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Bible Engagement Blog


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Whole Book Reading

For several months, my daily Bible reading plan has been to read a whole book of the Bible in one sitting. It’s been illuminating and rewarding.

There are many benefits to whole book reading:

  • You read like a writer
  • The themes and sub-themes come into focus
  • The structure and genre of the writing is more evident
  • The ebb and flow of different emotions (in both the text and the reader) are more pronounced
  • The rhythm and pattern of the message/story is more noticeable
  • The development of the writer’s theology is more obvious
  • It opens your heart and expands your understanding
  • It’s easier to see how the Scriptures are all about Jesus
  • You read more

Now that’s well and good, but how does one find enough time to read a whole book in one sitting? Actually, it’s quite easy. You read the short books on the days when you don’t have much time and the long books on the days when you have more time.

Saturday or Sunday afternoon is when I read the longer books like Isaiah or Luke. From Monday to Friday, I mainly read shorter books. On a hectic day when I’m time-challenged, I read one of the ten books that take me less than 5 minutes – Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Haggai, 2 Thessalonians, Titus, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, or Jude.

Here’s a rough guide (our reading speeds are different) for how long it takes to read each book of the Bible:

15 minutes or less – Ruth, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude

30 minutes or less – Esther, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Hosea, Amos, Galatians, Ephesians

1 hour or less – Ezra, Nehemiah, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Zechariah, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Hebrews

2 hours or less – Leviticus, Joshua, Judges, 2 Samuel , 1 Chronicles, Job, Proverbs, Mark, John, Revelation

3 hours or less – Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Matthew, Luke, Acts

4 hours or less – Genesis, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel

5 hours or less – Psalms

Take control of your time. If you commit to an average of 12 minutes every day, you’ll read the whole Bible in 1 year. Do you have 5 minutes in your day? Read Haggai or Jude. Do you have 15 minutes? Read Ruth or James. Do you have an hour? Dive into Nehemiah or Romans.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5