Millions have downloaded YouVersion’s new “lite” app, designed for mobile users without access to broadband internet.
Bible apps have brought a trove of resources to anyone with a smartphone—and an internet connection.
But after hearing feedback from Christians in places where people can’t access or afford high-speed broadband, the team behind YouVersion’s Bible app recently launched an app that doesn’t need a connection.
Designed for users in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, the Bible App Lite is a space-saving app that, once downloaded, can be used entirely offline. It still includes YouVersion’s key features: the Bible reader, audio Bibles, verses of the day, and prayers.
So far, more than four million people have downloaded the lite version of the app, and it has reached the top 10 in the Google Play store in 17 African countries and the No. 1 spot in Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to YouVersion.
Globally, more than a billion people don’t have access to affordable broadband internet, according to a 2020 report published by the Alliance for Affordable Internet. Though mobile broadband prices are dropping, Africa remains the region with the least access, the report found.
While most towns have internet connectivity, many of Africa’s rural areas still struggle with it, said Kevin Muriithi Ndereba, a lecturer at St Paul’s University and a pastor in Kenya.
He told CT that sermons, Bible plans, and Bible commentaries can be difficult to retrieve online. He listens to Bible podcasts only to have them cut off midway through his drives.
Muriithi Ndereba has encouraged “offline pastors” to remember their pastoral care does not depend on whether their phone has a strong internet connection. “Do not be anxious about your lack of technological tools,” …