Behind the scenes: The Bible App for Kids

Who knew that the Bible App for Kids would spread so quickly? We are quickly approaching the 12 million download mark worldwide, boosted by its being downloaded over 2 million times in just 44 days after its Thanksgiving Day 2013 release!

The glimpses of kids engaging with the stories of the Bible are beyond what we ever imagined as outcomes from this project in such a short amount of time. One mom wrote:

My kids go to a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) public school where they are allowed to use their devices for educational purposes using only school-approved learning apps. My 2nd grade daughter’s teacher approved the use of the Bible App for Kids in her classroom! So—the Bible is now in the public school! Of my four children, this is the last one I would have ever expected to talk about Jesus or her beliefs at school, so I feel like this app gave her the confidence to testify who and what she believes in. That is powerful to me and I am so thankful to OneHope and YouVersion for creating this app.

A dad wrote to tell us that he: “Walked in on my son tearing up as he watched Jesus die on the cross” while using the Bible App for Kids.

We were also excited to see photos of kids and families reading the Christmas story in a whole new way using the app!

Many of you have been asking,How did you decide which stories from the Bible to use—or not use—in the Bible App for Kids?

Here is a peek into how we narrowed down not only which stories would be included in the app, but which six stories needed to be included in the initial launch.

Young children are fully equipped to grasp the mechanism of story Click to Tweet

Knowing that younger children are not yet cognitively developed enough to firmly grasp timelines or parallels, but that they are fully equipped to grasp the mechanism of story, we launched the Bible App for Kids with a basic framework of the big-picture story of the Bible.

Each story in the app can each stand alone, but have been intentionally selected and ordered to build a foundational biblical framework and present a biblically sound meta-narrative. The ultimate goal of the app is to show that God has a purpose and plan that originates from the beginning of time.

To narrow down our story selection, we began with the quintessential 75 story options we use for building biblical literacy in our Stories of Hope program. Next we narrowed it down to the 58 stories that coincided with stories we had recently selected specifically for Incredible Islands—a digital ministry tool.

At this point, we utilized the expertise of theological editor Adam Poole, MDiv and Ph.D. candidate, to help us whittle the list down even further.

“These 40 stories of Scripture were chosen based on the pivotal role they play in communicating the meta-narrative of Scripture, as well as their importance in conveying God’s plan of redemption that is accomplished through the person and work of Jesus Christ,” said Poole.

We started…in the beginning with creation.InTheBeginningIcon

Next up was depicting the entrance of sin into the world, which set us up for the need for a savior and segued nicely into the birth of Jesus.TheFirstSinIcon

The next story, “Through the Roof” illustrated one of Jesus’ miracles while He was on earth before the story of His death on the cross.ThroughTheRoofIcon

The final story in our launch was the “Happy Sunday” where the tomb was found empty!AHappySundayIcon



While biblical accuracy was a non-negotiable, we knew that in order to attract and keep the attention of media and gaming saturated kids, the delivery would need to be as wonder-filled as Disney, as fun as Angry Birds, and as engaging as ABC Mouse and Leapfrog or else our efforts would be in vain. To that end, we needed help from experts to make the look, sound and feel of the app engaging for every child. Here are a few of the talented people who helped make that happen:

Biblical accuracy was a non-negotiable Click to Tweet

Writer Bob Hartman worked closely with a team of editors and a theologian to make the Bible stories not only easy for children to understand, but also to ensure biblical accuracy.

Jason Moore composed beautiful, original music for all of the stories.

For pre-literate and aural learners, Kevin Kilpatrick creatively narrated all of the Bible stories using special voices for the different characters.  


Senior illustrator Rob McClurkan sketched illustrations, determined style, and provided the art direction for the later phases of the app’s development.

Production artists Ian Dale and Melanie Matthews  traced style in layers and shapes to accommodate animation, colored illustrations and output them for the animators and developers.

We are excited about our partnership with YouVersion—the creator of the world’s most popular Bible app with more than 100 million downloads—to develop this new app for children and youth. We expect the Bible App for Kids to reach millions of children around the globe as plans for translation into other languages are already underway!

If you haven’t experienced the Bible App for Kids yet, be sure to download it for free on the App storeGoogle Play and Amazon.

We believe that God’s Word has the power to change hearts and lives Click to Tweet

We fully believe that God’s Word has the power to change hearts and lives. This app was developed to leverage a technical medium not only to help kids engage with God’s Word, but to keep them coming back to the app again and again to help them build Scripture exposure and deepen their experience with the stories in God’s Word.

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updated 6/16

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Rob Hoskins is the president of OneHope. Since taking leadership of OneHope in 2004, he has continued to advance the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. by partnering with local churches to help reach more than 2 BILLION children and youth worldwide with a contextualized presentation of God’s Word.

4 thoughts on “Behind the scenes: The Bible App for Kids

  1. We would love to be a part of what God is doing through your ministry work by providing artwork for your projects. Samples can be sent if you would like to see some of the newest things we have been doing. Our website shows samples of some of the work we have completed.
    Thank you for your consideration,
    Paul Gully / 229-794-3317

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