A MOBILE-phone application that allows people to access the Bible for free, in different languages and translations, has been downloaded 20 million times.
The Bible App by YouVersion — launched by LifeChurch.tv, based in Oklahoma, in 2008 — is now downloaded every 1.1 seconds somewhere in the world. Available in 113 different translations, and 41 different languages, for users to scan, it allows users to tweet their favourite pas-sages or add notes to sections as they are reading, as well as to search the entire Bible.
The most popular platform by far is the iPhone, which has had ten million downloads, followed by Android phones, with six million users, and Blackberry, with three million downloads. In total, seven billion minutes have been spent reading scripture with the Bible App.
Key to the success of the app is the fact that it is free, the digital- advocacy officer for the Bible Society in the UK, Ben Whitnall, says.
“It’s not the most popular app ever, but it is leading the field in Bible apps. What YouVersion have done is very missional: they just want to share the Bible. . .
“There are other Bible apps out there. Collins has just launched a beautiful app this year, for example, but it is a paid version, and is aimed at a different audience.
“The Bible has long been driven by technology if you looked at its history. . . A lot of Christians in the technology field are always scanning the horizon to see what we can do that is the next thing, what is around the corner. But these days it’s as much about attitudes to reading the Bible, particularly in the UK, as it is about the technology.”
About three-quarters of YouVersion’s downloads happen in North America.
YouVersion is celebrating its popularity with a live webcast on 26 May to launch new features of the Bible App.
Sideways look at Bible
by Ed Thornton
A BIBLE formatted in landscape, without the conventional left-to-right page, has been published by Cambridge University Press (CUP). The publishers say that it is the first book to be published in such a format in the UK.
CUP’s website says that the Cambridge KJV Transetto Bible, published to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the King James Version, “is landscape, with the text rotated crosswise through 90 degrees, but when the book is
open the two pages on view form a single portrait-format ‘page’ for reading.
“The Bible text is set in two columns and is read downwards across both open pages in the spread.”
It says the book “weighs a fraction of its standard book equivalent — and of an electronic reader too”, and that the “combination of thin India paper and unique binding allows the book to open flat or be easily held in one hand”. It would “fit comfortably into the smallest of handbags or pockets”.
Members of the congregation at a London church who were shown the Transetto Bible responded positively. One said that it looked “interesting and unusual”; another said: “I wouldn’t use it instead of my current Bible, but if I was buying a new one I might well consider it.”
Writing is on the wall for scriptural allusion
by Ed Beavan
MANY people are unaware of the biblical origins of common phrases in the English language, new research has found.
A ComRes survey commissioned by the Bible Society found that almost half of the 2379 adults interviewed believed that the Bible was an important book that had valuable things to say, even though they did not read it often.
But there was confusion when those polled were asked about the origin of phrases that come from the Bible.
Only 19 per cent of respondents were aware that “the writing on the wall” was a phrase used in the Bible, and 18 per cent believed that it was a lyric by the Beatles.
Just ten per cent of those interviewed knew that the phrase “filthy lucre” was biblical; almost a quarter of those polled thought that it came from Shakespeare.
Only nine per cent recognised the phrase “eat, drink, and be merry” as coming from the biblical parable of the rich fool, while 12 per cent of respondents thought the phrase “a drop in a bucket” (Isaiah 40.15) originated from Tony Blair.
More than half of those polled (56 per cent) were able to identify the phrase “my brother’s keeper” as coming from the Bible.