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Happy New Year!

Today begins many firsts: It’s the first day of 2011. The first day of January. And the first day of the God-sized goal we first shared with you back in November: To see users of the Bible App™ spend at least 1 billion minutes reading the Bible during just the month of January. Will you join us? Studies have shown a huge gap between how many people want to know more about the Bible…and those who actually read it. What about you? Why not make this the year that the Bible becomes a part of your daily life?

We’re ready for you! The Bible App is available on nearly every mobile platform, so you can read, take notes and share what you’re learning with your social networks. We have more Reading Plans than ever (more than 50, with even more on the way)! They’re a great way to walk through the Scriptures.

Here’s specifically what you can do to participate:

  1. Read as much Scripture in the Bible App as you can during January.
    (Signing up for a Reading Plan makes it easy.)
  2. Tell your friends about what the YouVersion community is doing. Tweet. Post status updates to Facebook. Write about it on your blog.
  3. Help friends and family install the Bible App on their mobile devices.
  4. Invite people you influence to join the revolution to discover (or rediscover) God’s Word.

Up for a serious challenge? Consider signing up for the Bible in 90 Days. Did you even know you could read the entire Bible in just three months? You can!

We can’t think of a better way to kick off 2011 than to devote ourselves to sharing the Bible, a book we love, with as many people as we can.

2010: YouVersion’s Year in Review

2010 was crazy here at YouVersion. God did some astounding things. At the beginning of January, the Bible App™ had been installed on slightly more than 3.1 million unique devices. As 2010 draws to a close, it will have been installed on almost 13 million!

2010 Bible App(TM) Installs

Another number we watch closely is total minutes spent reading the Bible using the Bible App. At the end of December 2009, our users had read just over one billion minutes. While that’s pretty amazing, as of the time of this writing, users have spent just over 4 billion minutes reading with the Bible App. We’ve even invited our users to join us in January 2011 as we try to reach 1 billion minutes in just one month!

2010 saw a more rapid pace of development at YouVersion than we’ve ever experienced before. Here are just 12 snapshots from the year, in chronological order:

  1. January: As YouVersion added almost half a million new mobile users with the Bible App right at the end of 2009, we stumbled out of the gate in early 2010. Our core infrastructure simply couldn’t keep up—especially during peak times on Sundays. Throughout the month of January, we added capacity and scaled up our architecture to lay a firm foundation for sustained growth.
  2. February: For literally hundreds of millions of Java-enabled devices (not necessarily smartphones), YouVersion offered the Bible App for Java-enabled devices. And just as the update of webOS was being bolstered by the Pre and the Pixi, we announced the Bible App for webOS.
  3. April: Although no one even had an iPad yet, we wanted to ensure we’d be able to offer the Bible App for iPad the first day it was in stores.
  4. June: YouVersion had been adding connectivity to our platforms for some time, and by summer, simple Facebook and Twitter sharing had come to most of them. Today it’s easy to connect your free YouVersion account and share online.
  5. July: YouVersion passed the milestone of 2 billion minutes read using the Bible App. Reaching this position midyear would lay the foundation for us to hit more than 4 billion minutes by year’s end.
  6. August: YouVersion began formally offering “Free Bible” pages for those organizations who request them. We wanted to offer partners a way to add value to their existing efforts, while at the same time sharing YouVersion and the Bible App with more people than we could reach on our own.
  7. October: As YouVersion’s Android user base continued to grow, we began offering offline Bible versions for Android users, the result of many publishers kindly making their Bible versions available for download, including HCSB, RVR60, ESV, GNT, CEV, Czech Bible21, and NLT. Anticipating that Windows Phone 7 would represent another large user community, we also formally debuted the Bible App for Windows Phone 7.
  8. Early November: The film The Social Network arrived in theaters, Facebook announced they had passed 500 million users, and YouVersion released the Bible App for Facebook. We continue to develop this app into a richer user experience right inside Facebook.
  9. Mid November: YouVersion hosted a major, live webcast to share some big news: reaching the 10+ million installs milestone and announcing Notes for YouVersion.com. Our viewers generated so much interest that the webcast even became a Twitter trending topic in the U.S. Shortly after, Notes came to BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad, and Android.
  10. Late November: Because we rolled out new versions on new platforms over time, different requirements for each led to our logo becoming inconsistent. In late November, we consolidated the Bible App logo everywhere to limit confusion among our users.
  11. Mid December: In Apple’s 2010 Rewind, the Bible App™ by YouVersion appeared in iTunes’ Top 10 Free Apps in the Reference category. At one point, the Bible App climbed as high as the number 7 overall free app, passing even the free version of Angry Birds!
  12. Late December: YouVersion offered more than 50 Reading Plans across every platform, helping our users easily schedule their time in Scripture. We also introduced Badges, a fun incentive for Bible engagement. Global Share the Bible Day was a resounding success, with users sharing things they loved about the Bible—favorite verses, meaningful experiences, and their faith. Just yesterday, we shared a phenomenal statistic: The Bible App was installed 1 million times in just 11 days…more than one install a second!

