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5 Billion Minutes

When huge things happen in the YouVersion user community, we love sharing them so we can celebrate together. And today, we’re thrilled to announce that collectively, users of the Bible App™ have blown past yet another massive milestone:


You’ve read the Bible for more than 5 billion total minutes!

It was a little over a year ago that we announced that the total number of minutes read using the Bible App™ had crossed one billion. Just seven months later, we announced that number had doubled, as we passed two billion minutes together. Then, in our 2010 Year in Review, after only six more months, we told you that even that number had doubled, with more than 4 billion total minutes read.

We’re convinced that when people spend time reading God’s Word, lives are changed. His small still voice speaks through it, giving us His wisdom and insight. We are privileged to share with you in the work that God is doing. Thank you for engaging with Scripture through the Bible App by YouVersion.

In Celebration of Lunar New Year 庆祝中国农历新年

Whether you call it Spring Festival, Chinese Lunar New Year, or simply Chinese New Year, this year, this most important of Chinese holidays will take place tomorrow, February 3. To prepare for this event, over the past several months, incredible YouVersion volunteers have been working together with our team to bring Traditional and Simplified Chinese to the Bible App™and to YouVersion.com. Now, wherever they are, Chinese readers can experience God’s Word in their “heart language,” not only in the Bible translation they’re enjoying, but in many of YouVersion’s interfaces as well. 管你是否称它为春节,中国的农历新年,或者就称之为中国新年,今年中国最重要的节日,就是今天,2月3日。为了这一节日,在过去的几个月中,YouVersion 志愿者们一直在努力工作以便推出简体中文和繁体中文版的圣经应用程序。不管在哪里,华人都可以用他们的“母语”阅读神的话语,不仅可以读中文版的圣经,还可以浏览中文版的 YouVersion 界面。

For thousands of years, the Chinese Lunar New Year has been a celebration to release the past, an opportunity to wish for peace and genuine happiness for all people. Because of its rich tradition and powerful message, Chinese New Year is the most popular of all holidays for Chinese-speaking people all over the world. 几千年来,中国农历新年都是一个辞旧迎新的庆典,是一个为人民祈求和平和幸福的时刻。因为其悠久的传统和丰富的内涵,这个节日对世界各地的华人而言都是最受欢迎的节日。

2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, or Xin Mao. The rabbit symbolizes both wisdom and goodwill. This year is anticipated to be filled with good luck, calm and peace. During the traditional Spring Festival celebration, Chinese families and friends will gather to exchange gifts and spend time together, expressing loving thoughts and warm tidings for each other. 2011年是农历辛卯年或兔年。兔子象征了智慧和友好。华人希望这是一个幸运年,是和平幸福年。在传统的春节庆祝过程中,中国家庭将团聚在一起,互赠礼物,相互表达关心和美好祝福。

Our vision has always been to make the Scriptures freely available and as easy to use as possible, for as many people as we can. We believe the Bible represents the gift of God’s wisdom and His words to all of us. This Chinese New Year, please let all of your friends know—through direct conversations, phone calls, emails, on Facebook and Twitter—about this wonderful opportunity our language partners have given us to share the free gift of God’s wisdom and goodwill with our Chinese friends everywhere. 我们的异象一直是将圣经以最便捷的方式,免费送达到更多的人手中。我们相信圣经代表了神的智慧,是神给我们大家的礼物。值此中国农历春节之际,请通过面对面的交流,电话,邮件或者 FacebookTwitter 等方式,让您所有的朋友共享我们的中文翻译伙伴帮助提供给华人的免费新年礼物— 使用 YouVersion 随时随地地分享神智慧的话语和祝福。

When is 681 million minutes of Bible reading NOT a good thing?

Answer: “When 1 billion minutes was your goal.”

In this video, Terry Storch, Digerati Pastor at LifeChurch.tv, and Bobby Gruenewald, Innovation Leader at LifeChurch.tv, update us on YouVersion’s “1 Billion in January” challenge.

When we announced our goal for a billion minutes, the most we’d seen read in the Bible App™ during a single month was 250 million. Last month, you read 681 million minutes. That’s an increase of 172%! Incredible! While we didn’t hit 1 billion in 31 days, we’re still on track to do it in the first 50 days of 2011. Please keep making God’s Word a part of your life every day, and the moment we reach 1 billion, we’ll celebrate it here on our blog and on Facebook and Twitter.

