How Long Does It Take to Read the Bible?

When it comes to reading the Bible, many people are often curious about the time commitment required to finish the entire text. As a collection of 66 books written by various authors over thousands of years, the Bible covers a vast range of topics, making it a fascinating read for those interested in religion, history, or philosophy. However, its length can seem daunting to potential readers.

A Comprehensive Guide
A Comprehensive Guide

To better understand how long it might take to read the Bible, we can break down its reading time by sections or individual books. On average, it takes about 11 minutes per day to read the entire Bible in one year, although reading speeds can vary depending on the individual. The time required to read different sections also varies, with the Pentateuch taking around 13 hours, the Historical Books about 17 hours, the Writings approximately 9 hours, and the Prophets around 15 hours[^1^].

By setting aside a specific amount of time each day for Bible study and consistently engaging with the text, readers can effectively manage their reading goals and experience the richness of the Bible at their own pace.

Understanding Bible Structure and Content

how long does it take to read the bible
Understanding Bible Structure and Content

Books and Chapters Breakdown

The Bible is divided into 66 individual books, which are further divided into chapters and verses. These books are organized in two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is comprised of 39 books: the first five books are known as the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). They are followed by the Historical Books, the Writings (such as Psalms), and the Prophets.

The New Testament contains 27 books, including the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles (letters written by various authors, including Paul), and the book of Revelation. The New Testament concludes with this apocalyptic text.

Variety of Literary Genres

The Bible is rich in its variety of literary genres, which include historical narrative, poetry, wisdom literature, prophecy, apocalyptic writing, and many others.

For example, the Psalms contain poetry and hymns, while the Prophets are a collection of divine messages from God. In the New Testament, the four Gospels present various accounts of the life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus Christ. The Epistles in the New Testament are written as letters to individuals or communities, providing guidance and teachings related to Christian living. Revelation is written in an apocalyptic genre, with vivid and symbolic imagery to describe the end times.

This diversity of literature provides a broad and rich landscape of stories and teachings for Christians to explore and understand.

Old Testament vs. New Testament

The Old Testament serves as a foundation for understanding God’s interactions with the people of Israel and provides historical, cultural, and religious context that shapes the New Testament.

In the Old Testament, we find key figures such as Abraham, Moses, and David, as well as foundational stories such as the creation in Genesis, the exodus from Egypt, and the building of Solomon’s temple. Importantly, prophecies within the Old Testament speak of a coming Messiah, which Christians believe to be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

The New Testament centers around the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the early years of the Christian church. It offers a more direct and distinct focus on Jesus, outlining the establishment of a new covenant between God and humanity, marked by love, grace, and redemption. The teachings of Jesus and the apostles recorded in the New Testament help guide Christian belief and practice today.

By understanding the structure, variety of literary genres, and the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, we can appreciate the intricacy and depth of the Bible’s message.

Factors Influencing Reading Time

Reading Speed and Comprehension

One of the key factors that influence how long it takes to read the Bible is an individual’s reading speed and comprehension. On average, people read about 200 to 250 words per minute (WPM). However, reading speeds can significantly vary from one person to another with some being slow readers, while others have a faster pace.

It’s important to consider not just the speed but also the comprehension of the text. Reading the Bible requires reflection and understanding to grasp the wisdom and value it offers. Therefore, taking the time to thoughtfully engage with the material might lead to extended reading times compared to simply skimming through the text.

Translation Versions and Readability

The choice of translation can also influence the time it takes to read the Bible. There are numerous versions available, each with its own readability, word count, and unique characteristics. Some translations, such as the King James Version, use an older form of English that might be more challenging to read, while others, like the New International Version, are designed to be more accessible for modern readers.

Different translations may have variations in word count, which can further impact the overall reading time. Considering a translation that aligns with your reading preferences can be beneficial in keeping you engaged and motivated to progress through the Bible.

Personal Reading Goals and Methods

Ultimately, the time it takes to read the Bible will depend on your personal goals and methods. Some people prefer to read it cover to cover, while others may choose a more thematic approach, focusing on specific books or sections that resonate with their spiritual journey. Additionally, setting a daily or weekly reading goal can help streamline your reading process.

Furthermore, you might consider using a guide to help you navigate the Bible and set attainable goals. For example, many people find value in dedicating a specific amount of time each day to Bible reading, which can vary from just a few minutes to an hour or more. Regardless of your personal preferences, it’s essential to recognize that the time investment in reading the Bible will be different for everyone, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

Developing a Reading Plan

Developing a Reading Plan
Developing a Reading Plan

Setting Realistic Goals

When embarking on a journey to read the Bible, it’s important for us to set realistic goals. To achieve this, first estimate how much time we can commit to daily Bible reading. For example, it takes around 65.2 hours to read the entire Bible at a reading speed of 200 words per minute. By breaking it down into manageable portions, we can tailor our reading plan according to our schedules.

Here are three suggested daily reading durations:

  1. 30 minutes: Complete Bible reading in approximately 8 months
  2. 20 minutes: Complete Bible reading in approximately 1 year
  3. 10 minutes: Complete Bible reading in approximately 2 years

To keep ourselves accountable, we can enlist the support of a family member, friend, or faith community, and share our progress with them.

Reading the Bible Chronologically

Another approach to develop a reading plan is to read the Bible chronologically. This method helps us gain a deeper understanding of the historical context and the unfolding of God’s plan through time. We can find reading plans online that arrange the books of the Bible in chronological order.

