Using usage data off of the popular Bible website, Biblegateway.com, Jeffrey Kranz of the Overview Bible Project, conducted a study out of the 66 books of the Bible to determine which ones were viewed more frequently than others. His results showed that more people seemed to gravitate towards books that demonstrated clarity to questions, human connections, and familiarity.
Kranz then takes into account two additional books of the Bible that are the most similar to the ones being discussed. This is for if readers would like to read something similar in either text, author, or content to the discussed book.
His studies into the 10 books can be found at http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/04/the-10-most-popular-books-of-the-bible-and-why/
Book of Psalms
Psalms is a collection of 150 songs and poems. Many enjoy the books of Psalms because many of the surrounding themes of the songs and poems resonate with the everyday lives of humans.
Some of the more popular psalms include Psalm 23, "The Lord is My Shepherd," Psalm 119, which is the longest psalm, Psalm 91, which talks about God's promises of protection, and Psalm 139, which discusses the assurance of God's presence in our lives.
Kranz explains that two books, 1 and 2 Samuel, and Lamentations are two books are similar to the psalms. 1 and 2 Samuel tells the story of David, who was the author of most of the psalms. Lamentations is a smaller book of the Bible and is another book of biblical songs, but the themes are much more of a depressing nature.
Book of Matthew
The book of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament, and the first book to introduce Jesus Christ as "The King of the Jews." This particular book was originally written to a Jewish audience, is very detailed, and pays very close attention to the prophecies and miracles that Jesus fulfils and provides.
Three of the most popular verses in Matthew include the story of the wise men, Matthew 2, The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, and The Great Commission, Matthew 28: 19-20.
The book of Isaiah contains quite a bit of text that is often quoted in the book of Matthew, and because of such, many relate the two books together. Hebrews is another similar book. In Matthew, Jesus is looked upon as a strong, holy, and powerful leader, but also humble and loving. The book of Hebrews is known for painting the image of Jesus as greater than any other Jewish hero, so both books are known for greatly glorifying Jesus.
Book of John
The book of John was written with the intent that the reader would come to know Jesus. John uses both strong words and poetic language. This particular gospel both "Jesus' deity and oneness with God the Father, and anticipates the coming of the Holy Spirit." Jesus' caring nature and love is shown greatly in this book. As such, two of the most popular passages in John include John 3:16, and John 14:16.
There are three books that Kranz feels are the most similar to John, and they are the three additional books that John wrote in the New Testament, John 1 - 3. John 1 is a letter John wrote on how to recognize the children of God. The remaining two books by John are letters of encouragement to churches; that they may "walk in truth."
John 3 is the shortest book in the New Testament.
Book of Romans
The book of Romans is essentially a letter from Paul. He wrote the letter to the church of Rome to "explain how the Gospel works. He explains salvation, grace, Jewish law, and how we should live in response."
Two of the more popular verses include "all things work together for good." Romans 8:28, and "do not be conformed to this world." Romans 12:2.
Like Isaiah was for Matthew, the book of Galatians also "covers many issues" that were "addressed in Romans." Another similar book is 1 Peter. Like Paul's instructions to the Romans, 1 Peter also details similar instructions on how to live in the light of the gospel.
Book of Proverbs
The book of Proverbs, according to Kranz, "is written to help God's people make decisions in wisdom and justice. The wise King Solomon penned many of these saying." Many of these simple sayings resonate deeply with everyday individuals.
The most popular proverb comes from the third chapter. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
Ecclesiastes is a similar book to Proverbs because it is another book that was written by Solomon. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon records his take on the meaning of life.
Proverbs is known for its wise, and practical sayings; words that are also penned in the book of James. In this book, James writes both wise and practical instructions for the church, but also contributes warnings to those that chose to disobey the church.
Book of Genesis
Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and the starting point of the creation story. While the book focuses on many of God's promises and blessings to the ancestors of Israel, it is more famously known for the stories within it.
The creation of Adam and Eve, Genesis 1-3, and God's promises to his ancestors, which are located in three different chapters, Genesis 12, 15, and 17.
Another two famous stories include the story of Joseph, which was later turned into a children's movie called Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. The second involves the story of Noah and his ark, which just recently was turned into a movie and recently released in theaters on March 28.
Exodus is a similar book to Genesis because of it being the second book of the Bible after Genesis, and continues the stories about Israel's history where Genesis left off.
