The year 2020 has been marked by a lot of disruptions, questions, and uncertainties, but it has also been the year in which YouVersion saw "record-breaking" engagements in its Bible App.
Last week, YouVersion announced 600 million searches had been completed in the app this year, which is an 80% jump from last year's number of searches.
Bobby Gruenewald, YouVersion's founder, believes this spike in the Bible App usage has something to do with 2020 being a "challenging year," which has driven many people to go to God and His word for answers and comfort.
"This has been a challenging year with many people facing devastating loss, loneliness, and fear," Gruenewald said.
"While 2020 is a year so many say they'd like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God used the Bible App to help so many people who are searching for answers. Through every hardship, people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace, and hope," he continued.
The app's usage statistics suggests Gruenewald may be right.
Early this year, the top searches were the words "Bible in a year," "new year," "fasting," and "faith." However, when COVID-19 began to spread in March, the most searched word was "fear"-an indication that people could have been looking for Bible verses to combat fear in the midst of the pandemic.
After some time, the top searches changed from "fear" to "peace," "faith," and "hope," which could mean that people looked for passages that spoke of hope and peace and helped strengthen their faith.
Around May, the word "justice" made it to the list of trending searches in the app.
Throughout the year, the words "healing," "love," and "peace" were among the most searched terms in the app.
The YouVersion verse of the year, which is the most read Bible passage in 2020, is Isaiah 41:10. The verse reads, "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
Gruenewald said these trending search terms reflect "what's been weighing on the hearts and minds of people around the world at key points throughout the year."
"They reveal how people are seeking God as they wrestle with the difficult circumstances they've faced in 2020, and that's something we can celebrate," he added.
Overall, this year, YouVersion saw a remarkable increase in its Bible App user engagements, with a total of 43.6 billion Bible chapters read and 1.8 billion Bible Plans completed. Additionally, its users listened to a total of 7.5 billion audio chapters. These figures are the highest global user engagements in the history of YouVersion.
Its 'Bible App for Kids' saw a similar trend this year with more than 22 million new installations in unique devices, making the total of global app installations 60 million. Users of this app completed a total of 170 million Bible stories-a 90% increase from last year.
YouVersion was created by Life Church to encourage people to seek God through the Bible.