The COVID-19 outbreak led to an uptick in Bible reading from 2020 to 2021, new data from the company behind a popular Bible app revealed.

People across the globe listened to and read 55.8 billion Bible chapters on the YouVersion app in 2021, according to new statistics from the organization, Christian Headlines reports. This is an increase of 24% as compared to pre-pandemic times.

According to YouVersion, Sundays are traditionally the busiest days of the week for people reading their Bibles. "Daily Bible engagement," as per the app, takes place Monday through Saturday.

Additionally, it noted that the most shared, bookmarked, and highlighted passage in 2021 was Matthew 6:33: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Though engagement levels in 2021 were reportedly not as high as in 2020, they were still greater than the months before the outbreak.

Bible interaction habits have changed significantly over the previous two years, reports YouVersion.

"In March 2020, when people weren't able to attend church in person, weekday Bible engagement increased by 10 percent and continued to rise in the following weeks," the Bible App team said. "As churches began to reopen, Bible engagement spikes on Sundays returned, but not at the expense of daily engagement habits."

After a record-breaking year in 2020, YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald is pleased to see so many individuals continue their regular "Bible engagement habits."

"They're engaging past that initial moment of need and digging deeper to strengthen their relationship with God," he said.

YouVersion Bible App tidbits

As one of the first 200 free applications in the iOS App Store, the 13-year-old Life.Church app was reportedly released in 2008. A few years after its launch, it soon became the most popular Bible app for iPhone and iPad users.

It reportedly scored a big milestone with its 500 millionth download, making it the first faith-based app to reach that number only last month.

According to a press statement from Life.Church, the app's developer, in 2021, about 64 billion Bible chapters have "been read or listened to," which is an increase of 21% compared to 2020 and 56% compared to 2019.

The app's "Plans with Friends" function, which enables friends to follow the same Bible reading plan together, saw a 50% increase in memberships in 2021 over pre-pandemic levels, and is still quite popular.

More than 1,760 languages are supported by the YouVersion app, which contains 2,600 translations of the Bible.

The YouVersion team is reportedly aiming for a billion downloads. The good news is that it is still free!

"Throughout the last several years, we have continually seen God do more than we could imagine through YouVersion," Gruenewald noted.

"As the app has grown exponentially to reach people in every country of the world and change millions of lives, our faith has also grown to see new possibilities. We believe this is just the beginning for YouVersion. We have a fresh vision for where the Bible App is headed, and we're excited to roll out new features in 2022 to better serve pastors and church leaders."