What the Top Bible Verses of 2020 Reveal about Us (We’re Afraid)

Tim Arndt

The most popular Bible app (YouVersion) and the most popular Bible website (Bible Gateway) have released reports of the most popular verses and search terms of the year.


If you want to look at the reports yourself you can see YouVersion’s 2020 report here and Bible Gateway’s 2020 report here. You can also watch YouVersion’s video report of the top Bible searches throughout the different months of the year (<2 minutes).

YouVersion Top Bible searches by month

The most popular verse of 2020

On YouVersion, the most popular Bible verse of 2020 was Isaiah 41:10 which says,


“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.”



On Bible Gateway the most popular Bible verse of 2020 was John 3:16 which says,


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”



Other popular passages

Philippians 4:6 was among the top verses of the year as well as Jeremiah 29:11.


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6)


“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.” (Jer. 29:11)



One of the most searched chapters in the Bible this year is the ever-popular Psalm 23. Verse four says,


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

    I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

    your rod and your staff,

    they comfort me.



Popular keyword searches

YouVersion reports that in March “fear” became the top keyword search and searches for “hope” and “peace” soon followed.


“Justice” was a top search result following high-profile cultural events such as the death of George Floyd (to better understand Biblical justice I compiled every use of the word “justice” in the Bible).


On Bible Gateway, their top 10 keyword searches in 2020 are as follows:


  1. Love
  2. Peace
  3. Hope
  4. Joy
  5. Faith
  6. Fear
  7. Pray
  8. Heart
  9. Light
  10. Spirit


What our Bible searches reveal about us

On Google, the most common searches for Bible verses are “coronavirus bible verses” or “covid bible verses” and the top search results offer Bible verses with hope and peace for a fearful time.


I think it’s clear that there was a lot of fear in 2020.


People fear COVID-19.

People fear businesses shutting down and losing their jobs.

People fear what the “other” political party will do.

People fear losing loved ones.

People fear death itself. 


There have been plenty of things to be fearful about in 2020 and thankfully, many people have been looking for hope in exactly the right place—the Bible.



I think Isaiah 41:10 was perfect to be the most popular verse of the year because it shows that the answer to fear is God himself.


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.”



The solution to fear is God himself.


Our government can fail us.


Our scientists can fail us.


Our schools and families can fail us.


Society all around us can be falling apart, but we still have a firm place to stand.



If we are in God’s hands, we have nothing to fear.


If he is for us, who can be against us?



So what can we do when we are feeling afraid? Philippians 4:6 tells us to pray.


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”



Prayer is a humbling experience because it is an admission that we need God, and we do need God!



So trust in God.


Pray to him.


And get to know him through his word.



Don’t know where to start? Download the YouVersion app or make an account at BibleGateway.com and start one of their excellent Bible reading plans.




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Tim is the senior editor for the ABC Voices blog. He is the director of the Michigan Apologetics Network and is the chapter director of Ratio Christi at Grand Valley State University. Tim and his family worship with Allendale Baptist Church where Tim serves as an Assistant Pastor. Anyone who meets Tim easily remembers him as the tallest Filipino they've ever met.