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How far can a Bible study travel?

At Biblica, we’re developing and championing the use of smartphone technology to bring God’s Word to places that are hard to reach.

One of our partners created a small, simple Bible study app that is quietly travelling the world.

The Discover app provides Bible passages that cover the big story of the Bible, and asks simple questions about each passage:

  • What does this story tell me about God?
  • What does this story tell me about people (or myself)?
  • If this is God’s word for my life how will I obey it?
  • Who am I going to tell?

The structure is easy to teach, easy to remember and easy to replicate. The app allows anyone, anywhere to run a Bible study, even in places where Bible access is difficult.

We are thrilled that the app uses four of Biblica’s modern Bible translations: Farsi, Swahili, French, and the New Arabic Version – along with 10 other key languages in both text and audio formats.

There have been 80,000 downloads so far, but probably many more users than that. We love hearing stories like these…

four men chat in a cafe

Sharing Scripture by Bluetooth

“There was one particular language for a country that was really on our hearts,” says Ian, who developed the Discover app. “When we got it added to the app, we literally had no evidence whatsoever that it was being used.

“The app can be shared between phones by Bluetooth – you don’t have to download it. We made it this way for people without internet access, but it means that we don’t fully know how many people are using it.

“I said to my wife one day, ‘I’d love to just know that it’s being used in that country’, and she said, ‘We will probably never know.’ But we prayed about it.

“The very next morning, I went onto my web stats and found that one person from that country had downloaded the app! Then, later that day we had a phone call from a friend of ours who had just returned from travelling there and wanted to stay with us overnight. At the end of the evening, he told us, ‘Oh, I was travelling a couple of months ago and I met these guys and they showed your app to a local faith leader who is now running the Discovery Bible Study with 40 men.’

“Just hearing that was an amazing answer to prayer.”

older lady talks with a younger person in cafe

Listen in your own language

In one part of Scandinavia there is a network of older women (known as ‘Grandmas’) with a special calling. They go to cafes and simply sit and talk with refugees. They are completely non-threatening because of who they are, and form lovely friendships with these newcomers to the country.

They usually talk about faith, and these chats often get to a point where it’s natural to ask if their refugee friend would be interested in doing a Bible study together. When the answer is yes, thanks to the Discover app, the Grandma can put their phone down in the middle of the table and play the Discover Bible Study in the language of the refugee. For the first time, they hear the Bible in their own language.

“It’s great for a lot of these guys whose literacy isn’t great,” says Ian. “They don’t have the embarrassment of trying to read the story, but can just hit play, listen to the story, talk with their Grandma friend about the questions, and just get into God’s Word so easily.”

If you want to check out the Discover app for yourself, you can download it to your phone from Google Play or the App Store. Who will you share it with?