OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) — The YouVersion Bible app has announced its most popular verse of 2019, Philippians 4:6: “Do not worry about anything; rather pray for everything. Tell God what you need and give thanks for all he has completed.”
The global influencer app has seen a significant increase in downloads, engagement, and consistent interaction from new and returning users around the world.
The overall increase in app usage over the previous year is 30%, according to a statement.
The statement also notes that 5.6 billion Bible chapters have been listened to, 35.6 billion chapters read, 1.1 billion days spent on Bible outlines, two billion highlights, bookmarks and notes were written and over 478 million verses were shared throughout 2019.
Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee, said regular Bible reading is vital for spiritual health.
“I believe the Bible is the Word of God for us today and people are always looking for help in how to live their lives,” Floyd said. “Reading the Bible is something everyone can do and everyone should do. When you read the Bible, God meets you personally in your life. Without a doubt, one of the most powerful and impactful disciplines I have ever practiced daily is reading through the Bible every year.When a Christian reads the Bible daily, his life will continually change.
Floyd said the stats presented by YouVersion may surprise some, but because of the importance of Bible reading for individual growth, investing time in the Bible through the app is only natural when individuals seek to engage with the Word of God.
In the 11 years since the app’s inception, it has been downloaded over 400 million times.
The global reach outside of the US has grown significantly, with the app now offering over 2,000 versions and over 1,350 languages.
The application has been downloaded in all countries of the world.
Algeria saw the largest increase in engagement, ending the year with 261% growth.
Another important verse shared consistently was Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you in addition.”
This verse was most shared in Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Trevin Wax, senior vice president of theology and communications at LifeWay, said the commonalities between the countries and their most popular verse raises many questions about the specific use of the app in each country.
Socioeconomic status, church attendance history and denominational background could potentially play a role in using the Bible app throughout the year, Wax said.
“It raises additional questions that make you wonder about the different contexts,” Wax said. “It’s fascinating to see so many different countries gravitating around the same worms.”
Cultural situations can be very different, but the tendency to share verses that call individuals to turn their minds to God is a common thread.
“People who share Bible verses in YouVersion seem to gravitate towards action verses where it’s kind of a daily shake-up or a reminder of what we all need to do,” Wax said.
Matthew 6:33 is a command from Jesus to seek the kingdom and Philippians 4:6 is a command to be God-oriented, to bring everything we encounter in our lives to the Lord.
“What interests me is how many of these number one verses, regardless of where they come from, are pointing up,” Wax said. “They [the verses] are, when someone shares them, making a statement about their [the person’s] own being, to be redirected to the things above, and not to the things of the earth.”
“What we see in global engagement is exciting for us because with each verse highlighted, each day of planning completed, or each audio chapter listened to, it is a person who is transformed by knowing God more intimately by spending time in the Bible,” YouVersion told YouVersion. founder Bobby Greunewald in a statement.
YouVersion also partners with illumiNations to develop Bible translations.
Their goal by 2033 is for 95% of the world’s population to have a complete Bible, 99.9% to have a complete New Testament, and 100% to have at least part of the scriptures translated into their native language.
“The importance of the Bible cannot be overstated to the health and life of the Christian church,” Wax said.
In many cases of Bible translation, there may not even be written language, Wax said. Bible translation goes beyond sharing the gospel to bring a sense of cohesion to the language itself.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to have the Word of God,” Wax said. Seeing other people receive a Bible for the first time can shake up any complacency some may have toward the Bible.
“We become familiar with the earth-shattering impact of the gospel,” Wax said.
YouVersion’s goal for future Bible translations should be a reminder of the power of God’s Word and that’s something we should be very grateful for, Wax said.
Wax noted that the number of app downloads and level of engagement with the Bible through the app in 2019 is encouraging as it shows the level of connection points people have with scripture.
However, connecting to individual verses isn’t really enough for a lifetime of faithful, Bible study, Wax said.
“I think we celebrate that because its people connect with the Bible,” Wax said. “But on the other hand, as a church, we have our work cut out to make sure that engagement leads to a fuller immersion in passages of scripture that may be more obscure but that lead us. all towards the Gospel and lead us to the metamorphosis of life.”