The most popular Bible verse in every country
The most impactful Bible verses around the world
The Bible means different things to different people and every experience with it is unique. What you take away from it can depend on several factors, including what stage of life you’re at, the guidance you’re looking to seek - it might even depend on your location. All around the world people are reading the Bible, and we wanted to find out which verses have had the most significant impact in the modern world.
Also, as a Christian charity, we know first-hand how inspiring the Bible can be and how it brings joy and peace to many. So, we took a look at internet searches to determine the most popular Bible verse in every country.
Here’s what we found…
- John 3:16 is the world’s most popular Bible verse
- John 3:16 is the UK’s most popular Bible verse
- Central and South American countries favour Genesis
John 3:16 is the world’s most popular Bible verse
“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.”
The most popular Bible verse in the world is John 3:16, which is searched over two million times each month across the globe. With over a million more searches a month than any other Bible verse, it’s significantly the most popular around the globe and the most popular in many countries, including the UK.
Why is John 3:16 the most popular Bible verse?
John 3:16 is a short and clear summary of Christianity’s central tenets; highlighting God’s love for people, Jesus as the Father’s Son and the connection between becoming a Christian and everlasting life – a lot to cover in a mere 26 words!
Described in 1961 by author of The Gospel of John: A New Commentary, Paul T. Butler as “the golden test of the Bible”, it’s long been used by Christian leaders and through the media, so it’s no surprise that it’s also the most searched of all Bible verses.
As it is a prevalent verse within the Bible, we wanted to get the opinions of others and ask them what John 3:16 means to them. Firstly, we spoke to Richard Frost, Lay Minister, author, and the writer behind the blog Work Rest Pray, he went into a little more detail about how he interprets the verse:
“As I have reflected on these words over the years, I’ve moved into an understanding not just about God’s love for the world and everyone in it (including me) but what it meant for the first person who heard those words: Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a leader of the Jews. It’s possible that, throughout his life, he may have simply accepted all that was taught to him by the Jewish rabbis. But now, as he visits Jesus in the darkness (and afraid of his fellow Pharisees for doing so), Nicodemus encounters someone who challenges that received and perceived wisdom. It’s a time of confusion and Nicodemus realises there was more to God than he had ever thought.
“Fast forward a couple of years and it’s nearing darkness again as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea lay Jesus’ body in the tomb (John 19: 38-42). I’m sure he would have recalled that previous night-time encounter as they did so. As with Nicodemus, the words of John 3:16 continue to speak to us in times of darkness and confusion. For it was in the darkness of the tomb that the resurrection happened. It was in the darkness that those words were both spoken and fulfilled.”
Similar to Richard, Amy Boucher Pye, who runs a Christian-focused blog and is also an author, speaker and spiritual director, gave us her thoughts on why John 3:16 might be the most popular Bible verse and what it means to her:
“I heard a sermon recently about Nicodemus, the religious leader who came to Jesus at night-time so he wouldn’t be seen by others. His conversation with Jesus surprised him and ultimately changed his life forever. I had forgotten that this story is the context for the most popular verse of the Bible, John 3:16. That verse doesn’t come out of the blue but is birthed in the love Jesus has for this religious leader who is searching and who finds when he accepts the challenge and gift of Jesus – namely to believe in him. I pray that many more will find the assurance of life forever with Jesus that Nicodemus found.”
How popular is John 3:16?
Not only is the verse the most searched on the web, but it’s also used across social media as people share updates on their lives and faith. It’s no wonder it’s being shared so frequently as so many people feel it strongly represents the Christian faith.
On Instagram, the hashtag #john316 has been used on over 250,000 posts. Moving over to TikTok, the current hotspot for social sharing, we can see that videos with the hashtag #john316 have been viewed 55.9 million times! This verse is one that resonates with people worldwide and inspires them to share its message.
The top ten most popular Bible verses in the world
- John 3:16 – 2,100,000 monthly searches
- Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13 – 82,000 monthly searches
- John 10:10 – 73,000 monthly searches
- Proverbs 3:5 – 58,000 monthly searches
- Matthew 28:19 – 50,000 monthly searches
- Philippians 4:8 – 42,000 monthly searches
- Philippians 4:6 – 37,000 monthly searches
- Romans 8:28 and James 1:3 – 33,000 monthly searches
- Proverbs 3:6 and Ephesians 2:8 – 32,000 monthly searches
- Romans 3:23 – 27,000 monthly searches
You can see above just how big the lead John 3:16 has over other Bible verses when it comes to the frequency it’s being searched, and, in second place, there are joint results with both Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13 coming out with, on average, 82,000 monthly searches…
Jeremiah 29:11 is the joint, second-most searched Bible verse
“’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.’”
