By Aaron Earls
From mass shootings to major hurricanes, 2018 was a scary year for many in the United States and around the world. And apparently, some were looking to Scripture to help them get through it all.
The YouVersion Bible app announced today the most shared, bookmarked, and highlighted verse of 2018 was Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold you with my righteous right hand.”
“This year’s data shows people worldwide are continuing to turn to the Bible in search of comfort, encouragement, and hope,” said Bobby Gruenewald, pastor at Life.Church and YouVersion Founder. “We’re humbled that 10 years after its release, people continue to use the YouVersion Bible App in record numbers to connect with God’s Word.”
It was the top verse globally, as well as the top verse in the United States, Chile, France, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, and Spain.
In Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, and Mexico, users of the Bible app were most drawn to a verse with a similar principle—Joshua 1:9, which says, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
In Egypt, India, and Iraq—three places where Christians are a distinct minority—readers most often highlighted 1 Peter 5:7, “… casting all your cares on him, because he cares for you.”
In China and Russia, Bible app users most often turned to Proverbs 4:23: “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”
Three nations with many unreached people—Bangladesh, Nepal, and Turkey—were turning to the summation of the gospel in John 3:16: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Jeremiah 29:11 was the top verse in Australia, Canada, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.
Other popular verses around the world include Proverbs 16:9 in Korea, Romans 8:28 in Ukraine, and Matthew 6:33 in Thailand and Vietnam.
Sparked by a 27 percent increase in daily active users, YouVersion also announced the highest Bible engagement in 2018 than any previous year. This includes 27.2 billion chapters read; 4.2 billion audio chapters listened; 1.7 billion highlights, bookmarks, and notes created; 950 million Bible reading plan days completed; and 409 million verses shared.
In countries like Romania and Japan, Bible engagement on the app increased 100 percent or more in 2018.
The Bible app now offers more than 1,800 versions of the Bible in more than 1,250 languages. YouVersion says they have already helped fund new translations for over 1.5 million people in Zambia, Tanzania, Australia, Southeast Asia, Gabon, and Ethiopia.
“Many of us grew up with the ability to read the Bible in our heart language, but countless people around the world don’t have that privilege. That’s why we’re passionate about making the Bible available in more languages through the app,” said Gruenewald.
“We’re eternally grateful to the generous publishers and Bible societies who have joined us in the mission of increasing worldwide access and engagement with the Bible.”
Aaron is the senior writer at Lifeway Research.