OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) – The YouVersion Bible app announced its most popular verse of 2019, Philippians 4: 6: “Don’t worry about a thing; instead, pray for everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.
The global influencer app has seen a significant increase in downloads, engagement, and consistent interaction with new and returning users around the world.
The overall increase in app usage from the previous year is 30%, according to a statement.
The statement also notes that 5.6 billion Bible chapters were listened to, 35.6 billion chapters read, 1.1 billion days were spent on Bible maps, two billion highlights, bookmarks and Notes were created and over 478 million verses were shared throughout 2019.
Ronnie Floyd, chairman and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention, said constant Bible reading is vital for spiritual health.
“I am convinced that the Bible is the Word of God for us today and people are always looking for help with how to live their lives,” said Floyd. “Reading the Bible is something everyone can do and should be done by everyone. When you read the Bible, God meets you personally in your life. Without question, one of the most powerful and impactful disciplines I have ever practiced on a daily basis is reading the Bible every year. When a Christian reads the Bible daily, his life is continually changing.
Floyd said the statistics presented by YouVersion may come as a surprise to some, but due to the importance of Bible reading for individual growth, time invested 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 was created, it has been downloaded over 400 million times.
Global reach outside of the United States has grown significantly, with the app now offering more than 2,000 versions and more than 1,350 languages.
The application has been downloaded in all countries of the world.
Algeria saw the strongest increase in engagement, ending the year with growth of 261%.
Another important verse that was consistently shared was Matthew 6:33: “But first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you on top. “
This verse has been shared the most 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 countries and their most popular verses raise many questions about the specific use of apps in each country.
Socio-economic status, church attendance history and denominational background could potentially play a role in using the Bible app throughout the year, Wax said.
“This raises additional questions that make you wonder about the different contexts,” Wax said. “It’s fascinating to see so many different countries gravitating towards the same verses.”
Cultural situations can be very different, but the inclination to share verses that call people to direct their minds to God is a common thread.
“People who share Bible verses in YouVersion seem to gravitate towards action verses where it’s something of a daily jerk or a reminder of what we all need to be,” Wax said.
Matthew 6:33 is a command from Jesus to seek the kingdom and Philippians 4: 6 is a command to be oriented to God, to bring whatever we encounter in our life to the Lord.
“What I’m interested in is how many of these number one verses, regardless of their country of origin, point upward,” Wax said. “They (the verses) make, when someone shares them, a statement about their own being (of the person), to be redirected to the things that are above, not the things on the earth. “
“What we see in the global engagement is exciting for us because with each verse highlighted, each planning day completed or each audio chapter listened to, it is a person who is transformed into knowing God more intimately as they spend time. in the Bible, ”YouVersion founder Bobby Greunewald said in a statement.
YouVersion is also partnering with illumiNations to develop Bible translations.
Their goal by 2033 is for 95% of the world’s population to have a Complete Bibles, 99.9% a Complete New Testament, and 100% at least part of Scripture translated into their native languages.
“The importance of the Bible cannot be overstated for the health and life of the Christian church,” Wax said.
In many cases of Bible translation, there may even be no written language, Wax said. Bible translation goes beyond sharing the gospel to bring a sense of cohesion to the language itself.
“It is an honor and a privilege to have the Word of God,” said Wax. Witnessing that others are receiving a Bible for the first time can shake the complacency some may have towards the Bible.
“We become familiar with the overwhelming impact of the gospel,” said Wax.
YouVersion’s focus for future Bible translations should be a reminder of the power of God’s Word and this is something we should be very grateful for, Wax said.
Wax noted that the number of app downloads and the level of engagement with the Bible through the app in 2019 is encouraging, as it shows the level of connection points people have with the scriptures.
However, connecting to individual verses isn’t really enough for a life of faithful Bible study, Wax said.
“I think we celebrate this because its people are connecting to the Bible,” Wax said. “But on the other hand, we as a church have some work to do to ensure that engagement leads to a more complete immersion in passages of Scripture which may be more obscure but which all orient towards the Gospel and lead to transformation of life.