We’d be honored to have your help spreading the Word. You can participate in lots of ways:

Have You Tried the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)?

You might remember that Broadman & Holman first began generously offering users of the Bible App™ by YouVersion their Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) for offline use back in November. They have now graciously decided to extend this availability to you…indefinitely. We’re thrilled to share in this opportunity to partner with Broadman & Holman and LifeWay in making God’s Word freely available to you.

What “offline use” means: For several of the versions available through the Bible App, you can only read them when you have access to the Internet or to your data provider. This means that if you’re outside of coverage, you won’t be able to read them. But when you download a version to your device, you can read it anytime, anywhere—whether you’re online or not.

To learn more about the Holman Christian Standard Bible, check out their website. They even offer a useful online tool to help you study your HCSB.

How you can get your HCSB:

iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch: From the Bible reader, tap the top bar, where the current translation is presently displayed. All versions display in alphabetical order by language. (You’ll find “Holman Christian Stand…” under EN for English.) Tap the download icon (a green box with a white arrow pointing downward) on the right and follow the instructions.
Tap Current Translation Tap Download Icon Tap Download Button

Android: From the Bible reader, tap the box at the top right that displays the version short code. All available Bible versions display. (You’ll find “Holman Christian Standard…” under English.) Tap the download icon (with an arrow pointing down) on the right.

Tap Current Translation Tap Download Icon Download Complete

YouVersion Support: It’s a New Day!

If you’ve had trouble getting timely assistance for your problems with the Bible App™, you’re not alone. And for that, we would like to sincerely apologize. At YouVersion, we’ve always focused most of our resources on making the Bible as widely available as possible. And because we move so fast, most of our support has traditionally come from our awesome volunteers.

But we want to do more.

Ben Armstrong

We recently realized that we’ve been receiving up to a few hundred support requests every day. Today, we’re addressing that need specifically. We’d like to introduce you to our newest team member, Ben Armstrong, User Support Coordinator for YouVersion. (That’s Ben at the right, hard at work, surfing a tube slide.) Ben will be answering your questions, developing tutorials, writing how-to’s and building out a more comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions list for you.

We’ve always wanted to make the Bible App the best app on your mobile device, whether paid or free. But we’d also like to give you better support than you could get even if you were paying for it. And, we even want to make that happen in all the languages we support.

For those of you who have may have already met Ben during the last week, you know he’s awesome. But Ben won’t be able to do it alone. He’ll need your help. What can you do to help us make YouVersion support fantastic? Here are just a few areas where we already know we could use your assistance:

If you can help, please sign up here, and be sure you choose “customer support”!

Available Now on YouVersion: The Sharif Arabic Bible!

We’re excited to announce that the Sharif Arabic Bible (SAB) is now available for the Bible App™ and at YouVersion.com! The Sharif Bible is a complete translation of the Bible in Arabic, with special attention given to making the truths of the Gospel accessible to Arab readers.

While we’re thrilled to share this wonderful version with you, we’re even happier that we also get to offer it to you in offline form. This means that if you download it to your mobile device, you can have access to the Sharif Arabic Bible even when you’re not connected to the Internet or to your data provider. (See the instructions below.)

We’re so grateful to the International Sharif Bible Society for making this possible. With more than 1.2 million copies distributed so far, the Sharif Arabic Bible was first published in 1990, then updated in 2000. You can learn more about the Sharif Arabic Bible at www.sharifbible.com. (Note: This site is in Arabic.)

How to Download the SAB

Download Icon
iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch: From the Bible reader, tap the top bar, where the current translation is presently displayed. All versions display in alphabetical order by language. (You’ll find the Sharif Arabic Bible under AR for Arabic, near the top.) Tap the download icon (a green box with a white arrow pointing downward) on the right and follow the instructions.

Android: From the Bible reader, tap the top bar, where the current translation is presently displayed. Tap the box at the top right that displays the version short code. All available Bible versions display. (You’ll find the Sharif Arabic Bible under AR for Arabic.) Tap the download icon (with an arrow pointing down) on the right. That’s it!

The Bible App: An iTunes All-Time Top 10

We honestly cannot tell you how excited we are to share this news with you:

As of this morning, the Bible App™ by YouVersion is listed by Apple
as one of the all-time top apps for both iPad and iPhone.

In fact, according to this article at Tech Crunch, on iPad, the Bible App is in the top 10 free apps! And that’s overall, not just in the Reference category where the Bible App is listed.

