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YouVersion names 2022 Bible verse of the year as use in Ukraine skyrockets

YouVersion Bible App
YouVersion Bible App. |

The popular YouVersion Bible app operated by Craig Groeschel's Life.Church has named Isaiah 41:10 as its most referenced verse of the year amid a sharp increase in engagement with its Ukrainian-language Bible amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  

This week, the multi-campus Life.Church released the results of its most recent analysis of top data trends on the YouVersion app. There were sharp rises in Ukrainian-language Bible engagement across Europe from 2021 to 2022 as many Ukrainians have taken refuge in European countries. 

The YouVersion Bible App offers over 2,000 versions of the Bible in 1,868 unique languages for free. The application is installed on over 500 million devices worldwide, including smartphones and tablets. 

"This year, the verse that people in Ukraine engaged with most is also the same verse that the global YouVersion Community shared, bookmarked, and highlighted most," a statement from the church reads. 

Isaiah 41:10, which preaches about God's divine protection, states: "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." Isaiah 41:10 was the most popular verse bookmarked and shared in over a dozen countries. 

Ukrainian Bible engagement has increased in Poland by 241% and Germany by 733% for 2022. Bible engagement rose 55% this year in Ukraine while also rising by 76% across Europe. 

The Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine began in February. According to Life.Church, YouVersion searches in the Ukrainian language nearly doubled at the beginning of the war compared to the previous month, with trending search terms including "war," "fear" and "anxiety." But as time passed, the top search term in Ukrainian became "love." 

Bobby Gruenewald, the founder and CEO of YouVersion and a pastor at Life Church, doesn't find it surprising that Ukrainians would turn to God's word when facing the harsh realities of war.

"These families are going through something most of us can't imagine. In the middle of what's likely the most difficult time of their lives, they're turning to the Bible for comfort, peace, and hope," he said in a statement.

This is not the first year that Isaiah 41:10 was the most referenced verse on YouVersion. It was also the most popular verse in 2018 and 2020

Gruenewald believes the verse's popularity is a testament to how people need a reminder that they are not alone in their struggles.

"As this verse says, God is our strength, and He's always with us," he said. 

YouVersion amassed over 500 million installs last November. The app was first offered in the iOS App Store in 2008 after initially launching solely as a website. On its first weekend of availability in the App Store, the app was downloaded 83,000 times. 

"It's important that people understand that this is something God did, not us," Gruenewald told The Christian Post last November. "We can't take credit for this. God did this through me, and it's so crazy that God would use me. And there's a lot more that God will do and can do in future."  

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has prompted Christian nonprofits and churches to continue offering prayers and assistance during the country's time of need. 

In August, the World Evangelical Alliance and the European Evangelical Alliance called on churches and believers worldwide to set aside time on Aug. 24 to pray for the war's end. 

"As we look to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, let us pray for hearts to be changed and for the weapons to be silenced," a World Evangelical Alliance statement read. 

"Throughout history, God has changed hopeless and dire situations in surprising ways, and He can do it once again. And let us also pray for healing and for reconciliation, and that Russia and Ukraine could live in peace as independent, sovereign nations."

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: samantha.kamman@christianpost.com.

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