Tracking through the Bible


This year I have been pursuing my read through the Bible via the Bible App published by YouVersion. It’s been an ok experience. I’m not thrilled by vertical scrolling for any reading app, but the I do appreciate the way you progress through assigned chapters with a tap. I especially like how you can easily go back to a previous chapter in an assignment if you want to go back and re-read something.

The other day, however, I got something in my e-mail which did take me back a bit. The email congratulated me for keeping up with my plan, but noted that I missed a couple of days early. It then offered suggestions on how I might catch up. This bugged me for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s plain wrong. This isn’t really an “big issue,” but I haven’t missed a daily assignment yet, nor have I for the last several years no matter what app I’ve been using as the reader. Ever since I re-committed to reading through the Bible in it’s entirety every year it’s been the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning. So whatever the app is using to track my progress is off, and that’s annoying.

Second, and most importantly, can you say, “Creepy?” Why on earth would I want any company tracking my bible reading progress, much less send me email notifications reminding me they are tracking my progress? I actually have the reading plan set as “private” because I didn’t even want this in the YouVersion social feed. To me, that idea was creepy enough 1.

Now, I can turn off the notifications, but not the “encouragement 2” given through the app. I understand that this is probably an entirely automated system which is specifically keyed to my account, but it still bothers me. How is the data tracking my reading progress being used? I checked the privacy policy and it only speaks about “personal data,” I’m not certain if he plan I’m using, or the version I’m reading, or time of day I’m reading are considered “personal” by the site.

So, I’ll finish this year’s plan because I’m half-way through, but I think I’ll be heading back to Bibles I own in the future.

  1. At this point you might want to remind me that I use Facebook, which does far more nefarious things with the information it gleans. This is true, but I try to put nothing deeply personal on Facebook, everything on it is curated for public consumption. As far as I’m concerned, my devotional habits do not fall under that rubric. 
  2. That is, tracking data. 

One Comment

  1. Peg Horton says:

    I like the American Bible Society’s plan. I am in control. It is arranged in two ways,one year or two years. The readings can be in the morning and evening, and devided in the Old Testament psalms and New Testament each day. I use my large print Bible on my desk because s it is too heavy to hold. I use the ipad when studying

    Sent from my iPad

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