‘Fear’ and ‘end of the world’ most popular searches in the wake of coronavirus

Top five verses shared on a day in March had some relation to how people are approaching the current situation

During times of crises such as the coronavirus outbreak, people have been turning to the Internet for Bible verses that offer answers and comfort. In March, both YouVersion, a popular Bible app, and Bible Gateway, a Bible website, noted specific jumps in searches related to Covid-19.

March 15 tied with Easter last year for the highest usage day in YouVersion’s history and the top five verses shared that day all had some relation to how people are approaching the current situation. They were Hebrews 13:16, Psalm 91, 2 Chronicles 7:14, 2 Timothy 1:7 and Philippians 4:6-7.

Several of these verses also saw significant increases on Bible Gateway. Searches for Psalm 91 tripled, while 2 Timothy 1:7 jumped five-fold and 2 Chronicles 7:14 nine-fold.

Matthew 24, in which Jesus shares signs of the end of the age, and Joshua 1:9 – “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – saw their normal searches increase three-fold.

Bible Gateway also reported searches for “fear not” and “spirit of fear” were up double. Stephen Smith, senior director of digital products at Bible Gateway, wrote searches about “the end of the world” and “fear” were trending above normal.

Searches for “fear not” and “Psalm 91” began to spike in the United States beginning March 12, when sporting events started to be cancelled.