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Worldwide YouVersion Community, Now More than 40 Million Strong, Making the Most of Lent

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
Romans 8:5

During Lent, traditionally observed for the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, followers of Christ all around the world sacrifice things important to them, intentionally drawing themselves away from desires driven by their five senses. Lent helps us become more focused on the spiritual part of ourselves, preparing our hearts to genuinely experience the passion of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the Cross. Lent draws us closer to God through purposeful prayer, self-denial, repentance, giving, and time in the Bible:

  1. Prayer. We thank God for reaching out to transform us, and we ask for direction and insight. Consider asking God to help you see people the way He sees them.
  2. Self-denial. Fasting means food, but we may also give up certain activities we enjoy. What things do you think about most? Food? Coffee? Sweets? Social media? Television and entertainment? Commit to go without at least one between now and Easter.
  3. Repentance. When our thoughts drift to ourselves, that’s our cue to connect with God, asking Him to show us our weaknesses and sins. We ask Him to forgive us and change our hearts.
  4. Giving. We freely offer whatever we have to those in need. It could be money contributed to worthy charities, our time, our talents. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter. Visit the elderly. Write letters of prayer and encouragement to orphans. Give intentionally to people who can’t repay you.
  5. Scripture Reading. YouVersion has 5 Reading Plans specifically designed to help you center your life on God and His Word during this special time of reflection and purpose:
  • Words of Jesus During Passion Week. In parallel passages from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, read what Jesus said during the week before His crucifixion. From Glo Bible. 12 days
  • Lent For Everyone. Each day features a selection from Matthew, followed by reflections from renowned New Testament scholar N.T. (Tom) Wright. From SPCK. 53 days
  • 40 Days of Lent. This 47-day plan walks chronologically through the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last week of earthly ministry, with each Sunday offering a day of rest. From Journey Church. 47 days
  • Devotions for Lent from Holy Bible: Mosaic. Designed to help you focus on Christ, this 46-day devotional includes Scripture and quotes and readings from Christians worldwide. From Holy Bible: Mosaic. 46 days
  • The Story of Easter. Relive the last week of Jesus’ life on earth through fulfilled prophecies, intimate prayer, deep discussions, symbolic acts, and world-changing events. From LifeChurch.tv. 7 days

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Galatians 5:22–24

What combination of these five—prayer, self-denial, repentance, giving, and Scripture reading—will you commit to for Lent this year?

Two Reading Plans for Valentine’s Day—One for Couples, One for Singles

If you’re married, Valentine’s Day offers a natural opportunity to reconnect as a couple. And if you’re single, especially around this time of year, it’s worthwhile to remind yourself about what the promises of God’s love mean in your life. Today we’re profiling two special Reading Plans to help you make the most of the relationships in your life:

For Married Couples…

Love and Marriage. 5 days. Available in the Bible App™ under both “Topical” and “Devotional.” Each day’s covers a little of what the Bible says about marriage, then offers follow-up thoughts and activities you can do together to help you center your relationship around God’s Word. Consider taking your Love and Marriage experience even further by trying some or all of the following:

  • After reading, allow time to pray together. Ask God to show you how you can apply to your relationship the things you’re discovering.
  • Find another couple—or even a small group of couples—and schedule time together to discuss what you’re changing based on the Love and Marriage plan.
  • Don’t stop! When your Love and Marriage plan ends, together choose another Reading Plan that you can do as a couple each day.

For Singles…

What is Love? 16 days. Available in the Bible App under “Topical.” Each day presents a passage of Scripture dealing with some aspect of love, then continues with leading questions to take you deeper into what that means in your life. Consider taking your What Is Love? experience even further with one or more of the following:

  • Share your insights on each day’s reading on Facebook or Twitter, and ask your friends to add their thoughts.
  • Coordinate a What Is Love? reading group with trusted friends. Plan to get together at specific times during the 16 days to discuss what you’ve been reading and thinking.
  • Consider your next steps. YouVersion has more than 200 Reading Plans you can choose from to keep you grounded in God’s Word every day.

