So I decided to search out the matter for myself in Scripture, in order to see what topics Jesus mostly spoke about. First I manually searched the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation, and developed a list of words and phrases representing 130 major and minor topics Jesus spoke about.
Then using e-Sword, an electronic Bible software program, I counted the verses in those six books of the Bible in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), where Jesus used those words or phrases (all counts are estimates). The results of my analysis are in the table below (with the total verse-counts for the top ten topics bolded in the right-hand column), followed by my comments and conclusions at the end of the article.
|Topic||Total Number of Verses Where Jesus Mentioned Topic|
|God (166) verses spoken by Jesus containing the word "God." [Please note: These were not necessarily teachings about God. However, if you add to these verses all the instances where Jesus spoke about the Father (61), Himself (117), and the Holy Spirit (32), that adds an additional 210 verses, which would bring the total to 376 verses altogether.]||376|
|Heaven (66), the temple of My God, the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, Kingdom of heaven, kingdom of God, kingdom (101), Paradise (2), My Father’s house (1), throne or thrones (6), Life (70), that age (1), the age to come, eternal life (23), find it (3).||273|
|Hell (12), destruction (1), pit (3), Judgment (21), weeping and gnashing of teeth (7), on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust (2), cut it down (2), perish (10), slay them in my presence (1), thrown out, thrown away, thrown into the fire, thrown into the furnace, or thrown into prison (10), outside (1), outer darkness (3), burned (3), fire, eternal fire, unquenchable fire (13), fiery (2), furnace (4), worm (3), I will also deny him (1), denies (2), lose (10), woe (27), torturers (1), taken away (11), depart (3), I do not know you (1), depart from me (3), eternal punishment (1), condemned (3), condemn (4), condemnation (3), ashamed (2), your soul is required of you (1), erase his name from the book of life (1).||172|
|Make disciples (1), be My witnesses (1), until you leave that town (1), whatever city or village you enter (1), sent (76), send out (2), lost (13), sheep (29), preach, preaching, preached (14), going through the cities of Israel (1), sowing seed (1).||140|
|Son of Man (80), Son of David (1), King of the Jews (3), Christ (11), Lord said to my Lord (3), Shepherd (9), God’s Son (4), the Way (1), I am the Alpha and the Omega (1), the first and the last (3), the beginning and the end (1), the root and the descendant of David (1), the bright Morning Star (1).||117|
|Prayer, pray, and praying (33), ask and asking (30), seek and seeking (36), knock, knocks, and knocking (6), watch (11).||116|
|Faith (30), believe (74).||104|
|Love (57), compassion (8).||65|
|My Father (48), Your Father (3), heavenly Father (7), O Father (1), righteous Father (1), the Father (1).||61|
|Deeds (25); work, works (21), workers (2), does the will of God (3), and acts on them (2), obey, observe, keep My word (2), kept the word (1), kept My Word (1), keep the commandments (1), keep My commandments (2), that slave whom his Master finds doing so when He comes (1)||61|
|Hear (53), hearing (6).||59|
|Coming of the Son of man (3), the Son of Man coming (4), which day your Lord is coming (1), that day and hour no one knows (2), the master of that slave will come on a day (2), the master of the house is coming (1), He comes (9), He should come (1), kingdom come (2), coming on the clouds (1), the day that the Son of Man is revealed (1), the days of the Son of Man (2), when the Son of Man comes (2), will the Son of Man be in His day (1), I will come (2), I am coming (7), until I come (4), come on you suddenly (1), one will be taken (5).||51|
|My Name (28), Your Name (9), the Name of the Lord (2), the Name of the only begotten Son of God (1), My Father’s Name (2), the Name of My God (1), His Name (1), My New Name (1), the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (1).||45|
|Devil (5), Beelzebul (4), satan (16), evil spirit (2), unclean spirit (4), driving out demons, drive out demons, casting out (10).||41|
