The Bible continued to be a source of comfort and strength for believers in 2015, with over 160 million people visiting Bible Gateway to look up verses and search keywords.
The popular website for biblical engagement released its 2015 year-in-review this week, highlighting how news events and other concerns shaped reading habits.
"On February 16, one day after ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, 'beheaded' was the fourth most-searched term on Bible Gateway. The weekend after the U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex-marriage decision in June, searches for 'homosexuality,' 'abomination' and 'Sodom and Gomorrah' spiked. And in September, on the day of the total lunar eclipse, the number one search was for 'blood moon,' reported Christianity Today on the summary.
Overall, engagement with the Bible is on the rise among Americans, according to a recent survey on spiritual practices from Pew Research Center. In 2014, 45 percent of Christians read the scriptures at least weekly, compared to 42 percent in 2007.
As Christianity Today noted, Bible readers continued to gravitate toward verses about God's love and promises in 2015.
"These verses are predominately of reassurance and comfort. They fit with the most common keyword searches at Bible Gateway. 'Love,' 'faith,' 'peace' and other positive and comforting search items dominate that list," the article noted.
Here are 2015's most popular Bible verses, according to Bible Gateway:
1. John 3:16
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.
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.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
4. Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
5. Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
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