The YouVersion community wants to help as many people as possible connect with God’s Word. Please be sure to tell your friends and family about the Bible App and Reading Plans.

Great News for Polish Speakers and Readers: All of YouVersion Now in Polish!

App Biblia z YouVersion już dostępna w polskichPolish is the thirteenth language launch across the entire YouVersion experience, brought to the YouVersion community once again by passionate volunteers. Besides English, all of YouVersion.com and the Bible App’s interfaces and tools are also available in Norwegian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Dutch, French, and Swedish. Here’s what Polish speakers and readers can enjoy in their language:

Polish Interface. Set your device’s default language to Polish, and the Bible App’s menus, buttons, and controls will display in Polish. (Newer releases on some platforms will even let you select Polish directly in your Bible App Settings.)

Polish Emails and Blog Posts. At the top right of our English language blog, select Polski—or just go directly to the Polish version—to read blog posts in Polish. For updates and other YouVersion communication in Polish, sign up for a free YouVersion account and adjust your Settings to Polski.

Technical Support in Polish. Visit the Polish version of our Support site for help with the Bible App. And if you contact us in Polish, you can receive answers to your questions in Polish.

Bible translations in Polish. Check the Versions list inside the Bible App under Polski, or visit the Versions page at YouVersion.com. You’ll find the Słowo Życia (PSZ), an easy-reading contemporary translation, generously provided by Biblica. Or perhaps you’d prefer the Uwspółcześniona Biblia Gdańska (PUBG-POL) from the Gate of Hope Foundation, an updated, modern language version of the classic Biblia Gdańska (PBG).

The massive task of translating YouVersion’s tools into other languages only happens through the tireless efforts of a worldwide community of volunteers. We sincerely cannot thank them enough for all the ways they serve the rest of us. And if you can help with either Polish or translation into a variety of other languages, whether it’s technical support, responding to requests on Facebook and Twitter, or even helping translate interfaces, we could really use your help! We asked Team Leader Sebastian about his experience helping to translate the Bible App into Polish. Here’s what he had to say:

YouVersion język polski tłumacz Sebastian F.

“When I started using YouVersion, I was really glad to find such an advanced application designed to help people engage with God’s Word. I started using YouVersion in English, but after a little while it just struck me, that so many people in Poland wouldn’t be able to use it only because they don’t know English. I saw the need, and I decided to do something about it. Now I can suggest using YouVersion to all my Polish friends, not only to English-speaking ones. Thank you to every team member for giving generously of your time—despite different challenges and hardships—to help Polish people get closer to God’s Word and, in this way, closer to God.”
—Sebastian F., Warsaw, Poland

Welcome to YouVersion! We’re so excited to invite Polish speakers and readers into our global YouVersion community. And we’d love for you to start connecting with other YouVersion members on Facebook and Twitter. If you have friends whose preferred language is Polish, please be sure to share the good news with them!

Championship-Winning Coach Tony Dungy Brings Brand-New Devotional to the Bible App

Tony Dungy’s One Year© Uncommon Life Daily Challenge and the Bible App™Just in time for the Big Game this weekend, we’re excited to bring a brand-new, 15-day devotional to the Bible App™ from an American football icon: The Uncommon Life Daily Challenge from Tony Dungy.

Take beloved Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy’s challenge! Strengthen the core of your life and faith in seven key areas: Potential, Friends, Influence, Mission, Faith, Core, and Family. Designed to help you dig deeper into God’s Word and live your own uncommon life, each day features a brief devotional with a Scripture and a note from The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker.

This new devotional is just one of more than 200 reading plans in 10 languages you can choose from. And with more than 200 Bible versions in 75 languages, YouVersion.com and the Bible App have something for everyone.

Special thanks go to Coach Dungy and to Tyndale House Publishers for generously providing content from The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge.

YouVersion’s 21-Day Challenge: You Could Win an iPad 2 or a Kindle Fire!

