A photo of a group of people sitting around a table, immersed in deep discussion, surrounded by open Bibles, indicating their dedication and curiosity towards Bible study.

How Long Is Bible Study? A Detailed Overview

With over 31,000 verses spread across 66 books, reading and studying the full Bible is no small undertaking. If you’ve ever asked yourself ‘how long is bible study?’ this comprehensive guide has the answers you’re looking for.

If you’re short on time, the quick answer is: dedicated bible study times can range anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour depending on your goals and available time. Typically, 30-60 minutes is recommended for meaningful study.

In this approximately 3000 word guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about time recommendations for effective bible study including average reading times, tips for study, realistic goals based on your schedule, and what the bible itself teaches regarding diligently studying God’s word.

Average Reading Times for the Bible

Old Testament

The Old Testament contains 39 books spanning nearly 24,000 verses. The average adult reads prose text at 200-250 words per minute. At that rate, it would take around 96-120 hours to read the entire Old Testament, or around 15-20 minutes per day over the course of a year.

Here is a breakdown of estimated reading times for the Old Testament by section:

  • Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy): 22-27 hours
  • Historical books (Joshua to Esther): 30-38 hours
  • Poetic books (Job to Song of Songs): 13-17 hours
  • Prophetic books (Isaiah to Malachi): 30-38 hours

So on average, reading just the Old Testament cover-to-cover would take about 95-120 hours for most adults.

New Testament

The New Testament contains 27 books spanning nearly 8,000 verses. At a prose reading speed of 200-250 words per minute, the entire New Testament could be read in 31-39 hours.

Here is a breakdown by section:

  • Gospels and Acts: 11-14 hours
  • Pauline Epistles: 5-6 hours
  • General Epistles: 3-4 hours
  • Revelation: 1-2 hours

Entire Bible

For the complete Protestant Bible with 66 total books and over 31,000 verses, the estimated reading time cover-to-cover would be 126-159 hours. That breaks down to about 20-25 minutes per day over the course of a year.

Of course, reading speed can vary greatly depending on the individual. Some may read the Bible faster or slower. Referencing study guides or taking notes also adds more time. But in general, the whole Bible takes most people around 4-6 months to read at a comfortable pace.

For comparison, some famous epic literary works take around the same time to read as the entire Bible, like War and Peace (131 hours) and Les Misérables (123 hours). So the full Bible resembles an epic read more so than a quick novel.

Setting aside 15-20 minutes per day for Bible study can help you get through it at a steady, comprehensive pace over the course of a year or so.

Study Recommendations Based on your Goals

Recommended Bible Study Times for Memorization and Meditation

If your goal is to memorize and meditate on specific Bible verses or passages, shorter but more frequent study sessions are ideal. Here are some recommended times:

  • 5-10 minutes 1-2 times per day: Choose 1-2 verses and spend a few minutes reciting, reflecting on, and applying them.
  • 15-30 minutes daily: Pick a couple paragraphs or a chapter and read through them slowly, taking time to think about what you’re reading.
  • 30-60 minutes 2-3 times per week: Select 3-5 verses or a short passage and dive deep into understanding and memorizing it.

The key is to not take on too much at once – a few verses or a short passage covered repeatedly will stick better than long chapters done all at once. Be consistent as well in revisiting those key passages.

Suggested Times for Making it Through the Entire Bible

Reading the entire Bible cover to cover is a rewarding endeavor that helps you see Scripture as a whole. Here are some suggested time frames:

  • 15-30 minutes daily: At this pace, you can get through the Bible in 1-2 years.
  • 30-60 minutes daily: You can finish reading the entire Bible in 6 months to a year.
  • 2-3 hours daily: It’s possible to get through the entire Bible in 2-3 months.

It’s generally not recommended to try to finish the entire Bible in less than 2 months as comprehension and retention suffer. Take notes and break up the time into manageable chunks. Consider an audio Bible as well.

Tips for Fitting Meaningful Study Around Busy Schedules

With work, family, and other commitments, it can be challenging to carve out time for Bible study. Here are some handy tips:

  • Wake up 30 minutes early for breakfast Bible study.
  • Listen to audio Bibles during your commute.
  • Take a Bible break instead of a coffee break at work.
  • Study a Proverb a day with your family at dinner.
  • Have a short devotional time right before bed.
  • Replace social media time with Bible reading.

Identify small pockets of time in your daily routine where you can insert 10-15 minutes of Scripture reading or memorization. Be creative and flexible based on each day’s schedule. With consistency, you’ll be amazed at how much biblical knowledge you can gain!

What Does the Bible Say About Diligence in Studying Scripture?

The Bible encourages Christians to be diligent and dedicated in studying God’s word. Here are some key passages about the importance of diligence in studying Scripture:

We Should Be Eager to Study God’s Word

The Bible tells us that we should yearn to understand Scripture and apply it to our lives. For example:

  • “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2)
  • “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18)
  • “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11)

We Should Make Studying Scripture a Priority

Rather than treating it as an optional extra, we are called to make studying the Bible central in our lives. For instance:

  • “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly” (Colossians 3:16)

We Should Be Diligent and Focused in Our Study

Merely casual reading is not enough – we are exhorted to exert energy and be intentional in wresting meaning from Scripture. Consider these verses:

  • “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV)
  • “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29)
  • “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Benefits of Diligence in Studying Scripture

The Bible connects spiritual diligence with greater wisdom, joy, and blessings:

  • “Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2)
  • “I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes” (Psalm 119:99)
  • “I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me” (Psalm 119:102)


In the bible, Paul writes to Timothy that all Scripture is ‘profitable for teaching’ (2 Timothy 3:16). Determining realistic bible study goals and carving out dedicated time to diligently study God’s word is key to spiritual growth and understanding.

Focus first on quality over quantity. Whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, pray for wisdom and aim for meaningful engagement with Scripture. Over a lifetime, those daily encounters with God’s truth transform us to be more like Christ.

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