Top 10 Most Read Bible Verses in 2023

Top 10 Most Read Bible Verses in 2023

Every year, people read thousands of Bible verses and devotionals on social media or search for them online. This article looks at the top 10 Bible verses that our audience read this year. Some of these are well-known. Others may surprise you. Even if they are well-known, you may have never considered where the verses fit in their original context.

Discover the most popular Bible verses of 2023 with their context and meaning!

Like the 2022 article on that year’s most-read Bible verses, this article does not just feature the verses. We will look at the full chapter context in which each verse appears to consider the full message. We will also consider what application the verse has for us today.

So, as we near the end of the year, let us consider what the Bible has to say.

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Jeremiah 29:11

1. Jeremiah 29:11

Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Context: These words belong to a larger message that Jeremiah sends to people from the kingdom of Judah exiled in Babylon. These people have experienced Jerusalem (including their sacred temple) being destroyed, family members killed, and their king being blinded and led in chains to Babylon. Through Jeremiah, God tells the people what to do as foreigners living in Babylon: they will not return home soon, so they should start families, build houses, and be good citizens to their captors. However, they can have hope that eventually their people will return to Jerusalem, in 70 years, by which time their hearts will have turned back to God.

Meaning: God has a plan for our lives, and it is a good one, even if it does not appear that way at the moment. We may experience awful consequences for our mistakes (the Judeans lost their country to Babylon because they had turned their hearts away from God). The blessings or restoration may not be things we see in our lifetime (it was 70 years before the Judeans came home, so most of the returning generations were children or grandchildren of the original exiles). Still, the knowledge that God has good plans for us should give us hope. It can even motivate us to be hopeful, graceful presences in dark places (the Judeans were political prisoners in a hostile culture with no respect for their faith or history, yet they built healthy communities and strove to be good citizens in Babylons).

Further Reading: Does Jeremiah 29:11 Have Meaning for Us Today?

Isaiah 41:10

2. Isaiah 41:10

Verse: “Fear not, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” 

Context: Isaiah and Jeremiah served similar roles in the story of the Israelites being exiled. They both lived in the period leading up to the judgment. They both warned people about the coming judgment. However, as Matthew Henry observes, the chapters following Isaiah 39 discuss redemption and hope that people can carry even when they live in exile. Isaiah 41 contrasts other nations with God to show who is more powerful. It reminds readers of how God has provided for his people in the past, and they are his special possession. Compared to him, all foreign powers and gods are nothing.

Meaning: It is not easy to realize that our actions are leading to damage. God warned the people of Judah many times that their idolatry would create problems, and it did (the Babylonian exile). However, God is big enough to both warn us the consequences of our mistakes, and comfort us when those consequences come. Rather than leave us along to deal with the chaos we fell into, he promises to still guard and guide us. He is mightier than anything else. He supports us when all else fails. In his time, he will bring about good things for his people. We can rest in these promises not just in the good times, but even after we have disappointed him.

Further Reading: Bible Meaning of 'Fear Not for I Am with You' in Isaiah 41:10

Romans 8:28

3. Romans 8:28

Verse: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Context: Paul writes to the church in Rome about understanding their current sufferings, which “are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” He describes both believers and creation itself as groaning, yearning for the moment when God will redeem all things. The Holy Spirit aids Christians as they wait, providing strength and even interceding for them. They can know that God works good for those he loves because, through God’s foreknowledge, he predestined his children to become like Christ: he calls people, justifies people, and glorifies people.  

Meaning: We may suffer at the moment, in this period when the kingdom of God has come (it came with Christ) but has not culminated (Christ has not made his second coming where all things are made right). As theologians put it, we live in the “already-not-yet” phase of the kingdom plan. However, we know even though we suffer, we have been called by God, and the plan God has involves us being made holy, more like Christ. We can rest secure in the knowledge that as children of the kingdom, our destiny is assured. God works our circumstances into the redemption plan he has had from the beginning.

Further Reading: The Meaning of Romans 8:28 - Does God Really Work All Things for Good?

