Android Update v. 2.7: Reading Plan Widget!

YouVersion is really excited to be able to offer you our very first widget for the Bible App™ on Android! Specifically designed to help you with your YouVersion Reading Plans, you can use this widget to display your reading for today—right on your device’s home screen. Just tap today’s reading, and the widget launches you directly into the Bible App reader!

To get this widget, update to the newest version of the Bible App for Android, v. 2.7, available now in the App Market.

Once you’ve updated your Bible App, here’s how you can add the widget to your Home screen:

Surefire Technique:

  1. Go to your Home screen.
  2. Make room on your Home screen for another widget
    (removing other unused icons and widgets if necessary).
  3. Tap Menu.
  4. Tap Add.
  5. Tap Widgets.
  6. Tap the “Bible (Today’s Reading)” item.

Shortcut Technique:

  1. Go to your Home screen.
  2. Make room on your Home screen for another widget
    (removing other unused icons and widgets if necessary).
  3. Press and hold on any empty space.
  4. When the menu pops up, tap Widgets.
  5. Tap the “Bible (Today’s Reading)” item.

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.

Essential Reading

Today marks exactly 100 days until Easter, the day when we, as followers of Christ, will reflect on and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

One of the more than 50 Reading Plans we offer to help you engage with God’s Word is called The Essential Jesus. This plan leads you through 100 carefully selected passages of Scripture, just one each day from both the Old and New Testaments, to introduce you to the person of Jesus. You’ll read prophecies foretelling His coming, see the things He said, observe His interactions with people, follow Him through His death and resurrection—even read about His inevitable return. Because it’s a very manageable amount of reading, it can even help you develop a daily Bible reading habit.

All you’ll need to start is a free YouVersion account. Then simply go to the The Essential Jesus plan’s description and select “Start This Plan,” either on your mobile device or at YouVersion.com. If you link your account to your social networks, you’ll be able to easily share what you’re reading with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, directly from the Bible App.

Best of all, if you start The Essential Jesus today, you’ll finish up exactly on Easter Sunday, just in time to celebrate Him!

The Essential Jesus

webOS Bible App v. 2.2.1: Reading Plans Update

palm webOS Reading Plan

Great news for our HP/Palm webOS users! The latest release of the Bible App™, v. 2.2.1, is ready for you now in the App Catalog. Besides the usual bug fixes and performance tweaks you’d expect, we’ve fully implemented Reading Plansmore than 50 of them! A Reading Plan is a simple, focused way you can read through whatever interests you in God’s Word. Reading just a little each day, you can cover the entire Bible, specific portions or topics, or daily devotionals. And if you get off track, just select “Catch Me Up,” and the Bible App will adjust your schedule based on what you’ve already completed.

After you’ve installed the Bible App, select Plans and browse for one that suits you. With a free account at YouVersion.com, you can link to your social networks and share your Reading Plan with your friends. You can even sign up to get progress update emails for yourself and an accountability partner.

Why not make 2011 the year you read your Bible every day? It’s never too late to get started. In fact, if you’re up for a challenge, one plan can even take you all the way through the Bible in just 90 days. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think!

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!

Who Has Time to Read?

The Bible App(TM) Icon

Why don’t people read the Bible more? Most Christians say it’s because they don’t have enough time. This week, we’ve been talking about how you can use a Reading Plan in the Bible App™ or at YouVersion.com to genuinely engage with the Scriptures. Most of us probably don’t feel there’s any “spare time” in our busy schedules. But there’s actually lots of time each day we could reclaim. Have you ever considered how much time you spend in a typical day…waiting?

When your Bible’s always with you, you can read:

  • Before anyone else you live with gets up (if you’re a morning person).
  • While you’re having your morning coffee or breakfast.
  • During your morning/evening commute on the train, the tube, or the bus. (Please: Not if you’re driving!)
  • While you’re waiting for a meeting to start.
  • As you’re eating lunch or taking a break from work.
  • When you’re waiting in line. (This could be anywhere: the grocery store, the post office, a movie.)
  • When you’re using the restroom. (Some of us get more time in the loo than others—some of us, much more time.)
  • While you’re hanging out waiting for your kids at soccer, at dance, at football practice, at volleyball, to get out of school… (If you have kids, you know this list could be practically endless.)
  • After everyone else you live with is asleep (if you’re a night person).

With the Bible App or another free tool, God’s Word is always as close as your phone. With offline versions like ESV and NLT (among many others), you don’t even have to be connected to the Internet or your service provider. If you don’t already have the Bible App, get it now. And start redeeming your time.

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!

Go Public with Your Reading Plan

When we tell other people about our goals, we’re more likely to follow through and complete them. Even if you only mention it casually, it’s like making a check mark in your mind: “I need to do that.” Every time we talk to that person later, we’re reminded of our commitment. In this way, our relationships compel us to do the things we actually wanted to do in the first place.

Our friends and loved ones help us too, often without even realizing it, just by bringing it up: “Hey, remember you told me you were going to do that Bible reading plan this year? How’s that going? Where are you in it? How much have you read?”

Make your goal to read the Bible each day a part of your normal conversation. When you’re talking to your friends or family about everything else going on your life, even just casually mentioning it is enough.

Deuteronomy 11:18–21 says, “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.”
(New Living Translation)

There’s power in bringing the other people in your life…actually into your life.

Want a little extra help? Tomorrow, we’ll tell you how you can take this idea further.