Biblical Greek Text Organised By Word Frequency

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Research suggests that for optimal results, a student should focus on reading material that can be described as comprehensible input. Ideally a student should be able to recognise at least 98% of the words on a page. The reason for this is intuitively obvious. Consider how many pages per hour a student can read when the student can recognize most of the words on the page, in contrast to how fast you can read when you cant understand 20% of the words on a page. The faster a student can read, the more exposure that student will have with productively using the language.

But how do we count ‘words’?

Mounce introduces new students to the activity of memorising New Testament vocabulary as follows:

“These 319 words account for 110,425 word occurrences, or 79.92% of the total word count, almost four out of five. …. The point is that if you learn these 319 words well, you can read the bulk of the New Testament. I think it is counterproductive at this point to learn more, unless you really like doing things like that. Your time is better spent reading the Bible or learning grammar.”

(William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, 3d; (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 16.)

While I appreciate the attempt to efficiently focus the student on the most common words, these numbers assume that if a student can read the word ἐσθίω (eat) with relative ease, that the student can also comfortably read the past tense-form ἔφαγον. It assumes that if the student memorised the flashcard ὁράω (see) that they will comfortably recognise the forms εἶδον and ὄψομαι. These two examples demonstrate the limitations we have with measuring reading speed and reading comprehension. Just because a student can read one form of a word, does not mean they can comfortably recognise all alternate forms. In spite of this, textbooks and software products that popular in seminaries today teach and measure vocabulary frequency using the root form of a word.

Order Chapters of the Bible by Word Frequency

Each first year textbook requires the student to learn a different amount of vocabulary. Mounce covers the 313 most common words, Duff covers the 600 most common words, and my count of Black finds 503 words. Thankfully the vocabulary set chosen doesn’t overly impact the end result in terms of ordering the chapters of the bible by the number of words a student should recognise. The vocabulary set from David Allan Black has been chosen here.

  • Chapters in the New Testament ordered by Vocabulary Frequency PDF PNG
  • Chapters in the Old Testament (Septuagint) ordered by Vocabulary Frequency PDF PNG
  • Chapters in the Bible ordered by Vocabulary Frequency PDF PNG

Unfortunately there are no individual chapters in the New Testament that approach that 98% vocabulary level.

Order Bible Passages by Word Frequency

So the next step in my journey to discover biblical text that comes closer to that 98% level was to consider analysing individual stories and passages in the bible. To do this, chapters can be divided up into smaller sections using section headings (we used the same headings used on this site), and skipped any section that was only one or two verses long. Here is the result. You can download this list to print or share, our only hope is that it may help and encourage people to dig into the biblical text of the New Testament.

  • Download Stories and Passages in the New Testament ordered by Vocabulary Frequency PDF PNG

