Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Top Twenty Most Read Verses in the Bible (And What it Says about Us as Bible Readers)

Have you ever wondered which verses of the Bible are the most frequently read?

We could all probably have made some guesses. I'm sure most people would correctly guess that John 3:16 is at the top of the list, for instance. But now that many believers are using their phones, tablets, and computers as their Bibles, for the first time in history we can be scientifically sure what verses rank highest when it comes to frequency of readership.

A couple of years ago, Biblegateway.com, the super-popular Scripture website released their own list of the top 100 most read Bible verses. See the full top 100 here. (I myself use this site all the time, not so much to read from as a devotional discipline, but as a convenient way to cut and paste Scripture into articles, power point presentations etc).

The below list of the top 20 is taken from their data. 

Any shockers here? Not really. It is actually a pretty excellent "starter supply" of verses worthy of memorization by all Christians. Many of the most read verses display God's great and sustaining grace in our lives (Rom 8:28, Eph 2:8, Phil 4:13 etc.). All of these passages are worthy of our trust, and are inspiring to our faith.

If there is any surprise, for me at least, it is that sin doesn't come in on the list until the 19th and 20th most read verses (although the reality is implied indirectly in some other verses such as #'s 1, 11, and 18). Also surprisingly absent from the top 20 are the words "cross," (earliest appearance at #35) "death," (#56) "blood," (absent from the top 100 entirely) and "resurrection" (#54).

I am not suggesting that this list should be interpreted in a negative light. Certainly one verse is not more "inspired" than the next. But if anything, we might say that we as readers tend to dwell more on the results of our justification (our new status and identity in Christ) than the means of our justification (the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus).

What do you think?
  1. John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  2. Jer 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  3. Rom 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
  4. Phil 4:13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
  5. Gen 1:1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
  6. Prov 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
  7. Prov 3:6: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
  8. Rom 12:2: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  9. Phil 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
  10. Matt 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
  11. Eph 2:8: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
  12. Gal 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
  13. Rom 12:1: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
  14. John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
  15. Acts 18:10: For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
  16. Acts 18:9: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.
  17. Acts 18:11: So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
  18. Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
  19. 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  20. Rom 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.

1 comment:

  1. I thought your summary was well put. As I scanned the twenty verses I was looking for the the right words. when I read, "... we might say that we as readers tend to dwell more on the results of our justification (our new status and identity in Christ) than the means of our justification (the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus)."
    We might also note that there is very little about sanctification either. I guess we don't care much for verses that call us on us to grow-up.