|Heart (40), hearts (1).||41|
|Money (11), wealth and wealthy (8), riches, rich man, rich (18).||37|
|Command, commanded, commandment (35)||35|
|Holy Spirit (12), Spirit of the Lord (1), Spirit of truth (3), Spirit of God (1), Spirit of your Father (1), the Spirit (13), the promise of My Father (1).||32|
|Sin (14), sinned (3), sinner(s) (14), sinful (1)||32|
|Glory (22), glorify (7), glorious (2)||31|
|Clean, unclean, uncleanness (24), defile (7).||31|
|Forgiveness, forgiven, and forgiving (30)||30|
|His own crucifixion, crucify (2), death (2), rejected (5), killed (8), suffer (7), condemn (1), lifted heel (1), betray me (4).||30|
|Abraham (17), Isaac (5), Jacob (5).||27|
|Children and child (27)||27|
|Persecution, persecutions, and persecute (3), persecuting Me (6), brought before governors (1), flog (1), synagogue (with reference to persecution - 6), arrest (3), hate you (3), kills you (1), kill you (1).||25|
|Hypocrites and hypocrisy (20), leaven of the Pharisees (4).||24|
|Follow Me (21)||21|
|Reward (15), treasure in heaven (4), treasures in heaven (1), I will give (5), you will be repaid (1).||21|
|Repent, repents, repented, and repentance (21)||21|
|Word of God (7), Scripture (13).||20|
|Blind (18), hidden from your eyes (1), you did not recognize (1)||20|
|Overcome, overcame, overcomes (8), perseverance (5), endure, endures, endured, endurance (6)||19|
|Saved (11), save (6)||17|
|Worrying, worries, and those who worry (17)||17|
|Sign, signs (16)||16|
|Adultery (11), fornications (2), immorality (3)||16|
|John the Baptist (3), of John (3), messenger (2), Elijah (7)||15|
|Rejoice (13) and rejoicing (1)||14|
|End of the age (4), tribulation (7), distress (1), that hour which is about to come upon the whole world (1)||13|
|Heal, healed (11), cures (1), sickness (1)||13|
|Servant (7), serving (1), greatest (3), slave of all (1), service (1)||13|
|Giving (1), gave, give to charity (1), put in more than all the contributors to the treasury (1), out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on (1), offering (8)||12|
|Chose, chosen, elect (12)||12|
|Baptized, baptizing (5), baptism (6)||11|
|Angel (8), angels (2)||10|
|Deny Me, denies Me, denied My name, or deny My faith (9)||9|
|Mercy (6) and being merciful (3)||9|
|Taxes, “drachma” (2), Caesar (5)||7|
|His own blood (7)||7|
|Few who find it (1), laborers are few (1), workers are few (1), few are chosen (4)||7|
|Divorce, divorces (7)||7|
|False prophets, prophetess (6)||6|
|Poor (3), poverty (3)||6|
|Last shall be first (1), first will be last (5)||6|
|Thefts (2), steal (4)||6|
|Resurrection of the righteous (5)||5|
|Humble, humbles (5)||5|
|Reconciled (1), your brother sins (4)||5|
|Key, keys (4)||4|
|Worth more than sparrows (4)||4|
|Water + life (1), drink + water (1), living water (2)||4|
|False witness (3)||3|
|Fall away (2), fallen (1)||3|
|Unity (1), one flesh (1), that they may all be one (1)||3|
|Vows (1) and swear (2)||3|
|Tithe, tithes (3)||3|
|Fear God (2), fear the One (1)||3|
|Evil thoughts (2), thinking evil (1)||3|
|Sons of God (2), sons of your Father who is in heaven (1)||3|
|Born again (2)||2|
|Narrow gate (1), narrow door (1)||2|
|Resist or resisting evil people (2)||2|
|No home, nowhere to lay His head (2)||2|
|His own resurrection, Raised up (2)||2|
|Two or three (2)||2|
|Wash his feet (1), wash one another’s feet (1)||2|
|One thing necessary (1)||1|
|Going the extra mile (1)||1|
|Being perfect (1)||1|
|Giving dogs what is sacred and pearls to pigs (1)||1|
|Multiplication, increased (1)||1|
|Saul of Tarsus (1)||1|
I understand that some verses recorded in more than one of the Gospels refer to the same incident, and someone may say this is double counting. But the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of Scripture, and even these redundancies were inspired. Repetition is a proven method of teaching, and not all topics are repeated in the synoptic Gospels, which proves that there was a reason why some were repeated. Moreover, since I applied the same standard or method of counting to all topics, it is an equitable method of estimating. This method may not give us the precise number of times our Lord spoke or taught on each topic, but it does give us an estimate – an order of magnitude, which allows us to rank each topic in relation to one another.