95%1 John
5:6-12
94%1 John
5:1-5
93%Ephesians
6:21-24
91%Matthew
12:46-50
90%John
5:19-29
89%1 John
1:1-4
89%Revelation
20:11-15
89%John
17:1-26
89%1 John
5:13-20
89%John
16:25-33
89%Mark
3:31-35
88%Galatians
1:1-5
88%John
16:16-24
88%Mark
11:27-33
88%Matthew
21:23-27
87%John
13:31-35
87%John
8:39-47
87%John
12:44-50
87%John
21:20-25
87%John
15:18-16:4
87%John
3:16-21
86%John
5:30-47
86%1 John
1:5-10
86%1 John
2:28-3:10
86%Mark
9:33-37
85%1 John
2:18-27
85%John
12:20-26
84%1 John
4:7-21
84%John
16:5-15
84%John
6:60-71
84%Mark
12:13-17
84%2 John
1:4-11
83%Mark
14:22-25
83%John
14:1-14
83%Mark
9:38-41
83%John
8:31-38
83%Matthew
26:26-29
83%John
14:15-31
83%John
1:29-34
83%John
7:32-36
83%Matthew
26:1-5
83%1 John
2:1-6
82%Luke
12:49-53
82%3 John
1:1-4
82%Mark
10:13-16
82%Philemon
1:4-7
82%1 John
4:1-6
82%Luke
12:8-12
81%Matthew
12:33-37
81%Matthew
7:7-12
81%John
12:27-36
81%1 John
3:11-24
81%Luke
10:21-24
81%John
8:12-30
81%Romans
1:1-7
81%Galatians
2:15-21
81%Mark
12:18-27
80%Matthew
10:34-39
80%Matthew
5:17-20
80%Matthew
9:1-8
80%Matthew
21:28-32
80%Matthew
20:20-28
80%Acts
10:44-48
80%Revelation
2:8-11
80%John
20:19-23
79%Luke
9:23-27
79%John
10:22-42
79%John
7:40-52
79%Romans
5:1-11
79%Luke
13:6-9
79%Matthew
16:24-28
79%Mark
8:27-30
79%John
15:1-17
78%Galatians
1:6-10
78%John
3:1-15
78%1 John
2:7-14
78%Mark
13:32-37
78%Matthew
18:10-14
78%Matthew
22:15-22
78%Mark
8:31-38
78%Matthew
16:13-20
78%Romans
8:1-11
78%John
7:25-31
78%Galatians
3:10-14
77%Matthew
9:9-13
77%1 Corinthians
6:12-20
77%Mark
3:22-30
77%John
7:1-24
77%Revelation
20:1-6
77%John
18:33-40
77%Matthew
13:10-17
77%Matthew
20:29-34
77%Mark
11:20-26
77%Luke
6:20-23
76%Mark
10:35-45
76%1 Corinthians
12:1-11
76%Matthew
22:23-33
76%1 Corinthians
16:19-24
76%Colossians
4:2-6
76%Matthew
12:1-8
76%Revelation
11:15-19
76%Mark
4:21-25
76%John
4:46-54
76%John
8:48-59
76%Mark
2:13-17
76%John
20:24-29
76%Luke
6:1-5
76%John
1:1-18
76%2 Corinthians
13:11-14
76%Jude
1:17-23
76%2 Corinthians
13:1-10
76%1 Corinthians
14:26-40
75%John
18:28-32
75%Revelation
19:1-5
75%Acts
16:1-5
75%1 Thessalonians
1:5-12
75%Romans
15:1-13
75%Luke
9:51-56
75%Matthew
21:18-22
75%Romans
3:1-8
75%Ephesians
6:5-9
75%1 Corinthians
16:1-4
75%Matthew
22:34-45
75%Luke
10:17-20
75%Matthew
4:1-11
75%Ephesians
5:22-33
75%Romans
4:1-12
75%Romans
9:30-10:4
75%John
1:35-42
75%John
18:19-24
75%Mark
4:30-34
75%Matthew
3:13-17
74%Matthew
28:16-20
74%Matthew
27:15-26
74%Matthew
27:11-14
74%John
11:17-27
74%Matthew
18:15-20
74%Luke
4:31-37
74%John
13:1-20
74%Hebrews
13:20-25
74%1 Corinthians
10:23-11:1
74%John
21:15-19
74%Revelation
3:7-13
74%Matthew
26:17-25
73%Colossians
3:18-4:1
73%Matthew
8:18-22
73%Titus
1:1-4
73%3 John
1:5-12
73%Matthew
9:27-31
