The world’s most downloaded Bible App was released 10 years ago, not by a startup in Silicon Valley, but a local church in Oklahoma. The YouVersion Bible App was one of the first 200 free apps available when Apple launched the App Store on July 10, 2008. Since then, it has been downloaded in every country of the world.
After seeing 83,000 installs of the Bible App in the first three days, it went on to reach 10 million installs in 2010, 50 million installs in 2012, 100 million installs in 2013, and more than 330 million installs today. Not only did people download the app, but they used it to engage in the Bible. In the last 10 years, people have read 70 billion chapters and listened to 12 billion audio chapters of the Bible through the Bible App. People have also made 4 billion Highlights, Bookmarks, and Notes within the app and shared more than 950 million Bible verses.
“We never could have predicted the results we’ve seen as millions of people around the world have read, listened to, shared, and interacted with the Bible and each other in new ways,” said Bobby Gruenewald, Life.Church Pastor, Innovation Leader and YouVersion Founder.
The app initially launched with 15 versions of the Bible and two languages. However, through partnerships with publishers and Bible societies, it now offers more than 1,700 different versions, including Bible text in more than 1,200 languages.
Through the years, the app has also helped people build community around the Bible by adding features like a home feed of friends’ activity and Plans with Friends, which helps people discuss the Bible when they aren’t in the same room, or even the same country. The Plans with Friends feature even helped a New Jersey native, Adora, rebuild a relationship with her mother.
“When I started using the Bible App, I hadn’t seen or spoken to my mother in 10 years,” said Adora. “After several months of reading Bible Plans about forgiveness and healing, I decided to offer my mom a relationship with me—but only in the Bible App.”
Adora added her mother as a Friend in the Bible App and sent an invitation to do a Bible Plan together using the Plans with Friends feature. They talked about what they were reading, and slowly went from only talking in the Bible App, to texting, and then meeting in person to pray.
“I never, ever thought that I would have a relationship with my mom again,” said Adora. “But by reading the Bible and doing these daily plans, God has worked a miracle on my heart and in my life.”
Beyond shaping the way people interact with the Bible and each other, the Bible App introduced a way for the Bible to reach people in their daily lives. Features like Verse of the Day notifications, reading reminders, and daily Streaks help people develop new Bible-reading habits. Since adding features like daily Streaks and Perfect Weeks, the number of daily active users has increased by more than 30 percent compared to last year.
“These last 10 years have been more than we could ask, think, or imagine, and we believe this is only the beginning,” said Gruenewald. “As we look ahead, we’re excited about the new ways God is using technology to help people make even more connections between the Bible and their daily lives.”