How Many Times Have You Read Through the Entire Bible?

Although it is always hard to get an accurate assessment, how many times would you guess you have read through the entire Bible?

This should be based upon reading programs -- whether from Genesis to Revelation or some other schedule -- in addition to personal guesses.

For example, if you preach/teach through the Word, you might be reading through the entire Bible doing a survey course, etc.

Many of us have certain books or sections we have read through more often.  Most of us have probably read through the New Testament many more times, for example.   But use the "least read" book for a template.

 

 

Never read through entire Bible
0% (0 votes)
1-3 times
10% (3 votes)
4-10 times
28% (8 votes)
More than 10 times
52% (15 votes)
Other.
10% (3 votes)
Total votes: 29
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10191 reads

There are 25 Comments

TylerR's picture

Editor

I really have no idea. I've never followed a Bible reading plan or kept track. The last four months, I know I've read:

  • all the OT Historical Books
  • Exodus - Deuteronomy
  • The Major Prophets + Lamentations
  • Revelation
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • John
  • 1-2 Timothy
  • I'm reading Genesis now - I estimate it's been two years since I last read it.

Just really hard to tell how many times I've read through the Bible. I should keep track for fun.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ron Bean's picture

I did manage to read (OK listen on tape) to the whole Bible in a month twice. (I can still hear Alexander Scourby.) It was beneficial in truly seeing the big picture. I still tend to read an entire letter at once, even if I'm only studying a portion and I've used reading plans to read through in a year 5 or 6 times.

When I went to seminary year ago, I told my mother that I wanted a Scofield Reference Bible and she said that I could have one of her old, used ones. She went to her attic and brought down a box of at least a dozen that were heavily marked and held together with rubber bands. I knew that she got up early each day for her personal prayer and Bible reading so I asked her how often she had read through the Bible.  She told me that she did it 3 or 4 times a year. This was a lady who had worked full-time and raised 3 kids along with teaching Sunday School. The memory keeps me humble, makes me feel blessed, and explains a lot about her.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jim's picture

Some disclaimers (empty nesters & we lead a quiet life)

  • My wife and I read the Scriptures together in the evenings after dinner
  • We do this almost every day with some exceptions. Eg we entertained a relative for dinner last night and did not. Two weeks ago my wife was at the hospital on consecutive days and we missed two days
  • We both have MacBooks and I share my screen with her
  • For the OT I read three chapters pausing at the end of each chapter where: I may ask her a question or we have some discussion.
  • For the NT we do 1 chapter a day
  • The last time we came to Matthew (January '16) we used AT Robinsons harmony of the Gospels
  • In general it takes us a year and a half to go through the Bible

 

josh p's picture

Ron, thanks for sharing that. I always love to hear about the "behind the scenes" Christians who labor faithfully for the Lord.

Ed Vasicek's picture

I am not a member of the Bible reading police, but, in my view, LISTENING through the Bible counts!

Biblical literacy is truly at an all time low.  I have known evangelical ministers who have never read through the entire Bible one time!

Jim Peet, I appreciate your link to the up and coming book on the Old Testament.  As one who loves the Old Testament, I have long marveled at how many Christians claim to believe the first description of the Bible in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, namely, that all Scripture is INSPIRED, but reject the next phrase that teaches all Scripture is PROFITABLE.

I preach a lot of OT (at least 50%), and some folks really love that, but a few folks have less than positive attitudes.  They may criticize my sermon, but I have concluded is that what they are really disliking is the text itself.  I have had a number of negative responses to my preaching not because of my style, outline, or content, but because people just don't like OT, especially narrative portions.  Other people who love the OT love the same sermons.  Such bi-polar reactions to the same sermons make the point.

People won't say they don't profit from the Old Testament, but it is what they really think -- at least some people.  Oh, they might be okay with Psalms or Proverbs, but they don't see the need for the rest.

Even pastors (especially untrained pastors) may think of the Old Testament as not relevant to the believer.  That's why the term "First" or "Earlier" Testament is a better term.  "Old" comes across to many people as obsolete.

I suppose we all have books that we like better than others.  I love I Timothy, for example, but don't get too excited about Song of Solomon.  But I believe I can learn and grow from it all.

Fortunately, many Christians love the enire Word.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

"First covenant" is an inspired reference (Heb 8:7), the term "old testament" isn't! That is very good food for thought, Ed. Thanks.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

We started a church reading plan this year to read through the whole Bible in 2 years. It's been very encouraging to overhear some of the discussions people are having about Exodus and Leviticus. The ladies' fellowship meet yesterday to read Lev 23 and Psalm 70 and discuss. From what I heard, it was fruitful.

We've been following along as a family, and it's been great to discuss with the kids and hear them ask questions. Another benefit is how my 5 & 7 year olds are improving their reading skills by reading Scripture each day.

DNicholson's picture

I love to read and my favorite secular genre is Historical Fiction. After that I love history and the classics. 

I accepted Christ while in the US Navy during the latter part of the Vietnam war. I have read an enormous amount of secular books during the past 43 years but not near as much of the Bible (how much – I couldn’t say). 