Joshua 1:9

4. Joshua 1:9

Verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Context: Joshua has reached a crucial moment in his life. He was with Moses when the Israelites traveled through the wilderness. When the Israelite scouting party gave an account of how imposing the Promised Land’s inhabitants were, Joshua and Caleb were the only scouting party members who said to follow God over fear. The people followed the other side’s advice, and God had the Israelites wander for another 40 years. Now, Moses has died, and God calls Joshua to take over where Moses left off: to enter the land Joshua watched his people fail to enter so many years ago. As God gives Joshua his instructions (to cross the Jordan River and start taking over Canaan), he routinely uses the phrase “be strong and courageous,” because God will lead him. 

Meaning: We will experience pain in this life. We will see people make huge mistakes (not trusting God’s direction) that may hurt us or have terrible consequences for the community at large. We may even feel alone, or be treated as crazy for not following the crowd (Joshua had one friend, Caleb, who agreed that the Israelites should go into the land). We may even see our mentors fail (Joshua led because Moses did something that displeased God and Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land). We may not see our opinion be vindicated for decades (it is 40 years later, after all the naysayers have died, that Caleb and Joshua get proven right), or wait until the final judgment for the final vindication. However, when we have every reason to be discouraged, God tells us to trust in him, and that he will guide us. Not only that, but he will even remind us of that (he tells Joshua multiple times to have strength and courage), to reaffirm that we are not in this fight alone.

Further Reading: What Did God Mean 'Be Strong and Courageous'?

Romans 12:2

5. Romans 12:2

Verse: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” 

Context: After explaining in Romans 11 that God has grafted Gentiles into his church, having the incredible mercy to open the kingdom doors to more than just Jewish people, Paul tells his readers what to do in light of that mercy. They should follow godly standards instead of worldly standards, which includes behaviors like: recognizing they are members of the body of Christ with different gifts, loving goodness and honoring each other, and responding with love and blessing when persecution happens. 

Meaning: The Bible never promises that life will be easy. Nor does it promise that people will like us for our faith. In fact, Romans 12 and multiple other New Testament passages promise that we will be disliked for our faith. People may even persecute us for our beliefs. However, God makes it clear we should not respond with retribution or anger when others hurt us. We can be hopeful, patient, and faithful because we know that our salvation is a surprising gift. After millennia in which God showed his saving grace to a particular group, he announced the kingdom of God was larger than anyone thought. Knowing that our faith came in a surprising way, that it shows God was even more merciful than people expected, we can treasure and appreciate our salvation. Knowing what an unexpected treasure it is helps us to find patience, joy, and diligence in the worst times.

Further Reading: What Does it Mean to Be Joyful in Hope?

Philippians 4:13

6. Philippians 4:13

Verse: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Context: Paul wraps up his letter to the church in Philippi with messages for two people feuding (Euodia and Syntyche), reminds all his readers to rejoice whatever their circumstances, and confirms he received gifts that they sent through Epaphroditus. The gifts were important since Roman prisons expected friends of the prisoners to provide all the necessities, food included. He thanks them for the gifts and affirms he is grateful for their generosity but clarifies he is not being selfish. He has gone with little and with a lot, and God gives him the strength to continue. God gives him strength to survive in the hard times as well as the difficult times.

Meaning: We will experience hard times (even great spiritual leaders like Paul are not exempt from them). Even receiving a blessing can be a mixed experience (Paul gets gifts from the church in Philippi . . . and news that two of its members are fighting). We cannot control our circumstances (whether we have much or little). What we can do is rest secure in the knowledge that God gives us what we need to continue. As we trust in him, as we rely on the strength he provides, we find we can endure the hard times as well as the easy times.

Further Reading: “I Can Do All Things through Christ” - Meaning of Philippians 4:13

Proverbs 4:23

7. Proverbs 4:23

Verse: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Context: Proverbs 4 reiterates an idea mentioned throughout the book of Proverbs, a fatherly narrator giving advice to his child about what to pursue in life. He tells the reader (his “son”) to pursue wisdom instead of foolishness, to avoid evil people who will bring violence and never now when they will stumble. To hold onto wisdom, the son must stay alert, keep hold of truth, watch out for his heart, watch his mouth, and to never turn away from following righteousness. While the advice about the heart may sound like the narrator is saying watch out that your emotions do not sway you, the passage means something even deeper. The Hebrew word for heart means the soul (the mind and the heart, the inner being that makes decisions).

