During Thanksgiving week we gather with friends & family to eat a festive meal and express gratitude for the many blessings we have been given. After those festivities our thoughts quickly turn to Christmas and celebrating Christ’s incarnation. It’s very easy to get distracted this time of year with all the cards to mail, decorations to put up, and gifts to buy. It can get to the point that we forget the true meaning of the season. For this reason many churches don’t just celebrate Christmas, but they have their congregations focus on Christ throughout the entire Advent season. Today I want to show you how Bible+ can aide your devotions and study time during this special time of year.
What is Advent?
While advent may be a familiar term within Christendom, there are many who do not know what it means. I won’t bore you with a long explanation, but will quickly summarize what advent is. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming” or “arrival.” For Christians it is the time of year when we specifically look to the comings of Jesus Christ, first in his coming to bring our salvation and his subsequent return to reign in glory. The advent season begins four Sundays before December 25, so the start date varies from year to year. This year Advent begins November 29. For four weeks the idea is to meditate on Christ’s coming, much like God’s people waited the thousands of years for him to arrive.
Whether you’re new to Advent or have been doing it for years, Bible+ has the tools you need to make it happen.
Of particular interest this year is a new Advent devotional from BroadStreet Publishing called Come and Behold Him. Unlike many Advent resources that have a reading for every day of the week, this devotional is organized into four weeks with readings for Monday through Friday. Each week centers on a different Advent theme, those being: hope, peace, joy, and love. The week’s reading begins with a reading from the Psalms, as well as a portion of the Christmas narrative from either Matthew or Luke. All the readings coincide with the Advent readings from the liturgical calendar. The devotional’s format gives you the option of reading the full selection of passages at the beginning of the week, or reading only the relevant passage for that day along with the short devotional based on that day’s reading. There is also one final reading for Christmas Eve/Day, depending on how your family celebrates the day.
Come and Behold Him is a great Advent devotional and can be used for either personal or family devotions. The combination of readings and short devotionals will be sure to prepare your heart for Christ’s coming.
Advent Reading Plan
If all you want for Advent is a list of passages to read each day, we also have that for you. In Bible+ you can search for our 2015 Advent reading plan. Here’s how to find and install it:
- Open your reading plans (iOS: Menu -> Reading Plans, Android: My Stuff Icon (briefcase) -> Reading Plans)
- Tap “Get More Reading Plans”
- Search for “advent”
- Tap the 2015 Advent Reading Plan
- Select “Install Free Reading Plan”
- Go back to your list of installed reading plans (step 1), then select your 2015 Advent Reading Plan
Once you have it setup, you’re ready to go!
We at Olive Tree hope these tools help you make the most of this holiday season as you anticipate & celebrate the coming of our Lord. Jesus is the reason why we celebrate, so let’s all make sure we take ample time to meditate on him during this time.
When I first learned how to do word studies I found them to be quite daunting. There was always a wealth of information and I never knew where to start. Of all the challenges I faced, the problem I had most often was picking the “right” word(s) to study from the passage I was reading. Not to mention, would the lexicons I had help me or even mention my verse? If that’s you or you’ve been there before, I want to show you how Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures can make your word studies even easier than they already are in Bible+.
Before We Get Started
Before we get started, I want to address the big question that most have about this resource: If I already have Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary do I still need Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures? The honest answer is maybe, but I strongly believe both are worth owning. While there is a lot of overlap between the two resources, the way you use each is completely different, and they are built to complement one another. The best way to think about them is like this: Vine’s Dictionary is a dictionary, whereas Vine’s Word Pictures is a commentary. So, let’s dive in and see how the two work in harmony. (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4).
Using Vine’s Word Pictures
To illustrate how Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures works we’re going to use the ESV Bible and 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 as our passage. As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this passage about comfort, suffering, and affliction. Where do we even begin?! This was one of the problems I had when learning to do word studies. This time, instead of getting overwhelmed, we’ll let Vine’s help us out. With the split window open, you can open Vine’s Word Pictures in the second pane. Since this resource functions as a commentary it will follow wherever your Bible goes.
One thing you’ll quickly notice about this resource is that it’s not like a normal commentary. There are no textual notes explaining the meaning of the passage. That’s what your other commentaries & study Bibles are for. Instead, what you get are the key words contained in each passage with definitions, theological significance, and clear cross references. You no longer have to guess which words to study because they are put in front of you. In this screenshot you can see a few key words include: mercies, comfort, and tribulation/trouble. Given the emphasis of this passage, these are words I’ll certainly want to study further.
