During the most difficult times of a particularly difficult year, Bible searches have exploded online and record numbers have turned to the scriptures for passages dealing with fear, healing, and righteousness. The popular YouVersion Bible App saw searches increase by 80% in 2020, to a total of nearly 600 million worldwide.
Isaiah 41:10 ranked as the most searched, read and bookmarked verse on the app: “So fear not, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will support you from my right right.
“Through all of these trials, people continue to seek God and look to the Bible for strength, peace and hope,” said YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald. “While 2020 is a year that so many people say they would like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God used the Bible App to help so many people who are looking for answers. “
Bible searches have increased based on major events, with “fear” becoming the primary search term for the app in the first few months of the year, “righteousness” in the spring, and “healing” trending throughout. the year.
The Bible Gateway site reported similar search trends. Pandemic verses on God’s Suppression of Disease sparked about 90 times more queries than average when COVID-19 lockdowns in the United States began in March.
The site also saw queries related to racism, justice and oppression reach 100 times the average in the week following George Floyd’s death, and worms related to government authority have increased by at minus 50 times the election day average.
Image: Gateway to the Bible
While John 3:16 and Jeremiah 29:11 were at the top of Bible Gateway’s ranking for the first verses — as they did most years — 2 Chronicles 7:14 jumped to third place: “If my people, which is called my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn away from their evil ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land. The passage was commonly cited in prayers for President Donald Trump and was the most sought after verse around his election in 2016.
Bible Gateway’s searches for “fear” and “fear not” have increased this year compared to last year, with “fear” ranking sixth in the most popular English keyword searches.
Isaiah’s assurance of “not being afraid,” which was the most important verse in Bible App in the world this year and in 2018, was also ranked # 1 in verse in US, India, in South Africa, the Netherlands and the Philippines. In Ghana the top verse was Philippians 4: 8 (“Do not worry…”), and in Kenya, Romans 8:28 (“In all things God works for good…”).
Both countries were among several countries in sub-Saharan Africa where overall Bible reading increased on the app in 2020, an increase of more than a third from last year. In Ethiopia, biblical engagement increased 61%, according to YouVersion.
Overall, the app tracked 43.6 billion Bible chapters read in 2020, with half a billion verses shared, the highest on record.
In the spring, CT reported on how Easter Sunday was the app’s biggest day and how YouVersion was able to offer online worship platforms to deliver services to millions of Christians during the first weeks of the pandemic.
The app continued to show constant and growing engagement, even as Bible readership surveys indicated a decline due to COVID-19.
An American Bible Society (ABS) survey found that the percentage of daily Bible users fell to 8.5% in June, from 14% at the start of the previous year, according to its 2020 State of the Bible. According to ABS, 65% of Bible readers said they preferred to read the Bible in print rather than digital.