YouVersion’s 21-Day ChallengeIf you’ve ever tried to establish a daily Bible reading habit, you know how hard it can be to make time to read in your busy schedule, especially when you’re just getting started. Many individuals in the YouVersion community have said that a reading plan helps them read more of the Bible, more often. YouVersion already offers more than 200 Reading Plans to help you find just the right fit for you. Beginning today and running throughout the next 21 days, we’re adding some extra incentive to help you: The 21-Day Challenge!

All you need to do to participate is keep at least one Reading Plan up to date for 21 days in a row. Everyone who completes 21 consecutive days of a Reading Plan will receive a special “21-Day Challenge” badgeon their YouVersion profile. Plus, we’ll also enter you into a drawing to win one of the following:

  • iPad 2
  • Kindle Fire
  • YouVersion T-shirt and sticker pack

Full details are below in the official rules. Join us, tell your friends… and keep reading!


Here’s how it works:

  • If you don’t already have a free YouVersion account, sign up for one.
  • Complete each scheduled day of a YouVersion Reading Plan, starting February 1 (today) through Tuesday, February 21.
  • Eligible plans are any Reading Plan started between January 1, 2012 and February 1, 2012 by 11:59 PM (the end of today). Calculated according to Central Time U.S. (GMT -6).
  • If you are subscribed to more than one Reading Plan, you only need to complete 21 consecutive days for one of them.
  • Ensure that the plan you want to read for the 21-Day Challenge continues through at least February 21. (You can check your plan’s calendar in its Settings, either in the Bible App™ or at YouVersion.com.)
  • Listening to audio versions counts.
  • Whether you read, listen, or sign up to receive your plan by email, be sure that every passage for each day’s reading is checked off as completed.
  • Don’t miss or skip any days!
  • 23 winners will be selected through random drawing from pool of eligible participants. Available prizes are as listed above: Apple iPad 2 (1), Amazon.com Kindle Fire (1) and YouVersion T-shirt/sticker pack (21).

YouVersion Community Shares Their Stories About “The Other 16”

In November, we reported that one in 17 Android devices and iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches) had installed the Bible App™. We also invited you to join in sharing the Bible App with The Other 16, those 16 out of 17 smart phone users who hadn’t already installed it. And your response overwhelmed us!

As we wrap up The Other 16 challenge, we want you to know what happened. At the end of November 2011, the Bible App had been installed on over 34 million unique devices. But since then—in just two monthsmore than 5 million people installed the Bible App for the first time. Thanks to you, the Bible App just passed 40 million installs.

As part of the challenge, we asked to hear stories about your Other 16. Here’s what just a few of you had to say:

“I reached The Other 16 simply by showing people how awesome the Bible App is on my phone. In just one night at our LifeGroup, 10 young adults downloaded it.”
—TJ Wolfe

“I got to explain to some of our church leaders how the Bible App had really made a difference in me finding time for meaningful Bible study. I showed them passages I had highlighted and bookmarked, and even screenshots of passages I wanted to memorize — which I use kind of like flash cards in my photo file. My pastor and our music minister installed it on their devices immediately!”
—Amanda G.

“Three of my friends saw me doing my daily devotion every day, and they got interested. I told them this was the best Bible app, and they downloaded it too. Now we’re doing a devotion together, and I must say it has really brought us closer, both as friends and in our relationships with Him.”
—Cailyn M.

“I love the YouVersion Bible App, and I’ve been sharing it ever since I found it. But when I saw your challenge, it was on. I challenged my family, and they met the challenge. My son shared at school. My husband shared at work. And I shared with my women’s group that first day. When I ran into my son’s principal, I started to tell her about the Bible App — and she said my son had already downloaded it for her! I love your Bible app!”
—Carmen L.

