Saturday, December 26, 2009

Reading the Bible in One Year... it's easier than you may think!

In a recent post entitled One Year Bible Reading Plan I discussed how to read the entire Bible in a year and provided some helpful tips and resources to aid you in this endeavor.  On the surface, reading the Bible in a year may seem like a lofty goal.  Some may feel a bit intimidated when they hold the Bible in their hands and skim through the pages.  However, reading God's Word is not nearly as daunting a task as it may seem.  Below is some information about Bible reading to demonstrate that you can indeed successfully read the Bible in a year.

How long is the Bible?

The Bible is a compilation of 66 short books, histories, letters, songs, poems, and other writings (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament).  There are a total of 1,189 chapters broken down into 31,102 verses (in the KJV - varies a bit by translation).  How many words is that?  The KJV has 788,280 words - other translations will be fairly close to that number.

How much time is involved in reading the Bible?

The Bible may seem like a lot of reading.  But, if you break this down into 365 somewhat equal parts to be read over the span of a year then reading the Bible is a very attainable goal.  The average length of each chapter is merely 663 words.  To read the Bible in a year, one would need to read an average of 3.25 chapters a day - or 2155 words.

How long will that take?  That will vary depending on one's reading speed.  The average adult reading speed (when reading for comprehension) is about 200 to 250 words per minute - but some people can read as fast as 400 words per minute.  At the lowest average reading speed of 200 words per minute, the Bible will take about 3941 minutes - a little less than 66 hours.  That would, indeed, be a lot if one were to read the Bible straight through without resting!  But, if one reads every day for a year it will only take a commitment of less than 11 minutes per day (at 200 words per minute).  That's much more manageable!

What is the reading level of the Bible?

Is the Bible too difficult to read and understand?  Not at all.  But some translations do have a higher reading level than others.  Historically the most popular version of the Bible has been the King James Version (KJV).  Some find the KJV somewhat difficult to understand because it was translated nearly 400 years ago and uses vocabulary, grammar, and language that is not typical for modern readers.  As a result, the KJV is generally considered to be at about a 12th grade reading level.

But, there are are many other English Bible translations that use contemporary language and are easier to read.  For example, the reading level of the English Standard Version (ESV) is about grade 10, the New International Version (NIV) is about grade 8, the New King James Version (NKJV) about grade 7, the Contemporary English Version (CEV) and New Living Translation (NLT) about grade 6, and the New Century Version (NCV) and New International Readers Version (NIRV) about grade 3.  So if the KJV seems a bit unapproachable there are other good alternatives.

 You can read the Bible in a year!

You can do it!  And, it will probably not be as difficult as you may have thought!  As they say, there is no time like the present.  The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to set the goal of reading through God's Word in a year.  Do it this year!

No comments: