How Long is The Bible: A Quick Overview on Its Length and Structure

By Charalampos •  Updated: 04/20/23 •  8 min read

When exploring the topic of “How Long is The Bible,” it is essential to consider various factors that contribute to its length.

The Bible, a sacred text of both Judaism and Christianity, is divided into two main sections: the Old Testament, containing 49 books, and the New Testament, which has 27 books.

In this article, we will explore the length and structure of the Bible, including all the Old and New Testament books.

The Old Testament

The Orthodox study bible old testament books
The Orthodox Study Bible: The Old Testament Books; source: Page 8

The Old Testament serves as the first division of the Christian biblical canon and is based primarily on the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Tanakh.

It was written by the Israelites in ancient Hebrew and occasionally Aramaic. The Old Testament is divided into several sub-sections, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Books, and the Prophets.

Number of Books


Historical Books

Wisdom Books


Read Also: What is The Longest Book in The Bible?

The New Testament

The New Testament Trinity

The New Testament is a collection of writings that make up the second major part of the Christian Bible. The authors of the New Testament provide insights into the life, teachings, and mission of Jesus Christ and the early Christian church.

Number of Books





Word Count and Reading Time

Bible Word Count and Reading Time

The Bible, a collection of 76 books, varies in length and complexity. This section will examine the total word count and average reading time, providing a general understanding of the time investment required to read through the entire Bible.

Total Word Count

In its original languages, the Bible contains more than 780,000 words. These words are distributed across the Old and New Testaments, with each book containing a unique word count. For example:

Understanding the word count of individual books can be helpful for planning reading sessions or setting goals.

Average Reading Time

The average reading time for the entire Bible depends on a person’s reading speed. Based on a slow reader’s speed of 100 words per minute, it would take approximately 74 hours and 28 minutes to read the whole Bible. This breaks down to:

For those looking to read the Bible in a year, a commitment of approximately 12 minutes per day would be required.

By understanding the total word count and average reading time, readers can set realistic goals as they embark on their journey through the Bible.

Translations and Versions

Translations and Versions of the Bible

Original Languages

The Bible was originally written in three main languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Old Testament was primarily in Hebrew, with some portions in Aramaic, while the New Testament was written entirely in Greek.

Numerous linguistic shifts throughout history have led to the need for translations to make Biblical texts more accessible and understandable to different populations.

Significant Translations

Throughout history, there have been key translations of the Bible that had a significant impact on the growth of Christianity and the Bible’s accessibility to readers. Some of the most notable translations include:

Comparison of Lengths

It is important to note that the length of the Bible can vary depending on the translation being used. This can be attributed to differences in translation methods, as well as discrepancies among the original texts.

However, the overall length of the Bible typically remains relatively consistent across versions. Here’s a brief comparison of word counts in some popular translations:

TranslationWord Count
King James Version (KJV)Approx. 783,137 words
New International Version (NIV)Approx. 726,109 words
English Standard Version (ESV)Approx. 757,439 words
New Living Translation (NLT)Approx. 747,891 words

Though the length may differ slightly among translations, the core message and teachings of the Bible remain consistent across versions.

The overarching themes and narratives persist, allowing readers to benefit from the transformative wisdom and guidance within its pages.

Understanding the Context

The Bible, being a diverse compilation of texts, requires context for accurate interpretation and comprehension. There are several key aspects of context to consider when studying the Bible.

Historical Context

Historical context is crucial to understanding the Bible in its entirety, as it was written over the span of several thousand years.

Knowing the history and timeline of events can shed light on the reasons behind certain passages and the intended message of the authors.

Familiarizing oneself with the historical events that took place during the authorship of each book can provide readers with a clearer perspective of the text’s meaning.

Cultural Context

Recognizing the cultural context in which the Bible was written is essential to comprehend the message it conveys.

The Bible is a product of multiple cultures, each with its own beliefs, customs, and norms. Understanding the societal influences, religious practices, and customs of the time can deepen the reader’s knowledge and clarify potential misunderstandings.

By respecting and acknowledging cultural nuances, readers can better interpret the true intentions of the biblical authors.

Literary Context

The Bible utilizes various literary genres, such as poetry, narrative, parables, and prophetic works, to convey its message.

Readers should be cognizant of these literary forms and their implications, in order to accurately grasp the intended meaning of a text.

Considering the literary context of the Bible allows readers to appreciate the beauty and richness of its language and better understand the nuances within the text.

Final Thoughts

The Bible, a central text in Christianity, encompasses a significant length in terms of content and the time it takes to read. Its impact and the importance it holds for many individuals around the world cannot be overstated.

Considering the various factors that influence reading time, such as the Bible version and an individual’s reading speed, it could take between 60 and 80 hours to read the entire text.

While this may seem daunting, approaching the Bible in a systematic and consistent manner can help break down the extensive text into manageable sections for readers.

It is essential for readers to focus on understanding and digesting the content rather than rushing through the reading process. By engaging with the Bible’s teachings and applying them to daily life, readers can reap the benefits of its wisdom and guidance.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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