In the midst of uncertainty in 2020, a popular Bible app says readers turned to Scripture for comfort, with an 80 per cent increase in searches compared to the previous year.

The YouVersion Bible App has released its annual list of most-read verses. In North America, the most read verse was Isaiah 41:10 - "Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." (NLT)

The verse was also the most popular in the Philippines, India, and South Africa.

“This has been a challenging year with many people facing devastating loss, loneliness, and fear,” says YouVersion Founder Bobby Gruenewald. “While 2020 is a year so many say they’d like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God used the Bible App to help so many people who are searching for answers. Through every hardship, people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace, and hope.”

Before COVID-19 consumed everyone's attention the app saw popular searches such as "new year" and "Bible in a year" in January and February.

By March, as the pandemic took hold, people began to look for assurance. The app also saw searches for "peace," "healing," "love," and "justice" surge as social issues such as the killing of George Floyd came to the forefront.

“These top search terms really show what’s been weighing on the hearts and minds of people around the world at key points throughout the year,” says Gruenewald. “They reveal how people are seeking God as they wrestle with the difficult circumstances they’ve faced in 2020, and that’s something we can celebrate.”

With 43.6 billion Bible chapters read, 7.5 billion audio chapters played, and 1.4 billion Bible Plan days completed, the YouVersion Bible App saw its highest levels of global Bible engagement in the app's history.

YouVersion also experienced record-breaking growth for the Bible App for Kids, which was developed in partnership with OneHope, the app says in a release.

In 2020 alone, the app was installed on more than 22 million unique devices, totalling more than 60 million devices worldwide. Kids from around the world have completed more than 170 million Bible App for Kids Stories this year, which is a 90 per cent increase over the previous record set in 2019. With eight languages added this year, children can now experience the animated Bible stories and interactive games in 60 different languages.