How Much Can the YouVersion Community Do with Just One Minute?

A lot can happen in just one minute. We’re pleased to share with you that much of that includes people engaging with God’s Word. Here’s just a little snapshot of what’s going on right now, during every minute of every day, throughout the YouVersion community all over the world.

(View the infographic at full size.)

One Minute in the YouVersion Community

We Want to Do Better

Recently, you may have occasionally noticed outages as you tried to connect to the Bible App™ or the all-new YouVersion.com, whether you were trying to follow along in church, to access one of your Reading Plans, or even simply to read your favorite version of the Bible.

Please accept our apology.

If you’ve been an active part of the YouVersion community, then you probably know our simple mission: To help as many people as possible read the Bible, no matter where they live or what language they prefer. And with your passion to share God’s Word, the continuing success of that mission has eclipsed our highest hopes: the Bible App has been installed on more than 40 million unique devices.

Let us assure you: The connection problems you’ve experienced lately are entirely unacceptable to us. We’re taking aggressive steps not only to ensure that you won’t have simply a basic connection, but full, reliable access to all of the many tools and services that the Bible App and YouVersion have to offer.

We’re doing everything we can to make sure the Bible App will be there… whenever and wherever you want to connect with God’s Word.

First Time Ever: Bible App for BlackBerry PlayBook

The Bible App™ is now immediately available on the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet! Visit BlackBerry App World to get yours. The Bible App for PlayBook has all the same great features you already enjoy on other platforms, now optimized to make the most of this exciting device. Here are just a few examples:

The Bible App for BlackBerry Playbook

Bible Search. Filter your Bible searches, showing only Old Testament, New Testament, Apocrypha, or a single book. Even sort your results.

Reading Plan Reminders. Schedule your Reading Plans to pop up at your convenience.

Note Highlights. Tag and organize your individual Notes with customizable colors.

Notification Preferences. Tell the Bible App
which account actions you want to trigger emails to yourself.

User Profile View. View and adjust all your account settings in one place—even browse your Friends’ and followers’ profiles.

In-App Help. Access Technical Support from directly inside the Bible App.

Password Reminder. If you forget your YouVersion password, email reset instructions to yourself.

Sign up with Facebook. Save time by instantly signing up for your free YouVersion account using your Facebook login.

Once you’ve downloaded the Bible App onto your PlayBook, come visit us on Facebook and Twitter to let us know what you think. And if you know someone else with a PlayBook, please be sure you let them know about this exciting, first-ever release!

Bible Reading Made Easier than Ever by All-New YouVersion.com

Earlier this week, we shared about YouVersion.com’s complete makeover. While many of you in the worldwide YouVersion community have told us you’re loving the cleaner design, some of you have also let us know you’ve been experiencing performance issues, and some of you have even found bugs. Let us assure you: We’re working really hard behind the scenes to address these issues as fast as we can. And each and every day, we’re trying to make the all-new YouVersion.com better and better.

New Customizable Fonts at YouVersion.comIf you haven’t yet tried out the shiny new YouVersion.com, we’d encourage you to go have a look. Besides tools that Bible App users will recognize right away—and its simpler new interface—YouVersion.com has introduced some new features designed specifically to offer you the best Bible-reading experience possible. Here are just a few of the new enhancements we think you’re going to love:

Full Screen Mode. With just one click, you can expand YouVersion.com to cover your entire screen, making the most of your screen real estate. Especially when you’re reading, full screen mode is one of the most comfortable ways you can experience the Bible on an electronic device.

Customizable Fonts. For some time now, the Bible App has offered the ability to select from different typefaces to find the one that’s easiest for you to read. The relaunch of YouVersion.com now brings this same convenience to your desktop. You can also adjust font size up or down, whether it’s to make the words so large they’re crystal clear, or to fit as many words as possible on your screen.

