Every year, YouVersion announces which Bible verse is the most shared, bookmarked and highlighted by its users. For places like Bible Gateway, this verse is always Jeremiah 29:11 or John 3:16, but YouVersion had a bit of a deeper cut for its top verse this year: Isaiah 41:10.
The scripture reads: "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."
This year, it makes sense Isaiah 41:10 would be the top verse, with so many different people feeling oppressed, threatened or marginalized.
This verse comes from a larger passage about salvation. In it, God himself is the one who announces, "Do not fear." These words are the clear gospel message God has for Israel when they are far from home and feeling crushed. The enduring threat of Babylon forced Israel to live continually in the face of intimidation, even when they're unsure they'll survive their threats.
This same "Do not fear" - a saving, world-changing message - is spoken at the major turns in the appearance of Jesus in the world: at his birth (Luke 2:10) and at Easter (Matt. 28:5).
God is asserting this: "I am your God; I strengthen; I help; I uphold!" We are not abandoned, but our salvation is guaranteed by the power of God.
By the way, in Mexico, the most popular verse in Mexico was Joshua 1:9: "Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Don't be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go."
In Korea, it was Proverbs 16:9: "People can plan what they want to do, but it is the Lord who guides their steps." In Iraq, it was 1 Peter 5:7: "Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you."
Over at Bible Gateway, Jeremiah 29:11 took the top prize yet again. John 3:16 was the runner-up, to the surprise of no one, and the classic Philippians 4:13 earning bronze.
What are your favorite Bible verses?
What do they say to you?
Brendan Johnston is pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Two Harbors.