With Lent now officially upon us, there seems no better time to take up a Bible reading challenge. One way to do that is to get involved with a great initiative like #BigRead12, a Lent Bible reading program from Durham University’s Big Bible Project.
The Big Read 2012 encourages Christians to meet together in house groups to engage with the Bible, knowing that there are others reading the same text at the same time, all over the world. (In 2011, the program had visitors from all sides of the globe.)
The house group material, freely downloadable from the website, offers conversation starters to examine how the realities of the Bible can transform lives. This year, The Big Read focuses on the third book of Tom Wright’s series Lent for Everyone, looking at Mark.
The Big Read team is encouraging people to share the conversations that arise: Tweet about their ideas (using the hashtag #BigRead12), join the Big Read 2012 group on Facebook, and comment on the blog entries that will be appearing throughout.
The Big Read’s coordinator, Dr. Bex Lewis, told us how she first got going with her own daily reading habits:
“I started to build up proper daily reading habits whilst working for Oak Hall (a UK Christian Holiday camp), as I had a number of speakers whose actions were clearly soaked in Biblical thinking…. It took me 3.5 years, but I read the Bible from cover to cover. I don’t want to equate it with ‘positive thinking’, but it helps me see where God is in everything that goes on in my life.
“I love the fact that I can read the Bible wherever I am these days, mixing between the Bible App from YouVersion, WordLive, and other tools for daily Bible readings, and using the Bible App as my Bible in church (whilst tweeting bits of the sermon!). I read far more of it than I ever used to!”
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…
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.
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.
Having the opportunity to engage with God’s Word in your own heart language is one of the most powerful ways you can experience it. YouVersion would never be able to practically translate the Bible into all of the many languages people ask us to. We’re fortunate to be able to partner with Bible publishers and societies from around the world, organizations who graciously join with us to make their translations of the Bible freely available to our YouVersion community.
As you might imagine, translating the many different pieces of the global YouVersion experience—interfaces, menus, websites, blogs, tech support, and more—is a huge undertaking. That’s why we thank God every day for our passionate community of extraordinary volunteers. Thanks to them, we’ve already seen YouVersion translated from English into Norwegian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Dutch—and of course now into French! We couldn’t do what we do without the help of these amazing people.
Generous partners have provided the YouVersion community with several beautiful translations of the Scriptures into French, with more still to come:
Bible Segond 21 (S21). Offered by the Geneva Bible Society, the Segond 21 required 12 years of translation from original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, while also incorporating more recently available research. Billed as “the original with the words of today,” it’s been a top-selling Bible among French speakers—even making an appearance in the top 200 books sold at Amazon France!
La Bible Du Semeur (BDS). Provided by the International Bible Society (now Biblica), La Bible Du Semeur was translated from the original Biblical languages using a thought-for-thought, meaning-based philosophy. Completed in 1999, the BDS presents the Scriptures in contemporary, easy-to-read informal French.
Wonderful French translations are critical to helping French readers and speakers engage with the Bible, but that’s just one part of YouVersion. Bible App users also need to be able to read its controls, buttons, and menus. People passionate about sharing God’s Word, gifted in translation, volunteer to make all of these tools just as accessible for French users. We never stop making the Bible App better, so there’s always translation to do. And now that we’re offering technical support in French for requests which come to us through email, there’s even more to do. We deeply appreciate our French-speaking volunteer community, so we’d love to get more help for them. If you can assist with any French translation—particularly in responding to requests on Facebook or Twitter—please join us. We need you!
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to help YouVersion reach the world, we asked a few of our awesome French language volunteers to share their experiences with you:
“I was involved in translation at church and in other areas, when I received YouVersion’s email requesting volunteers. I saw the opportunity to sow in a ministry that was helping me so much through the Bible App, so I jumped straight in! Volunteering with YouVersion has connected me to Christians from different parts of the globe, interacting, working, and learning together while having the opportunity to bless people we don’t even know. This is an awesome privilege!”
