YouVersion, the bible app, is exactly what the tagline says. An app with the entire bible on it. We no longer have to carry around 1000 page books with us everywhere we go to have access to God’s word. Now, its in our pockets, on our phones, next to Facebook and Instagram.
YouVersion bible app has 1115 versions available and supports 799 languages. It can be reached anywhere you have access to wifi or not. If you make an account you can download your favorite bible translation for free. This way, you have access to it wherever you have your phone, even if you don’t have cell service.
On the YouVersion website, there is a live number that constantly is updating with the number of installs on smartphones and tablets. Currently as I am writing this, it is increasing by 1 about every second. The number is constantly moving up from 199,764,544. We will reference back to this number when I am finished writing this blog just to give some perspective on how quickly this number is increasing.
Life.Church is the community of people that first started the bible app and YouVersion. It began as a website online that hosted the bible in 1996 before apps were developed. The first iPhone wasn’t released until 10 years later. But Life.Church was thinking with innovation in mind when it came to ministry. They always had their eyes and ears open to opportunities for the Gospel to be shared. As the website grew, it wasn’t used like they initially intended. When the iPhone was launched a new opportunity came their way. Apps provided a more convenient way for individuals to engage with the bible. Users no longer had to type in a web address or a google search. It could be carried in their pockets and accessed with a swipe and a touch. They jumped at the opportunity to use this new technology.
Churches are not always considered the most innovative or the most technologically savvy or even carry themselves with a high standard of quality. But this is where Life.Chruch differs from a lot of other churches we are familiar with. And this is also why they have been able to do something new. They were ready for it.
I hope this church community and YouVersion can be an example to us all. That christians should not be afraid of technology but should embrace it. That we should be prepared and ready for an opportunity to use it to our advantage. Technology is only a tool. It is not inherently bad or good. It is a way of connection and communication. It only makes sense to use this tool for communication to share the most important message in the world. Similarly to the printing press, the bible should be the first words on every new technology. Because it is the most important. And christians should be the first ones to have their hands in the messy new technology so that they can be the first ones to use it for the Gospel.
We should start looking at coders as missionaries, not just geeks. The programers who are working to constantly update and develop new features for the YouVersion app are helping the Word of God to be accessed in countries that don’t have printed bibles. They are providing a way for new regions to hear the word of God. They are creating tools to be used by missionaries and individuals across the world. It is a powerful tool and a unique opportunity of our day and age.
God and technology go hand in hand. Technology is not a bad or evil thing. It can be used for good and it can be used for Evil. God is sovereign. He is able to use anything for his ultimate glory because he created it. Technology is not any different.
Also, 199,768,517 downloaded by the end of my time writing this blog.