I have been using free bible app YouVersion pretty much since I got an iPhone. It’s been great to see this app evolve and I am constantly in awe of the fact that they manage to produce such quality completely for free! There are loads of reasons why it’s a really handy thing to have. Here are some of the ways I use it:
1. At small group bible studies
We all know how difficult some of Paul’s letters are (even St. Peter thought so!) I often like to read the bible in the Message translation. The YouVersion app has the Message version on it so I can switch from one translation to the other. More than once my friends have asked me to read the passage out in the Message to help our understanding. The Amplified Bible is another of the translations available and that is also helpful sometimes for getting the fuller meaning of a passage.
2. For following a bible reading plan
If you create a free account with YouVersion you can follow a wide variety of different reading plans. I have just started the Chronological Bible in one year plan – I’m really looking forward to reading the bible in this way. There are thematic, topical, youth and seasonal plans as well.
3. As a concordance
The search feature is really helpful, I can look up any passage in any translation. My only worry about this is that it has started to make me a little lazy – I used to know my bible really well. I think I know it less well now because I know I can just use the search feature rather than relying on my memory!
They are just some of the things I use my app for. Here are some suggestions for how you could use it:
1. For sharing verses with friends
One of my favourite features is the ability to share a bible verse either on social media, in an email or in a text message. I particularly like to share verses in text messages with friends – especially if they’re having a hard time – it’s a great way to encourage each other.
2. In welcoming international students
I support a charity called Friends International and particularly the team based in Leeds. Friends International help to equip churches and Christians to reach out to international students and help them explore the bible and Christianity. I was talking to Phil who leads the Leeds team and he told me that the great thing about the Bible app is that there are translations of the bible available in loads of different languages – so if you meet a Czech or a Chinese student you can tell them that they can read the bible on their phone in their own language for free! Gone are the days of having to order foreign language bibles especially (and then lugging them around in boxes). Many international students come from countries where the bible is banned literature – so they are often very open to reading it! So next time that you meet an international student or someone recently arrived from another country – encourage them to download the app!
3. Challenge yourself
If you have the bible on your phone or tablet, that means that you have the bible with you at all times. Why not use those down-time moments in the day to read your bible? The waiting in queues or your daily commute. This is an opportunity to build bible reading into your every day. You have something living and active in your pocket!
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