—Ramelle S., Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, France
“I stumbled upon YouVersion while searching for a Bible App. I fell in love with how simple it was to connect with God’s Word on a daily basis. Then I noticed an invitation to become a volunteer. How thrilled I was to see that I could be part of the translating team, and use this ability with language to help people just like me engage with God! This opportunity is truly a rewarding and blessed experience.”
—Vanessa R., Montreal, Canada
“I began volunteering for YouVersion a few months ago under the prompting of the Holy Spirit. This ministry is so fulfilling because I know it is impacting many people all around the world.”
—Maria-Rosa C., South Jordan, Utah, USA
“The Bible App has been very strategic in my walk with Christ. I am able to tap into Reading Plans and just rest in God’s grace as I read His Word. It was important to me that I share with others by volunteering my time, skills, and talents. It is humbling to know that I am part of a team that comes together to help others out of love and obedience to the Lord. Each day in the Lord is a journey in service—serving God and others. Volunteering at YouVersion is a daily reminder to me of that.”
—Vera S., Jackson, Mississippi, USA
It was so exciting to get together with thousands of our closest friends during our live webcast yesterday! We don’t take for granted all that God has done through YouVersion—and especially what He has done through you, the worldwide YouVersion community. It was a rare treat having the opportunity to address your great questions from #YouVersion on Twitter. (Sorry we couldn’t get to every one!) Thanks to your participation, #YouVersion even became a trending topic worldwide on Twitter!
If you missed joining with us live, we’ve put together a list of some of the high points for you, along with the complete event video:
Installs. In November of 2010, the Bible App™ was installed on 10 million unique devices. As of today’s webcast, it’s now been installed on more than 34 million. That represents 2 million installs… per month.
Bible Languages. We want to make the Bible freely available to as many people as possible, no matter where they live or what language they prefer. In November 2010, we offered Bible translations in 22 different languages. As of today’s webcast, we now have Bible translations in 61 different languages.
Bible Versions. When YouVersion first launched in 2008, we offered just 12 versions of the Bible. A year ago, YouVersion had 48 different versions of the Bible for to you to choose from. As of today’s webcast, YouVersion now brings you 187 versions. And more are on the way. Within the next few weeks, we’ll pass the 200 mark.
Reading Plans. As of today’s webcast, 52 partners are graciously providing the YouVersion community with more than 200 different reading plans, in many different languages. By the end of 2011, we expect to increase that number to 220.
Volunteers. Everything we do is accelerated through the passionate dedication of hundreds of volunteers, devoting themselves to serving the YouVersion community from literally all over the world. Our small team could never reach the numbers of people that we reach in partnership with you. If you’d like to see the many ways you can help, learn more at our brand-new volunteer website.
In a Minute. During the average minute: the Bible App is installed on 52 unique devices, 1,698 people open the Bible App to read the Bible, and people share 21 different passages on either Facebook or Twitter. And these are just a few examples. To help you really see how the Bible App serves the YouVersion community, we’ve prepared a comprehensive infographic that breaks down many of the different things that happen in the Bible App during just one minute.
Resources for Pastors and Churches. If you’d like to help the people in your church connect with the Bible more, we’ve created several tips, explanations, and tools you can use to help those in your circles better understand what the Bible App is, what it has to offer, and how easy it is to get.
Still to Come… We’re comprehensively updating YouVersion.com, working to make its feature set more consistent with what you’ve become accustomed to in the Bible App. If you have a free YouVersion account, we’d love for you to take a look at the beta version and let us know what you think. (Please understand: The beta is still very much a work in progress, and this is a limited-time offer. Don’t move all of your Bible engagement to this beta version!)
We never stop working on making the Bible App easier to use to connect with the Bible every day—more reading plans, more Bible versions, more devices, more robust tools, more of everything. Still, the most common request we hear is to make the Bible App easier to use as part of a group, so we’re adding community-oriented features to help you engage together. You should see an update to the Bible App for Android this week, and an update to the iPhone version soon. Both will allow you to view your friends’ profiles and connect more with your community.
Later we plan to add features that will allow you to set reminders to help you remember to get in your reading plan, and even to receive your reading plan selections through a daily email. As always, you’re in complete control of your YouVersion experience—you choose how you want to interact with the Bible App.
