There are 31,102 verses in the Bible (well, the King James Version). An interesting site called TopVerses.com has sent a bot crawling around the web counting the number of times each verse has been referenced and "ranking" the most often quoted verses. Verses about life and death and salvation and murder and family and apocalypse and on and on...
Top of the list? You guessed it: John 3:16. Indeed the New Testament dominates the top citations. The top quote from the Old Testament is Genesis 1:26, coming in at rank 15.
I thought it might be interesting to check the rankings of the verses some people believe oppose homosexuality. Check it out:
#101: Leviticus 18:22
#127: I Corinthians 6:9
#331: Romans 1:26
#333: Leviticus 20:13
#2,271: I Corinthians 6:11
#3,080: Romans 1:27
#14,749: I Timothy 1:10
#15,895: Genesis 19:4
- Whereas the top verses in the Bible come from the New Testament, the most frequently cited anti-gay verse comes from the Old Testament. In spite of this fact, I was surprised to discover that the Old Testament story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (in Genesis 19) is the least-frequently quoted of the texts.
- The most frequently-quoted verses from the books of Leviticus and I Corinthians are the supposedly anti-gay verses above. And poor lonely Leviticus; it seems the book is referenced almost exclusively for opposing gay folks; aside from the two verses mentioned above, only two other Levitical verses rank in the top 1,000.
- Though I Corinthians 6:9 and I Corinthians 6:11 are separated by a single verse, the former is apparently much more popular than the latter. Why? Could it be due to the belief of some that 6:9 condemns gay men while some interpret 6:11 to offer them hope (to become straight)?
- Of all the verses listed above, all but one address male sexual behavior. Romans 1:26 is the only verse in the Bible that some believe mentions lesbianism. I found it curious that this verse is mentioned far more frequently than its next-door neighbor, Romans 1:27, which is concerned with men only.
I believe the Bible is a collection of inspired writings, but I don't believe any of its authors wrote inerrantly or accurately captured the character of God. The (all-male) writers of the Bible were every bit as flawed and fallible as you and I. Furthermore, the (all-male) church councils that selected the books of the Bible and defined its authority by majority vote were just as flawed and fallible as we are. Finally, the transmission of the Bible has been imperfect; the book we have today resembles but does not match the original biblical texts. Even if an infallible Bible once existed, we don't possess it today.
No, the heart and mind of God are something to be pursued in relationship, not intellectually concluded from analysis of others' documented experiences (i.e. Bible study). Perhaps in a future post I will articulate more clearly my thoughts on the Bible and why I am no longer an evangelical Christian.
For other kicks, check out the Bible net art "exegesis," which displays on a single image all the verses of the Bible. Verses cites most frequently appear darker. The java interface is kinda nonintuitive and buggy, but it's a cool site nonetheless.
Hat tip: I don't remember who; but someone tipped me off to these sites.