By Aaron Earls
This was a good year for increased exposure to the Bible from Washington D.C. to remote villages in Africa to smartphones around the world.
The Museum of the Bible garnered headlines around the country as it opened in the nation’s capital on November 17.
The $500 million museum displays around 1,000 biblical artifacts. It aims to inform visitors on the history and impact of the Bible, according to Steve Green, chairman of the museum’s board.
“Our mission is to invite and get people to engage with the Bible,” said museum vice president Steve Bickley.
Around the same time as the museum’s opening, representatives from the Jesus Film Project traveled to Ethiopia, where a crowd of people had gathered in a field between two villages to see the message of Jesus in their own language for the first time.
This premiere marked the 1,500th language translation of the movie chronicling the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The Jesus Film Project reports that 90 percent of the Daasanach people in attendance indicated they would like to begin a relationship with Jesus and dozens gave their names to begin immediate follow-up and discipleship.
After seeing an early version of the film, a village chief said, “Today, our prayers are answered. God’s Word is coming alive for our people.”
Since its release in 1979, the “JESUS” film has been used in 7.5 billion gospel presentations in more than 230 countries. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, it is the most watched movie in history.
Meanwhile, the YouVersion Bible App reports they are closing in on 300 million total downloads from every country of the world.
Globally, the most shared, bookmarked, and highlighted Bible verse on the app this year was Joshua 1:9: “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
In the United States, the verse with the most interactions in the Bible App was Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
This year, YouVersion saw even more people turn to the Bible App to explore God’s Word, many in some unexpected places.
Downloads in India increased by 228 percent this year, while the number of downloads in Iraq grew by 155 percent. Mozambique saw downloads increase by 243 percent, and downloads in Angola jumped by 733 percent.
“We believe the Bible is an enduring source of courage and strength,” said Bobby Gruenewald, Life.Church Innovation Pastor and YouVersion Bible App founder. “We are encouraged to see from this year’s data that people all over the world are finding hope in God’s Word.”
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.