New Parallel Reading Mode at YouVersion.com

Parallel Reading. Switching to Parallel Reading Mode displays two different Bible versions side by side, letting you easily compare them to each other as you read. Great for deeper Bible study, parallel reading can help you more thoroughly understand what you’re reading.

Please visit YouVersion.com today and explore. And to get the most from your experience, we recommend that you register for your free YouVersion account. We’d love to hear your thoughts about YouVersion.com’s redesign. Please come share your Bible-reading experiences with us on Facebook and Twitter. And be sure to let your friends know about this great new resource!

New Bible App Update for Windows Phone Mango Now Available

The last time we updated the Bible App for Windows Phone, we completely rewrote it from scratch. This release, version 2.3, is a major upgrade to Windows Phone “Mango,” designed specifically to bring you the very best of all this platform has to offer. You can find the latest release now at Windows Marketplace for Mobile, featuring all of the following improvements:

Dashboard of Bible App™ for Windows Phone on Nokia Lumia 900

True Multitasking. The Mango version of Windows Phone now lets you leave an app open and running as you do something else with a different app. This means that now you can listen to an audio Bible and, even when you switch away from the Bible App, it will keep playing. Listen to an audio Bible with your screen locked—or even with your display turned off to save battery power!

Fast App Switching. More than just multi-tasking, Windows Phone Mango now includes fast app switching, which lets you jump rapidly between tasks. We’ve optimized the Bible App to take full advantage of this handy new feature, so you can leave it running, easily switch to something else for a minute, and then hop back just as quickly.

Custom Start Screen Tiles. With Mango, Windows Phone added a slick new feature that allows you to add non-app tasks to your start screen. Pin a Reading Plan, saved search, or other task to the start screen so you can quickly jump into it. Once you’ve saved a new tile, you can tap directly through to the tasks you use most, right from your start screen!

More Versions than Ever. By the time you read this, the Bible App for Windows Phone will offer more than 200 different versions of the Bible, in 75 languages. Now, whatever version
of the Bible you like, and whatever language you prefer,
chances are good that YouVersion has it.

Verse selected in the Bible App™ for Windows Phone on Nokia Lumia 900

The Bible App in 5 Languages. Besides English, thanks to YouVersion’s extraordinary community of passionate volunteers, you can now set the Bible App’s interface—all of the menus, buttons, and controls—to display entirely in Russian, German, Swedish, or Korean.

Bug Fixes. We take every opportunity to correct problems and improve performance, and certainly this release is no different. As always, when you find errors in the Bible App (on any platform), please report them to us at our Support website, so we can address them in upcoming releases.

Dashboard Verse of the Day. Now you can set the Bible App for Windows Phone to display a fresh Bible verse every day. At whatever time you choose, each day you’ll receive new inspiration right in your Dashboard, displayed in the last version of the Bible that you were reading.

This latest release of the Bible App for Windows Phone is available immediately. Update yours today, and please come let us know what you think on Facebook and Twitter!

All-New, Completely Redesigned YouVersion.com Launches

YouVersion.com is All-NewYouVersion.com is all new! If you’ve visited recently, maybe you saw the “Preview” link at the top. Or if you have a YouVersion account, you might have received an email in February that told you how to get a sneak peek at the website’s new design. Either way, the response was overwhelming and immediate, as many of you tried it out and offered some great feedback. Today we’re pleased to announce the official release of the all-new, completely redesigned YouVersion.com.

You’ll find YouVersion.com has a much cleaner interface, even as it offers many of the features you’ve grown accustomed to in the Bible App:

Bookmarks. Bookmarks are a great way to track and organize passages you want to return to again and again, whether for sharing, memorizing, or reminding yourself of God’s promises. Of course, YouVersion.com already offered Bookmarks, but now they’re much more similar to those in the Bible App.

Highlights. While Bookmarks excel at giving you a place to store your thoughts and helping you keep organized, Highlights are great at drawing your attention back to passages visually. Just as in the Bible App, Highlights let you choose from a variety of colors that suit your purposes (or your mood).

