What Are The Shortest Books in The Bible?

By Charalampos •  Updated: 05/10/23 •  6 min read

The Bible is filled with sacred texts that offer invaluable wisdom and teachings, many of which are written in a metaphorical style.

In this article, we will explore some of the shortest books in the Bible and discuss their importance to Christians today.

The Book of Obadiah

The Book of Obadiah

One of the shortest books in the Bible is the Book of Obadiah. This book can be found in the Old Testament and it contains only one chapter, which is only 21 verses long.

Although the book is short, it’s considered an important prophetic text in the Orthodox tradition and is read as part of the liturgical cycle.

The Epistle to Philemon

The Epistle to Philemon is a part of the New Testament. This book has only one chapter and contains only 25 verses. The length of the book can be explained by the fact that it was a letter written by the Apostle Paul to Philemon. Overall some letters which are parts of the New Testament are short but convey a deep meaning.

The letter tells the message of forgiveness and reconciliation, which is important for Christianity and the Church. 

The Second Epistle of John

Second Epistle of John

The Second Epistle of John is the book of the New Testament and it’s one of the three Johannine epistles. This book also has one chapter and only 13 verses.

The second Epistle of John shows the importance of truth and love in the Christian faith. The book also tells us about obedience to God’s commandments, and it warns against false teachers. 

The Third Epistle of John

The Third Epistle of John is a part of the New Testament. It has only one chapter and 15 verses.

The letter was written by the apostle John and was addressed to a Christian named Gaius. The text encourages Gaius for his faithfulness and hospitality towards other Christians. The letter also supports the traveling preachers.

The Epistle of Jude

The Epistle of Jude is the book of the New Testament. It’s only one chapter long and has only 25 verses. The Book of Jude asks us to remain vigilant against false teachings and false prophets, that’s why despite the shortness of the book it’s considered important for us.

Understanding the Shortest Books of the Bible: What Are These Books About?

Shortest Books in The Bible

After we’ve seen the top shortest books in the Bible, we can know better what message they are speaking about.

The Book of Obadiah

The Book of Obadiah is a prophetic text that says about the judgment of Edom, a neighboring kingdom that was very hostile to Jews.

There were always conflicts between the two nations. For example, when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt, they wanted to find a passage through Edom’s territory but were refused (Numbers 20:14-21). 

Later, the Edomites allied themselves with other neighboring nations to attack Judah (2 Kings 8:20-22).

Obadiah prophesies that Edom will be punished for its sins against the people of Israel. The Edomites are accused of gloating over the destruction of Israel and of not only standing by as Israel was attacked but also participating in the looting of Jerusalem (Obadiah 1:10-14).

The Book of Obadiah tells us about the belief that God would bring justice to the world. The book also has several important messages for Christians, for example, it speaks about the importance of humility, the danger of pride, and the consequences of hatred and resentment.

The Epistle to Philemon

The Epistle to Philemon is a personal letter from the Apostle Paul to a man named Philemon, who was a slave owner. In the letter, Paul asks Philemon to forgive and welcome back a runaway slave named Onesimus, who had become a Christian. Paul asks Philemon to accept Onesimus not as a servant, but as a brother. 

This short letter has a big importance since it tells us about forgiveness and the importance of reconciliation in Christian relationships.

The Second Epistle of John

The Second Epistle of John speaks about the importance of truth and love in the Christian faith. The letter is addressed to the chosen lady and her children (2 John 1:1).

The book also warns us against false teachers who deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and His divinity. The author also asks us to believe in Christ, be faithful, and continue having the truth.

The letter additionally speaks about the importance of love and following the commandments of God.

The Third Epistle of John

The Third Epistle of John tells us the story of Gaius, who showed hospitality to traveling preachers. 

It speaks about an important idea of Christian brotherhood. All Christians should help and support each other, showing hospitality and generosity to people who are spreading the Gospel.

The letter also warns Christians about the dangers of pride and selfishness within the Christian community, which can destroy souls and faith.

The letter has warnings against a man named Diotrephes, who loves to be first but at the same time refuses to welcome traveling missionaries. This man is an example of pride inside the Christian community because of which it becomes harder to spread the Gospel. 

The author writes that Gaius shouldn’t behave like Diotrephes and that it’s better to follow the example of people who are doing good and proclaiming the truth (3 John 1:9-12).

The Epistle of Jude

The last book from the top is The Epistle of Jude which warns us against false teachings. It is a letter in the New Testament written by Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. 

It tells us that we should always resist the influence of people who want to lead us far from the truth.

These false teachers are described as immoral people, and they are accused of denying the authority of Christ.

The Book ends on a note of encouragement. The author asks his readers to be faithful and have strong faith. He also reminds them that God can keep them from stumbling (Jude 1:20-25).

Top 10 Shortest Books in the Bible by Word Count

The number of words may vary in length, depending on the translation, but here is a list of the top 10 shortest books in the Bible:

Book NameWord Count
3 John219
2 John245

Final thoughts

Now we know what are the top 5 shortest books in the Bible. Although some of them are really short letters, they are still considered very important texts in Christianity.

It’s also good to know that the length of a book doesn’t show its significance or importance to us. Each book has valuable teachings and messages that are still relevant and useful for us. The Bible is filled with deep wisdom, and since much is written in a metaphorical style, even one sentence can convey a huge meaning. 

Therefore, we shouldn’t pay attention to the fact that these books are short, because they also speak about important Christian qualities, allowing us to understand the whole essence of Christ’s teaching.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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