Furthermore, I did not merely accept the total number of results for a word or phrase in each computerized Bible search. I visually scanned the search results to try and get an accurate estimate of the number of verses spoken only by Jesus. Then I did not even count all the verses in which Jesus spoke that particular word or phrase, but often filtered out results that were not relevant to the topic. For example, when I searched for the word "condemn," I did not count every verse where Jesus used this word. I did not count the instances where He said that the scribes and Pharisees would condemn Him to death. This same method of counting was used for all topics, in order to avoid any artificial inflation of the totals for each one.
Also in Revelation, only the words that Jesus spoke were counted. These are primarily in the first three chapters and the last chapter. However, technically the entire book of Revelation is “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place.” (Rev 1:1a). You see, the opening verse of that book says, "He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John" (Rev 1:1b). So although the Lord sent His angel to communicate these words, they were His words, and it was all His revelation that God gave to Him. That means all topics covered in Revelation were from Jesus, although they were not all spoken directly by Him. There are many verses about God, heaven, hell, the lake of fire, the pit, worship, end times, the Great Tribulation, plagues, judgments, wrath, woes, the Lord Jesus Christ and His soon return, witnesses, the kingdom of God, the harvest, the devil, false prophets, righteousness, deeds, and eternal judgment. These would increase the total number of verses we would need to count for those topics in this analysis, and would help to further prove my point about their frequency. However, none of these verses that are part of the revelation of Jesus Christ were counted, unless they were spoken by Jesus.
Major Topics That Jesus Spoke About
I mentioned in my opening of this article that I wanted to confirm whether Jesus spoke more about eternal damnation than any other topic. Through this exhaustive study, I confirmed that my thesis was a fairly close approximation. However, it is more accurate to say that there are more verses in the Bible that record Jesus speaking about eternal damnation than on any other single topic, except God and heaven.
God and Heaven
Without any question, He mentioned and taught about God more than any other topic. It should be no surprise that God’s Son came to earth and mostly instructed us about God. After this, He spoke about the glorious place where God lives with His holy angels, and all His saints, those holy ones, who love Him and have been made perfect. He used expressions to describe this place like “heaven,” “the temple of My God,” “the city of My God,” “the new Jerusalem,” “kingdom of heaven,” “kingdom of God,” or simply “kingdom,” as well as “Paradise,” “My Father’s house,” “throne,” “thrones,” “life,” “eternal life,” “find it,” “that age,” and “the age to come.” This is the beautiful place He invited us to go and spend eternity with Him, where all the saints will worship Him and God, His Father, forevermore.
However, He spoke almost as much about eternal damnation. Besides using the word “hell” itself (Greek, gehenna), He used many other expressions like “destruction,” “pit,” “judgment,” the place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “on whomever it falls,” “it will scatter him like dust,” “cut it down,” “perish,” “slay them in my presence,” “thrown out,” “thrown away,” “thrown into the fire,” “thrown into the furnace,” “thrown into prison,” “outside,” “outer darkness,” “burned,” “fire,” “eternal fire,” “unquenchable fire,” “fiery,” “furnace,” “worm,” “I will also deny him,” “lose,” “woe,” “torturers,” “taken away,” “depart,” “I do not know you,” “depart from me,” “condemned,” “condemn,” “condemnation,” “ashamed,” “your soul is required of you,” “erase his name from the book of life,” and “eternal punishment.” These expressions all represent the eternal wrath of the Holy One against wickedness and lawlessness (sin). They all express the perfect holiness of God, Who in His great love for mankind is warning us not to go to that terrible place.
Evangelism, His Divine Identity, Prayer, Faith, Love, the Father, and Good Deeds
After these top three topics (God, heaven, and eternal damnation), then he spoke about preaching the gospel (i.e., evangelism) and making disciples. The next major topic He spoke about was His own divine identity, which He disclosed using various titles. After that the next major topic was prayer. After that one, faith was a major topic. Love was one of His top ten themes, along with mercy, forgiveness, and compassion. The heavenly Father was often upon His lips, in part because of His great love for the Father, and His total dependence upon Him.
He spoke a lot about doing deeds and works, using expressions like "does the will of God," "acts on them," "obey," "observe all that I commanded you," "keep My word," "kept the word," "kept My Word," "keep the commandments," "keep My commandments," and "that slave whom his Master finds doing so when He comes." He taught that “…those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”
After these top ten topics, then came His constant emphasis on hearing His Word, which ranked eleventh without combining it with other expressions.
