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|Hayley Matthews • 1/18/17|
The Short Version: For Christian couples and singles, the Bible App (aka the YouVersion Bible App) can help tie the words of the good book to daily life and give followers the strength to become better partners, friends, and family members. The app offers nearly 1,500 versions of the Bible in more than 1,000 languages for people in all corners of the world. Popular, accessible, and free, the app has been installed by over 250 million unique devices so far, and that number is always growing as more people engage with one another on the platform. The Bible App’s reading plans, devotionals, Verse of the Day, and social tools bring Christians together through common beliefs and instill meaningful connections born of mutual love and respect.
Sometimes relationship struggles test the character of couples and give individuals a chance to grow. Lindsey was separated from her husband, Jordan, but she wasn’t ready to give up hope on their relationship. She called Jordan and convinced him to make a last attempt to reconnect through the one thing they still had in common: their faith.
They began a relationship reading plan on the Bible App and spent the next few months reading Scripture together and using their shared faith as a way to discuss their own journey as a married couple.
“They credit the app to really opening up a conversation about their relationship,” said Bobby Gruenewald, Founder of the Bible App (also known as the YouVersion Bible App). “Their marriage has actually been restored, and the app was a catalyst for their reconciliation.”
This amazing testimonial shows just how powerful the Bible’s message can be to couples seeking to reaffirm their commitment to God and to one another. The Bible App helps people connect to Scripture on a personal level so they may be inspired to live according to Christian ideals of love, fidelity, and humility. For couples, the app can inspire heartfelt conversations about faith and draw individuals closer together.
Available in a mobile and searchable format — and in over 1,000 languages — the Bible app offers an easily accessible motivational reference and spiritual companion to Christians. To date, the app has seen more than 250 million installations by people from all corners of the globe.
The Bible App was among the first 200 apps in the App Store in July of 2008. “We didn’t know what to expect, but within the first few days, we saw 83,000 people install the Bible App,” Bobby said. “It really blew our minds. Since then, we’ve been on a journey to make the app available in as many languages and with as many helpful features as we can for free.”
In our modern society overrun by skepticism, surveys conclude that young people are less religious than older people, but the Bible App endeavors to invite them back into the fold by merging technology and theology.
With the app, you can follow a reading plan to read the Bible in part or in its entirety, you can listen to Scripture on your drive to work, and you can share your experiences of faith with friends on your phone, computer, or tablet. The interactive environment helps Christians stay engaged with the Bible on a day-to-day basis. “It’s a privilege to be part of this movement,” Bobby said.
Bobby was a technologically savvy entrepreneur when, in 2001, he realized his true passion was in ministry, and he upended his life to become Innovation Pastor at Life.Church. Then, in 2006, he was waiting in a security line at the Chicago O’Hare Airport when he had a revelation: What if the Bible was available to everyone on their phones?
He wondered if he could leverage modern technology to help people (himself included) engage with the Bible more frequently. “Here I was working at a church, and yet I wasn’t consistently reading the Bible as much as I wanted to,” he said. “I felt it was a format issue. I just don’t carry books — particularly big books — around with me. There in the airport, this idea came for what we now call the YouVersion Bible App.”
Based in Oklahoma, he and his team began building a tool to make the Bible accessible to people no matter where they go. His vision inspired many to leave promising careers to serve the Bible App’s mission. Today a team of 30 devoted employees and hundreds of volunteers come together to make a difference. Bobby noted that the company has had zero turnover in the last two years, in part, because they’ve been blessed by having talented individuals come to them.
“Everyone’s so driven. Some of the people on our team had their lives changed by the Bible App,” Bobby told us. “We have team members who left jobs at Apple and NASA to join our team because they felt extremely passionate about what we’re doing.”
In a fun, faith-oriented environment, the Bible App team works to make the Bible more readily available to people in search of meaning in their lives. Everyone on the team feels humbled to be part of an effort to help Christians connect to their faith no matter where they are. Bobby said he feels immensely humbled by the app’s success.
