Searches for the YouVersion Bible app have risen 80% this year, to nearly 600 million, as the pandemic has created a sense of uncertainty and unrest. Isaiah 41:10, which deals with God’s promise of strength and help, was the verse that was bookmarked, highlighted and shared the most.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand,” reads what became YouVersion’s Bible Verse of the Year.
With 43.6 billion Bible chapters read, 7.5 billion audio chapters read, and 1.4 billion Bible plan days completed, YouVersion says it “saw its highest levels of global Bible engagement in the app history”.
“This year has been difficult with many facing devastating loss, loneliness and fear,” YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald said in a statement. “While 2020 is a year that many say they would like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God has used the Bible App to help so many who are looking for answers. Through all the trials , people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace and hope.
Shortly into 2020, the most frequently searched phrases included “new year,” “Bible a year away,” “faith,” and “fasting,” but when the COVID-19 outbreak began and lockdowns began in mid-March, “fear” became the top search term. “Soon after, the fastest growing search terms week over week were words like ‘peace’, ‘hope’ and ‘faith’ as the pandemic continued.
And one of the most popular searches this year in the Bible app also included “justice,” which peaked in late May and then again in late August and late September, according to the app.
Among the top results throughout the year were the search terms “healing”, “peace” and “love”.
“These top search terms really show what weighed on the hearts and minds of people around the world at key times throughout the year,” Gruenewald said. “They reveal how people are searching for God as they struggle with the difficult circumstances they faced in 2020, and that’s something we can celebrate.”
This year, YouVersion’s Bible App for Kids, which was developed in partnership with OneHope, also saw record growth.
“In 2020 alone, the app was installed on over 22 million unique devices, totaling over 60 million devices worldwide. Kids around the world have completed over 170 million Bible apps for kids this year, which is a 90% increase from the previous record set in 2019,” YouVersion said.
In April, with a large number of churches not holding in-person services for Holy Week due to coronavirus closures, YouVersion reported that Bible reading on its Palm Sunday app at Easter was 54. % higher than that of Holy Week in 2019.
Last year, Philippians 4:6 was the verse of the year. ” Do not worry about anything ; instead, pray for everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done,” the verse reads.
Launched in 2008, YouVersion initially offered 15 Bible versions in two languages, and the number has now grown to over 2,000 Bible versions in over 1,350 languages.