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!
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 Plans—more 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!):
- Sign in at YouVersion.com.
- Select My > Reading Plans.
- Click the link or the [Plan Overview] button for the plan you want help with.
- Click the Accountability tab (lower right).
- Turn Accountability on (lower left).
- Add each friend you want to receive updates.
Note: They’ll need a free YouVersion.com account, and they need to be following you.
- Check your box if you also want to receive updates.
- 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!
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.
Have you ever read the entire Bible? It seems like a pretty big book, doesn’t it? So where do you start? What’s a good way to begin? Most people, once they decide to read the whole Bible, try to approach it like any other book: They start reading on page 1, then try to just keep going…
But of course, the Bible’s not just any book. It’s much more than that: It’s God’s Word to us, a collection of inspired books and letters, given to His people, written across thousands of years. When we take them all together, the historical accounts, wisdom, and truth recorded in the Bible give us an overarching view of God’s overwhelming love for us.
To follow through on your desire to engage with the Scriptures every day in 2011, it makes sense to start with a plan. It’s our sincere hope here at YouVersion that we’ll be able to help people read 1 billion minutes in the Bible App™ just during January. Here are just a few of the 14 approaches we’ve brought together to help carry you through God’s Word:
- The One Year ® Bible. In as little as 15 minutes a day, the One Year ® Bible in the New Living Translation (NLT) gives you daily readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.
- M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan. Robert Murray M’Cheyne (pronounced mick-SHANE) was a Scottish minister from 1835 to 1843. His unique Bible reading plan takes you each day through 2 passages from the Old Testament, 1 from the New Testament, and 1 passage from either the Psalms or the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). In just one year, M’Cheyne will help you read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice.
- Chronological. Based on recent historical research, this plan delivers your daily Bible readings in the order the events actually occurred. Reading the Bible this way helps you understand the progression of what things happened when.
- Bible in 90 Days. Make no mistake: This plan is a commitment. But the many who have gone through the entire Bible in just 90 days report that doing so helped them make lots of connections they had previously missed while in their Bible reading. You could consider it a challenge…or just a really worthwhile way to connect with God every day through His Word.
We want to help you love the Bible as much as we do. You can do this. Discover for yourself what a difference it can make to spend just a little time with God’s Word each day!
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:
- Read as much Scripture in the Bible App as you can during January.
(Signing up for a Reading Plan makes it easy.)
- Tell your friends about what the YouVersion community is doing. Tweet. Post status updates to Facebook. Write about it on your blog.
- Help friends and family install the Bible App on their mobile devices.
- 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 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!