In my last post, I tried to find the best book in the Bible by summing up the number of good things (that I could find) in each book. When goodness is measured in that way, Proverbs is the winner, with 56 good passages.
But Proverbs is, as Bible books go, a fairly big book. So I repeated the analysis using as the measure of goodness the number of good things per 100 verses. With this metric, Ecclesiastes (17.12) is by far the best book in the Bible. (The next best, James, has less than half as many, 8.33.)
There's still a problem, though (as Jason Macker pointed out), with this measure of goodness. A book might have a few good things to say, but have twice as many cruel and intolerant ideas. How can the amount of bad stuff be accounted for in the goodness metric?
Well, here's the way I did it. As before, I totalled the number of good things in each book, but I subtracted the number of bad things. That way, I come up the book's "net goodness." (I totalled cruelty, injustice, intolerance, family values, women, and homosexuality to get the number of bad things, since the verses marked with these categories are all morally objectionable.)
Here's how it looks with this metric.
|Book||Net Goodness (good - bad)|
|Song of Solomon||-3|
So using this metric, Ecclessiates is the best book, with a net goodness of 36. The next best is Proverbs with 7.
What is surprising (to me anyway) is that these are the only two good books in the Bible. The other 64 are either neutral, with a net goodness of zero (Jonah, James, and 3 John), or bad (net goodness < 0).
But, as before, these values do not take into account the size of the book. To account for size, I found the net number of good verses per 100 verses. Here is the result, ranked from best to worst.
|Book||Net good per 100 verses|
|Song of Solomon||-2.56|
Once again, Ecclesiastes is the best, with over 16 net good things per 100 verses. The only other good book, as judged by this metric, is Proverbs, with less than one net good thing per 100 verses. All the other books in the Bible (including all the New Testament) are either no good or just plain bad.
(The overall average for the Bible is 9.02 net bad things / 100 verses.
See here for more "good stuff" analysis.)