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3 Ways to Make the Bible a Daily Focus this Year

Happy New Year! God is constantly in the process of making “new creations” (2 Cor. 5:17). But in certain seasons—like the coming of a New Year—we tend to be more aware of His renewals than at other times.

As you consider goals and resolutions for 2014, here are three simple ways you can make the Bible a daily part of your life:

  1. Find your #Verse2014. Choose one verse that you can focus on throughout 2014. Invite it into your life, display it, and share it with people you know.
  2. Commit to a Bible Plan. This has helped so many in our community make God’s Word a daily part of their life. Sign up for a short, 20- or 30-day devotional. Build your confidence by completing your first plan. Then come back for another. We’ve included a list below of some of our favorite starters.
  3. Share the Word. Invite family and friends to read with you. Help them get the Bible App, show them how to sign up for the plan you’re using, then discuss what you’ve read. Inspire others by sharing what you’re reading in emails, texts, TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. God’s Word comes alive in community (Heb. 4:12).

Plans to Get You Started:

My Utmost For His Highest This special edition of Oswald Chambers’ timeless, widely read devotionals now includes Chambers’ personal prayers. From Discovery House Publishers. 30 days

Our Daily Bread In just a few minutes each day, inspiring stories point you toward God through biblical wisdom. 30 days

Day By Day With Billy Graham Daily Scripture, insight, encouragement, and practical application from Billy Graham’s sermons and writings. 366 days

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Wisdom from Proverbs Learn practical, biblical principles for understanding and managing money. 10 days

Made to Crave: 21 Day Challenge Scripture and devotionals equip you with spiritual principles for your physical health. 21 days

How To Maximise Your Life Hillsong Pastor Brian Houston shares biblical truths for building meaningful relationships and healthy life balance. 31 days

Toward A Fearless New Year Pastor John Piper teaches from the Scriptures how knowing God’s greatness chases away fear. 7 days

How To Be Rich Pastor Andy Stanley shows what God’s Word actually says about how to be truly rich according to God’s economy. 10 days

The One Year® Bible Reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for about 15 minutes a day, read through the entire Bible in 365 days. 1 year

Chronological Read the entire Bible in 365 days, with its historical events appearing in the order they occurred. 1 year

Here’s where you can find hundreds more Plans to start that daily habit of seeking God through His Word in 2014: bible.com/reading-plans.

Have You Heard the Good News? The Bible App Can Read to You

iPhone4 - woman joggerPeople from all over the world tell us that listening to the Bible—wherever they are, whatever they’re doing—is changing their lives:

“YouVersion allowed me to, for the first time, read the Bible cover to cover. I listened to a 1yr Bible plan in my car every day for a year. I consider it one of my most important life accomplishments.”
—Andrew E.

“Being able to listen to Scripture this year has been a lifeline. I could not have managed without it. Thank you!”
—Charles L.

“I turn on the Bible App and put my phone in my hardhat so I can work and listen to the great book. TYVM for this app!”
—Nicky

Even if you already enjoy reading in the Bible App, did you know that some of our most popular Bibles…can also read to you? Listening to the Bible lets you experience God’s Word while you’re doing other things—driving, exercising, even reading along! Try one of these great audio Bibles:

More About Audio Bibles

Because audio Bibles are streamed, they’re best experienced over Wi-Fi. If you don’t have Wi-Fi available, be aware of your plan’s data limits and restrictions.

Where you can find audio Bibles:

  • Inside the Bible App: Tap to select a Bible version in the corner.

  • On the list of versions, a speaker icon indicates available audio.

  • Tap the audio version you want.

  • Back in the Bible reader: Tap the speaker icon at the bottom, then Play.

The Word is Getting Out.

You’ve probably heard by now that the Bible App has already been downloaded more than 100 million times. Check out this NBC Nightly News story, all about the Bible App!

nbc nightly

 

4 Tips for Using the Bible App with iOS 7

Today, Apple released the newest version of their mobile operating system, iOS 7. To help you fully leverage the latest technology as you engage with God’s Word, here are four tips for using the Bible App with iOS 7:

  • Full support for the iPhone 5 and the new Videos feature are here!Make Space…and Keep the Bible App. If you haven’t upgraded to iOS 7 yet, you may temporarily need to make room for the update on your device by deleting photos, music, or apps. If you need additional space, you can simply remove a few offline Bible versions, and then re-download those versions again later when you have more space available.

  • A Fresh Start. For some people, updating to the newest operating system is a chance to get a fresh start. If you’ve fallen behind on your Bible Plan, or simply haven’t used the Bible App in a while, this can be a great chance for you to start fresh, sign up for a new Plan, and get back on track.

