YouVersion is the Christian ministry behind the popular The Bible App, also called Bible.com. Their website says, “We believe every person should have the opportunity to explore the Bible, no matter where they live or what language they prefer. That’s why we design and build experiences that make it easy for people to integrate the Bible into their everyday lives.” YouVersion was founded by Life.Church, a megachurch within the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination, in 2008.
The Bible App, an outreach of YouVersion, gives users free access to 1,884 Bible versions in 1,291 languages. Features include the ability to compare passages in different versions, highlight portions of the text, and create private notes. Users are also able to create images with the passages or to share the passages from the app to other platforms. Search features based on topic, feeling, or common biblical accounts are easily accessed. The app provides users with tracking information regarding their usage in hopes of helping them build a habit of daily Bible reading. The Bible App is also designed with features for sharing and interacting with friends. The app is free and includes no advertising.
The Bible App provides various “plans,” much like devotionals, from a variety of different writers and Christian ministries. Related videos, including those from The Bible Project, are suggested for verses as well. These can be extremely beneficial additions for those studying the Bible. But users should be cautioned that not every writing from every author featured on The Bible App is biblically sound. As with any teaching, the different plans and videos should be examined against what the Bible actually says.
YouVersion has other products as well, including a Bible App for kids and Bible Lens, an app intended to match Scripture verses with users’ photos to create shareable art. YouVersion’s Bible Labs works on researching and developing new ways of engaging with the Bible. According to their website, “Bible Labs designers and engineers are actively creating the future of Bible engagement, imagining new ways to leverage existing and emerging technologies, and prototyping new approaches and platforms for how people experience and interact with content.” The idea is that people are searching, and YouVersion wants to make sure they discover the Bible and “fully experience the power of its life-changing truth, inspiration, and wisdom.”
While some of the bells and whistles of YouVersion’s apps might not appeal to everyone, and some of its partner content might be theologically questionable, YouVersion has succeeded in giving millions ready access to the Bible in a way that encourages them to connect with it. YouVersion presents the Bible as a life-giving and important book that people should be excited about and engaged in. YouVersion’s mission is certainly a laudable one. God’s Word is life-giving. It is the truth people need to hear. YouVersion has helped to get the Bible into people’s lives and encourages them to interact with it. In so doing, the greater hope is that people will know God through His Word.