Greek NT Reading Scheme

by James Dowden

Brian Renshaw posted (originally by Dan Wallace and posted by Ben Blackwell here) a 30-section schema for reading through the Greek NT, roughly in order of difficulty. I am reproducing it here with one added feature, the number of verses in each section:

1. Jn 1-11 (536 verses)
2. Jn 12-21 (343 verses)
3. 1Jn, 2Jn, 3Jn, Phm (158 verses)
4. Mk 1-8 (323 verses)
5. Mk 9-16 (355 verses)
6. Mt 1-10 (315 verses)
7. Mt 11-20 (367 verses)
8. Mt 21-28 (389 verses)
9. Rev 1-11 (194 verses)
10. Rev 12-22 (210 verses)
11. 1Th, 2Th (136 verses)
12. Eph, Col (250 verses)
13. Php, Rm 1-8 (329 verses)
14. Rm 9-16 (208 verses)
15. 1Co 1-10 (237 verses)
16. 1Co 11-16 (200 verses)
17. Gal, Jas (257 verses)
18. 1Pe, 1Tm (218 verses)
19. 2Tm, Tts (129 verses)
20. Jde, 2Pe (86 verses)
21. 2Co 1-7 (132 verses)
22. 2Co 8-13 (124 verses)
23. Lk 1-8 (408 verses)
24. Lk 9-16 (350 verses)
25. Lk 17-24 (393 verses)
26. Ac 1-10 (384 verses)
27. Ac 11-19 (318 verses)
28. Ac 20-28 (304 verses)
29. Hb 1-7 (129 verses)
30. Hb 8-13 (174 verses)

(One brief note I should get out of the way is that words per verse in the Greek NT averages out at about 17. Most books are fairly close to this average. The only real outlier is Revelation, which has about 24 words per verse.)

As becomes quickly evident, the length of sections is all over the place. Yes, the most over-long section is the very first one, but the scheme is not one of sections gradually getting shorter toward the end. The issue is rather that the Gospels are much larger books than even this scheme allows for.

So the question is, can we do better, whilst keeping the order? Attempting to go for 60 sections (to get a finer granularity — it’s always possible to double up) turned more naturally into 61. Some mid-chapter breaks, particularly in the Gospels, were necessary to avoid extremely long sections. But the result is that sections range from 86 to 160 verses, with most around 130, give or take fifteen verses:

1. Jn 1.1-4.45 (157 verses)
2. Jn 4.46-6.71 (127 verses)
3. Jn 7-9 (153 verses)
4. Jn 10-12 (149 verses)
5. Jn 13-17 (155 verses)
6. Jn 18-21 (138 verses)
7. 1Jn, 2Jn, 3Jn, Phm (158 verses)
8. Mk 1-4 (149 verses)
9. Mk 5-7 (136 verses)
10. Mk 8-10 (140 verses)
11. Mk 11-13 (114 verses)
12. Mk 14-16 (139 verses)
13. Mt 1-5 (138 verses)
14. Mt 6-9 (135 verses)
15. Mt 10-12 (122 verses)
16. Mt 13-15 (133 verses)
17. Mt 16-20 (154 verses)
18. Mt 21-23 (131 verses)
19. Mt 24.1-26.29 (126 verses)
20. Mt 26.30-28.20 (132 verses)
21. Rev 1-5 (96 verses)
22. Rev 6-11 (98 verses)
23. Rev 12-17 (102 verses)
24. Rev 18-22 (108 verses)
25. 1Th, 2Th (136 verses)
26. Col (95 verses)
27. Eph (155 verses)
28. Php (104 verses)
29. Rm 1-5 (138 verses)
30. Rm 6-10 (141 verses)
31. Rm 11-16 (154 verses)
32. 1Co 1.1-7.16 (140 verses)
33. 1Co 7.17-12.11 (142 verses)
34. 1Co 12.12-16.24 (155 verses)
35. Gal (149 verses)
36. Jas (108 verses)
37. 1Pe (105 verses)
38. 1Tm (113 verses)
39. 2Tm, Tts (129 verses)
40. Jde, 2Pe (86 verses)
41. 2Co 1-7 (132 verses)
42. 2Co 8-13 (124 verses)
43. Lk 1-2 (132 verses)
44. Lk 3-5 (121 verses)
45. Lk 6-8 (155 verses)
46. Lk 9-11 (158 verses)
47. Lk 12.1-15.10 (139 verses)
48. Lk 15.11-19.27 (160 verses)
49. Lk 19.28-22.38 (144 verses)
50. Lk 22.39-24.53 (142 verses)
51. Ac 1-4 (136 verses)
52. Ac 5-7 (117 verses)
53. Ac 8-10 (131 verses)
54. Ac 11-14 (135 verses)
55. Ac 15-18 (143 verses)
56. Ac 19-21 (118 verses)
57. Ac 22-25 (119 verses)
58. Ac 26-28 (107 verses)
59. Hb 1-6 (101 verses)
60. Hb 7-10 (108 verses)
61. Hb 11-13 (94 verses)

If the number 60 is somehow sacrosanct, I suggest killing section 39, moving Titus up and 2 Timothy down (creating a 159 and a 169).

Now, I’m not saying I’m actually going to do this, but it might be useful to someone.

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