Again, as we start the new year, we’re re-examining some of the best tools we’ve been able to share here on the Cultivate blog for growing our personal relationship with Jesus. Last week, we talked about a great e-mail devotional to help grow your time with God. But as helpful as that is, I still don’t think there’s a more helpful way to grow in our relationship with Jesus than by taking time to read the Bible. Regardless of what “stage” of faith you’d say you are in, whether you have been following Jesus for years or still aren’t sure if you believe all this stuff, reading your Bible is a key component of growing in a relationship with God. Today’s tool aims to help you do just that.
YouVersion is a great resource provided by the people at LifeChurch that is an online Bible you can read anywhere, anytime. You can read from your computer by going to http://www.youversion.com. But what is even cooler (and I think, more helpful) is that YouVersion is accessible through a free app that you can install on your smart phone or tablet computer (they support practically every type of phone and every operating system). So, anytime you’re hanging out and have a few free minutes, you can open up the YouVersion app and start reading the Bible, wherever you are. Waiting at the BMV or doctor’s office? Taking the L to work? On the bus? Taking a 15 minute break at work or have some extra time at lunch? The Bible is now instantly accessible, thanks to YouVersion!
YouVersion’s integrated a lot of very cool and helpful features into their app and online. For starters, there are many different translations of the Bible available (NIV, NLT, Message, NASB, ESV just to name a few). You can also read translations parallel with one another if you wanted to read and compare. On your phone or tablet, there’s also the option to download many of the versions of the Bible, so you can still read even if you don’t have an internet or data connection. If you’re like me and enjoy marking up your Bible as you read it, you can highlight verses and make notes on them as you read. There are also a ton of different reading plans available, and they range from being a week long to a year long. Some are topical (i.e. finances, dealing with anger, Christmas), and others are designed to help you read through portions of the Bible or the entire Bible. You can open YouVersion, click on the plans tab, and it will immediately show you the readings you need to do for that day. You can even setup e-mail reminders if you like. What’s more, as you’re reading, you can even share verses with people through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and text. Amazing.
YouVersion has been really helpful for me. In fact, I like it so much that my iPad has become my Bible! I wake up in the morning, make my bed, make some coffee, and then head to my spot in the house and do my daily Bible reading while I eat breakfast. It’s very handy and convenient! If you’re looking for a way to get into God’s Word a little more this year, I highly recommend trying YouVersion! It’s an awesome way to encounter God’s word and grow in your relationship with him!