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150 Million Bible Readers Were Searching for Love Most in 2014

Bible Gateway finds patterns in how the world searched and read the Bible this past year.
150 Million Bible Readers Were Searching for Love Most in 2014
Image: Bible Gateway

John 3:16 was not among the Bible verses most widely shared or remembered in 2014, based on worldwide YouVersion users. But it still tops the list of verses the world seeks out, according to a report released by Bible Gateway based on 1.5 billion pageviews by 150 million unique visitors.

Here are the top 10 most popular Bible verses searched on Bible Gateway, the "world's most visited Christian website," in 2014:

  1. John 3:16
  2. Jeremiah 29:11
  3. Philippians 4:13
  4. Romans 8:28
  5. Psalm 23:4
  6. Philippians 4:6
  7. 1 Corinthians 13:4
  8. Proverbs 3:5
  9. 1 Corinthians 13:7
  10. Romans 12:2

Of these verses, only Philippians 4:6, Jeremiah 29:11, and Proverbs 3:5 also appeared on YouVersion’s list, suggesting a discrepancy in what Bible readers seek for themselves versus what they think others should read.

Bible Gateway's Year in Review report, which also covers top searches in Spanish and in four countries, confirms the New Testament is "read much more than" the Old Testament, even though the older testament is three times longer. It also concludes that "people really do read the Bible throughout the year," and "major world events do affect what people look for in the Bible."

"Our biggest takeaway is the dominance of people who read through the Bible in a year," said Rachel Barach, Bible Gateway's general manager. "Even though we know it’s common for people to commit to reading through the Bible starting on January 1 but stop reading it by February, clearly enough people continue through the year to impact our statistics."

Image: Bible Gateway

The chart above matches “unusually popular” verses on a particular date with popular Bible reading plans. CT previously reported on falling off the Bible-in-a-year wagon, as well as whether Christians should try to read the Bible in a year.

The report also shows that readers searched for love more than any other term. The word never fell out of the top 10 searches, and was the top searched word more than 200 days of the year. Other words such as forgiveness and healing largely remained in the top 50 search terms throughout the whole year, while words such as freedom and labor spiked during the Fourth of July and Labor Day, respectively. [The report offers an interactive chart where you can make your own comparisons.]

Image: Bible Gateway

Bible Gateway pointed out a correlation between current events and search terms. “‘Blood moon’ is hardly a common Bible search term, but searches for it spiked in April and October when the lunar tetrads were in the news,” stated the report. It also noted that on the opening weekend of the Noah movie, “opening weekend, "visits to the Noah story in Genesis 6-9 at Bible Gateway saw a 223% increase over the previous weekend.”

Of note: in February, camel jumped to the top five search terms. That day, CT ran a story claiming that, contrary to other news reports, the appearance of camels in the book of Genesis was not anachronistic.

View the full report, including its interactive charts, here.

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