The Other 16. One in every 17 iOS devices (Apple iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches) already have the Bible App installed. And, one in 17 Android devices have also already installed the Bible App. That means that on each of these platforms, there are 16 people who still haven’t installed it on their device. But you can help! When you meet someone with a smart phone or mobile device, ask them if they have the Bible on it. And if they don’t, consider offering to help them install the Bible App. (Remember: It’s always completely free.) We’re working on a new tool that will give you an easy way to tell us about your 16. When you use it, we’ll send you a free t-shirt and some Bible App stickers.
What Can You Do?
Engage. Is the Bible a part of your everyday life? If you haven’t already been using Reading Plans, consider signing up for your free YouVersion account and trying one. Reading Plans divide up the Bible into manageable portions, making them a great way you can establish—and keep!—a daily habit of spending time in God’s Word.
Share. Share the Bible App and YouVersion with others. Help the other 16 find what you’ve already discovered for yourself!
Join. The entire YouVersion community is powered by the passion of volunteers. Join us as together we pursue the vision of reaching the entire world with God’s Word. Even with the extraordinary volunteer community already partnering with YouVersion, it’s just not enough. We need literally thousands more. Please come and share your passion with us.
Give Thanks. Look up your favorite Bible version in the Bible App. Go to any page of the Bible in the reader, scroll to the bottom, and look at the information about the organization who makes that version available. Please contact them to express your gratitude for their generosity—and perhaps even consider supporting their work financially. We couldn’t do what we do without them!
Starting 12:00 AM Thursday, December 1 Central Time U.S. (GMT -6) Ending 11:59 PM Monday, December 12 Central Time U.S. (GMT -6)
Once again, you’ll be able to download the NIV. If you missed your chance last time, or if you know someone who did, spread the word and make sure you take advantage of this opportunity. Special thanks go to Biblica and Zondervan for making the NIV available to the YouVersion community!
Note: When you look at the available versions on your device, remember to hit the “Refresh” button, to ensure that the list you’re seeing is the most current.
Downloading offline versions:
What does offline mean? Many versions in the Bible App™ are available to download to your mobile device, generously provided by Bible publishers free to the YouVersion community. (And several of these are available all the time—not just during promotions.) When you download a version, you can read it literally anytime, anyplace, even when you can’t connect to your service provider or to the Internet.
Below are links to detailed instructions on how you can download your free copy once the NIV becomes available again on Thursday, December 1. Mark your calendar, and be sure you don’t miss this opportunity!
It’s easy to get so caught up in the busyness of the holiday season that we lose track of what it’s actually about. YouVersion.com and the Bible App offer several topical and devotional Reading Plans specifically designed to help us remember the true meaning of Christmas. Many of us in the YouVersion community participate in Advent, the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, using this time to purposefully refocus our hearts toward celebrating the miracle of God coming to earth in human form. Please consider joining us with one of the following plans:
Countdown to Christmas is a fun Advent activity calendar, designed to help the whole family learn about the significance of Christmas. Presented by Focus on the Family’s online magazine, Thriving Family. 29 days
Christmas Begins with Christ is a devotional focusing on the light, joy, peace, and hope surrounding the birth of Jesus. Brought to you by Tearfund, an international aid agency working to end poverty. 28 days
Carols: A Christmas Devotional is a brand new Reading Plan that looks into the biblical origins of songs written to celebrate the true joy of the season. Developed by LifeChurch.tv for the YouVersion community. 25 days
The Christmas Story first presents context for Jesus’ birth from Old Testament prophecy about Him, then turns to the Gospels to chronicle His humble beginnings. Brought to you by YouVersion. 5 days
While each of these plans are directly related to the Christmas season, YouVersion now has more than 200 other Reading Plans you can choose from—some even in different languages. So you can always find a plan that’s just right for your goals.
We’re pleased to announce two new audio versions of the Bible, available in the Bible App™ right now. Try the New Testament of the popular Reina-Valera 1960 (RVR60) in Spanish, or the modern Chinese New Version (CNV and CNVS) in Mandarin.
