The longest chapter in the Bible, both in the number of verses and words, is Psalm 119, with 176 verses and approximately 2,445 words (depending on the English translation). Why is Psalm 119 so long? It is an acrostic poem using the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter is given a section, so Psalm 119 is divided into 22 sections. Each section has 8 verses, and each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter. For example, in the first section, all eight verses begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the letter א (aleph). Starting each line of poetry in the second section of Psalm 119 is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ב (beth).
Because of its acrostic structure, Psalm 119 is one of the few chapters of the Bible where the verse divisions are inspired by God. Other verse divisions in the Old Testament were assigned by a Jewish rabbi named Nathan in AD 1448. But Psalm 119 and other acrostic psalms are clearly divided into verses in the original Hebrew, due to their unique poetic structure.
What is also interesting about Psalm 119 is its focus on the Word of God. Nearly every verse contains a reference to the importance and value of God’s Word. Various synonyms are used for the Word, including the law of the Lord, statutes, precepts, decrees, and commands. It is fitting that the longest chapter in the Bible focuses on the significance of the Bible.
Based on the number of words in the NIV translation, the second longest chapter in the Bible is 1 Kings 8 (1,964 words in 66 verses). The third longest chapter in the Bible is Numbers 7 (1,896 words in 89 verses). The fourth longest chapter in the Bible is Deuteronomy 28 (1,829 words in 68 verses). The fifth longest chapter in the Bible is Leviticus 13 (1,628 words in 59 verses).
In the NIV New Testament, the longest chapter by number of words is Matthew 26 (1,603 words in 75 verses). Luke 1 is the longest by number of verses (1,462 words in 80 verses).