As you can see, the end of the year saw a disproportionate spike in news and events, as YouVersion and the Bible App gained momentum on the way into 2011. We’re excited about all the things God is doing, and we can’t wait to see where He takes us together next! We’re happy to offer you the opportunity to take part, whether it’s through the billion-minute challenge, participating in Reading Plans, or in our many volunteer opportunities. Thank you for being a part of YouVersion’s success in 2010!

11 Days…1 Million Installs

The Bible App(TM) Icon

Earlier in December, we asked you to help us spread the word about Share the Bible Day. We’ve already told you about the amazing response we saw on Christmas Day. But also during December, something incredible happened, unprecedented in the history of YouVersion:

In just 11 days, 1 million people installed the Bible App™ on their mobile devices.

For a little perspective, that works out to more than one install per second…for 11 days straight! Now millions of people are discovering what you already know: That using tools like the Bible App and others, it’s easier than ever to make the Bible a part of our daily lives. In fact, starting in two days, we’d like to ask you to take part as we aspire to reach 1 billion minutes of reading together in the Bible App—during just the month of January.

We’re a small staff here at YouVersion; we don’t personally know a million people. But collectively, we and you actually know millions—and what’s more, we’re connected to billions! You are an important part of a revolution taking place right now: Millions of people around the world are discovering the Bible, or in some cases rediscovering it. God is using your passion and efforts to share the Bible (His Word) with millions of others.

1 million installs in 11 days seem huge. But even more significantly, 6,869,358,569 more people still need to know about the Bible App—and each one of us has a role to play. Keep posting. Keep tweeting. Keep sharing. Keep engaging. There is so much more to come!

YouVersion.com: Now in Simplified and Traditional Chinese

We’re so excited to announce that, with help from our friends and partners at http://jidutu-wiki.org/, we now offer our interface in both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese, available immediately on YouVersion.com. Both languages are also coming soon to the Bible App™!

In 2010, China’s population grew to well over 1.3 billion people (that’s with a B!). By the late 2010’s, it’s projected that China will pass 1.4 billion. It’s estimated that 3%–4% of China’s population follows Christ, with the Lord adding to their number every day. YouVersion’s vision has always been to make the Bible an easy-to-use resource. As people’s lives move more onto the web and onto mobile devices, we want to be sure the Bible is freely available to them—wherever they are. And of course we’re always thrilled when God gives us the opportunity to get His Word to different people in their own language!

We consider this feature still in “Beta.” We have some details we’re working out and a few areas we know need more thorough translation. But it’s live and online right now! To access either language, simply click the language link at the bottom left of YouVersion.com, and switch to the one you want.

If you have friends who might be interested in this feature, please let them know about it. We’d love to hear what they think on Facebook and on Twitter.

Would you like to see YouVersion.com and the Bible App in your own language? We want to hear from you! Please complete this simple form and let us know what you can do to help.

Join us! 1 Billion in 1 Month!

We mentioned this during our webcast earlier this year, but now the moment is upon us. And of course, we’ll need everyone’s help to pull it off. Here’s what we’d like to do: During just a single month, the month of January, we’d love to see users of the Bible App™ spend at least 1 billion minutes reading the Bible. (We can do this! You guys just recently passed 4 billion minutes total!) We’ve even added a page to our website to keep track and to help you out with resources.

Besides some of the things we’ve already shared that you can do—rating the Bible App in iTunes, talking to your friends about the Bible, sharing on Twitter and Facebook, even raising Bible awareness during the Christmas season—the key now is to read. Read like crazy during January. We’ve done a lot to prepare and help you, making the Bible App easy and accessible, so you can always have it with you, whether you’re on your iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, webOS, or even in Facebook! All of that has been building toward this one moment. It’s here.

Use Reading Plans. Probably the greatest tools we’ve seen so far that can help you (and your friends) engage with the Bible are Reading Plans. Whether you’re brand-new to reading the Bible, or you’ve set 2011 as the year you’re going to read through the entire thing, or even if you want to read it all in just 90 days, there’s a Reading Plans for you. Find one you like and sign up with your free YouVersion account today.

At YouVersion, we love the Bible. It’s why we do what we do. We saw some crazy, thrilling numbers during 2010. But we’re convinced God is up to something even bigger. And we believe that helping other people fall in love with His Word is the most important thing we can all do to be a part.

An Incredible Response: Thanks for Sharing

Thanks to you, Global Share the Bible Day was a huge success! We asked you to share…and wow—did you ever! All day yesterday, you shared your faith, you shared things Christ has done in your lives, you shared your favorite verses and passages, and most importantly, you shared the Bible.

On average yesterday, using YouVersion.com and the Bible App™, you guys shared verses and passages on Twitter and Facebook every 7 seconds. Because you told people about the Bible App—and even helped your friends and families download it to their devices—YouVersion saw 154,000 new device installs in just one day. That’s almost two new installs every second! You planted and watered all day; now we can’t wait to see what God will do to give the increase.