Meaning: We are easily tempted to pursue temporary things instead of eternal things. Whether it is ill-gotten gains, putting others down, or even committing violence against others, there is a very long list of things that make us feel invincible for a moment. If we are going to honor God and live an honorable life, we must make the hard choice to pursue wisdom instead. A key part of living wisely is paying attention to what is around us, and what it makes us think or feel. Considering what we are thinking and feeling (not blaming the whole problem on thinking too much or on feeling too much) is key to living wisely. We know this is not an easy way to live, but as other verses in this article show, we do not find the strength in ourselves: we find it in God.

Further Reading: What Does It Mean 'Above All Else, Guard Your Heart' in Proverbs 4:23?

Exodus 14:14

8. Exodus 14:14

Verse:  “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Context: After the 10 plagues have happened and Pharoah frees the Israelites, Moses takes them away. However, as God tells Moses where to take the Israelites, God mentions that he is about to harden Pharoah’s heart so the Egyptians will come after them. However, the confrontation will bring glory to God, show Egypt that he alone is God. As God says, Pharoah and his chariots come after the Israelites. When the people panic, Moses tells them that God will keep them safe; they can be still because God will fight for them. After he makes this statement, God tells Moses to keep the Israelites traveling and reaffirms that Egypt will know he is God. Then, an angel who had traveled in front of Israel moved backward and became a pillar of cloud, separating the Egyptians from the Israelites.

Meaning: God often moves in ways we will not expect. We may debate what it means that God hardened Pharoah’s heart, how that fits with free will, and whether God only did that in this particular case. Regardless of what interpretation we take, the passage’s main message is the same: it happened for God’s glory. Not only that, but when it seemed all was lost, God affirmed his people were safe. We can rest in the fact that God is big enough to take even chaotic events and use them to bring glory to himself.

Further Reading: Will the Lord Fight for Us if We Are Still? (Exodus 14:14)

Isaiah 40:31

9. Isaiah 40:31

Verse: “. . . but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Context: As mentioned earlier, much of the first 39 chapters of Isaiah discuss judgment against both the southern kingdom of Israel and the northern kingdom of Judah for rejecting God. In Isaiah 40, after giving many warnings, Isaiah switches to a new subject. He provides comfort about what will come. There will be day when the people are free and return to Jerusalem. Isaiah explains clearly that the hope is rooted in God, and describes God’s many attributes, showing how God is more powerful than any obstacle. Therefore, the people can be assured that if they hope in God, they will find relief and strength.

Meaning: Sometimes the hardest thing is to hope again after a crisis. We fear getting hurt again. We fear that whatever we place our hope in will disappoint us, like what we trusted last time. However, God is in the business of redeeming our pain. He alone will never disappoint us, so when we place our hope in him, we find what we need to heal. In him, we can heal from our pain, find the endurance to continue, and hope that something new, something redemptive, is coming.

Further Reading: What Does it Mean to ‘Soar on Wings Like Eagles’?

John 3:16

10. John 3:16

Verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Context: Jesus says these words to Nicodemus, a religious teacher who meets with Jesus at night to prevent other teachers from knowing what he is doing. Nicodemus is confused by Jesus telling him that people must be “born again” to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus explains that the key is to become reborn in the Spirit through the Son of Man (the term Jesus often used for himself, based on Messianic prophecies). The reason the Son of Man has come, and will be lifted up, is that God loves the world and he offers eternal life to those who believe in the Son of Man.

Meaning: Salvation is a surprising thing. Jesus offered a salvation that no one expected (hence why Nicodemus was confused when Jesus talked about being born again). It was accomplished through something shocking (Jesus being lifted up . . . on a cross). Yet the Bible affirms that God’s unexpected method of bringing salvation was based on love. A love that could take on the world’s sin, and offer us eternal life. Will you accept that offer today?

Further Reading: What Is the Significance of ‘For God So Loved the World’ in John 3:16?

Connor SalterG. Connor Salter is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. In 2020, he won First Prize for Best Feature Story in a regional contest by the Colorado Press Association Network. He has contributed over 1,200 articles to various publications, including interviews for Christian Communicator and book reviews for The Evangelical Church Library Association. Find out more about his work here.