I love cross references and Vine’s Word Pictures is not shy about providing them. Bible+ makes it easy to tap on the reference so you can read it without losing your place. Another bonus is that cross references within the same book of the Bible are boldfaced so you can take particular note of them.
Where this resource really shines is its Strong’s linking. Most words that are discussed also contain a transliteration of the corresponding Greek word and its relevant Strong’s number. These are tagged in Bible+ so you can tap on them and get more information about the word you’re studying. Within the pop-up you get the definition from the Strong’s dictionary, which is where Vine’s Dictionary comes into play.
Switching to Vine’s Dictionary
Let’s say the word “comfort” has caught our attention in this passage. We’ve read the entry in Vine’s Word Pictures, looked at the cross references, and perused the Strong’s pop-up. What next? Simple, let’s go to Vine’s Dictionary. The quickest way to get there is to tap the Strong’s number and then select the “Lookup” button at the bottom of the pop-up. From there, we can find the dictionary.
Unlike most lexicons and dictionaries, the nice thing about Vine’s is that it groups the original language words together based on their English translation. For us, this means that in our study on “comfort” we can go to the dictionary and not only find out information about our word’s usage as a noun, but we can easily get more information. Here we see additional material such as Greek synonyms we may want to include in our word study, as well as the verb form of the word. Not to mention, if there are other ways it is translated into English, we can get to those as well.
This is all information we would not have found if we had used Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures alone. And, if we had only used the dictionary we may not have even known this was a word worth looking at. But together we can get the big picture and walk away with a full understanding of the Greek word behind “comfort.”
Get Them Today
Add both Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures and Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary today and improve your word studies. Not only will you save yourself time, but you can rest assured that you’ll never miss an important word again. Get these titles and others in our current sale.
While many have lamented the thought of having to learn the original languages in Bible college or seminary, I relished the idea. I saw it as an opportunity to unlock a new world of Bible study that would give me greater insight for Bible interpretation. After several years of study I learned something very important: my English Bible was often enough. Yes, there were times when knowing Greek and Hebrew proved useful; but, for the most part, I found Bible translators had done a great job in conveying the thoughts of the Bible’s authors. If true, that begs the question. How do I use the original languages in my Bible study? Usually I’m doing word studies, which I want to show you how to do in Bible+.
Find a Word to Study
A few years ago I taught through 1 Thessalonians at my church. In 1 Thessalonians 2:4 I came across a phrase that made me want to dig deeper. In the Complete Word Study Bible the phrase reads as “we were allowed of God.” The word “allowed” felt a bit awkward to me, so I decided to investigate.
With the CWSB open, I tapped on “allowed” in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, which gave me some quick information from the CWSB Dictionary. I see that I’m dealing with the Greek word δοκιμάζω (dokimazō), which is Strong’s number G1381. Here I get the parsing, and as I scroll down the pop-up I get a definition. This information is useful, but that doesn’t satisfy my curiosity.
Finding All Occurrences
The next step in the process is to check all the occurrences of this word in the New Testament. This provides a wider grasp for how dokimazō is translated and its meaning(s). Bible+ makes this step really easy. All I have to do is tap the “Search for g1381″ button and it’ll search the CWSB for every occurrence of dokimazō based on its Strong’s number.
What I found is that dokimazō has a lot to do with the idea of examining or testing something. The majority of the usage comes from Paul and refers to examining one’s self. That’s an interesting observation. And, in the case of 1 Thessalonians 2:4 it’s interesting to see how God is the one approving or examining Paul and his co-laborers for the work of ministry.
It’s also worth noting that dokimazō occurs twice in this verse, which I wouldn’t have noticed from the English alone, since the second instance is translated as “trieth.” This data further improves my understanding of the original phrase in question.
Digging Deeper with Lexicons and Dictionaries
At this point, I have a good grasp on the lexical range of dokimazō, at least how it’s used in the New Testament. But, I don’t want to leave my study at that because I may be missing something. What can I do to go further? Simple, I’ll go back and tap the “Lookup δοκιμάζω” button from my Strong’s popup & search my dictionaries. Of the ones where I have hits, of particular interest to me is Vine’s Dictionary. There are two things I like about this dictionary: 1) the entry is based on the English word, so I can get a quick glance at any related original language words, and 2) it links to other ways the word is translated into English and provides some theological discussion on the word’s use.
