The Bible is the #1 bestseller of all time. But this month it has a new claim to fame, beating out Angry Birds in the never ending app download competition. Publishers Weekly reported this week that we are in the midst of a “digital Bible explosion.”
With companies and book publishers across the board searching for new ways to market their products in the digital age, Bible apps, with hands-on, personalized features, are becoming extremely popular in the Christian world. iPhone Life magazine reported that Logos Bible Software was the #4 most popular Bible App download, and “BibleReader broke into the top 10 highest grossing book apps for the iPad earlier this year.”
Logos Bible Software is a leader in Bible software, offering Mac and PC versions of their program with advanced Bible study tools. Dan Pritchett, vice president for Logos Bible Software, told The Christian Post that even though the Bible hasn’t changed, new apps and software are making it more accessible to people.
These days, people “turn to their phone to keep them occupied,” Pritchett said. When they are bored or waiting to pick their kids up, he said, any time they have a few minutes they often use their smart phones to keep them entertained. So with a Bible app a person can “read a devotion or get into the Word right there.”
Pritchett said there is still nothing quite like reading a paper Bible. “It’s ingrained into our psyche the ability to flip through the pages we’re familiar with,” he said. But electronic Bibles are helpful in studying Scriptures. With Logos software, if you are reading an ebook that references scripture you can click on the verse and it will look it up immediately for you. He said that’s one feature customers repeatedly say they love.
Another popular Bible application download is LifeChurch.tv’s app, YouVersion, which hit the 30 million download mark in October. LifeChurch.tv has campuses all across the country as well as one that meets entirely on the Internet. YouVesion creator Bobby Gruenewald said he created the app by using “the best of today’s and tomorrow’s technology to help the world fall in love with God’s word.”
So how does YouVersion work? It’s a free mobile Bible that can be installed on most smartphones. It allows users to read the Bible, but also interact with their social networks. You can bookmark passages, easily look up verses and share them with others and switch to different versions of the Bible. The app also provides customized reading plans and a place to journal.
Statistics from this app also attest to the growing trend of Bible downloads. Since its launch in 2008, the Bible App has been installed on one out of every 17 iPhones, iPads and Android devices sold globally.
The creators of YouVersion say that the Bible app is changing the way people interact and engage with the Scriptures. “Our plan is to continue to expand into new platforms, and offer more languages and versions so everyone, anywhere around the globe can have free access to the Bible,” said Gruenewald in a statement.
Bible app creators and marketers know the Bible’s content hasn’t changed in the digital age, but more and more people are turning to technology to fulfill their need to have hands-on experiences with Scripture. The goal of most Bible software makers is to make the Bible become, as YouVersion users have often said, “more seamlessly integrated into their lives.”