In 2016 I decided to stop reading secular books until I could do right by the Bible. It turned out to be a life changer and I was very surprised to see how much it would actually “pull you in” if you are not careful. 

I have always understood and experienced that the Bible is “living”. The Holy spirit is amazing in the way it makes new applications in your life every time you read the Bible. 

As it ended up, although I had not intended as such from the beginning of 2016, I ended up reading the OT four times and the NT sixty times. I can honestly say that it was an extreme blessing and was never a burden – far from it. When I wasn’t reading I was craving to read and enjoyed all of it. 

In 2017 I read the entire Bible thirty six times. I have experienced spiritual blessings beyond description. 

In fairness I must state, however, that I have a couple advantages over many others that makes it easier to spend the time required to read as much as I do. A. I am retired and therefore don’t have the hectic schedule many others have. B. I don’t have children at home. C. I have a disability that prevents me from doing much of anything physical. God is SO good.

RajeshG's picture

So far, I have read the entire Bible every year of my Christian life. I consider it to be an essential Christian discipline that no other Christian practice can take the part of.

I have read the Septuagint through twice and read the entire Bible in Greek in a year once. I have also read the entire Bible through twice in Spanish.

RajeshG's picture

RajeshG wrote:

So far, I have read the entire Bible every year of my Christian life. I consider it to be an essential Christian discipline that no other Christian practice can take the part of.

I have read the Septuagint through twice and read the entire Bible in Greek in a year once. I have also read the entire Bible through twice in Spanish.

I should have said that I have read the Septuagint through twice (but not the Apocrypha) in this comment.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Rajesh wrote:

I consider it to be an essential Christian discipline that no other Christian practice can take the part of.

It's good to read the Bible often. However, I'm often struck by how, before the printing press and the availability of individual copies of the Bible in a cheap fashion, it wasn't possible to read your Bible every day - or perhaps ever. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jay's picture

However, I'm often struck by how, before the printing press and the availability of individual copies of the Bible in a cheap fashion, it wasn't possible to read your Bible every day - or perhaps ever. 

I have been thinking a lot about this lately myself, and wondering how our lives would look if we built homes more along the lines of the Shema (in Deut. 6) than we did on a mandatory 30 minute family devotions time.  I am betting that our homes would be much healthier, spiritually speaking.

What does it say about us when our standard prescription to new believers is "read the Bible everyday" and yet that simply wasn't possible for God's people for thousands of years?  Could it be that the persecuted church flourishes because they have to take the Word more seriously that we do with immediate access?

Ron and DNicholson - I was greatly blessed by your posts.  Thank you for them!

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

pvawter's picture

In two days my family will finish reading the entire Bible over the past 2 years. The kids (ages 10, 8, 7, and 5 when we started) have taken part in every day's reading and have given me many fruitful questions that I would not have thought to ask. I'd recommend everyone read the whole Bible with children, even the "tricky" parts, and let them ask any questions that come to mind!

Several years ago I heard Dave Doran say something about how David would not have had a Bible to read himself as a boy, yet he wrote of his great love for God's word. In place of Bible reading, he was meditating on those portions of scripture that he had put to memory. This is a spiritual discipline that is lacking in the church imo.

RajeshG's picture

pvawter wrote:

In two days my family will finish reading the entire Bible over the past 2 years. The kids (ages 10, 8, 7, and 5 when we started) have taken part in every day's reading and have given me many fruitful questions that I would not have thought to ask. I'd recommend everyone read the whole Bible with children, even the "tricky" parts, and let them ask any questions that come to mind!

Several years ago I heard Dave Doran say something about how David would not have had a Bible to read himself as a boy, yet he wrote of his great love for God's word. In place of Bible reading, he was meditating on those portions of scripture that he had put to memory. This is a spiritual discipline that is lacking in the church imo.

That's an excellent recommendation! Both meditation on what is read and reading all the Bible are essential. Because God has privileged us with unparalleled access to His Word, we have a responsibility to profit from all of His Word in a way that those who have lacked such access have not had.

pvawter's picture

RajeshG wrote:

That's an excellent recommendation! Both meditation on what is read and reading all the Bible are essential. Because God has privileged us with unparalleled access to His Word, we have a responsibility to profit from all of His Word in a way that those who have lacked such access have not had.

I agree that we have been given access to God's word on a greater scale than any generation of believers who came before us. The first chapters of Amos among other passages indicate that greater knowledge of God's word brings greater judgment for disobedience. We of the 21st century will have to answer for our general failure to cherish the scriptures.

pvawter's picture

This morning we began to read the Bible again as a family. My 7 year old read Genesis 1:1-5, and before the next child could take over, my oldest made a comment about light without a source (i.e., sun, moon, etc.). This began a brief discussion about the objection that some raise to a literal interpretation of Gen 1-2 where you have light 3 days prior to the creation of celestial bodies. 

Having just finished Revelation yesterday, we were able to recall that 21:23 says the New Jerusalem needs no sun or moon because the glory of God and the Lamb are its light. By reading the end in such close proximity to the beginning, my kids were able to see how we can answer Bible critics simply by thoroughly reading and carefully observing God's word.