  • Let the Bible App Do the Talking. Many users tell us how much they love using audio Bibles. During your commute, in the kitchen, or even when you’re exercising, audio Bibles take advantage of being able to engage with Scripture in a hands-free way, and in places we may not otherwise be able to.

  • New Languages. In iOS 7, Apple introduced two new default language options: Mexican Spanish and Australian English. If you happen to switch your device to either of those languages, it’s possible you may not be able to launch the Bible App. We’ve submitted a fix to Apple for this bug. In the meantime, you can switch your phone back to English or Spanish and continue using the app until the new update is available.

As always, YouVersion will continue to take advantage of new technology and new ideas, with the goal of seeing this generation become the most Bible-engaged generation in history.

 

Easy Ways to Help the Bible App Reach 100 Million

If you’ve been keeping up with the Bible App lately, then you probably already know that the worldwide YouVersion community is approaching an extraordinary milestone:

100 million installs!

While we’d love to get there by YouVersion’s 5th birthday on July 10, 2013, we need your help to make it happen. Here are 3 easy things you can do right now to let people know about the Bible App:

  1. Share from the Bible App. If you have the most current version of the Bible App for your Android or iOS device, open the main menu and select Share. Then just tap the button and follow the simple instructions. (But even if you can’t get to your Bible App right now, you can still visit our special page, bible.com/100million, where we make it easy to share.)

  2. Show your support. Change your profile picture and cover photos to let your friends and followers know you love the Bible App. Just visit us on Twitter and Facebook, save one of our images, and make it your profile or cover photo. It’s fast and easy!

  3. Watch for opportunities. Wherever you are—hanging out with friends, in line at the grocery story, even at church—keep your eyes open for anyone using a smartphone. Ask them if they like their phone, then ask them if they know about the Bible App. Show them how to find it at bible.com/app or in their app store or, even better, install it for them (with permission, of course).

100 million may sound like a lot, but there are more than 7 billion people on the earth today. We’ve seen God do amazing things in the last 5 years, more than we could have ever asked or imagined. So we believe this is really just the very beginning. We believe that this could be the most Bible-engaged generation in history. And you can help!

Share and Win

Once a week, every Wednesday between now and July 10, we’ll be giving away prizes like iPads, iPad minis, T-shirts, and gift cards* to people who have shared the Bible App. All you need to do be entered in a prize drawing is share from inside the Bible App. Check in with us right here on our blog, and on Twitter and Facebook, for details and winners!

*Certain restrictions apply. Not all prizes are available to be shipped to all countries and all territories.

Updates at YouVersion.com Website Reflect Most Common User Requests

In 2012, we introduced the all-new YouVersion.com, re-imagining it with most of the same features you already loved from the mobile versions of the Bible App. But even then, we knew we wanted it to do more. As the YouVersion community began letting us know which features they wanted to see there, we were taking notes. Today, we’re pleased to announce the first batch of upgrades to YouVersion.com.

(By the way, did you know that you can get this same YouVersion Bible reading experience — along with all your notes and stored information — at Bible.com? Try it!)

Bible Plans in the Reader. While previous versions of YouVersion.com displayed your Plans in a separate Reading Plan view—with limited functionality—now it shows them in the main Bible Reader panel, with complete access to Bible text, highlights, sharing, and anything else you might need.

Enhanced Bible Reader Settings. Speaking of Bible Reader functionality, you have more options than ever for customizing your reading. Just click the gear icon at the top of the Bible Reader panel. You could already choose your font face and size. Now you can also show or hide Footnotes, Highlights, and Cross References. It’s easy!

Search as you type Book/Chapter. To switch books or chapters, click the current book name. Then just start typing whatever you’re looking for, and YouVersion.com immediately narrows your choices for you!

Search as you type Version. Just like book/chapter, when you click your current version, start typing the name, abbreviation, or language of any version you want, and your choices will begin to narrow. If you know the version you want to switch to, now you can get there with little or no scrolling.

Smarter search. Type a reference into Search—say, Ephesians 2—and Search takes you directly there.

Better linking. If you click on a link to a specific passage or type it into Search—let’s say, Romans 8:37-39—YouVersion.com jumps you straight to the first verse in that passage (rather than to the beginning of the chapter)…even selecting it for you!

Faster Parallel Load. Even in the first release of YouVersion.com, clicking the Parallel button at the top of the Bible Reader panel displayed two Bible versions side-by-side. We’ve tweaked this feature to make the primary version you’re studying load even faster.

Publisher Details. YouVersion can only offer hundreds of Bible versions—in dozens of languages—through the generous partnership of Bible publishers. Now it’s easier than ever to find out more about your favorite Bible versions. At the bottom of the Bible Reader panel, click “Learn More” to see links to publishers’ websites, other versions available from this same publisher, and copyright details.

