The popularity of an app — a specialized program for mobile devices — is measured by the number of times it has been downloaded: 50,000, 100,000, 1 million, etc.
Sunday night, the LifeChurch YouVersion Bible App, reached the 100 million downloads milestone.
How significant is the milestone? The App Store opened in 2008 with 500 apps. Apple store offers techies more than 850,000 iPhone, iPad and iPod touch apps in 23 categories including religion newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, games, business, news, sports, health and fitness and travel.
For three consecutive years, Apple has ranked the YouVersion Bible App among the Top 100 free apps. It is available for virtually every mobile device including Android phones.
LifeChurch Pastor Bobby Gruenewald wanted to use technology to make the Bible more accessible on smart phones and tablets. When the YouVersion Bible App was released, Gruenewald hoped for 80,000 downloads in the first six months; that number was surpassed during the first weekend.
Gruenewald said the creation of the app is part of a story about the LifeChurch community that enables its 20-plus staff members to provide world-class customer service for an app at no cost.
It is also part of a global mission to share the Bible involving hundreds of volunteers, publishers and Bible societies offering more than 500 versions of the Bible in more than 300 languages for free, Gruenewald said.
“Never before could you compare multiple translations of the Bible in an instant,” he said. “In the past, it would have taken an entire room of Bibles and weeks if not months to do so. Now when you don’t understand a particular phrasing, it’s easy to check out another translation for clarity.”
The LifeChurch app offers electronic access to numerous translations of the Bible including the English Standard Version, the King James Version, the Amplified Bible, the Catholic public domain version, The Message, the Orthodox Jewish Bible and the New International Version.
After selecting a version, the user can scroll through a list of books. The next step is to select a chapter by touching on a number. Then a verse is selected. Text can also be heard through audio. The app also offers keyword searches, a verse of the day, Bible reading plans, bookmarks and notes.
According to Guinness World Records there is little doubt the Bible is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book. A survey by the Bible Society concluded an estimated 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put the number at more than 5 billion.
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