To all who shared your stories with the rest of us in the YouVersion community: Thank you! (And keep an eye on the mail for your YouVersion T-shirt!) But just because the “official” The Other 16 challenge is ending, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to keep hearing from you. Come tell us all about your Other 16 on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Partners and Volunteers Bring Swedish Bibles and Interface to YouVersion

Bibeln App-ikonen på svenskaPeople ask us all the time for new versions of the Bible in different languages. Certainly we’re convinced that the best, most natural way to engage with God’s Word is in your own heart language. And with 209 versions in 75 languages already, it might seem like we’d easily be able to add even more. But the truth is, we absolutely couldn’t do what we do without the generous partnership of our Bible society partners.

Here’s another request we hear all the time: “When will YouVersion be available in my language?” It’s a huge effort to translate all of YouVersion’s menus, interfaces, blog posts, technical support, and more into new languages. This task only happens through the tireless devotion of a passionate, worldwide community of volunteers—people just like you—offering their talents in translation to bring the Bible App™ to you in your own language. Thanks to them, we’ve already seen YouVersion translated from English into Norwegian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Dutch, French—and of course now into Swedish! We sincerely cannot thank these amazing people enough for all that they do for the YouVersion community.

Bible Publishing Partners

Together with generous Bible Publishers, we’re pleased to present the YouVersion community with accurate, easy-to-read Swedish translations of the Bible:

Swedish, Translation 2000 (SB00-SV). After almost 30 years of work, the “Bibeln 2000” is the result of a broad, interdisciplinary project completed in 2000. A Bible Commission appointed a team of theologians, archaeologists, linguists, historians, specialists in Hebrew language and culture, and many other professionals, tasking them to work together to translate the Bible into contemporary, clear Swedish language. Using modern Biblical research and methods, they sought to retain meaning and original context from the source texts. Graciously provided by the Swedish Bible Society.

Svenska Folkbibeln (SFB). In 1983, the Swedish People’s Bible Foundation set out not only to translate the oldest source texts available as literally as possible, but also to develop from them a version of the Bible that would be easily readable by a modern Swedish audience. Members of the foundation wanted their translation to reflect “God’s presence” and His “direct intervention into human history.” The Svenska Folkbibeln (the “People’s Bible”) was completed in 1998.

Besides these two great Bibles, you’ll also find the Nya Levande Bibeln (BSV), provided by the International Bible Society (now Biblica). And YouVersion even offers more “classic” Bible versions available in the public domain: the Svenska 1917 (SVEN) and the Karl XII 1873 (SK73).

Volunteers

Swedish translations of the Bible are just one piece of all YouVersion has to offer. The Bible App allows you to easily navigate, read, listen, share, annotate, and engage with God’s Word, no matter where you are. But even the best tools would be useless if you couldn’t read them. That’s where volunteers come in. People passionate about sharing God’s Word offer their gifts in translation to bring these tools to Swedish users. Besides constantly improving the Bible App, we’re also now offering technical support in Swedish, so there’s always more translation to be done. And we really need more help for our awesome Swedish-speaking volunteer community. If you can help with Swedish translation—even by responding to requests on Facebook and Twitterplease join us!

We asked some of our key Swedish language volunteers, “What’s it like to work with the YouVersion community all over the world?” Here’s what they had to say:

YouVersion Svenska språket volontär Petter J.

“When I’d used YouVersion for a couple months, a call for volunteers was made. I immediately saw the need for the Bible App in Swedish and joined at once. I never could have imagined how much fun it is to work side by side with so many nationalities. Being part of a bigger picture gives a whole new meaning. And to think that I get to be a part of getting the Word to even more people!”
—Petter J., Ängelholm, Sweden

YouVersion Svenska språket volontär Magnus O.

“A few months ago, I heard about YouVersion in my Bible study group. I read about it and discovered that it relies on volunteer work. As I previously worked with a translation project, it felt both fun and right to try to contribute to making the Word of God even more accessible in Sweden.”
—Magnus Ö., Gothenburg, Sweden

Experience All YouVersion Has to Offer—Now in Swedish

Bibeln App genom YouVersion nu tillgänglig på svenska

You can now participate in the YouVersion community in Swedish. More than simply Swedish translations of the Bible, you can set the interface in the Bible App™ to display in Swedish—even receive technical support and other communication from YouVersion in Swedish! Come and explore all that YouVersion has to offer—in Swedish!