Especially if you participated in Share the Bible Day, you probably realize how powerful it can be to spend time in God’s Word every day. 2011 is just around the corner, and we hope you’ll continue to partner with us in the New Year, as together we help more people engage daily in reading Scripture. A lot of people have been asking what they can do to participate in the goal of seeing one billion minutes of Bible reading in January: Read? Share? Help your friends download the Bible App? In no particular order, the answers are: Yes! Yes! And Yes!

At YouVersion, we love the Bible. We hope you do too. It’s our passion to make it easy for people to read and connect with all that God has for us. And you know what? Global Share the Bible Day was just the beginning.

Thank you!

Jesus IS bigger than Angry Birds

Today Sarah Lacy from TechCrunchTV interviewed Bobby Gruenewald about the Bible App™ by YouVersion. Check out the interview.

You can read the full TechCrunch blog titled Happy Birthday: Jesus Is almost Bigger than Angry Birds (TCTV). Thank you and Merry Christmas Sarah, and the TechCrunch team.

Help Us Celebrate Christmas by Sharing the Bible

Merry Christmas, everybody! Today we celebrate the birth of our Savior, a day when God gave us the gift of His only Son. We really can’t say thank you enough to the users of the Bible App™ and YouVersion.com. Because you’ve been spreading the word, we’ve been able to bring the Bible for free to more people than we could have imagined.

Share the Bible. Today is Global Share the Bible Day! As we celebrate the birth of Jesus—Immanuel, God with us—please take time today, every time you think of it, to share the Bible with others. Tweet. (Remember to use #Bible!) Update your Facebook status. Change your blog or website home page. Visit with someone you meet. Just share! Here are a few ideas for things you could share, with examples:
  • Share the Bible Day. Let others know what we’re doing today:
    • It’s finally here: Today is “Global Share the Bible Day”! #Bible Share and win: http://ow.ly/3qmE8
    • Get a free @YouVersion account. Link it. Share. And you could win. http://ow.ly/3qmE8 #Bible
    • What’s Christmas REALLY about? Today is “Global Share the Bible Day.” Help http://ow.ly/3qmE8
    • It’s Christmas. And it’s all about PRESENCE! (God’s presence.) #Bible http://ow.ly/3qmE8
Of course, these are just our ideas. Today, share what’s special to you about the Bible. And when you share online, please remember to include the hash tag #Bible. You can even use the Bible App to make it easy. Let’s draw as much attention as we can today to the Bible—the story of God’s love for us.

Good News Translation and Douay-Rheims Now Available!

Through our partnership with the American Bible Society, we’re pleased to announce that the Good News Translation with Deuterocanonical books and Apocryphya is now available in the Bible App™ by YouVersion on all our platforms—iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, webOS, Windows Phone 7, Facebook, and web. Also immediately available—with Deuterocanonical books—is the public domain Douay-Rheims version. As with all translations we offer, both of these versions are completely free.

Navigating. Once you have the free Bible App downloaded to your device, simply go to Versions and find “Good News Trans with…” or “Douay Rheims,” both under “English.” You can navigate to the Deuterocanonical and Apocrypha books the same way you reach any others, just by selecting the title at the top of the Read view.

Download them. Another great feature we’re thrilled to be able to offer with both of these translations: If you have the Bible App on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android, you can download them to your device! From the Versions list, just tap the download icon and follow the instructions. Once you’ve downloaded either the Good News Translation or the Douay-Rheims, you can read them anytime, anywhere—whether you’re connected to the Internet or your service provider or not!

Share. If you have friends who you think might enjoy having constant access to either of these translations on their phone or other portable device, please let them know. The Bible App is free to download, and with a free YouVersion account, you can immediately start using all of the Bible App’s great features, like Bookmarks, Notes, connection with your social networks, and of course Reading Plans.

The 5-Day Christmas Story Plan

A Reading Plan is a great tool to help you easily connect with the truths in God’s Word in a focused, straightforward way. Reading just a little each day on a simple schedule that’s already been laid out for you, you can dig deeper into the stories and ideas shared in the Bible. As we enter this Christmas week, we wanted to let you know about one Reading Plan in particular, a very special one we recently added for you to the Bible App and to our website:

The Christmas Story Reading Plan
, available now, takes you through the biblical accounts of the events surrounding the birth of Christ. You can read directly from the source about the humble beginnings of a Savior the world had been anticipating for centuries: Emmanuel, “God with us.” Look for The Christmas Story Reading Plan in the Bible App (or on the website) on your mobile device under Reading Plans.

As close as your phone or computer, start today or tomorrow, and you’ll easily finish this beautiful story of God’s love for us, unique in all the universe, just in time to celebrate Christmas on Saturday. And be sure to let your friends know about this reading plan too, so they can share in the joy of the season with you.

Don’t already have the Bible App on your phone or mobile device? Get it here now. It’s 100% free. No gimmicks, no advertising, our gift to you. All you’ll need to start your Reading Plan is a free account.

And once you’ve completed the Christmas Story Reading Plan, you don’t have to stop there. Select another Reading Plan from more than 50 (and growing), and join us as together we plan to read 1 billion minutes in the Bible App during the month of January! More details are coming in just a few days…
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