Amazon's Kindle list of most highlighted books of all time reveals 6 bibles in the top 25, along with books from Bonhoeffer and Francis Chan.
None of this should be a surprise, accumulated bible sales remain higher than any other book, higher even than last summer's blockbuster Hunger Games trilogy which also feature highly on the rundown.
The ESV bible sits at number one. No surprises here either, as this version has been free to download for Kindle users since launch. For people who just want one bible, the ESV will always be the default purchase. The heavy duty study bible also comes high up the chart. Good pricing here makes it the online study bible of choice, the kindle version at only £9.49 when the doorstop hardback is a whopping £25.
To see bibles in the most highlighted of all time list is obviously encouraging in our secular age. More noteworthy though is the question of what people are actually highlighting. Its fair to assume that to make the effort to highlight a passage(and often share it through social media), it must have had an positive impact on the reader to such an extent that they want to create a reference point to return to. With this is mind, the passages featured suggest something about the appetite and the mind of the average reader.
The number one highlight of all time is not the oft quoted evangelistic challenge of John 3.16, but the more personal encouragement of Phil 4.6-7 'Do not be anxious about anything.....'
Exactly the same verse, but from the ESV Study version sits at number 6 in the list. Again, at number 18, this verse pops up, but highlighted in the NLT. So between these three versions of the bible, this one verse can be said to have had more impact and personal application for bible readers around the world than any other.
In these days of pressure for so many, it is no wonder that such words of hope and trust, worked out through prayer, with the fruit of peace in the life of the believer, have become so highlighted and shared. Looking at the other books on the list (Hunger Games aside) there is an emphasis on self help and life fix from Steve Jobs to Stephen Covey that makes the true message of the scriptures stand out all the more.
Lists like this show us more than just what people are reading and sharing - They highlight perhaps a western preoccupation with self improvement, but more positively, they demonstrate an obvious hunger for hope and change, and a willingness in post moderns to engage with scriptural truth to find satisfaction in the Jesus that they point towards.
Find the list here: https://kindle.amazon.com/most_popular/books_by_popular_highlights_all_time