Ask your friends to try out YouVersion and Bible.com. Always 100% free, it’s now better than ever. It’s our pleasure to keep improving your Bible reading experiences with YouVersion, no matter how you choose to connect!

YouVersion Plans Offer Lessons in Love

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
1 John 4:16, New Living Translation

Whether you’re preparing for marriage or already married, this Valentine’s Day, learn about love — from the words of the One who is love. YouVersion offers several Reading Plans devoted to love and marriage:

Love and Marriage - Relationship insight from God’s Word helps you strengthen your lifelong bond. Each day features a short Bible passage and thoughts for you to discuss and pray about together. From LifeChurch.tv. 5 days

One: A Marriage Devotional - Develop a thriving relationship with your spouse through this marriage-building devotional from Jimmy Evans. Read once a week for a year, or daily for a more intensive experience. From Marriage Today. 52 days

Happily Ever After - While marriage has its challenges, listening to what God has to say about this sacred institution helps you commit your ways to be more like His. From Time of Grace. 31 days

From This Day Forward - Focusing on 5 key areas, this plan helps you build a marriage that will stand the test of time. Each day, you and your spouse will together read selected Bible passages, discuss selected topics, pray together, or engage in activities together. From LifeChurch.tv. 33 days

Love, Romance, & Marriage: Bible Audio Guide – Each day, a short audio clip shares biblical principles about love and romance, along with practical application to help you see God’s plan for your marriage. From Through the Word. 6 days

Marriage: A Lifelong Journey – Strengthen your commitment to the lifelong journey you have embarked on. Each day, read a short devotional and Bible verse to enrich your most important relationship. From Jim Daly. 7 Days

Learning together what God’s Word says about marriage relationships is one of the best ways you can strengthen your commitment to each other and to your faith. If you’re married or engaged, consider going through at least one of these plans together, and not just in this season, but throughout the year.

NIV Available for Download from YouVersion until January 21

Green Download Button from the Bible App™For a limited time, you can now download the New International Version (NIV) for offline use in the Bible App.

What does offline mean?  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. On a plane, in church, or even when you just can’t get a good signal – offline versions help you stay connected and reading the Bible wherever you go.

If you missed your chance last time, have a new mobile device, or if you know someone who would be excited about this offer, 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!

This limited time offer will end at 11:59PM on Monday, January 21 Central Time U.S. (GMT -6)


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:

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.)

Below are links to detailed instructions on how you can download the NIV, or any version that is available for offline download. Be sure you don’t miss this opportunity!

The Top 10 Most Bookmarked Verses in the Worldwide YouVersion Community

It’s easier than ever to engage with God’s Word with the Bible App™ and YouVersion.com. Millions of people enjoy keeping track of their favorite verses with millions of Bookmarks. Save any verse so you can jump right back to it later, whether it’s for sharing with friends, to memorize, or just to read it again and again. Check out these top 10 Bookmarks from across the YouVersion community and see if your favorite made the list!*

  1. Philippians 4:6
  2. Proverbs 3:5
  3. Jeremiah 29:11
  4. Romans 12:2
  5. Philippians 4:13
  6. Philippians 4:7
  7. Proverbs 3:6
  8. Romans 8:28
  9. Matthew 6:33
  10. 1 Corinthians 13:4

Saving a bookmark is easy!

Here’s how you can learn to do it:

  • Visit our Help site.
  • Bottom: Select your language.
  • Left: Select your device type.
  • Look under “Notes, Bookmarks & Highlights.”

*When you save a bookmark, YouVersion saves it with the Bible version you’re using, but this top 10 list doesn’t reflect which versions were the most bookmarked. Through partnerships with our generous Bible publishing partners, YouVersion offers hundreds of versions in dozens of languages. We encourage everyone to explore several different versions to find the ones that help you best connect with the Bible. Just tap the current version to display a list of all your choices!

On the Go: YouVersion’s Top 3 Travel Tips

Many of us schedule trips for fun and relaxation during this time of year. When you’re traveling, it’s easy to fall out of your regular routine of spending time daily in God’s Word. But with just a little forethought and planning, the Bible App™ can always be right there for you, helping you stay connected. Here are three tips we’ve put together to help you when you’re traveling:

