“The Lord will be king over the whole earth,” it reads in the New International Version of the Bible. “On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.”
But last year, these words of Zechariah showed up as the top verse on YouVersion with the most highlights, bookmarks, and shares in two countries with little else in common.
People in both Israel and Afghanistan engaged most with it - and so did those in France, Finland, Sweden, Guadeloupe, Belgium, Martinique, and Cyprus.
Overall, the world’s favourite Bible verse in 2016 was Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
It was highlighted, shared, and bookmarked more than any other verse by YouVersion’s users, who have now installed its Bible App on more than 250 million unique devices.
“In every category that we measure, the global YouVersion community has been more engaged with the Bible throughout 2016 than in any previous year,” the organisation announced. “2016 was our biggest year ever. Again.”
Notable nations where usage increased include Argentina, Cameroon, Mozambique, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nepal, which YouVersion called “one of the most rapid increases in Bible reading in a heart language that we’ve ever seen.”
Despite its nearly 550,000 shares, Romans 8:28 was only the top verse in 9 of the 88 countries and territories tracked by YouVersion, including the United States, Singapore, and Ghana.
By comparison, Jeremiah 29:11 (“For I know the plans I have for you…”) was the top verse in 29 of the 88 countries and territories, including Saudi Arabia, Colombia, and Italy.
Among YouVersion’s list of the top verses in each nation it tracks were: China - Philippians 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Japan, Ireland and Kenya - Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Israel - Zechariah 14:9: "The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name." Indonesia - Luke 24:45: "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." Uganda - Zechariah 8:17: “Do not plot evil against each other, and do not swear falsely. I hate all this, declares the Lord.”
Costa Rica - Joshua 1:9: "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.” Switzerland - Zechariah 10:1: "Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone." Peru - Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Thailand - Matthew 6:33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Taiwan - Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Cyprus - Zechariah 14:9: "The Lord will be king over the whole earth.
On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name."
- Christianity Today