The Old Testament of the Bible has 929 chapters, while the New Testament has 260 chapters. In total, the Catholic Bible has 1,189 chapters or about 807,370 words.
As you can see, the Bible is a huge book. Many Catholics never actually read the entire Bible, and those who do often take years to finish reading it at a leisurely pace.
But what if you committed yourself to reading the Bible, cover to cover. How long would it take you?
What You'll Learn Today
How Long Does It Take to Read the Entire Bible?
Well, it depends on your pace, your goal, and whether you are following a particular reading plan.
If you are simply reading the Bible just for the sake of completing it, you could take as little as a week or two if you are a fast reader and you read for 2-3 hours a day.
If you are a slower reader or only read for a short time each day, it could take 2-4 months.
If you slow your pace to read and understand the Bible, the average reading time is one year. In fact, most bible reading plans are 1-year long.
If you are reading the Bible, while studying individual chapters and verses, you can take 2-4 years to finish the entire Bible.
Can You Read the Bible in One Sitting?
Forget reading the Bible for one or two hours a day until you are done? What if you read all of it in one sitting? How long would it take, and is it even possible?
Of course, it’s possible. The Bible is finite. As long as you have the energy to stay up for hours, and your eyes don’t get tired and bleary, you can read the Bible in one sitting.
As for how long it’ll take, let’s do some calculations. Take an average reading rate of 200 words per minute. With a total of 807,370 words in the Bible, it’ll take you 4,036 minutes from Genesis to Revelation, reading nonstop without a break.
That’s 67 hours, or almost three days. If you are a speed reader, you could probably do it in 1-2 days.
Most likely, you won’t be able to read nonstop. Even if you go without sleep (which we don’t recommend), you still need to eat, use the bathroom and give your eyes a rest.
In short, unless you are trying to break a record, most people cannot read the entire Bible in one sitting.
Here’s a better idea that will actually help you understand what you are reading. Read an entire book of the Bible in one sitting.
This has several advantages: it’s not as hard as you think, it’s easier to understand the theme of the book, and it’s also easier to keep track of various events and characters mentioned in the book.
Also, you’ll find yourself finishing the entire Bible in no time, probably in a year or less.
How Long Would It Take to Read One Chapter of the Bible a Day?
This is another method you can try – reading a single chapter everyday.
Considering the Bible has 1,189 chapters, a pace of one chapter a day will take you a little over 3 years to finish the entire Bible.
Often, however, you’ll find that you can read more than one chapter a day. Some chapters are very short. Some books like Jude and Obadiah consist of a single chapter.
For smaller chapters, you can read several in a day to finish the Bible sooner.
How Long Will It Take to Listen to the Bible?
If you prefer audio to reading, most Bible audiobooks take between 75 and 100 hours to listen to, depending on the pace of the one reading.
Listen to a few minutes each day on your commute or during your workout, and you’ll go through the entire Bible in a few months or a year.
The Best Way to Read the Bible
If you are committed to reading through the entire Bible, your best option is to follow a reading plan. There are tons of those online, and you can even get a printable plan that you can put on your desk or bedside.
There are also apps that will guide you through the Bible.
The most popular Bible reading plans are one year long. But you can find plans for 30 days or as long as 3 years. Choose the one that best meets your goals.
If you want to soak in each verse and maybe do further study in other materials, look for a longer plan.
You can also create your own custom Bible reading plan. We recommend writing it down on paper or on the computer (then print it), so it’s easy to track your progress.
There are several Bible reading plan generators online that will break down the Bible day by day to fit how long you want to take to finish reading it.
Alternatively, simply go book to book, checking each off as you finish it.
Another idea is to start with specific sets of books. See this breakdown of the different categories of Biblical books.
You could tackle the Gospels, move on to the epistles, read the major and minor prophets, then the Pentateuch, historical books, books of wisdom, and so on.