And the great story just continues on iPhone. Out of more than 300,000 apps, the Bible App is in the top 50 all-time apps on iPhone:

We’d like to say a huge thanks to all of our users who have made this possible. One of the contributing factors to this milestone is that you guys don’t just use our application yourselves, but you freely share it with others. It’s proof positive: When you tell your friends and your loved ones about what you’re learning from the Bible, whether it’s sharing on Facebook or Twitter, or even in face-to-face conversations, you are making a difference.

Of course, what’s most exciting about this news is the visibility that it gives—not to the Bible App or to YouVersion—but to God’s Word. Everything we do at YouVersion is focused on making the inspired Word of God, His Bible, freely accessible to as many people as we possibly can. Achieving this distinction brings us closer to that ultimate goal.

2010 Mashable Awards: YouVersion a Finalist

Mashable 2010 Awards Ceremony: "YouVersion" on the screen

You may remember us asking you back in December to help us out by voting for us in the 2010 Mashable Awards. We just wanted to give you a quick update on the results. Last week, Mashable announced the winners at a special ceremony at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). We’d like to congratulate eBuddy, a messaging service who took home the prize for Best Mobile User Experience, the category in which YouVersion was nominated. While we did not win, we were proud to at least be named as a finalist. You can see the full list of winners at Mashable’s website.

We especially wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all of you who participated, for nominating us and especially to those who voted for us!

Share Your Reading Plan Experience

If you’re reading through the Bible this year—whether on your own or joining us in our challenge to read 1 billion minutes in the Bible App™ during January—have you considered sharing what you’re up to? Jesus said we’re salt and light. When you openly tell others what God is doing in your life, you never know what He’ll do in the lives of those who hear it.

We’re blessed to live in a time where our opportunities to communicate are unprecedented in human history. Just 20 short years ago, if someone told you you’d be reading this blog right now, you wouldn’t even have had a context to understand what they meant.

Here are just a few ways you can share with the Bible App:

  • Share on your social networks. Mention @YouVersion on Twitter and in Facebook status updates. “Like” YouVersion on Facebook, and share the Facebook app and our page in Facebook. You can share individual verses—even your Reading Plan! We’ve tried to make it easy.
  • Write Notes about what you’re reading. When you mark your Notes as public, you can share what God’s showing you in His Word with everyone using YouVersion.com and the Bible App. (They’re on YouVersion.com, iPad/iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.)
  • Help your friends install the Bible App on their mobile devices. It’s free! It’s on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, webOS, Java and Symbian.

And here are some other ways you can share:

  • Encourage your friends to read the Bible (whether in the Bible App or not).
  • Write about your Reading Plan on your blog. Consider not only covering what you’re reading, but challenging your readers and followers to join you.
  • Serve as a YouVersion volunteer in one of the many roles we could use help with: proofreading, user support, app testing, design, development, and more. Click here to sign up.

The ways you can share are limited only by your own imagination. Who are you praying for? Who do you know who needs to hear the message of God’s love? You don’t have to give them a hard sell. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar with a theology degree. All you need to know is what God has done in your life…and tell somebody.

How to: Ask Your Friends for Help Reading the Bible

Yesterday we talked about the value of telling the people in your life about your goals. Today we’ll talk about taking that even further.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 says, “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him.”
(Good News Translation)
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
(New Living Translation)

We need our friends. YouVersion makes it easy to recruit your friends and family to help you. When you sign up for a Reading Plan, consider taking just a minute to set up progress update emails that can be sent to a friend. (You can send them to yourself, too!):

  1. Sign in at YouVersion.com.
  2. Select My > Reading Plans.
  3. Click the link or the [Plan Overview] button for the plan you want help with.
  4. Click the Accountability tab (lower right).
  5. Turn Accountability on (lower left).
  6. Add each friend you want to receive updates.
    Note: They’ll need a free YouVersion.com account, and they need to be following you.
  7. Check your box if you also want to receive updates.
  8. Click [Save].

That’s it! Of course, things happen. If you happen to miss a day, it’s easy to get back on track. Just pick back up where you left off. You can even go to your plan at YouVersion.com and click the “Catch Me Up!” link at the bottom of the page, or go to your plan on your mobile device, view the Plan Info page, and tap the [Catch Me Up] button.

We hope you have a great year diving in to God’s Word!

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