About YouVersion and the Bible App
To seea live look at engagement and the latest data, visit
The Bible App™ is a free Bible formobile devices. Based on the online Bible, YouVersion.com, the Bible App allows users to read the Bible, share verses with their social networks, bookmark their favorite passages, and more—all in a format that keeps up with their increasingly mobile lifestyle.
YouVersion and the Bible App were created by a team at LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, Oklahoma, to help increase access and engagement with the Bible. Featuring hundreds of versions in more than 100 languages, YouVersion was created to help people with busy, on-the-go lifestyles read the Bible at any time and in any place. Since its creation, YouVersion is one of the top downloaded apps in the reference category and is the most downloaded Bible on iTunes.
The Bible appcan bedownloaded for free from all major app stores and at
Bible App Features (vary with mobile platform)
- Bible reader: Users read the Bible on their mobile device, choosing from hundreds of versions (including audio) and more than 100 languages.
- Reading Plans: Hundreds of plans help users read the Bible regularly by serving up daily selections of Scripture.
- Personalization:Notes, bookmarks, and highlights help users personalize their interaction with Scripture, much as they might with a print Bible.
- Synced between platforms: Users can pick up where they left off whether they are reading on their computer, phone, or tablet. Reading plans, bookmarks, notes and more are accessible on all platforms.
Easy to use:Even people who are new to the Bible can quickly find chapters and verses, switch between versions to compare text, or search the entire Bible for a word, phrase, or verse, and get results in seconds.
- Social networkconnections: Users share favorite verses and reading plan progress on Twitter and Facebook.
Notes: Users can journal thoughts privately or choose to share them with others. The community can access all of the contributions for a verse simply by clicking on it and viewing related notes.
- Offline: Some versions are available for download directly to mobile devices for use in airplane mode or when outside of network coverage.
How is the Bible App changing how people relate to the Bible?
Tens of millions of people are using the Bible App to make God's Word a part of their daily lives. YouVersion users report they are more engaged in Scripture now that they always have the Bible with them. Whether they are pulling up a helpful verse in a conversation with a friend, catching up on their reading plan at the airport or in a waiting room, or sharing a passage on Twitter and Facebook, the Bible is becoming more seamlessly integrated in their lives.
LifeChurch.tv is a multi-site Christian church reaching tens of thousands of people each weekend through 15 physical locations in five states, as well as Church Online. Founded in 1996, LifeChurch.tv is led by senior pastorCraig Groeschel. The church is known for the innovative use of technology to spread the Gospel as well as a passion for serving the Church and partnering to reach people for Christ.
Bio: Bobby Gruenewald
Bobby Gruenewald (@bobbygwald) serves as Pastor, Innovation Leader at LifeChurch.tv and is the co-founder of the YouVersion Bible App. One of the leading voices in the Church as it relates to innovation and the use of technology, Bobby frequently writes and speaks on the topic, and has been featured in the Washington Post, TechCrunch, CNN, CBS, NPR, and more. He was also listed by Fast Company as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2011.
Bobby was a finance-major-turned-entrepreneur who founded and eventually sold two technology companies. He also served in various advisory capacities for start-ups and venture funds prior to taking on his current role at the church.
The YouVersion Story
When YouVersion.com was conceived in 2006,blogs were all over the place, YouTube was a household name, Facebook was now available to non-college students, and Twitter was in its infancy. Now everyone had a printing press.
Much as the technical innovation of the printing press revolutionized the availability of the Bible, we wondered if this new environment could transform the distribution and interaction of the world’s most popular and most-published book.
The idea was to offer an online Bible where people could not only read Scripture, but could also associate and annotate any web media (photos, blog posts, video clips, journaled thoughts, etc.) to a verse or series of verses. Today, the concept of user annotations and user-contributed media doesn’t seem unusual, but this was long before Google books, the Kindle, or anything similar. There weren’t examples of people taking literary works and allowing users to annotate them with media and contribute content.
In the months that followed, we embarked on a journey of making YouVersion a reality. Our first challenge revealed just how little we knew about what we were getting into. It didn’t occur to us that modern Bible texts are all copyrighted works which publishers have invested millions of dollars in developing. This wasn’t freely available content; it required licensing.
The second obstacle we encountered was the reluctance of publishers to allow user-annotated contributions to their content. While they could see the changes happening in the online world, they didn’t see where the technology was going to lead. It was alarming to some, but others were curious.
Throughout that year, we worked on building those relationships, developing trust, and getting permission to use texts. At the same time, we had a team working on developing the site.
In September 2007, we launched YouVersion.com. The results were good, but not great. People were interested in using the tool, but it was clearly an early-adopter crowd who connected with it. The growth of YouVersion wasn’t viral and didn’t seem to carry a lot of momentum in terms of growth.
With only 20,000 people using it, it didn’t appear this concept was catching on. Were we too early? Did we not execute the idea well? Did it just need more time to catch on? Regardless of why, it was clear that it hadn’t changed how the Bible was being consumed and distributed.
There was one more thing we wanted to try before scrapping the concept. We wanted to make the content available on mobile devices. We launched a mobile version, and quickly noticed that the nearness of the content increased the amount we engaged with it personally. We also noticed increased traffic on the site. It was as if we discovered something on accident—proximity directly affected engagement.
At the same time, we saw what was happening in the mobile phone market with the birth of smartphones and it gave us an opportunity to re-evaluate our strategy. We had stumbled into the mobile revolution.
When Apple announced the ability to develop apps for the iTunes app store, we started to develop the Bible App. We wanted to see if what we sensed was accurate, and hoped that we might see as many as 100,000 downloads in a year. What happened far exceeded any of our expectations. Within the first three days of launching, more than 80,000 people installed the Bible App.
These people weren’t just installing the Bible to have it sit on a hidden screen (or whatever might be the mobile equivalent of a dusty shelf). They were opening it frequently and spending a significant amount of time engaging. In returning to the question of how technology might affect distribution of Bible, this became the turning point we were looking for.
Fueled by the momentum, we worked on getting additional languages and versions of the Bible. We also ramped up our development efforts, looking for further ways to help people to have daily and ongoing engagement in this book.
What we saw over the next few years blew the doors off our too-small dreams and plans. The smartphone and app markets exploded with growth. It was clear that changing the format to digital distribution with social engagement was a new paradigm for Bible publishing. Since then, the Bible App has been installed on tens of millions of devices and users have spent billions of minutes using it to interact with God’s Word.