RajeshG's picture

pvawter wrote:

This morning we began to read the Bible again as a family. My 7 year old read Genesis 1:1-5, and before the next child could take over, my oldest made a comment about light without a source (i.e., sun, moon, etc.). This began a brief discussion about the objection that some raise to a literal interpretation of Gen 1-2 where you have light 3 days prior to the creation of celestial bodies. 

Having just finished Revelation yesterday, we were able to recall that 21:23 says the New Jerusalem needs no sun or moon because the glory of God and the Lamb are its light. By reading the end in such close proximity to the beginning, my kids were able to see how we can answer Bible critics simply by thoroughly reading and carefully observing God's word.

Comparing Scripture with Scripture is essential, and this is a great example of how valuable it really is. So much truth is missed because of limited study of the Bible that does not involve comprehensive study of what the whole Bible says about any subject.

josh p's picture

pvawter wrote:

This morning we began to read the Bible again as a family. My 7 year old read Genesis 1:1-5, and before the next child could take over, my oldest made a comment about light without a source (i.e., sun, moon, etc.). This began a brief discussion about the objection that some raise to a literal interpretation of Gen 1-2 where you have light 3 days prior to the creation of celestial bodies. 

Having just finished Revelation yesterday, we were able to recall that 21:23 says the New Jerusalem needs no sun or moon because the glory of God and the Lamb are its light. By reading the end in such close proximity to the beginning, my kids were able to see how we can answer Bible critics simply by thoroughly reading and carefully observing God's word.

Praise the Lord that your children are already learning to think through the scriptures. I finished Revelation myself yesterday and began Genesis this morning. I am going to try to read through entire books when possible this year. So rewarding. 

Rob Fall's picture

At Hamilton Square to encourage reading through the whole Bible or either of the Testaments, stacks of schedules developed by Faith Baptist Bible College and Seminary are placed in the front entry around New Year's Day. Alongside them is a sign-up sheet for folks to make the commitment (not that anyone tracks the names).  In December, folks inform the office through a pew card on what they read the whole Bible or either of the Testaments. These are presented during a Sunday morning service. One year a six-year-old got one because he listened to the NT on tape (remember those days) while sitting on his mother's lap.

 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

RajeshG's picture

One of my favorite passages about reading the Bible profoundly highlights the importance of reading the Word of God all the days of our lives:

Deuteronomy 17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Even as God would have done with any of the kings who would have obeyed this divine revelation, so God would use the faithful reading of the Bible on all the days of our lives to teach us to fear Him aright and to keep our hearts from being lifted up above our brethren.

One tragic reason for so much of the division and strife among God's own people is the lack of immersion in His Word on all the days of the lives of many of God's people. A verse a day, although better than nothing, cannot give the Word of God the rich dwelling that God desires it would have in all of our lives.

pvawter's picture

RajeshG wrote:

One tragic reason for so much of the division and strife among God's own people is the lack of immersion in His Word on all the days of the lives of many of God's people. A verse a day, although better than nothing, cannot give the Word of God the rich dwelling that God desires it would have in all of our lives.

One of the things I have been thinking about recently is how much time we spend with all sorts of entertainments and distractions. For many if not most Americans it measures in the dozens of hours per week, and yet few spend even a significant fraction of that reading and meditating on God's word. It's hard to imagine we can guard ourselves from worldliness with a few minutes a day in the scriptures and a service or two a week.

RajeshG's picture

pvawter wrote:

One of the things I have been thinking about recently is how much time we spend with all sorts of entertainments and distractions. For many if not most Americans it measures in the dozens of hours per week, and yet few spend even a significant fraction of that reading and meditating on God's word. It's hard to imagine we can guard ourselves from worldliness with a few minutes a day in the scriptures and a service or two a week.

So true. It's striking that God began His inspired hymnal by setting forth in the very first Psalm that both turning away from the counsel of the ungodly and immersion in His Word are essential for us to have the comprehensive prosperity in our lives that He wants us to have. We are supposed to be exhorting and admonishing one another in our music about the primacy of both turning away from worldliness and immersing ourselves wholeheartedly in God's own thoughts.

pvawter's picture

This morning the kids were full of questions as we read through Genesis 2 & 3. 

  • Was God lying when he said Adam and Eve would die on the day they ate of tree of the knowledge of good and evil? (From my 10 year old. My 9 year old immediately answered, "God is merciful.")
  • Who wrote Genesis and how for he know what happened before he was born?
  • Why did God ask them a question when he already knew what they had done? (This opened up a discussion about shame when sin is hidden and how confession opens the way to forgiveness and relieving shame.)

I'm not planning a daily report, but it's been fun so far. Kids ask the best questions.

Jim Welch's picture

I encourage our church family to interact with the Word of God by hearing, reading, studying, memorizing and mediating upon it.  Throughout the years, I have gotten several thank you notes from individuals who finished reading the scriptures.  Great disciplines for us.  

I too have been thinking about your blessed we are to have the scriptures in our language, affordable, and accessible.

I have read through the whole Bible at least 35 times.  I pick a different translation each year.  I like to read while drinking my morning coffee.  2 cups of coffee each day gets me through the Word at least once a year..