What is the most frequently read book in the Bible?

I’ve often heard people claim that Revelation is the most frequently read book in the Bible. I doubt this. Sure, there have always been Christian groups obsessed with eschatology. But the *Left Behind * or *Late Great Planet Earth * people are a very small minority of Christians.

I’m thinking Psalms is probably the most read book. A psalm is read during most liturgical church services. Psalms is also part of the Old Testament and thus would be read by both Christians and Jews.

Is there a factual answer to this question?

As asked in the thread title, I think the question is close to unanswerable. Few people who are not “reading the Bible cover to cover” sit down to read an entire book of the Bible, in isolation. No doubt some few do, but attempting to isolate one book that is the single book of the bible most commonly read, beginning to end, sounds pretty difficult to research.

Individual passages and chapters, on the other hand, as the text of the OP makes clear, may be significantly easier. I suspect that the OP is correct: some Christian traditions make a point of using a single Psalm, rotating through the book through the year, as a part of liturgical worship. This includes Catholicism, well nigh half of Christianity by membership figures, as well as many if not all Jewish traditions, numerous Protestant groups, and probably others. The 23rd psalm is a commonplace at quasi-religious funerals, as well, often read by people who do not attend religious worship.

A possible competitor chapter might be the 13th of First Corinthians, the paean to love that is featured in many wedding services, not all religious.

Astute. Wouldn’t this suggest, though, that Genesis is the answer to the OP? How many cover-to-cover readers never make it all the way through? That is, consider how many people start to read, say, War and Peace, but never finish it. The number of folks who read the first chapters must outnumber the number of folks who read the last chapter. Of course, this assumes that the vast majority of bible readers start with the OT, and that the number of cover-to-cover readers (or attempted c-t-c readers) dwarfs the number of chapter-only readers. I’m cite-less, but I believe (heh) that these are defensible assumptions. However, where the bible is concerned, belief is a tricky thing :slight_smile:

Well, anecdotally, just about every time I see someone reading a Bible (in English or Spanish) on the NYC subway with a highlighter and a bookmark, they’re reading either Revelations or, less often, I Corinthians.

Extremely anecdotal, but when I (Roman Catholic on paper, but not actually practising the faith) decided to read a book of the Bible a few years ago, I chose Job. Partially because it’s rather short :rolleyes:, partially because I considered the subject matter very interesting (after all, God Himself doesn’t really play a very good part in that book, given that he’s basically playing a game with the destiny of a human being), partially because the introduction of my annotated Bible edition states that the Book of Job can be considered one of the principal works in world literature.

Probably better suited to IMHO.

samclem General Questions Moderator

I vote for Genesis and Matthew. Based on nothing whatever except what I think people would do.

In Jewish practice (at least Orthodox and Conservative branches), Psalms 146 - 150 are read every day. Also, a selection from Numbers is read every month.

I read the Bible almost daily, and have never tracked this, but I find Revelation to be a lot of work, which is counter to why I read the Bible in the first place so it isn’t even in my top 10. Without keeping records I’d say my own top 3 are Matthew, Psalms, and Exodus.

I vote for ** Genesis**
Read by all Christian denominations, and Jews.

It’s the first book in the Bible, and I’ll bet most folks start with the beginning

It’s got several of the must-read stories: Creation, Adam and Eve, cain and Abel, Tower of Babel, Noah and the Ark, Joseph and his brothers…

It’s easy to read. (If you don’t think that’s important, try reading a few of the histories)

I’ve found the most often cited Christmas story passage (from countless Vesper services to Charlie Brown, etc.) is the one in Luke. And since that’s one of the two most popular church-going days, I would expect it to be the book people read from who may not read anything else Biblical all year.

If the question is which book is most frequently read in its entirety, I’m inclined to agree with CalMeacham, though it’s just a guess. But then, on the other hand, one of the shorter books, like Jonah, Ruth, or Ecclesiastes, might have the edge.

Welcome to the Straight Dope, coltleader. I’m curious what brought you here, to a thread from three years ago.

And to everybody else: Please hold off on the zombie jokes for a day or two, okay?


I tend to think that Psalms is the most common book to be read out of, but no idea what is the most common entire book to be read.

I would go with Genesis too. The entertainment value is high because it ends up looking like Jerry Springer show.

It’s like the Princess Bride, it has everything. Murder, lies, deceit, betrail, fighting, floods, incest, jelousy, slavery, miracles…

If we’re talking historically, I’d guess that the answer is probably Psalms. During the middle ages, monks, nuns, and other clergy would frequently memorize the entire book of Psalms and recite it periodically. (St. Patrick is said to have recited 100 Psalms a day.) Doubtlessly some people outside the clergy memorized them too, and I’d bet some Jews did so as well.

In modern times I’m not so sure. While all of the gospels are read frequently in Bible study, I’d agree with Thudlow Boink that shorter books such as Ruth might also be contenders.

I find Genesis, Exodus in the OT, and The Gospels and Revelations to be the only interesting books to me

What brought him here was a golden opportunity to shill for that website. I reported the post as spam.

Bible covers from “Dicks on giftshop”? (from mouseover)

Romans, or at least parts of it have to be up there. It’s widely used as a witnessing tool. The “Romans road” being romans 3:23 and other verses.