This is a verse that many turn to in times of hardship, showing us that God has a plan for every person and that the struggles and battles we may face are part of a bigger journey we cannot see yet. This message is spoken to the people exiled to Babylon from their home of Jerusalem, living under the domination of their enemies. In emergency situations like this, where it feels like the world is out of your control, being able to remember that the Lord your God has a plan for each and every person is essential.
Philippians 4:13 is the joint, second-most searched Bible verse
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Like Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:13 is a verse about faith in God and comes from a chapter of Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi in which the apostle passionately explains his faith in the Lord’s plan and protection. Paul explains that he has learnt to be content with the hand he has been dealt, as through God’s strength and protection, he will make it through. Philippians 4:13 is therefore another verse which can offer encouragement in times of adversity or disaster, and, as part of a larger picture, shows us that our circumstances do not define us. In isolation, it’s even more powerful, highlighting the strength God empowers in all of us to achieve things we may not think possible if only we believe.
The top ten Bible verses in the UK
- John 3:16 – 6,500 monthly searches
- Jeremiah 29:11 – 2,000 monthly searches
- John 14:6 – 1,900 monthly searches
- Joshua 1:9 – 1,800 monthly searches
- Genesis 1:1 – 1,600 monthly searches
- Isaiah 41:10 and John 10:10 – 1,500 monthly searches
- Genesis 1:27 – 1,100 monthly searches
- John 16:33 – 700 monthly searches
- Isaiah 40:31 and Philippians 4:13 – 600 monthly searches
- Genesis 1:26 – 500 monthly searches
It turns out that the UK falls in line with the global results when it comes to our favourite Bible verse and John 3:16 comes out as a clear winner in terms of the number of monthly searches it receives. Equally, Jeremiah 29:11 comes in second place, just as it does in the global results.
Central and South American countries favour Genesis
Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”
Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
One of the most interesting things uncovered in this research is the clear difference between Central and South America and the rest of the world. As we know, John 3:16 is the most popular Bible verse globally and, as you can imagine, it comes out top for many countries. However, when looking at Central and South America, verses from Genesis stand head-and-shoulders above other verses from other books of the Bible in terms of popularity.
Latin America is a strongly religious part of the world, with a large Christian population – the Pew Research Center actually revealed that, Brazil was home to 7.9% of the total world’s population of Christians. What’s more, Latin America has some of the most devout Christians in the world, with high amounts of the religious population claiming that religion is very important in their lives and that they pray daily. So, this divide isn’t due to a lack of interest in the Bible and its teachings, but rather, a preference for the stories being shared the most.
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is all about beginnings and creation, a message that appears to resonate strongly with those living in Central and South America. Filled with some of the most popular stories from the Bible, including that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark and Jacob’s Ladder, some might find it surprising that Genesis wasn’t as popular globally as it has proven to be in Central and South America.
The most popular verses from Genesis are Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 1:27, consecutive verses detailing the moment God created man in his own image, putting man in charge of the natural world. It details the intimate connection between human beings and God and the significance of the relationship between the two from mankind’s very origins.
For this study, we’ve used search data to discover the world’s most popular Bible verses. We reviewed Google search data for the 100 most-read Bible verses at Bible Gateway on a country-by-country basis to uncover which were the most searched for from nation to nation.
We used the Keyword Explorer Tool at ahrefs.com to find the average monthly Google search volume for 172 countries, excluding those where search data was unavailable. For countries where more than one verse had the same search volume, we have marked the results on the map as ‘inconclusive’.
More about World Vision UK
Since 1950, we’ve been helping vulnerable children fulfil their God-given potential through community-focused programmes in some of the most difficult places in the world. Inspired by our Christian faith, we help children across the world – of all faiths and none – who, through no fault of their own, are in dangerous places and crisis situations.
Focusing on lifting up the whole community and giving them the tools and knowledge they need to live without poverty or uncertainty, we’ve helped people in almost 100 countries across the world, from Ethiopia to Ukraine.