10 Most Highlighted Bible Verses (Perhaps??)

10 Most Highlighted Bible Verses (Perhaps??)

In my post, No Power – No Faith, I commented that I had recently purchased a Kindle.

My friend Nathan wrote a post on his blog, NATHAM W. BINGHAM .COM, bearing the same title as this post (almost).

There he pointed out the Kindle record of the most frequently highlighted Bible verses in the ESV. His source is a feature of Kindle that records every time a verse is highlighted by a reader.

This intrigued me, so I had a look.

Strangely, I got a very different result when I did. But after consulting with Nathan, I discovered the reason for the difference is because he has the standard ESV loaded on his Kindle (a free download) and I have downloaded the ESV Study Bible which costs $9.99. So this accounts for the variance. (See Nathan’s comment below.) [And I just checked the ‘most highlighted in Kindle for iPad – different results again; so each platform is different also.]

Here’s what I found.

Most frequently highlighed verses in the ESV Study Bible:

Philippians 4:6-7 (205 highlighters)

6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:8 (158 highlighters)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:13 (143 highlighters)

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (138 Highlighters)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Galations 5:22-24 (132Highlighters)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Romans 8:38-39 (129 Highlighters)

38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:3-5 (117 Highlighters)

3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 8:28-29 (106 Highlighters)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Galations 2:20-21 (104 Highlighters)

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

2  Timothy 3:16-17 (80 Highlighters)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

No verses from the Old Testament. No verses from the Gospels, ie John 3:16 is not in this list – surprising! Curious that so many of the verses are from the Epistle to the Philippians.  Nathan asks some interesting question on his blog at the conclusion of his post – what do you think?

Here’s the results for the NIV

John 3:16 (17 Highlighters)

Philippians 4:4-6 (9 Highlighters)

Romans 8:28-29 (8 Highlighters)

Jeremiah 29:11-12 (7 Highlighters)

Matthew 6:33-34 (4 Highlighters)

Ephesiand 4:29-30 (4 Highlighters)

(No additional verses rated)

Only one verse is common to both lists – strange. Readers of the Kindle NIV highlight verses more widely distributed throughout the Bible. The data base from NIV readers is extremely small – why? The NIV is the best selling translation on the market today and has been for a number of years. Do NIV readers not highlight the verses they read??

There are two kinds of statistics – those you look up and those you make up. Always be careful of believing statistics without knowing the veracity of the data. Christian bloggers are always quoting what are believed to be statistics from scientifically verifiable data.

It’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusion about what statistics are telling you. (Initially, I was sceptical about these stat’s because mine differed from Nathans. Then he pointed out that I was reading stat’s gathered on a different version of the ESV. (I am relieved, because frankly, I couldn’t see how they could be so different – turns out they aren’t.) Make sure you are comparing the right data.

But be cautious –

“I always find that statistics are hard to swallow and impossible to digest.  The only one I can ever remember is that if all the people who go to sleep in church were laid end to end they would be a lot more comfortable.” ~Mrs. Robert A. Taft

I would love to hear your observation on these ‘statistics’ – please share your thoughts.


  1. Nathan W. Bingham

    Don, I suspect that either you’re using a different version of the eBook (statistics are based on individual books) or your stats have not been refreshed. The number of highlights (which I may add to my post) was much higher than what you have listed on yours. For example, John 3:16 is listed as having 540 highlights. I also asked a friend to check their Kindle and they had the same numbers as mine.

  2. Don

    Thanks, Nathan. I’ve confirmed that we are reading stat’s from two different versions of the ESV, yours the stand-alone Bible and mine the study Bible.

    That, no doubt, accounts for the difference.

    I suppose one should expect this difference as your version is a free download, so presumably more have downloaded the free version than the ESV Study Bible at $9.99.

    I will edit some of my post comments accordingly.

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