The OT Books’ Popularity

This post belongs to my “Web Popularity of Bible Books” series.  In this graph, I removed the outliers (Genesis and Daniel — see my previous post for reasons) and then I sorted the OT books by popularity. Here are my thoughts on the most popular books.

  • Psalms is used in songs, poetry and worship.  Psalms passages are pretty self-contained.  So I can understand their popularity.
  • Proverbs is full of wisdom aphorisms, and holy sound bites.  I can understand why Proverbs is popular.
  • Exodus is part of the whole “Origins Myth” and early history of the Jews and so I can see why it is top on the list.

But dear readers who know the Hebrew Scriptures well, please help me speculate on the others.  Here are my wonderings:

  • Isaiah: Why is Isaiah so popular compared to other prophets?  Is it the NT author’s using it to explain the foreshadowing of Jesus?  Is it the apocalyptic content?  (TWF’s summary)
  • Ruth:  Really?  What am I missing? (TWF’s summary)
  • Ecclesiastes:  I would have thought it would be more popular — shows my naiveté.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

2 responses to “The OT Books’ Popularity

  1. I did a little digging to answer the question about Isaiah. I searched for the times when the major prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, were referenced in anecdotes explicitly by name within the NT. I was surprised to find this score:

    19 – Isaiah
    3 – Jeremiah
    0 – Ezekiel
    1 – Daniel

    Isaiah is also the only one to be referenced outside of the Gospels; in Acts and Romans.

    The “book of Isaiah” is the only one of the prophets to get that phase used about it within the NT itself; first with the “book of the words of Isaiah” in Luke 3:4 (which Google should have filtered out) and the “Book of Isaiah” in Acts 8:28.

    I was quite shocked that Ezekiel never appeared.

    Ruth, alas, I don’t know why it’s so popular, other than for a case study as a female role model.

    Ecclesiastes, I think that tells it too much like it is, as opposed to telling the myth of how you’d want it to be.

    Nehemiah is a bit of a surprise to me, but, I have heard more than a few sermons mine material from its pages.

  2. @ TWF:
    Thanks for the digging on Isaiah! That was fascinating. I am really curious about Ruth. And as you see in my post today, we heard a sermon from Nehemiah today !! — must be God speaking to me.

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