Because it’s such a popular translation among Spanish-speaking Christians worldwide, we’re very excited to offer a New Testament audio version of the 1960 update of the Reina-Valera. The Chinese New Version of the Bible is a similar story. First available in 1992, the CNVS and CNV have grown in popularity ever since, particularly among readers seeking a more modern translation in common, “everyday” language.
If you haven’t experienced an audio Bible in your heart language yet, we’d encourage you to explore the versions list in the Bible App. Just look for the speaker icon for audio versions you can listen to as you commute, work, or exercise.*
*Audio Bibles use streaming audio, so be aware of your service provider’s data restrictions. For the best audio Bible experience, we recommend a Wi-Fi connection.
Here’s How to Listen…
Inside the Bible App:
Go to the Bible Reader.
(In most versions, you get there by selecting “Bible” from the main dashboard screen.)
Tap the “short code” abbreviation for the currently-selected Bible version. The list of all available Bibles displays.
Reina-Valera 1960: Select Español for the language, then select “Reina-Valera 1960.” CNVS: Select 简体中文 for the language, then select “CNVS 新译本（简体字版）.” CNV: Select 繁體中文 for the language, then select “CNV 新譯本（繁體字版）.”
Back in the Bible Reader, tap the speaker icon.
When the audio controls display, tap the play button.
To learn more, visit YouVersion’s support site and select your platform (left) and language (bottom). Look under “Other Features” for “How do I listen to audio?”
When people first learn about the Bible App™ from YouVersion, many reasonably assume that we probably offer at least a few versions of the Bible. But what most probably don’t realize is that the Bible App will allow them to immediately access 160 versions… in 51 languages… entirely free. Most new users also probably don’t know that they can experience all of YouVersion—not just the website, but relevant blog posts, complete technical support, email communications, and the entire mobile version (the Bible App), including all its menus, buttons, and controls—in any of ten different languages. How do we do it? By partnering with you.
The YouVersion community is only possible because of our global network of extraordinary volunteers. People just like you passionately contribute their gifts and talents to ensure that others will also get to know the joy of engaging with God’s Word in their own heart languages. Generous Bible publishers partner with YouVersion too, providing both up-to-date, popular translations and deeply loved “classic” versions. And we’re honored to serve in God’s kingdom alongside all of you. Your hard work through partnerships like these have given YouVersion to the world in English, Norwegian, Spanish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Russian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, and German, and now—in Dutch.
Even with great design and engineering, if you couldn’t read the Bible App’s buttons and menus, how would you use it? Fortunately, because volunteers share our vision to make the Bible freely, easily accessible to as many people as possible, no matter what language they speak, many are willing to offer their abilities as translators. And because of their contributions, we’re now pleased to welcome Dutch users into the YouVersion family. Of course, we can always use more help. The Bible App and other YouVersion tools are constantly in development, as we strive to make them not only more useful, but easier to use. As just one example, Dutch speakers can now receive assistance and technical support entirely in Dutch, submitting their requests through email, Facebook, or Twitter. And volunteers are who make it happen.
If you can help with translation into Dutch or other languages, we’d love to hear from you. Serving other YouVersion users—all over the world—can literally change your life. But don’t just take our word for it. Read for yourself what some of our awesome Dutch language volunteers have to say about the reasons they serve:
“When the opportunity came to join in translating the YouVersion Bible App to Dutch, I jumped right in. A lot of Dutchmen are great with English, but it gives you a special feeling to use an application in your mother language. Through the work of Dutch volunteers, the Bible App can now be used as a full-fledged Bible in Dutch churches.”
—Joshua J., Amsterdam, Netherlands
“A couple of years ago, I bought an iPod touch and got the YouVersion App. When a call for translators got out, I volunteered because I have done translating before. And translating into Dutch is easy for me—I am Dutch born and bred, and I studied Dutch language and literature, even though I now live in the U.S. with my family. I also volunteered because there can be no better cause than proclaiming God’s Word in every language to all people, and modern technology provides the perfect means. May God bless all our efforts!”