Also, returning to 1 and 2 Samuel, these two books are also of similarity because like Genesis, they further discuss the more iconic stories that many continue to tell to this day, such as the story of David and Goliath, and the story of Saul.
Book of Luke
The book of Luke is one of the most detailed books out of the four gospels. While Matthew is more authoritative, and John is more about love and conversion, Luke focuses on every bit of detail during Jesus' life on Earth, his death, and his resurrection.
Luke interviewed those that were eyewitnesses to Jesus' miracles and teachings. Going off of these testimonies, he used them to "compose a chronological account of the Savior's ministry." This is mentioned in Luke 1:1-4.
Jesus' birth story, that is told in Luke, is famously used in many churches around the Christmas season. This is because Luke is the only one of the four gospels that explains the story in great detail. Matthew only mentions that he was born, Matthew 1:18-25, but stops at that. Mark and John do not even mention the birth at all.
Luke's detailed work became so lengthy, that his book is also known for being the longest book in the New Testament. Many confuse it with the book of Matthew, because Matthew has more chapters than Luke. The book of Luke has more words and verses than Matthew, with the book of Acts coming in third place.
Luke has 1,151 verses, Matthew has 1,071 verses, and Acts has 1,006 verses. This information comes from http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/NT-Statistics-Greek.htm. Here, a study was done to conduct how many words and verses were in each book of the New Testament.
Kranz jokes in explaining the two books that are most similar to Luke, which is the book of Acts. In Acts, Luke again gives a detailed account of how life is now that Jesus has been resurrected.
Kranz's second book suggestion is again, the book of Acts. "Seriously, it's part two. Read Acts."
Book of 1 Corinthians
The book of 1 Corinthians deals with the church of Corinth. At the time, the church was heavily divided and confused on several different issues. Paul decides to take matters into his own hands by writing another letter. In this letter, he makes a pitch to the church to encourage them to put God's glory first before anything else.
The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians is what the book is famously known for. Nicknamed, "The Love Chapter," this section holds the famous passage that contains, "love is patient, love is kind." A commonly used verse at both church services and weddings.
The two similar books include the follow up to 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians. In this book, Paul writes in a more defensive tone as he attempts to bring about a resolution to the Corinthians.
The second similar book, going off of the theme of love in the 13th chapter, goes to 1 John. In this book, his poetic and loving language is brought out again to deliver, what is known as, the most love-centric book of the Bible.
Book of Isaiah
The book of Isaiah is about a famous man who acts as a "spokesperson for God to His people." Isaiah's proclamations were about issues that were soon to come on two levels: captivity and comfort. He addresses that sin's judgment was going to be changed by God's kindness and grace.
Kranz goes on to say that Isaiah "makes several prophecies concerning Jesus, and gives especially encouraging words to God's people."
"Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength." Isaiah 40:31
What is interesting to note about the book of Isaiah is that Isaiah was making these prophecies before Jesus came into existence. Isaiah does not fall within the New Testament, but instead it is actually in the middle of the Old Testament. Isaiah's visions and proclamations were made about Jesus over 400 years before he was born.
When Jesus fulfills his prophecies, Matthew quotes Isaiah extensively throughout his book, making his one of the two similar books to Isaiah. By quoting Isaiah and his previous proclamations, he is able to tie Jesus and his prophecies together with what Isaiah heard and saw over 400 years ago.
Isaiah did hit on many low points with his statements, including talks about judgment, sin, and captivity. The book of Hosea also addresses "coming punishment and restoration for Israel" for those that chose to follow their sinful ways instead of God's way.
Book of Acts
As mentioned in the discussion of the book of Luke, the book of Acts is Luke's second part account into how life is now that Jesus has been raised from the dead. The Holy Spirit is now at work throughout the Roman world.
According to Kranz, Acts is a "key book to understanding the New Testament and Christianity." In Acts, Luke gives a detailed explanation of three things: how the early church functions, how the apostles preach the gospel, and an introduction to the apostle Paul, who is not widely talked about until Acts. Luke's detailed information gives Acts great depth, and this in turn helps readers to understand the early history regarding these events after Jesus' resurrection.
In retrospect, the book of Luke is one of the two similar books to Acts, due to both books being written by the same author. The other is the book of Romans, where within Paul's letter to the Romans, he further explains the same gospel to them that he had preached in the book of Acts.