What Are The Shortest Books In The Bible

When we think of books, we tend to imagine length, often quite dauntingly long. Surprisingly, though, not all books have to be long and a grand example of this lies within the Bible. The Bible, a beloved authoritative text held sacred by many, is made up of a rather eclectic selection of writing, including some astoundingly short books!

One of the most well-known of the shorter books in the Bible is the Second Epistle of John, commonally referred to as 2 John. This beautiful letter is thought to have originally been written to a certain Christian “elect lady” and her children as part of an early Christian movement and is reported to only be composed of 1 chapter that is only 13 verses in total. Being the briefest book in the entirety of the Bible, 2 John comes in at an iconic 253 words, making it the definitive winner for being the shortest book in the Bible.

Coming in at a close second is the epistle of Jude, the writer thought to be the half-brother of Jesus, which has only 25 verses that span across 1 chapter and totals around 465 words in total. The scope of the epistle is quite wide yet brief; Jude goes into a thoughtful exploration of several theological topics, commenting on the importance of faith, justice and the sanctity of the beliefs of the early Christians as a whole.

The Third Epistle of John, otherwise known as 3 John, is the third-shortest book in the Bible, only consisting of 1 chapter and 14 verses which come in at an impressive 342 words in total. It is thought to have been conposed by the same author as 2 John, an individual referred to as the elder, which has been thought to potentially be John the Apostle. 3 John is written as an active letter of commendation and regards the individual known only as Gaius as well as his hospitality and integrity.

With such a wide collection of books that make up the entirety of the Bible, and within that, a collection of books that can be considered “shorter books”, it’s interesting to see the stark contrast between some of the briefer content included within the text. With an array of material present within the Bible, from longer renowned books like Genesis to these briefer books, the Bible truly does contain a wonderfully concise selection of writing.

2 John vs 3 John vs Jude

2 John, 3 John, and Jude are oftentimes grouped together as the ‘shortest books in the Bible’, as they are the three that are the shortest in length. All three books are authored by someone referred to as ‘The Elder’, which is believed to be John the Apostle, and they are all letters written to specific individuals. The main differences between the three letters lie in who they were addressed to and what the main themes of the books themselves were.

2 John was addressed to a certain ‘elect lady’ and her children and it promotes a strong emphasis on love and fellowship. 3 John was addressed to a man known as Gaius, commending him for his hospitality and integrity. Jude, on the other hand, is written to multiple recipients and discusses themes such as faith, justice and the sanctity of the beliefs of the early Christians.

The main difference between the three books lies in their length. 2 John is the shortest of them all at only 13 verses and 253 words, making it the shortest book in the entire Bible. 3 John follows close behind with 14 verses and 342 words total, and Jude comes in at a length of 25 verses and 465 words total.

Purpose of the Shortest Books In The Bible

While the shortest books in the Bible may seem insignificant upon first glance, they can actually be quite revealing and powerful. These briefer books, like 2 John, 3 John, and Jude, all contain depth and useful insight into the Bible as a whole. Additionally, the brevity of these books may be an intentional effort to draw attention to how each one contains important messages in just a few words.

Furthermore, the simplest of messages in these books can have the most profound impact. For example, 2 John is a letter of encouragement that stresses the importance of love and fellowship within the Christian faith, while Jude emphasises the need to have faith and justice. Finally, 3 John praises integrity and hospitality in the Lord’s message.

The shorter books of the Bible offer up a powerful reminder that a simple, single message backed by authority can have a deep, lasting impact. Many of the shortest books focus on the need to act faithfully and positively in all that we do, no matter how brief they may be in terms of length.


Overall, the Bible is a stunningly diverse collection of writings, containing stories and letters that span from the shortest to the longest of lengths. The shortest books in particular, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude, are commendable for their brevity yet powerful messages that may be easilly overlooked. Oftentimes, it can be easy to judge a book by its length and discount a briefer one, however, it is important to remember than even the shortest of books can contain some of the most meaningful messages.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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