73%1 Corinthians
2:1-16
73%Revelation
3:1-6
73%John
3:22-36
73%John
20:11-18
73%Matthew
5:43-48
73%Matthew
13:53-58
73%Romans
7:14-25
73%Mark
11:15-19
73%John
6:22-59
73%1 Corinthians
8:1-13
73%Acts
8:4-8
73%1 Thessalonians
2:13-17
73%Matthew
12:38-42
73%Mark
2:23-28
72%Matthew
5:27-30
72%Mark
13:24-27
72%Matthew
8:1-4
72%Ephesians
1:15-23
72%John
19:31-37
72%John
1:43-51
72%Revelation
1:4-8
72%Matthew
26:47-56
72%Luke
12:4-7
72%Revelation
2:18-29
72%John
11:45-57
72%Luke
4:38-41
72%Luke
5:27-32
72%Matthew
8:14-17
72%Romans
14:13-23
72%Revelation
2:1-7
72%Matthew
12:22-32
72%Luke
1:39-45
72%Matthew
17:24-27
72%Colossians
1:3-14
72%Ephesians
6:1-4
72%Matthew
13:36-43
72%Romans
14:1-12
72%Philippians
1:21-30
72%John
9:1-41
71%Matthew
28:11-15
71%Acts
12:1-5
71%Matthew
21:33-46
71%Galatians
3:1-9
71%Matthew
18:1-6
71%Romans
6:15-23
71%Matthew
1:20-25
71%Matthew
24:3-14
71%Mark
14:12-21
71%Acts
1:5-11
71%Mark
12:28-34
71%John
12:12-19
71%1 Thessalonians
4:13-18
71%Hebrews
3:7-19
71%Matthew
12:9-14
71%Luke
11:14-23
71%1 Thessalonians
1:1-10
71%Matthew
15:1-9
71%2 Corinthians
4:1-6
71%Matthew
14:1-12
71%2 Corinthians
2:12-17
71%John
12:37-43
71%Romans
13:8-14
71%Matthew
10:16-25
71%Mark
12:1-12
71%Luke
6:27-36
71%Luke
11:29-32
71%1 Corinthians
1:1-17
71%Luke
8:9-15
71%Revelation
10:1-11
70%Matthew
12:15-21
70%Romans
13:1-7
70%Acts
5:1-11
70%Luke
1:57-66
70%John
2:13-22
70%Luke
9:57-62
70%Revelation
14:6-13
70%1 Thessalonians
5:1-11
70%Matthew
26:36-46
70%1 Corinthians
7:17-24
70%Matthew
5:33-37
70%Luke
7:1-10
70%John
10:1-21
70%Mark
14:43-50
70%Matthew
9:18-26
70%2 Peter
1:16-21
70%Luke
14:25-33
70%Mark
2:1-12
70%Luke
5:17-26
70%Romans
7:1-13
70%Romans
8:12-17
70%Acts
3:11-26
70%2 Corinthians
1:1-11
70%Matthew
5:13-16
70%James
4:13-17
70%Mark
4:10-20
70%Acts
8:26-39
70%John
11:1-16
70%Romans
6:1-14
70%Mark
14:32-42
70%Philippians
1:3-11
70%Matthew
9:35-38
69%Matthew
13:18-23
69%Acts
7:54-60
69%Mark
7:24-30
69%Luke
4:1-13
69%Mark
1:21-28
69%Matthew
13:1-9
69%Matthew
27:62-66
69%John
19:17-27
69%Mark
13:14-21
69%Galatians
6:11-18
69%Acts
9:1-19
69%Hebrews
3:1-6
69%Luke
11:1-13
69%Acts
19:1-10
69%1 Corinthians
15:50-58
69%Matthew
10:26-33
69%Revelation
13:11-18
69%Galatians
6:1-10
69%Acts
4:32-37
69%Luke
13:31-35
69%Mark
13:3-13
69%Romans
15:14-21
69%Mark
9:1-13
69%John
2:1-12
69%Luke
2:41-52
69%Galatians
4:1-7
68%Mark
15:1-5
68%Mark
1:35-39
68%Matthew
8:23-27
68%Matthew
5:38-42
68%John
1:19-28
68%Mark
9:14-29
68%Revelation
14:1-5
68%John
20:1-10
68%2 Corinthians
6:14-7:1
68%Ephesians
2:1-10
68%Colossians
4:7-18
68%Matthew
19:16-30
68%Revelation
8:1-5
68%Revelation
16:1-16
68%1 Corinthians
1:18-31
68%Mark
2:18-22
68%James
2:14-26
68%Matthew
19:1-12
68%Luke
7:11-17
68%Mark
4:1-9