The Return of Jesus Christ
His Second Coming was the next major topic, ranking twelfth on the list! He spoke about it quite often, using various expressions like "the coming of the Son of man," "the Son of Man coming," "which day your Lord is coming," "that day and hour no one knows," "the Master of that slave will come on a day," "the Master of the house is coming," "He comes," "kingdom come," "coming on the clouds," "the day that the Son of Man is revealed," "the days of the Son of Man," "when the Son of Man comes," "will the Son of Man be in His day," "I will come," "I am coming," "until I come," "come on you suddenly," and specifically referred to the rapture saying, "one will be taken." And when He spoke about it, He often said it would happen suddenly, unexpectedly, quickly, soon, and without delay. He emphasized the need to be ready for it. Yet so few today ever preach or teach about His soon return.
The Name of the Lord, Power, Authority, the Heart, Children, Sin, and Repentance
And He spoke a lot about the Name of the Lord, which ranked as His thirteenth most frequent topic, including the Father’s Name, Jesus’ Name, and the Name of the Holy Spirit. Power and authority were not major themes, but they did come up often, as did the matters of the heart, and children. He preached a lot against sin, naming many sins specifically, and preached that men should repent, telling them not to sin any more.
Since He Himself said, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of,” we know what His heart was full of, based on the things He said. And those things He spoke about most of all were the things that His heart was overflowing with the most.
He never once mentioned the word grace publicly, *but only once privately in answer to the apostle Paul's prayer about his thorn (2 Co 12:9), and that was not about grace for salvation. Yet He was full of grace (Jn 1:14), and both grace and truth were realized through Him (Jn 1:17). So while He may not have spoken publicly about it at all, He certainly demonstrated it. He welcomed sinners and ate with them. He also forgave them freely when they repented, and told parables that depicted grace, such as The Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32) and The Lost Sheep (Lk 15:1-7).
Peace and Unity
He did not speak very much about peace, in fact He said He did not come to bring peace to the earth (Mt 10:34), yet this is a major topic among those in the world, and many Christians wear the peace symbol (an upside down, broken cross), which is satanic. Those of us who know Him have a peace within our hearts that He gives us (Jn 14:27), and peace with God, but world peace will not come to the earth until after He returns to reign on the earth.
And one of the topics He taught about the very least was unity, which he merely mentioned in three verses, yet that is what the ecumenical church talks about the most.
Money was certainly not a major topic of His, coming up about as often as the heart, but almost everything he said about riches, prosperity, and wealth was negative. Yet today the prosperity preachers seem to mostly preach about wealth and prosperity, as if this is the central message of the Bible.
Putting it All Together
In summary, the top ten things Jesus Christ spoke about were God, heaven, hell, making disciples, His own divine identity, prayer, faith, love, His heavenly Father, and the importance of keeping His Word by acting upon it.
I hope that this study has helped to show you what is important to Jesus, and helped to disprove some errors that we find in the Church today. There is so much deception now in the Church that we must be careful. Do not be deceived into hell! You should be careful when a preacher always preaches about grace, but never talks about hell or never preaches against specific sins that will take you there. When you hear preachers that are talking mostly about prosperity, peace, unity, or any of the other topics that Jesus seldom spoke about, or that He never spoke about, then beware! If they make any of these minor topics their main theme, to the exclusion of the major ones our Lord emphasized, then you know they are not teaching according to the pattern of Jesus. They are “majoring in the minors,” and that should be a big warning signal to you.
Let me be clear that if Jesus mentioned something one time, it is important. But we must preach the whole counsel of God, not just our favorite topics. The true messengers of God are preaching mostly on the same things that Jesus emphasized, because those are still the most important things on His ever-aching heart. His messengers are still preaching about God, heaven, and eternal damnation, emphasizing the need for faith, prayer, and making disciples. They are preaching against sin, calling people to repentance, so that they will not perish. They are still preaching righteousness and truth, teaching us to hear the Word of God, keep it, be doers of it, and bear good fruit for God’s glory, living a life of love, compassion, and mercy. They are preaching about the Name of the Lord, as well as our Lord's soon return, and the need to be ready for it.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Top Ten" image courtesy of William Marler's Top Food Safety Challenges for 2009.
Author's note: I recommend my article called The Law of Christ, which explains why the teachings of Jesus Christ must be our foundation, and that the teachings of the apostles and prophets must be understood on that basis alone. You may find the Main Directory for the Seeking the Lord blog here. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.