—Annemarieke R., Grand Rapids, MI, USA
“I was using YouVersion for some time, but I thought it was a shame that some of the youth in my church couldn’t use it because of the language barrier. But instead of complaining about it and waiting for someone else to start working on it, I decided to roll up my sleeves and get to work myself. And that’s how I joined YouVersion’s Volunteer team. It’s been a crazy ride, but now that the project is well on its way, I feel blessed to be a part of such a great international team that made it possible for Dutch-speaking people to engage in the Bible—thanks to the help of YouVersion.”
—Yanick G., Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Netherlands
Bible Publishing Partners
Of course, YouVersion is entirely centered around God’s inspired Word, the Bible. While volunteers partner with us to make things happen, our community also requires the generous support of Bible publishers and societies. In Dutch, while we already offer Het Boek (HTB) and Statenvertaling (SV1750), we’ve also been working hard to bring you additional modern, easy-to-read versions. Keep checking here on our blog for news about translations into Dutch, and watch the “Nederlands” space in the Bible App and on YouVersion.com’s versions page for new additions!
Joyce’s desire to make practical, biblical teaching accessible to people in all walks of life is a natural match for YouVersion’s simple mission: To make it easy for as many people as possible to freely connect with the Bible, no matter where they live.
The exclusive, 365-day Promises for Your Everyday Life plan is available right now, only from the Plans section inside the Bible App™ and from YouVersion.com’s Reading plans page. Each practical, inspirational message is designed to be completed in about 10 minutes, to help you make the most of your time in God’s Word every day. And all you’ll need to get started is the Bible App and a free YouVersion account.
Joyce Meyer Ministries provides practical, biblical teaching about subjects relevant to everyday life. She has authored 90 books, and her Enjoying Everyday Life® TV and radio programs are broadcast worldwide, sharing biblically based, inspirational messages that help people discover true fulfillment and joy. We’re so grateful that Joyce has chosen to make this exceptional daily resource available exclusively to our YouVersion community.
With Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional, YouVersion now offers almost 200 reading plans in 10 languages for you to choose from. And with 160 Bible versions in 51 languages, and more than 30 million installs so far, YouVersion.com and the Bible App truly have something for everyone.
Now, for the first time, everything that YouVersion has to offer—the interfaces at YouVersion.com and in the Bible App™, technical support, communication, of course Bibles, and so much more—are all available completely in Dutch. While we’ve offered a Dutch language option at YouVersion.com for some time, the website is just one small piece of the YouVersion world.
Dutch represents our tenth complete language launch. The first was English, followed by Norwegian, Spanish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Russian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, and most recently, German. And today, we’re excited to share with you many of the ways that you can now engage with the YouVersion community—entirely in Dutch:
Menus, Buttons and Controls in Dutch. Thanks to our world-changing community of YouVersion volunteers, you can now experience the entire YouVersion user interface in Dutch, directly on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android, or BlackBerry device. Simply set your default language to Dutch.
Communication in Dutch. At the top right of our blog’s English version, one of the alternate languages you can select is Nederlands. Whether you start there or simply jump straight to the Dutch version, you’ll find blog posts relevant to you, written in Dutch. You can also connect with us in Dutch on Facebook or Twitter, or email us a question in Dutch. And we’ll get back to you—in Dutch! How do we do it? We couldn’t… except that amazing Dutch-speaking YouVersion volunteers are passionately devoted to assisting you in your own language.
Dutch Technical Support. If you have any questions about YouVersion.com or about the Bible App, try visiting our all-new Tech Support site, also available completely in Dutch. And even if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, send us your question in Dutch, and Dutch-speaking volunteers trained in YouVersion support will gladly get back to you.
Your story is an important part of YouVersion’s story. If you’d like to share how YouVersion has helped you connect with the Bible, please come tell us on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have friends whose heart language is Dutch, please direct them to the Bible App and YouVersion.com, too. Our desire is to help as many people as possible freely, easily engage with God’s Word, all over the world, and in any language. Your participation makes that happen.
We’re glad you’re here! We couldn’t be happier to welcome you, our Dutch-speaking friends, to our growing YouVersion family. Please keep checking our blog in the coming days, and we’ll share more details with you about all that this Dutch language launch means. And most of all, please start sharing and getting to know other people in your YouVersion community. Welcome!