“It’s very fulfilling,” he said. “This year has been our best year ever in just about every metric, and we’re still growing.”
With the App, Christians can more easily integrate the Bible into their daily lives. Devotional content offers a steady stream of engaging prose with related Bible verses for users to mull on. “Our short, topical devotionals connect you to Scripture each day,” Bobby said.
Additionally, the Bible App motivates people to read the good book for themselves by offering a reading plan and following reading goals to get them to that last page. You can choose to do the reading individually or as a couple, pondering issues such as romance, intimacy, commitment, and sex as you read Scripture. So far, 68 million reading plans have been completed on the Bible App. “It becomes a really good conversation starter,” he said.
Over the past decade, the app has served as a conduit for many deep conversations and strong connections between people of faith. Love and understanding are the foundations of Christianity, so it stands to reason that the Bible App’s most searched term is “love,” followed closely by “marriage.” The application can pick out these key terms and highlight relevant passages to users seeking words of wisdom.
“Most of the significant portion of our growth is actually happening outside the U.S. in non-English-speaking countries,” Bobby said. “We try to make the experience very positive and take into consideration the nuances of each language and culture. Our emphasis is on international growth because that’s how we’ll reach new users.”
Accessible to everyone with a mobile device, tablet, or computer, the app has been particularly valuable to people who live in places where Bibles are scarce or even banned. Nearly 1,500 versions of the Bible offer spiritual guidance to all believers of the faith.
The YouVersion Blog further encourages people to live and love according to the Bible’s lessons. The blog’s upbeat tone keeps readers informed about new developments with the app and also provides faith-oriented recommendations for anyone in need of support.
The Bible App is more than a resource of Scripture — it’s also a social application with many useful relationship features. You can cultivate up to 150 trusted relationships with other app users, who will see when you bookmark, highlight, begin or complete a reading plan, or do any activity on the app. Your friends can then comment on your activity and initiate a meaningful conversation.
Your experience with the Bible only improves and deepens when you share it with other people. Your understanding of faith only strengthens when you have friends and family to discuss it, treasure it, and follow it with you. “We try to create a safe place to discuss Scripture with people that you trust,” Bobby said.
He emphasizes that the relationships on the Bible App are mutually-agreed-upon and real-life connections — not strangers, but family. That’s why they limit the number of people you can add. “We want it to be a thoughtful process on who you select,” he told us. “The cap causes people to think a little more deeply about who they want to engage with.”
Church leaders can easily create events on the Bible App to help people find and interact with church services and other events in their area. The app’s event portal saves you from printing out thousands of flyers by providing a direct link to your congregation on any mobile device. It also gives people access to message points and other content to allow them to follow along with the message during a service.
“We use Events for all our sessions, allowing our attendees to have the notes and Scriptures from the speakers right in front of them.” — Cindy Beall, Director of Equip for Leading and Loving It and Bible App user
From your smartphone, you can create an entire event from scratch or modify an existing event to keep people in touch with all the goings-on. You can also offer attendees a more interactive experience by adding content so people can access relevant Scripture while at the gathering.
The flexible space empowers church leaders to grow their memberships and build a community based on common interests. You can get involved and meet new people with ease by finding an event near you posted on the Bible App.
Relationships, like faith, require consistent affirmations and devoted upkeep to stay strong throughout the years. To truly get to know your partner on a spiritual level, you can download the Bible App and explore Scripture together. As Jordan and Lindsey bore witness to, when you see the Bible’s teachings through someone else’s eyes, you forge a deep bond and find new meaning in Christian values.
The Bible App offers a social community of believers reading, listening, discussing, and interacting on millions of devices across the globe. Wherever you are, you can access inspirational verses and share your faith with others in a convenient, mobile interface. Whether you’re seeking a reading partner or an event to meet like-minded Christians, the app unites people of faith and brings Christianity into the digital age for a new generation.
“We don’t hold it tightly, and we don’t take it lightly,” Bobby said. “We view our success with the app as something God’s done rather than something we’ve done.”