How Long Will It Take To Read The Bible


The Bible is an old and complex book, and saying how long you’ll need to read it all might vary. One of the main factors in determining that are the contents of it. The Bible contains hundreds of books, stories, and letters, so it takes time to get through them without speed reading. The time it takes to read the Bible depends on the type of reader, individual reading skills, the selected translation, and the availability of time you have. This article delves into each of these topics to give you an overview of how long it would take to read the Bible. We also cover several sections which delve deeper into the intricacies of reading the Bible, whether it’s the Old or New Testament, and compare the different translations available.

Types of Reading

The bible is not a novel or short story, it’s a compilation of divinely inspired works, so how you approach it, might be the first factor in deciding how long it will take to read. If you want to take a clinical, word-by-word approach, then it could take years, as you go over all of the different nuances in each work. If you want to read for a quick overview of the whole, you could get through it in a few days. It all depends on your purpose and goals. It helps to have a firm grasp of the intent of the work, in case you have any difficulties understanding it, or a desire to delve deeper.

Individual Reading Skills

Each individual will have a different level of reading skills, and this will definitely affect the time it takes to read the Bible. You must also take into account things such as distractions, as these can easily reduce the amount of time it takes. Some people prefer a slower reading style, while others like to jump right into the narrative and engage in the readings. Being familiar with the work, in general, can also make for a quicker reading of the particular passage. As the Bible is often used to get a spiritual insight, this can also be a factor that affects the amount of time it takes to get through the book.

Selected Translation

Having the right translation can save you precious time. In the 1611 King James Version, great care was taken to provide an accurate translation of the original languages. Consequently it includes a large number of archaic words, including in its spelling and grammar. This is why many people prefer a more modern translation such as the New International Version (NIV) or even the Message Bible. Curated translations like these will save you time sifting through ancient references. So choice of translation might be one of the most important factors to consider when estimating the time it will take you to read the Bible.

Availability of Time

This is a key factor to determine the time it would take to read the Bible. If you are devoted to the cause, and make a commitment to read a set amount each day, you’ll get through it much quicker. But if you can only spare an hour a week, it will take a lot longer. The Bible is different to many books in that it requires time to be taken to really read and understand each passage. It doesn’t have an over-arching plot that you can simply read through. You have to take time to decipher it, and without enough time, your reading could lack substance.

Enrichment Courses

There are certain ways to commit to reading the Bible that can help the process. You may find yourself involved in a Bible study, which can be a great way to keep your reading focused and paced. Alternatively, you could take classes, or get a bible teacher. Person-to-person guidance is an easy way to enrich your reading and get more out of it. For others, an online bible course may be the preferred route, as all of the courses are mostly self-paced. While it’s not the same as reading a physical bible with someone else, these digital classes provide support and understanding and can be an enriching experience.

Questions & Answers

Here are some of the main questions people have asked about how long it could take to read the Bible:

  • How long will it take to read the entire Bible?
  • How long will it take me to read a particular book in the Bible?
  • Which translation should I use?
  • How often should I read it?
  • Should I read through the whole Bible or just a particular book?

The time it takes to read the Bible is a highly individualized decision, as every reader is different. It also depends on where you’re starting from with your own spiritual understanding. It can take anywhere from days to years, so it’s important to create a plan to ensure you read slowly enough to gather the understanding from each book and article.

Old Testament or New Testament?

The Old Testament contains the majority of the Bible and is often the more intimidating to read. It contains 39 books, including the Torah, which is the five books that are key to Jewish beliefs. It also includes the histories, the prophets and the Wisdom literature. Reading the Old Testament can feel daunting but can open up great spiritual treasures and understanding. The New Testament is shorter, but many find it easier to read, due to its more modern language and greater depth of insight.


Deciding the right translation to use can be vital, as it will determine how quickly you can read the Bible. An accurate translation like the King James Version can be harder to read, but ultimately provide better depth in understanding. Other translated works, like the NIV, are designed to provide a smooth and easy-to-follow reading. They also include notes and commentaries, which can provide great insight. Ultimately, the type of translation you use will depend on the level of detail, knowledge and understanding you want to gain from your readings.

Frequent Difficulties

One of the more difficult aspects of reading the Bible is staying focused and motivated. We can all experience fatigue when reading through lengthy and complex texts, so it’s important to break it down into sections. If you can commit to reading a portion a day, or week unless you’re studying a particular book, this can help you to stay on track and keep interest high. Other difficulties may arise when considering the language and the different translations, so it’s vital to understand the context of the written work as well as the language used.

Tools & Techniques

There are many tools and techniques available to help you read the Bible in a more efficient and effective way. Bible software applications can help streamline your study and make it easier to search for terms and verses. There are also daily devotionals and guided reading plans, which can help you stay focused on a particular book or subject. Many people find that using a physical Bible or book can be beneficial, as the physical form can help to keep track of the reading in a visual way. Occasionally, listening to sermons can be a great way to gain insight and understanding, as you can hear stories in a different way.

Comparing Translations

When it comes to comparing translations, there are several key points to consider, in order to make the best choice for your needs. These include accuracy, tone, and language. An accurate translation will be essential for gaining understanding, whereas a modern tone can be beneficial for an easier reading experience. Similarly, the language used should match your understanding of the scripture, so you can get the most out of your reading. Ultimately, it depends on how in-depth your study is and picking the correct translation for your purposes is essential.

Advanced Reading Strategies

Advanced reading strategies can be beneficial for more detailed and intensive reading of the Bible. Keyword analysis can help you to pick up on themes and messages. This can be especially helpful when looking at whole books, or multiple passages. Tarot reading is another strategy that can be used to understand and interpret the Bible stories. This aims to give an insight into the meanings behind words and phrases. Additionally, meditating or using imagination when reading can help to gain further insight.

Creative Reading

Creative reading can be a great way to gain an even deeper understanding of the Bible. Making visual representations of the verses, or scenes, can help to reinforce the ideas in the story. Art and podcasts can also be used as alternative ways to engage with the reading. Creative writing can also be used, to drive more insight into the verses. It’s also important to remember that the Bible is not just one book, it’s composed of many, so creative reading can be utilized on the different books, genres and authors within the Bible.

Online Communities

Online bible-reading communities can be a fantastic way to keep yourself motivated and inspired. There are many online groups and forums, which focus on discussing the Bible and exchanging thoughts and ideas. Some people even prefer social media to gain understanding, as there are often engaging videos, quotes and references to biblical texts. Alternatively, there are a range of bible apps available, where you can join in with a daily Bible plan to read through the entire Bible in a year.


Despite its intimidating size, reading the Bible can be an enlightening process. It takes determination and dedication, as well as the right tools, to make the experience productive. It’s important to consider the context and original language, as well as the different translations available. But with the right approach, it won’t take long to get through the Bible, and the rewards of such a journey are often life-changing.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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