  1. Download offline versions. Thanks to YouVersion’s generous Bible publishing partners, offline versions let you read your favorite translation, even when you can’t get a mobile signal or Internet access. On planes or on subways—or far away from anywhere—an offline version saved on your device keeps the Bible at your fingertips. But remember: You need to download them before you need them, preferably when you have good WiFi access. Just list the versions on your device, and tap the download icon next to each version you want to save to your device.
  1. Listen to audio Bibles. Audio Bibles are a great solution for loud or crowded places where you need a few moments for yourself, or even if you prefer listening to reading. Whether you’re waiting for a flight, out for a hike, or even riding in the car, audio Bibles can help you refocus on the things God’s trying to say to you. In the Bible App reader, just look for the audio icon and controls. (If you don’t see audio controls, try switching to another Bible version.) And remember to pack your headphones!
  1. Try a short plan. A trip is a great opportunity to mix things up a little. YouVersion offers reading plans that last as little as two days. Look for one that you can start and finish during your travels. How many days will you be gone—three, four, five, seven? Check online or in the Bible App to find one you like. Or consider one of these short plans:
      • Experiencing God’s Renewal includes a daily short passage and devotional about how God is constantly renewing our hearts, minds, and purpose. 5 days
      • The Gospel of Mark takes you through the entire book of Mark, reading a little each day. 8 days
      • Courage brings you daily reminders from the Bible about boldness, confidence, and God’s promises for your life. 7 days

Whether you’re covering great distances or just taking a quick staycation at home, keep connected to God’s Word when you take time away. If you have suggestions of your own, please share them with us in the comments below, and on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Make the Most of Your YouVersion Reading Plan

The Bible App™ on iPadWhen you start a YouVersion Reading Plan, you have the best intentions. You’re going to read every day and never miss, once and for all establishing that daily Bible reading habit that you’ve been promising yourself. And then your life happens—you get busy, you get tired, you get interrupted. Hearing what God has to say to us each day is important. So we’ve put together a few tips to help you find consistent success when you read God’s Word.

Find your version. YouVersion offers more than 200 Bible versions. If you have a favorite Bible verse, select “Bible” from the Bible App™ dashboard and look it up. Try reading it in several different versions, and see if one feels more natural to you than others. (To change versions, tap the “short code” next to the chapter name, then select another.) If you don’t have a favorite verse, try reading a well-known one like John 3:16 in different versions. You might even do a little research online to find a version that fits your reading style.

Pick your size. Set realistic goals. If you’ve never tried a Reading Plan before, a one-year reading plan probably isn’t the best place for you to start. We offer plans that can take you through a book of the Bible in as little as 2 days. Take some time to browse. You’ll find plans for 5 days, 7 days, 14 days, 90 days—and more. And if you’re using the Bible App for iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), you can even go to Browse Plans, Advanced, and list plans by length.

Pick your power time of the day. Are you a morning person or a night person? Maybe you take a break in the middle of the day or in the early afternoon to think. Whatever your time, plan to check your Reading Plan then—during the time when you know you’ll probably get the most out of it. Most newer versions of the Bible App even let you set reminders. Try setting yours for your best time.

Find your spot. Do you have a favorite place to think? Maybe you have a quiet spot where you’re less likely to be interrupted. It could be inside or outside. Do you prefer to sit, stand, even walk around? Many people have told us they love listening to audio Bibles while they’re exercising, working, or during their commute. Find your best place to concentrate, and plan to spend your time in God’s Word there.

Talk to God. Right before you read, take just a moment to pray. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or elaborate. Ask God to give you ears to hear what He wants to say to you. Ask Him give you direction and insight through His Word. Ask Him to help you understand. James 1:5 says God generously gives us wisdom—if we’ll just ask. Get your heart and mind into a posture of listening for His still, small voice.

Read, or listen. If you’ve done everything else, this part should be easy. Adjust your Bible reader’s background color, font, and size until you find just the right comfortable mix. Or, if reading is difficult for you, don’t forget: we offer audio Bibles in several versions and languages. Try putting in headphones and just listening. You can even listen while you walk, run, or ride.

Reflect on what you just read. For most people, when they read God’s Word, specific things will jump out at them. Take notes. (Keeping track of your thoughts is easy with the Bible App’s Notes and Bookmarks.) Again, keep it simple for now. Replay those things over and over in your mind. (In the Bible, David calls this “meditating on the law of the Lord.”) In Jeremiah 29:13, God promises His people that they’ll find Him when they seek Him with all their hearts.

The Bible is more than just a book, more than the sum of its parts. In fact, the apostle Paul, who was mentoring Timothy, once wrote to him in a letter: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

Make the effort to delight yourself in His Word, and to think about what it says. When you spend purposeful, meaningful time reading what God has to say to you, you’ll discover insights that will transform your relationship with Him and shape your perspective on your daily life.


To learn more about the “how to” of Reading Plans:

  1. Visit our Support website.
  2. Bottom: Select your preferred language.
  3. Left: Choose your device type.
  4. Look under “Plans.”

 

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