  3. Man
  4. God
  5. World
  6. Disciples
  7. Jews
  8. Son
  9. Believe
  10. Truth

Words of Jesus:

  1. Man
  2. God
  3. Father
  4. Come
  5. One
  6. Heaven
  7. Kingdom
  8. Lord
  9. World
  10. See

Romans:

  1. God
  2. Law
  3. Christ
  4. Sin
  5. Lord
  6. Faith
  7. Man
  8. Jesus
  9. Spirit
  10. Righteousness

Paul’s Epistles:

  1. God
  2. Christ
  3. Lord
  4. Jesus
  5. Spirit
  6. Faith
  7. Man
  8. Law
  9. Love
  10. Brothers

Revelation:

  1. God
  2. Earth
  3. Angel
  4. Seven
  5. Great
  6. Throne
  7. Beast
  8. Voice
  9. Lamb
  10. City

There’s a lot of interesting stuff here, and I can’t unpack all of it. A few things to notice:

  • The prevalence of non-obvious words across the Bible like “son,” “king,” and “made”—also notice the focus on Israel as a people and their land
  • In the Old Testament, we naturally see kings grow in prevalence and the inclusion of the greatest king, David
  • Genesis focuses in on certain figures and on the relationship between Father and Son
  • In the Law, we see the ceremonial code show its face with words like “offering” and “priest”—we also see the common word “shall,” common in imperatives
  • In the Major Prophets, we see an emphasis on the people of God as well as the Lord’s sovereignty
  • In the Minor Prophets, we are more concerned with geography and the role Israel plays among the nations
  • Once we hit the New Testament, as you’d expect, there is an increase in “Jesus” and “Christ,” as well as discussions of “Spirit” and “Law”
  • Across the Gospels, we see Jesus making disciples and answering lots of questions
  • It’s interesting in John, that “Son” is less prevalent—there is also an increased focus on the “World” and the cosmic scale
  • When we look specifically at Jesus, we see his two natures at the top: “Man” and “God”—we also see a reliance on the Father and repeated reference to “heaven” and the “kingdom” to come
  • Romans, of course, loves talking about the “Law,” “sin,” and “righteousness”
  • When compared to his letters overall, we see that Paul has increased focus on his brothers in the distant churches as well as “Spirit” over “Law”
  • And then Revelation has Revelation-y words
  • “Made” is an interesting word that pops up, possibly suggesting an emphasis on creation, both by God and humanity
  • Throughout “man” and “men” appear—this both testifies to the Bible’s focus on mankind’s relationship to God as well as the patriarchal nature of the text

This sort of analysis shouldn’t count for much. It gives us vague indicators of what is most discussed in these parts of Scripture, but it can’t capture the nuances of their respective contexts. Still, I think we can learn something from glancing over these lists and familiarizing ourselves with what the Bible chooses to talk about most.

If you want to look more in depth at some of these trends, check out the tools linked below, or if you are interested in more sophisticated tools, send me a message and I’ll help you find what you need.

Word Cloud Generator

Word Cloud Viewer

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