Web Popularity of Bible Books

This is the index to my “Bible Popularity” series.  This project probes to see which books of the Bible are most popular on the web.

My Simple Method:  Using google search, I found the number of pages containing phrase “The book of ____” where I substituted each book of the bible in the blank.   The following posts contained my graphed and some speculation:

Problems with this data: There are lots of problems with my data set and consequently any meaning we attempt to extract from it is also highly problematic. Some of the important errors of my method include:

  • False Negatives:  the search phrase excludes many sites which actually discuss the Bible book but don’t use that phrase
  • False Positives: some sites will contain the phrase but not have anything to do with the bible book. But I chose the phrase because it was better than searching just for the individual names of the books.  For instance, searching for “John” or “Numbers” yields huge number of pages completely unrelated to my goal.
  • Repeat Data:  the search method allows for some pages to appear more than once in the data set.

Can you think of other problems?  I’m sure there are more.  Nonetheless, maybe these initial, feeble probes will stir some fun speculation and then motivate someone else to build better search criteria to assist in more reliable speculation.  If someone can come up with an easy, more accurate or more interesting search method, I may consider doing another series.

HT:  This post series is inspired by The Wise Fool (TWF) who did great summaries of the OT books — if you are not familiar with a Bible book, give his sort summary a read.  In another post TWF graphed a comparison of the number of site views per OT book on his site and interestingly speculates on the meaning of his numbers.  These posts were done to compare to his results.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

2 responses to “Web Popularity of Bible Books

  1. Awesome post series! And thanks for the hat tips!

    One additional problem I see is that we might want to hesitate in saying that the amount of content which has been generated directly translates into the “popularity” of that content.

    In other words, there are things which scholarly know-it-alls, such as myself, like to babble about endlessly, but that does not necessarily mean that your average reality-show-watching Christian has a deep enough interest in those things to Google them. 🙂

  2. @TWF,
    Absolutely — the average Jesus consumer and the web denizens are probably very different creatures in America — yet along in Africa, South America etc…

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