2 Bible Experiments: Reading Plans and Instant Search

From time to time, I like to share programming experiments that relate to the digital world. Here, I’ve applied recent Internet memes to Bible tools.

How Long Does it Take to Read the Bible?

The first applies the minisite principle of creating a site that does one very simple thing (like isitraining.com or istwitterdown.net) to the question of how long it takes to read the Bible. Sometimes reading the entire Bible seems daunting, but this should make it seem a bit easier:

How long does it take to read the Bible

Instant Bible Search

Google’s new Instant Search which spawned lots of copies of it like YouTube Instant and iTunes Instant. So I decided to create

Instant Bible Search

It uses Logos‘s Biblia API and takes advantage of their JSONP support (which the ESV API for example does not have). Currently it’s limited to versions of the Bible that Logos can include in their API, but since it’s just for fun that shouldn’t matter too much.

Hope you like them!

Published by

John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary, and at night I write Bible software for countries whose leaders could be called "overlords." This one time, I wrote a book about technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at http://j.hn/.

22 thoughts on “2 Bible Experiments: Reading Plans and Instant Search”

  1. The instant search intrigues me because it brings up an interesting point I’d like to toss out, hopefully not derailing things too much.

    Sort of related to your post about making Chapter & Verse making us dumber, do you think the instant search would make our interpretation skills worse? Type in a broad termed word and bingo, I’ve got 20 passages relating to “money” and all those verses are telling me different things!

    I’m still a fan of learning basic hermeneutics, but I wonder how having something like this helps make this issue more important.

    At the tech level, I hope the server can handle the influx of AJAX requests. 8^D

    Keep up the great work!

    1. I totally agree, except that I think it applies to Bible searches in general, not just “Instant” search. When we use computers to search the Bible we’re approaching the Scriptures in a way that’s different their design, and the passages we find become removed from their context and broader meaning.

      That doesn’t mean search is inherently bad, it just means that we need to actively point out those differences and make sure we’re not giving into them. This was true with the printed bible and numbered Bible, and it’s true now with the digital Bible.

  2. Any word on when the flash cards might be up and running? Just curious… I appreciate all the work and service brother!

  3. …it would be cool to be able to specify how much time you’d like to spend per day as well…

    Great script – I was just making the point to someone not long ago that the bible is not that big of a book… it can be easily read and large amounts can be memorized with less effort then people (even believers) typically imagine…

  4. Hi John,

    great work on the Instant Bible search. Two points:

    1) The Lexham bible returns tags within the text, at least for the search I did (“have you”).

    2) The Bible book names are given in Danish for me (probably because I have a Danish machine :-) ). However, there’s a problem with 2 Chronicles, which should be “Anden Krønikebog”, not “Andeb Krønikebog”. Is that problem on your end, or on Logos’s? I’m sure they want to know if it’s on their end… So if you could let me know, that would be great.



    1. Ulrik,
      Thanks for the comments.

      I couldn’t replicate the tags issue. Could you tell me what browser you were using (I tested in FF and Chrome)?

      Also, the book names are in fact coming from Logos.

  5. If you will add a picture to the Bible Reading website, it could then be “pinned” on Pinterest. Love the idea & wanr to share it! Thanks!!

  6. One more thing…..the date calculator for comments must be off….I wrote this on Jan 1, 2013….it’s showing up as 2010.

  7. I’d like to be able to set How Long Does it Take to Read the Bible? to 8 weeks… somewhere between the 1 and 3 month options. Want to provide more time options?

  8. Hi, I was using your Bible reading time calculator and I was hoping that you would be able to add more options for lengths of time? I was trying to find out how long per day it would take to go through the Bible in 15 days, or 7 days, for example. I currently read/listen through the Bible every 15 days (twice a month, 24 times a year)so I know it takes approximately 5 hours a day, but it would be nice for there to be more options for those of us who would like to read it in other amounts of time than what is currently on there. Would that be possible? Thanks

  9. Here I am revisiting How Long Does It Take To Read the Bible? I’m wondering where your data for number of words in the chapters comes from. I haven’t been able to find a good source for information on the number of words per chapter in any version. The best that I’ve got so far is using a program like Bible Analyzer but that is rather tedious. Given your skills I suspect that you have a code solution. Do you have either a data source or code that you are willing to share?

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