Our Swedish launch represents the twelfth translation of YouVersion’s tools and resources into another language. We began in English, but we’ve been honored to be able to add Norwegian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Dutch, and most recently, French. Today we’re officially welcoming Swedish speakers and readers to participate in the YouVersion experience in their own language:

Swedish Interface (Menus, Buttons and Controls). There’s only one reason we’re able to offer so many different translations of YouVersion’s tools: because of the tireless efforts of passionate YouVersion volunteers. These extraordinary people have graciously offered their gifts in translation to bring Swedish to the YouVersion interface for your iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), Android, BlackBerry, or Java device. Simply set the default language for your device to Swedish. Or, if you have the latest update of the Bible App for iOS or Android, you can even select Swedish directly in your Bible App Settings.

Swedish Emails and Blog Posts. On the English version of our blog, try selecting Svenska from the list of languages at the top right. You can also navigate directly to the Swedish version. There you’ll find blog posts in Swedish, on topics that relate to your YouVersion experience. And if you’d like to receive updates and other YouVersion communication in Swedish, simply sign up for a free YouVersion account, then visit Settings at YouVersion.com and set your preferred language to Svenska.

Support in Swedish. Visit the Swedish version of our Technical Support site for answers to all your questions about YouVersion.com or the Bible App. And if you can’t find what you need there, simply contact us in Swedish—and Swedish-speaking YouVersion support volunteers will be happy to respond to you.

Since we first launched the Bible App, YouVersion’s simple mission has always been the same: to make the Bible freely available to as many people as possible, no matter where they live or what language they prefer. Now, we’re thrilled to be able to bring the entire YouVersion experience to Swedish speakers everywhere for the first time. Swedish was a natural choice for the next language of YouVersion, for a couple of important reasons:

Swedish Speakers. According to The World Factbook, Sweden is the 90th most populous nation in the world, with more than 9 million people. And not only is Swedish the official first language of Sweden, according to Wikipedia, it’s also currently the most-spoken North Germanic language, with more than 10 million speakers around the world.

Swedish Connectivity. In the case of many other languages, the number of speakers doesn’t necessarily correlate to potential YouVersion users, but Swedish is special. Sweden consistently ranks as one of the most information-connected nations in the world, and fourth worldwide among smart phone users, with 52% of its population possessing these mobile devices. This means that a much greater percentage of Swedish speakers can immediately benefit from having YouVersion in Swedish.

Welcome to YouVersion! We’re so excited to invite Swedish speakers and readers into the global YouVersion community. While we’ll be sharing more on our blog about the Swedish launch in a few days, in the meantime, we’d love for you to start connecting with other YouVersion members on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have friends whose preferred language is Swedish, please share this great news with them!

2011: YouVersion’s Year in Review

2011: YouVersion’s Year in Review

2011 was another wild, wonderful year for the YouVersion community. At the beginning of January, the Bible App™ had been installed on almost 13 million unique devices. But by the end of 2011, it had well over 37 million installs. It’s clear that—together—we’re each part of a revolution in Bible engagement happening all over the world.

Even as we look forward to all that God will do through the YouVersion community during 2012, first we’d like to pause and look back on all we shared during 2011…


January: We launched 2011 with a challenge to read 1 billion minutes during January, suggesting Bible reading accountability with friends and online, and even offering practical ideas about times to read. The Mashable Awards named YouVersion as a finalist, and the Bible App was named in the all-time top apps on iTunes.

February: Although it took 46 days for us to hit one billion minutes, the YouVersion community saw a remarkable 172% reading increase during that time—and also reached more than 5 billion minutes read overall. Volunteers translated the YouVersion experience completely into Chinese, just in time for Chinese Lunar New Year, and the Bible App appeared on the prestigious The Sunday Times’ definitive The App List.