Chronological Reading Plan Example:

MonthBooks to Read
JanuaryGenesis, Job, Exodus
FebruaryLeviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
MarchJoshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel

Incorporating Daily Bible Study

Incorporating daily Bible study is essential in our reading plan as it helps us engage with the Scriptures more effectively. We suggest the following strategies to enhance our study:

  1. Pray before reading: Start our reading session with prayer, asking for guidance and wisdom as we study God’s Word.
  2. Ask questions: Reflect on the Scripture and ask ourselves essential questions like, “What is the main message? How does this apply to our lives? What can we learn about God?”
  3. Take notes: Jot down insights, observations, and questions as we read, creating a record of our understanding and spiritual growth.
  4. Participate in group discussions: Engaging in discussions within a Bible study group or worship community can provide valuable perspectives, encouragement, and deeper insights from others.

By incorporating these strategies, we can create a comprehensive and engaging reading plan to deepen our understanding of the Bible and cultivate our faith.

Common Challenges and Solutions

how long does it take to read the bible
Common Challenges and Solutions

Overcoming Distractions

In today’s world, distractions are everywhere, making it difficult to maintain focus while reading the Bible. As we try to read, our minds might drift, or we could find ourselves tempted to check social media or respond to messages.

To overcome this challenge, we suggest creating a designated space for Bible reading, free from devices and other distractions. Consider turning off notifications or even putting your phone in another room to help maintain focus. Another option is to dedicate specific times during the day when you are most present and free from distractions, such as early morning or late at night.

Managing Time Commitment

One common challenge when tackling a project as large as reading the entire Bible is managing the time commitment. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of time it requires, and finding a balance with our daily responsibilities can feel overwhelming. However, breaking the reading into manageable chunks can make this goal more attainable.

Here is a suggested breakdown based on a slow reader’s speed of 100 words per minute:

Pentateuch13 hours
Historical Books17 hours
Writings9 hours
Prophets15 hours

Remember to be patient and consistent in setting aside time for daily reading, even if it’s only a few minutes per day. Taking short breaks can also help improve focus and retention.

Staying Motivated

Maintaining motivation is critical when undertaking a task like reading the entire Bible. We suggest setting achievable goals, such as completing specific books or sections within a certain timeframe. Additionally, finding a Bible reading partner or joining a group can provide a sense of accountability, making it easier to stay on track.

When motivation wanes, remind yourself why this goal is important to you. Whether it’s for spiritual growth, personal enrichment, or simply to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible, staying connected to your purpose can help sustain motivation even when the challenge seems daunting.

By focusing on overcoming distractions, managing time commitment, and staying motivated, we can successfully navigate these common challenges and make our experience of reading the entire Bible more enjoyable and fruitful.

The Impact of Regular Bible Reading

The Impact of Regular Bible Reading
The Impact of Regular Bible Reading

Spiritual Growth and Insights

By consistently engaging in Bible reading, we can experience significant spiritual growth and insights. As we reflect on God’s word, our understanding of His teachings deepens, and we become increasingly aware of His presence in our lives. A study found that those who read the Bible at least four days a week are more likely to share their faith with others and disciple others, showing strong signs of spiritual growth1.

Building Knowledge and Understanding

The Bible is a vast compilation of wisdom, teachings, and historical accounts. Regular Bible reading helps us build knowledge and understanding, allowing us to draw from these invaluable resources in our daily lives. Taking the time to read all four Gospels and the book of Acts can be accomplished in just one month if we spend 20 minutes per day2. Tackling the Prophets, from Isaiah to Malachi, takes about 15 hours, and dedicating 30 minutes a day for one month will allow us to read through all 17 prophetic books2.

By immersing ourselves in the various books of the Bible, we can benefit from the wisdom and understanding presented in each. As Christians, we have the opportunity to grow in our knowledge of God’s character, promises, and guidance for our lives.

Fostering Community and Sharing Teachings

An essential aspect of the Christian faith is the community it fosters. As we dedicate time to Bible reading and understanding, we naturally become more inclined to share our insights with others. In turn, this encourages our fellow Christians to engage in the same process and helps us cultivate strong, faith-filled relationships.

Our commitment to regular Bible reading not only influences our spiritual growth but also benefits our wider community. Families become closer, as shared scriptural knowledge creates a common ground for discussion and application of God’s teachings in our daily lives. Churches grow both numerically and spiritually, as we are encouraged to disciple others and bring new people into the family of God1.

As we share our wisdom and teachings with those around us, we contribute to the growth and unity of our Christian community, leading to an even greater impact on society.


  1. The Effects of Reading the Bible Four Days a Week2
  2. Infographic: You Have More Time for Bible Reading than You Think2

Frequently Asked Questions

how long does it take to read the bible
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average reading time to complete the Bible?

The time it takes to read the entire Bible varies based on reading speed. On average, it can take about 70-90 hours to read the Bible cover to cover.

Is it possible to finish the Bible by reading one chapter daily, and how long would that take?

Yes, it is possible to finish the Bible by reading one chapter daily. With a total of 1,189 chapters in the Bible, it would take approximately 3.25 years to complete it by reading one chapter a day.

What are the recommended daily reading durations to finish the Bible within a year?

To finish the Bible within a year, you only need to read for around 11 minutes a day. This can be divided among different books or sections as per your preference.

Can the entire Bible be read within a 40-day timeframe?

Yes, it is possible to read the entire Bible in 40 days. To achieve this, one must read for about 2 to 2.25 hours per day, considering the average reading time of 70-90 hours for the entire Bible.

What is the typical duration to read the Bible if dedicating 30 minutes a day?

If you dedicate 30 minutes a day to reading the Bible, it would take approximately 140-180 days to complete it, given the average reading time of 70-90 hours.

How feasible is it to read through the Bible in three months?

Reading through the Bible in three months is feasible if you commit to reading for approximately 45-60 minutes per day. This approach allows for ample time to cover the Bible’s content while providing room for reflection and understanding.

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