We are living in a time of uncertainty. Whether it concerns the global pandemic, your health, finances, the economy, or relationships, much of what is ahead of us in life remains uncertain. During the pandemic, many people have turned to Bible verses for strength and encouragement. YouVersion, responsible for one of the most popular Bible Apps, reported an 80 percent increase in search during the pandemic, totaling 600 million worldwide. Some of the top-searched verses not only addressed fear but also healing and justice.
The company also noted that searches spiked parallel to major events. “Fear” became the top search in the first few months of the pandemic, “justice” was popular in the spring and “healing” continued to trend throughout the year.
The site, Bible Gateway, shared similar search trends. Pandemic-related scripture about God removing sickness received 90 times more queries than average when the lockdowns started. There were also queries tied to justice, racism and oppression in the week following George Floyd’s death. These search spiked to 100 times the average in a week. The Bible Gateway site also noticed an increase in verses related to government authority go up at least 50 times the average during the Election.
While many things continue to remain outside of our control, many find comfort in scripture to cope with difficult circumstances and face the unknown. Here are the top six searched Bible verses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
YouVersion reported that Isaiah 41:10 was ranked the most read, searched and bookmarked verse on the Bible app. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” One of the reasons many people find comfort in this passage is that it offers God's promises. The Lord wants us to recognize that we should not let fear overcome us. He warns us against fear because it can get in the way of the blessings and answered prayers that are in store for us.
It may come as no surprise that John 3:16 topped the most searched Bible verse list. This verse is one of the greatest examples of God’s love for us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Think about God’s sacrifice, giving His only Son so that those who put their faith in Him would not spend an eternity separated from God. We see through this verse that God’s love for us is unconditional. It is not rooted in emotions or feelings. The reason God loves us is that His nature is love. God’s love is not only incomprehensible, but it is also unbreakable. Nothing could occur in our lives, in creation, time or space, that can change God’s love for you.
Another popular search during the pandemic was Jeremiah 29:11, which says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” This is a verse that many Christians are familiar with, but sometimes we forget its promises. One is that God will restore our relationship with us. Another is that God will make good on His promises. Scripture reminds us that God began good work in us and through us. He will carry it out and complete it.
2 Chronicles 7:14
According to YouVersion, 2 Chronicles 7:14 moved up to the number three spot. The verse says, “If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turned from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This passage is often quoted without looking at the context. Many people believe it means that if we, as Christians in this country, start to pray, things will get better, leading to peace and prosperity. We must keep in mind that God is making a covenant with a particular nation in the Old Testament. With this covenant, He is focusing on their life and status in the land. If they obey the convent, they will prosper in the land. If they disobey it, they will be kicked out. The New Covenant promise found in the Old Testament, made through Jesus, isn’t about a nation. It is about people who have faith in God. The goal isn’t about wealth and prosperity, but about the mission of bringing God’s message to the world. We are called to live life as God intended.
Philippians 4:6 made the top searched Bible verse list. The verse says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” This is a passage that many people who are battling fear, anxiety and depression turn to. It is easy for a spirit of worry to take over. It is a rational response to the problems of the world, including the pandemic. However, God promises to be present during the darkest periods of our lives. We can find strength in every situation through the power of prayer and trust in God.
The final passage worth noting as a top search is Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” God assures us that He is working for good in our lives. There is absolutely nothing that can change this truth. Every joy and success, every painful loss or failure, is part of His greater plan. We simply must trust that God is in control and understands our pain.
These passages speak to the pulse of our nation, our worries, fears and concerns, along with the hope we have in God. YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald said, “Through every hardship, people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace and hope….” These top searched Bible verses during the pandemic offer hope in some of the toughest circumstances, and we can be thankful for that.