In the midst of a tumultuous year, a record number of people are battling fear with faith by turning to God’s Word as a source of strength, encouragement and hope.
The popular Bible app YouVersion and the Bible Gateway website recently published their year in reviews revealing that Bible searches, specifically for terms such as fear, healing, and peace, increased substantially this year, Christianity Today reports.
In 2020 alone, YouVersion saw an uptick in overall searches by 80 percent, totaling nearly 600 million searches worldwide. Additionally, Isaiah 41:10 was ranked as the most searched, read, and bookmarked verse on the app.
The verse reads, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Through every hardship, people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace, and hope,” YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald explained. “While 2020 is a year so many say they’d like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God used the Bible App to help so many people who are searching for answers.”
Bible searches on the app differed throughout 2020, following a variety of circumstances. During the first few months of the year, “fear” was the app’s most search keyword. The word “justice” would also trend in late May and again in late August and September.
Additionally, “healing,” “peace,” and “love” trended consistently throughout the year.
As a whole, YouVersion saw its highest level of global Bible engagement in the app’s history.
In 2020, 43.6 billion chapters of the Bible were read, 7.5 billion audio chapters played, and 1.4 billion Bible Plan days completed. Furthermore, half a billion verses were shared.
Similar search trends were highlighted on Bible Gateway’s year-in-review.
When the U.S. COVID-19 lockdowns began in March, the website received around 90 times more queries than average when it came to pandemic-themed verses and God’s healing of sickness.
Queries related to racism, justice, and oppression increased by 100 times the average in the week after George Floyd’s death. Meanwhile, on Election Day, verses related to government authority went up at least 50 times the average.
The words “fear” and “fear not” increased throughout 2020, with “fear” ranking number 6 on the Bible Gateway’s ranking of the most popular keyword searches. Meanwhile, “love” (“amor”) topped the list in both English and Spanish.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.