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How Long Does it Take to Read the Bible?

How Long Does it Take to Read the Bible?

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

There are 35 known authors and a few unattributed writers whose identities may never be known. With all of their effort, we now have the canonical Bible. There are sixty-six books in total split between the Old and New Testaments.

How long does it take to read the Bible cover to cover? The answer is either really easy or very hard depending on your preference. There are Bible study plans available online and in print that serve as reading guides. Bible study groups exist too, all across the nation, either connected or independent of a church. They spend time reading Scripture, following their own plan or one given to them.

We’re all reading Scripture, but not all at the same pace. Some of us focus on different topics, some jump from book to book in no particular order, others trek through the Bible from beginning to end and don’t skip around. If you’re planning to start reading Scripture today, and are wondering how long it would take, let’s find out!

How Long Does it Take to Read the Bible?

Writer and Editor Chance Faulkner spent time outlining the estimated time required to read each book of the Bible. Even more helpful, he lists the books that require the least amount of time to the most. Note - his reading speed will likely differ from yours, but his outline serves as a helpful reference.

The question of how long does it take to read the Bible often follows, as he mentions, the excuse we give ourselves, “I don’t have the time.” If we prioritized God over our other commitments, we undoubtedly would have the time. Thus, asking the question may mean we need to spend time rethinking our priorities.

When we are ready to read, setting aside just five minutes each day is bound to help us make some progress, albeit, slow progress. Still, slow is better than none. And of course, you can do the math and figure out how much time you want to put in daily. More time spent reading means finishing the Bible sooner.

Your plan could consist of reaching a certain word count per day or a certain number of chapters. Decide on your preference. If numbers hurt your brain, then with Chance’s advice in mind, you also have the option of finding Bible study plans to tell you what to read each day. This often means spending more than 5 minutes in Scripture, but gets you from beginning to end in a predetermined amount of time. One plan that follows this example can be found with the Christian Standard Bible. This plan runs for the course of 90 days. Other plans could help you finish in a month.

In the end, you have a couple of options:

  • Read each day without a guide and finish at an undetermined time.
  • Read each day with a guide and finish at a predetermined time.

Choose what works best for you, but be sure to read. There’s so much we gain as believers when we tackle God’s Word.

Why Do We Read the Bible?

Know God

“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

How do we build our relationships with people day-to-day? We engage with them. We talk, spend time together, and perform favors. How do we build our relationship with God? We follow this same process. We serve, pray, and spend time with Him. One great way to do all three is to spend time reading His Word. The more we know the Bible, the more we know God.

What does God like and dislike? What does he love, what does he hate? What does God consider sin? As we engage with Scripture, we can answer all of these questions. We’ll also come to know just how much He loves us.

Grow in Wisdom

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

Before we can teach anyone anything, we have to first learn the lesson. Being a child precedes becoming a parent. Being a student precedes being a teacher. Likewise, Scripture helps us grow in wisdom, teachings we can apply to our lives and then provide that for ourselves. We grow wiser by reading Scripture, not ignoring God’s Word. We learn how to serve God more wholeheartedly, live a more godly life, and find great ways to further our faith.

Help Others Grow

Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

Scripture teaches us how to treat other people, not as we prefer, but as God desires. Even many nonbelievers talk about “loving thy neighbor,” but they lack the context of what this concept really means. As we read the Bible, we learn not just how we love our neighbors, but also why. As we love our neighbors as ourselves, we help them grow in a godly fashion.

One outcome could be them reading the Bible more often as well!

Start Reading Today

“He answered, 'It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)

“There’s no time like the present.” Have you ever heard someone say this? There’s a lot of wisdom to be found in such a statement. The reason New Year’s resolutions don’t work well for the majority of people is that they don’t work toward the change they want today. They wait until tomorrow, figuratively speaking, and sometimes literally.

Yet, putting off what we want or need to do is procrastination. That causes stress and sometimes results in things not getting done. In the case of reading Scripture, the outcome could be you missing out on all the Bible has to offer, including a strong connection to God.

Forming good habits, if we’re serious, must occur in the present, not when we put them off to some arbitrary point in the future. So when should you read the Bible? Start today. In fact, why not right now? If you’re reading this article you aren’t at work, you likely have a moment to yourself. A moment to yourself is all you need to read the Bible. Five minutes. Start by reading a verse or two. Tomorrow, do the same. By the end of a week or two, you may find yourself completing a chapter.

Once you start building the habit of reading the Bible, you will find yourself stressing less about making time or finding the energy to read. Instead, engaging with God’s Word will become natural. The habit will continue to grow in time. Then those Bible study plans that seemed impossible and intimidating will appear doable and eventually easy.

Recognize the value of reading God’s Word. You’ll enrich your life by building your relationship with Him. In time you’ll be able to help other people do the same.


Photo credit: Oladimeji Ajegbile/

headshot of author Aaron BrownAaron D'Anthony Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”