68%Matthew
26:57-68
68%Revelation
12:7-17
68%Mark
10:1-12
68%Matthew
17:14-21
67%Matthew
8:5-13
67%Philippians
2:1-11
67%Acts
4:23-31
67%Matthew
6:5-15
67%Romans
8:31-39
67%Acts
9:32-35
67%Matthew
5:2-11
67%Matthew
4:18-22
67%Romans
4:13-25
67%Luke
6:46-49
67%1 Thessalonians
3:1-5
67%Luke
6:6-11
67%1 Thessalonians
3:6-13
67%Romans
3:21-31
67%1 Thessalonians
3:6-15
67%Matthew
26:6-16
67%1 Corinthians
15:1-11
67%1 Peter
1:3-12
67%Matthew
25:14-30
67%Revelation
19:6-10
67%2 Peter
3:14-18
67%Luke
13:1-5
67%Galatians
3:15-29
67%Luke
10:38-42
67%Acts
25:1-12
67%John
18:15-18
67%2 Corinthians
2:1-11
67%Mark
10:17-31
67%Matthew
24:32-35
67%Revelation
21:1-8
67%Mark
10:46-52
66%Matthew
20:1-16
66%Acts
10:34-43
66%Ephesians
3:1-13
66%Luke
1:67-80
66%1 Thessalonians
5:12-28
66%1 Corinthians
11:2-16
66%John
11:28-37
66%Luke
13:10-17
66%Mark
8:14-21
66%Luke
5:12-16
66%Revelation
22:6-21
66%John
5:1-17
66%Acts
21:17-26
66%John
19:1-16
66%Acts
1:1-4
66%Luke
14:1-6
66%Matthew
27:32-44
66%Matthew
6:1-4
66%Mark
12:41-44
66%1 Corinthians
7:25-40
66%James
5:13-20
66%Acts
15:22-35
66%Romans
10:5-21
66%Revelation
15:1-8
66%Colossians
1:24-2:5
66%Revelation
7:9-17
66%Luke
1:26-38
66%Revelation
13:1-10
65%1 Peter
1:13-25
65%Galatians
2:11-14
65%Hebrews
4:14-5:10
65%Matthew
24:15-28
65%Luke
8:4-8
65%Titus
3:12-15
65%Ephesians
3:14-21
65%Mark
6:1-6
65%Luke
11:33-36
65%Mark
6:14-29
65%Matthew
17:1-13
65%Matthew
11:25-30
65%Acts
9:36-43
65%2 Corinthians
1:12-24
65%Luke
9:1-6
65%Luke
6:37-42
65%Luke
12:13-21
65%Matthew
24:36-51
65%Mark
1:29-34
65%Mark
3:7-12
65%Matthew
4:12-17
65%Acts
8:9-25
65%1 Thessalonians
2:17-3:5
65%Mark
3:13-21
65%Matthew
27:3-10
65%John
6:16-21
65%2 Timothy
2:1-13
64%Luke
9:28-36
64%Acts
10:1-8
64%1 Timothy
3:8-13
64%Hebrews
2:5-18
64%Mark
16:14-20
64%Romans
2:12-29
64%Romans
12:3-8
64%1 Corinthians
16:5-11
64%Matthew
14:13-21
64%Hebrews
10:1-18
64%Matthew
6:19-24
64%Luke
8:40-56
64%Mark
13:28-31
64%1 Corinthians
7:1-16
64%Matthew
10:5-15
64%Matthew
21:1-11
64%1 Corinthians
11:17-34
64%Mark
7:1-13
64%John
13:21-30
64%Matthew
26:30-35
64%Luke
10:1-12
64%Hebrews
1:1-14
64%2 Corinthians
3:1-18
64%Mark
5:21-43
64%Acts
11:1-18
64%Mark
15:21-32
64%Mark
15:6-15
64%2 Corinthians
4:7-18
64%1 Corinthians
15:35-49
64%Matthew
11:1-19
63%Luke
2:8-21
63%Romans
1:8-15
63%Romans
2:1-11
63%Matthew
15:21-28
63%Revelation
17:1-18
63%1 Peter
4:1-11
63%1 Corinthians
15:12-34
63%1 Corinthians
12:12-31
63%Revelation
2:12-17
63%Luke
14:7-11
63%Acts
17:10-15
63%Acts
6:8-15
63%Luke
5:33-39
63%Revelation
5:1-14
63%Luke
7:18-35
63%Philippians
2:19-30
63%Ephesians
6:10-20
63%Matthew
2:19-23
63%Philippians
3:1-11
63%John
7:53-8:11
63%1 Thessalonians
4:1-12
63%2 Corinthians
12:1-10
63%Romans
11:25-36