March: Three new Reading Plans launched for Lent, just one part of an initiative that saw us more than double overall Reading Plans. Volunteers played a critical role in reaching the world with God’s Word, and for our part, we added new Bible translations.

April: Just as the Bible App was installed on its 5 millionth Android device, the Bible App for iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) got its largest overhaul since its launch. We made available twice as many versions and almost doubled the number of languages. Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional launched, and we encouraged the community to spend time in God’s Word for Easter.

May: Our global flash mob to read the KJV in 400 seconds was so successful that together we read through it… 8 times! A special live webcast celebrated 20 million installs and more than 150 Reading Plans in 10 languages. The brand-new YouVersion Technical Support website launched, and we shared how the community could help.

June: People just like you were reaching others through the Bible App, and another story from the YouVersion community encouraged even more to share. The entire YouVersion experience launched in Simplified and Traditional Chinese. YouVersion users together bookmarked more than 20 million Bible passages.

July: Russian was the next complete YouVersion language launch, and the YouVersion community shared more stories about how the Bible App continued to change lives.

August: The next complete language launch was in Korean. Rewritten from scratch, the all-new Bible App for Windows Phone released with a full feature set comparable to YouVersion’s other major platforms.

September: Brazilian Portuguese became the next language to receive the YouVersion-wide experience, and YouVersion celebrated its fourth anniversary.

October: The Bible App had been installed on more than 30 million unique devices. The Bible App for Java was completely rewritten, bringing its features more in line with YouVersion’s other platforms, and German became the next complete language launch.

November: 7 billion people on Earth represented profound opportunities. Dutch was the tenth complete YouVersion language launch. Joyce Meyer’s Daily Devotional, Promises for Your Everyday Life launched, and a special infographic helped illustrate how much happens across YouVersion during just one minute. A special live webcast covered The Other 16 and YouVersion’s need for more volunteers.

December: YouVersion’s next complete language launch was French. The Bible App appeared in iTunes’ “best-of” Rewind 2011, both for iPhone and for iPad, and the YouVersion community completed 1 million Reading Plans. Our annual Global Share the Bible Day tradition continued.


Thank you for your part in the YouVersion community’s success during 2011. If you compare this year to last year, it’s immediately apparent that the Bible App and the YouVersion community are healthier than ever. And we’re convinced that it’s still just the beginning.

It’s a joy and an honor to get to do what we love… making God’s Word freely available to as many people as possible, no matter where they live or what language they prefer.

Won’t you join us?

YouVersion’s Top 10 Bookmarked Verses of 2011

YouVersion’s Top 10 Bookmarks of 20112011 was a big year for Bible engagement in the YouVersion community. One of the ways we did that was by creating tens of millions of bookmarks. A bookmark is a great way to keep track of a verse you want to return to again and again, whether it’s because you want to memorize it, you want to share it with a friend, or simply because it’s one of your favorites. Here are the top 10 bookmarks that the YouVersion community saved during 2011*:

  1. Philippians 4:6123,035
  2. Jeremiah 29:11100,044
  3. Proverbs 3:597,758
  4. Romans 12:295,804
  5. Philippians 4:1387,120
  6. Philippians 4:783,193
  7. Romans 8:2878,491
  8. Proverbs 3:674,770
  9. Matthew 6:3373,544
  10. 1 Corinthians 13:471,923

Saving a bookmark is easy!

To learn how:

  • Visit our Support site.
  • Select your language at the bottom.
  • Select your device type at the left.
  • Look under “Notes, Bookmarks & Highlights.”

*Although YouVersion also tracks which version of the Bible you’re viewing when you save a bookmark, this list is just the top 10 bookmarks, regardless of version. The versions we link to here are simply to give you a sense of the variety that’s possible in how you connect with God’s Word using the Bible App. YouVersion presently offers more than 200 different translations of the Bible, in 75 languages.

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