Audio Bibles. Now all of the same audio Bibles you’ve already been enjoying through the Bible App (depending on your device) can take advantage of the fast network connection streaming to your desktop. Make God’s Word the soundtrack to your life while you work. Or even use it to help you absorb more as you read along. Just find the version you want and click play.

And these are just the beginning. We’ll share more tomorrow about some of the other features we think you’ll enjoy at the all-new YouVersion.com. But don’t wait for us! Go to YouVersion.com and check it out for yourself. We want to hear from you. We’ll be bringing you even more new updates and exciting features in the coming weeks, and we’d love for you to let us know what you think on Facebook and Twitter.

Now Available: Beta Version of the Bible App for Windows 8!

The Bible App™ for Windows 8 on Samsung Slate

The Beta version of the Bible App™ for Windows 8 is one of fewer than 100 apps now available in the Windows Store. And of course as always, the Bible App is 100% free. If you’re running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on a compatible device, please go check it out. We’d love you to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter!

You can learn more about Windows 8 Consumer Preview at Microsoft’s website, or even watch their video to see the new Windows 8 interface in action.

 

The Bible App™ for Windows 8 on HP Tablet

 

In this Beta version of the Bible App for Windows 8, you’ll find most of the features you’ve already come to expect from the Bible App on other platforms—now specifically designed to take full advantage of the rich user experience made possible by an exciting new generation of Windows 8 tablet devices!

UK Program “The BigBible Project” Creating Conversation, Building Community

#BigRead12 from the Big Bible ProjectWith 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!”

For more details, or to get involved with the #BigRead12, check out the Big Bible Project website.

YouVersion Announces 21-Day Challenge Winners of iPad 2, Kindle Fire

YouVersion’s 21-Day Challenge

At the beginning of February, we invited everyone to join us for the 21-Day Challenge. Registered YouVersion community users who completed every scheduled day of an eligible Reading Plan from February 1 through February 21 had their names entered into a random drawing. The prizes were an iPad 2, a Kindle Fire, or a special pack of YouVersion stickers and T-Shirt. (Refer to original blog post for full contest rules.) The results are in, and we’re excited to announce the winners!*

iPad 2. Jovanna L. –  Congratulations, Jovanna!
(Don’t forget to put the Bible App on your new iPad, first thing!)

Kindle Fire. Nikita G. – Enjoy your Kindle Fire, Nikita!
(Remember: You can get the Bible App on your Kindle Fire, too!)

YouVersion T-Shirt and Sticker Pack. Congratulations to these 21 users:
  Tracy V. (United States) Randolph P. (Bahamas)
Debi O. (Germany) Andrew B. (United States)
Lorraine C. (Canada) Len S. (The Philippines)
Steven D. (United States) Roxie H. (United States)
Bryan M. (Great Britain) Pamela B. (United States)
Warren R. (United States) Laura E. (United States)
James B. (United States) Sarah B. (United States)
Jake L. (United States) Hannes B. (Great Britain)
Virginia M. (United States) Teresa R. (United States)
Veri N. (The Netherlands) Hazel S. (United States)
Stephen W. (United States)

YouVersion’s 21-Day Challenge Badge

Thank you, everyone! Besides our lucky winners, we’d like to thank everyone else who participated in the 21-Day Challenge! You can view your 21-Day Challenge badge on your YouVersion profile.

We hope that joining us for the challenge during these last 3 weeks helped you firmly establish your own daily Bible reading habit. But even more important, we hope this time brought you closer to God as you spent time with Him each day in His Word. And now, even though the challenge is over, there’s no reason to stop! With more than 200 Reading Plans, your next plan is already waiting for you…


*Winners can expect to receive prizes within the next 7–10 business days. Any correspondence with YouVersion must take place through the email address you used when you registered your free YouVersion account.

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?