63%Mark
9:42-50
63%Galatians
1:11-24
63%John
11:38-44
63%Mark
1:1-8
63%Matthew
10:1-4
63%1 Corinthians
16:12-18
63%2 Corinthians
8:1-15
63%Revelation
1:9-20
63%1 Corinthians
4:1-21
62%Mark
14:26-31
62%1 Timothy
1:12-20
62%2 Corinthians
8:16-24
62%Matthew
7:1-6
62%Mark
14:53-65
62%Luke
5:1-11
62%Galatians
4:8-20
62%Luke
9:10-17
62%2 Timothy
4:1-8
62%Matthew
9:14-17
62%Revelation
20:7-10
62%Mark
8:22-26
62%Matthew
16:5-12
62%Acts
14:24-28
62%Matthew
14:22-33
62%Colossians
1:15-23
62%Matthew
7:24-27
62%Ephesians
2:11-22
62%Revelation
22:1-5
62%Acts
26:1-11
62%James
2:1-13
62%Acts
17:16-21
62%1 Corinthians
13:1-13
62%Romans
5:12-21
62%1 Peter
4:12-19
62%Matthew
25:31-36
62%Acts
5:12-16
62%Mark
1:40-45
62%1 Corinthians
3:1-23
62%Luke
9:37-43
62%Matthew
28:1-10
62%Luke
7:36-50
62%Luke
14:12-24
62%James
5:7-12
62%2 Corinthians
5:1-10
61%Acts
3:1-10
61%Acts
22:30-23:11
61%Acts
22:30-23:11
61%John
19:38-42
61%Philemon
1:8-22
61%Matthew
22:1-14
61%Matthew
18:21-35
61%Mark
1:16-20
61%Matthew
11:20-24
61%Romans
12:9-21
61%Acts
2:14-41
61%Acts
15:1-21
61%Colossians
3:1-17
61%Mark
16:1-8
61%2 Peter
3:1-13
61%1 Corinthians
6:1-11
61%Acts
11:19-30
61%Ephesians
5:1-21
61%Luke
10:25-37
61%Acts
14:8-18
61%Luke
12:35-48
61%Acts
2:42-47
61%Acts
28:17-31
61%Revelation
3:14-22
61%John
6:1-15
60%Acts
24:22-27
60%Ephesians
4:17-32
60%Mark
4:26-29
60%Romans
15:22-33
60%Hebrews
2:1-4
60%Acts
16:6-10
60%Mark
3:1-6
60%Mark
6:7-13
60%Mark
11:1-11
60%Romans
8:18-30
60%1 Corinthians
10:1-22
60%2 Timothy
1:3-18
60%Matthew
26:69-75
60%1 Peter
3:8-22
60%Mark
7:14-23
60%Acts
14:1-7
60%Colossians
2:16-23
60%2 Corinthians
5:11-6:11
60%Luke
10:13-16
60%Matthew
7:13-23
60%Philippians
1:12-20
60%Romans
3:9-20
60%Mark
14:3-9
60%Matthew
8:28-34
60%Revelation
16:17-21
60%1 Timothy
4:1-5
59%Acts
9:20-25
59%2 Corinthians
11:1-15
59%Mark
14:66-72
59%Acts
22:22-29
59%John
12:1-8
59%Revelation
11:1-14
59%Romans
11:1-10
59%Philippians
3:12-4:1
59%Acts
4:1-22
59%2 Timothy
4:9-18
59%1 Thessalonians
2:1-16
59%Matthew
13:24-30
59%Luke
4:16-30
59%John
18:1-11
59%2 Corinthians
9:1-5
59%Luke
13:18-21
59%1 Thessalonians
2:1-12
59%Mark
8:1-10
59%Luke
2:22-38
59%Matthew
6:25-34
59%Matthew
3:1-12
59%Acts
9:26-31
59%1 Timothy
3:1-7
59%John
4:1-45
59%John
21:1-14
59%Luke
6:12-16
59%Acts
17:1-9
58%Mark
4:35-40
58%Romans
16:17-24
58%Revelation
4:1-11
58%James
3:13-18
58%Acts
16:25-40
58%Mark
6:45-52
58%Mark
5:1-20
58%Philippians
4:2-9
58%Philippians
2:12-18
58%Acts
15:36-41
58%Ephesians
4:1-16
58%Hebrews
10:19-39
58%Titus
3:1-11
58%Luke
11:37-53
58%Galatians
2:1-10
58%Ephesians
1:3-14
58%Matthew
27:45-56
58%Matthew
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55%Acts
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