During the holiday season, a natural tendency exists to open the Bible and read the story of Jesus’s birth. But that’s not all Scripture readers are turning to this time of year.
Many also draw comfort and inspiration from Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Some are also simply reading other portions of Scripture.
Almost all Americans (91%) celebrate Christmas, but only 22% believe they could retell the biblical story of Christmas from memory, according to Lifeway Research. But YouVersion users are spending much of their time on the Bible app during the last two weeks of December engaging with the story of Jesus’s birth.
Verses from Matthew have been among the 10 most popular Bible verses during Christmas nine times in the past five years, according to data from YouVersion. Verses from Luke also made the list six times. Still, Bible readers also frequently turned to Isaiah—making the list seven times over the past five years. Psalms made the list eight times, while John reached it five times and 2 Corinthians four.
Only Isaiah and Luke had a verse top the most popular Bible verse list within the past five years, but a verse from Matthew was the most popular overall.
Overall, verses from the New Testament appear 32 times and those from the Old Testament make the list 18 times. In 2020, the five most popular verses during the last two weeks of December were from the Old Testament, an unprecedented Bible-reading cap to an unprecedented year.
Eight verses or passages appeared in the top 10 at least twice since 2018. Here are the most popular verses among Bible app users during Christmas. Each reference is from the Christian Standard Bible.
1. Matthew 1:21
She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
2. Isaiah 9:6
For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
3. Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors!
4. Luke 2:11
Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
5. Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and show you the way to go;
with my eye on you, I will give counsel.
6. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
7. Colossians 1:16
For everything was created by him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through him and for him.
8. John 1:14
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
This piece first appeared at Lifeway Research.