The popular YouVersion Bible application has been installed in 300 million devices across the globe since it was launched in the Apple's App store nine years ago.
YouVersion, which was one of the first 200 free applications when the Apple App Store debuted in 2008, offered 1,656 versions of the Bible in 1,186 languages in 2017, up from 1,200 in 2015.
"We believe the Bible is an enduring source of courage and strength," said YouVersion founder and Life.Church Innovation Pastor Bobby Gruenewald, according to Christianity Today. "We are encouraged to see from this year's data that people all over the world are finding hope in God's Word," he added.
YouVersion was initially launched as a website in 2007, with the aim of increasing access and engagement with the Bible. Seven years after the application was introduced in the Apple App Store, it had been downloaded 200 million times, and it had reached 300 million installs by the end of 2017.
The developers have joined with about 10 major Bible translation agencies — including Wycliffe Bible Translators, Pioneer Bible Translators, and the United Bible Societies — in their effort to translate the Bible into 99.9 percent of the world's languages by 2033.
"We are at a pivotal point in history. In recent years, technology has made it possible to accelerate Bible translation like never before. There's incredible momentum around this effort that we know won't stop until every person has Scripture available in their heart language," Gruenwald said.
Last year, verses were shared 222 million times, and users highlighted, bookmarked or noted verses 1.4 billion times. On average, users created 42.3 highlights, listened to 96.1 audio chapters and read 532 chapters each second in 2017.
YouVersion has grown in popularity in unexpected places in 2017. Downloads increased by 243 percent in Mozambique, 228 percent in India, 155 percent in Iraq and 131 percent in Argentina.
The verse that was shared, highlighted and bookmarked most often by YouVersion users in 2017 was Joshua 1:9, which states: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Life.Chuch teamed up with film production company The Octagon in 2017 to create a new Virtual Reality function in YouVersion to allow for a more interactive and immersive Bible study.
Gruenwald noted that the developers also added new features that would allow users to see how many days they have read the Bible in a row, connect with friends over a Bible plan and search the scriptures by topic, emotion or Bible story.