Scholars and bible readers often wonder how long the bible is and how long it will take to read. In this article, we will explore that question.
How Many Pages Does the Bible Have?
The most succinct answer to that question is: it depends. What does it depend upon? This article will answer that question and hopefully provide additional information on the reasons why bibles differ in length.
To begin, the bible is not composed the same way for everyone. Different faith traditions can and do use different versions of the bible. This practice of different bible versions has gone on for many centuries, even as far back as the 3rd century CE.
An early Christian named Marcion began a branch of Christianity that used a version of the bible that excised all of the Old Testament and much of the New Testament. Marcion could not reconcile the violence of the God of the Old Testament with Christ’s teachings of love and peace. Eventually, Marcion was excommunicated and his version of Christianity was branded heretical. Thomas Jefferson put together a version of the bible. His bible only contained portions of the New Testament and, like Marcion, removed any reference to religious violence.
How Many Pages Does the Catholic Bible Have?
With the added apocryphal books, a reader can expect approximately 1,600 pages (which will take about 50 hours to read). If someone is Catholic, the bible to be used will include the books of the Old Testament, the books of the New Testament, as well as several books defined as Apocrypha. In the Apocrypha, one can find books such as 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, ben Sirach, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. Some of these apocryphal texts are allegorical in nature, while others are more historical nature.
Additionally, there are different translations available of the Catholic canon. For example, one can read the English Standard Version (ESV) or the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), or the Harper-Collins Study Bible.
How Many Pages Does the Protestant Bible Have?
The Protestant canon of scripture contains approximately 1,200 pages (which will take about 30 hours to read). The Protestant denominations use a different version of the bible. Protestant faiths generally use a version of the bible that does not have the Apocryphal books. This version of the bible is read in many translations.
The King James Version (KJV) translation is a popular translation, yet other translations are gaining popularity. Translations such as the New Inspired Version (NIV)have been available for several years. Other translations appear, as well. Many of these newer translations attempt to offer the bible in modern, updated language in the hope the bible will appeal to more readers.
How Long Is the Jewish Bible?
Another version of the bible is used by those who practice the Jewish faith. The Hebrew Bible produced by the Jewish Publication Society has 2032 pages. The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia version has 1574 pages.
What Christians call the Old Testament, is called the Hebrew Bible by Jews. The Hebrew Bible is divided into three sections: The Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings.
Jews refer to these sections as Torah (the Law), Nevi’im (the Prophets), and Ketuvim (the Writings).
The Torah section contains the first five canonical books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Prophets section is subdivided into two sections: the four historical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings.
The second subsection consists of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekial, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
The Writings section contains Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, and Chronicles. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew Bible does not end with Malachi, as Christian bibles do. The Hebrew Bible ends with Chronicles.
As one can see, many variables come into play with the bible. As this article has noted, a bible’s length is affected by the number of books contained in the accepted canon of a religious tradition. The length of the bible can also be subject to change depending upon the various translations available. Even different publishers can change the length of the bible.
So far, all of the bibles discussed so far fall into a category of scripture called a closed canon. Canon is merely a word describing the works of scripture that are accepted by a religious faith tradition.
In the case of a closed canon, it means the scripture that is accepted as authoritative and valid cannot be added to or changed. There are some faith traditions that believe in an open canon of scripture. These faith traditions believe in the bible as the word of God and typically use the Protestant form of the bible. Some faiths which have an open canon accept other writings as scriptural. These non-biblical writings are referred to as extracanonical writings and go beyond the scope of this article. So when the question is asked, “How many pages does the bible have?”, the right answer is, “It depends.”