What Reading Level Is Your Bible? The Answer Might Surprise You

Margaret —  August 8, 2010 — 23 Comments

What Reading Level Is Your Bible? The Answer Might Surprise You

Did you know that the translation of your Bible has a reading level? In other words, some translations are moreth difficulteth to readeth. 🙂

Here's a list of translations and their suggested reading level:

  • King James Version (KJV): 12th grade
  • Revised Standard Version (RSV): 12th grade
  • New American Standard Bible (NASB): 11th grade
  • New Revised Standard Version (RNSV): 11th grade
  • English Standard Version (ESV): 10th grade
  • New International Version (NIV): 8th grade
  • Holman Christian Standard Version (HCSV): 8th grade
  • New King James Version (NKJV): 7th grade
  • New Living Translation (NLT): 6th grade
  • God’s Word (GW): 5th grade
  • The Message (MSG): 5th grade
  • New Century Version (NCV): 3rd grade

Which translation do you enjoy?

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23 responses to What Reading Level Is Your Bible? The Answer Might Surprise You

  1. I’m an ESV kinda guy, I grew up with the King James and still enjoy reading it from time to time. For study and devotion the ESV is my main translation.

  2. For study a combination of NRSV, NIV, RSV, NASB, HCSB. For reading: NIV, NLT, HCSB, NRSV.

  3. Love my ESV that I have on my Kindle. I am currently saving up to purchase a nice leather bound copy of the ESV Study Bible. Really enjoy that one… and my wife would say that I still behave like a 10th grader sometimes 🙂

  4. Patrick,



  5. NASB is my fave for study/reading… i always say it’s like KJV, only frontwards, since the sentences seem poetic, but not backward to me. :o) Love the Message, NLT, NIV… And now i’m thinking i have to get my hands on one of those ESVs everyone is bragging up. I haven’t added a new translation to the stack for awhile, so it’s obviously time.

  6. Ronda,
    Yes–and word on the street is there’s a new NIV coming out next year. Also, for a fresh look at Scripture, I’ll pick up a translation by J. B. Phillips New Testament.

  7. Ok..so here I am…yet a child:) I often use NIV or NLT translations…and, gulp…sometimes even the MESSAGE translation. I guess what I love is that all translations spell TRUTH in His living, breathing, word. And what the hay…I’ll stick with the child like faith any day:) ….no rhyme intended…although awesome:) lol

  8. A long list! But I disagree about the NIV being 8th grade level. Many of my young (age 6 and up) friends , understand, and enjoy the NIV.

  9. Timothy Vukomanovic April 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Is the scale limited at 12? The KJV is a beautiful read but somewhat difficult in parts. If the NSRV which is a breeze to read is rated grade 11, then the KJV and RSV should be 13+.

  10. Those reading levels are just guidelines. I learned how to read at age 2, read a 2nd grade Bible in kindergarten, and in GRADE 9 AND AGE 12 brought an NLT Bible [Grade 6] to church. My pastor says no matter the grade level, the Bible is all true.

    • Totally, Maria! It is a helpful guide to use if you’re looking for a Bible that fits your reading preferences, but definitely just guidelines.

  11. KJV all the way

  12. I’ve been reading the KJV since 6th grade with very few problems. *scratches brain*

  13. As far as reading the gospel is concerned I prefer the kjv. If I’m reading more of the Old Testament I prefer the good news version. I’m not trying to challenge myself intellectually through reading the scriptures.

  14. If you have ever taught middle school/high school in church, you have to agree with these stats.

  15. I teach Fourth and Fifth grade in a Christian school and use the New Century Version for the scripture passages that my students memorize weekly. I believe they must understand and relate to God’s word as they memorize it and it becomes part of their life.

  16. Thanks I needed to know

  17. http://www.av1611.org/kjv/kjv_easy.html

    This site shows that based on syllables per word, the KJV is actually 5.8 for reading level

    • The Flesch-Kincaid scale only counts word length, syllables, sentence length, etc. It doesn’t account for familiarity of vocabulary, grammar & syntax, etc. The 5.8 scale for the KJV is utterly meaningless. Scores for other versions, unless they came out at about the same time, are largely meaningless as well.

  18. I disagree with the KJV being 12th grade. Reading had just clicked for me at age 8 and I began reading the KJV soon after and no problems understanding or enjoying it.

  19. I use the Young’s Literal Translation for study and reading. I’m actually thinking about switching to the American Standard Version soon.

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