After some reading, I find my understanding of dokimazō to be on par with what the dictionaries say. As it relates to our verse, not only does God test, like on the day of judgment (1 Cor. 3:13), but he is currently testing our hearts, specifically as it relates to our usefulness in ministry.
Get the Resources You Need
While it takes some time to read through all the material, a word study is really that easy with Bible+. Everything you need to do a word study is at your fingertips! Many of the resources you need to perform a word study, such as the two used above, are currently discounted in our current sale! Pick them up today while they’re at these low prices!
When I first heard about the Archaeological Study Bible, I wasn’t sure what to think. My initial thought was how could there be an entire Bible devoted to archaeological study? And honestly, how could a study Bible devoted to archaeological study not be a snoozer? So, I got a copy of the Archaeological Study Bible and began looking through it. Wow, was I impressed (and wrong)!
The Archaeological Study Bible is a great resource. There are 520 articles covering five main categories: Archaeological Sites, Cultural and Historical Notes, Ancient Peoples and Lands, the Reliability of the Bible, and Ancient Texts and Artifacts. The Bible Study App enriches the Archaeological Study Bible. As you read through your Bible, the split screen and resource guide keep you synced with your reading.
Here’s an example of an article on the Zealots and Essenes (screenshots from an iPad Mini 4, click images to enlarge):
Also included are almost 500 full-color photographs throughout the text. Here’s two examples:
Throughout the text there are detailed charts like this one:
At the end of the Archaeological Study Bible there are several maps that help you get an idea of the placement of biblical events:
The authors of the Archaeological Study Bible also included detailed book introductions for every book of the Bible. Other study tools include a glossary, extensive concordance and several indexes to help you find articles relevant to your study.
The Bible Study App enhances this resource when articles reference other articles within the Archaeological Study Bible. By tapping or clicking on the hyperlink, you can go directly to the related article, view in the Split Window, or view it in a Popup screen.
As you can see, you can spend hours learning the historical background of the Bible and the settings in which biblical events took place. The articles and pictures will give you insights into the Bible and make you feel like you could have been there.
You can get the Archaeological Study Bible for 50% off this week.
The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture does what very few of today’s students of the Bible could do for themselves. With the aid of computer technology, the vast array of writings from the church fathers—including much that is available only in the ancient languages—have been combed for their comment on Scripture. From these results, scholars with a deep knowledge of the fathers and a heart for the church have hand-selected material for each volume, shaping, annotating and introducing it to today’s readers. Each portion of commentary has been chosen for its salient insight, its rhetorical power and its faithful representation of the consensual exegesis of the early church.
Several features have been incorporated into the design of this commentary and we wanted to show you just a few. (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4. Click on Images for a larger view)
Pericopes of Scripture
The scriptural text has been divided into pericopes, or passages, usually several verses in length. Each of these pericopes is given a heading, which appears at the beginning of the pericope. For example, the first pericope in the commentary on Genesis is “1:1 The Beginning of Creation.” To see the Scripture passage, click on the highlighted reference, in this case “1:1.” A pop-up window will open the Scripture passage to your default Bible Translation.
Following each pericope of text is an overview of the patristic comments on that pericope. The format of this overview varies within the volumes of this series, depending on the requirements of the specific book of Scripture.
An abundance of varied patristic comment is available for each pericope of these letters. For this reason we have broken the pericopes into two levels. First is the verse with its topical heading. The patristic comments are then focused on aspects of each verse, with topical headings summarizing the essence of the patristic comment by evoking a key phrase, metaphor or idea. This feature provides a bridge by which modern readers can enter into the heart of the patristic comment.
Identifying the Patristic Texts
Following the topical heading of each section of comment, the name of the patristic commentator is given. An English translation of the patristic comment is then provided. This is immediately followed by the title of the patristic work and the textual reference—either by book, section and subsection or by book and verse references. Tap on the name to read a brief biographical sketch of the pastristic commentator.
Readers who wish to pursue a deeper investigation of the patristic works cited in this commentary will find the footnotes especially valuable. Taping on a footnote number will cause a box to pop up on the screen, where in addition to other notations (clarifications or biblical cross references) one will find information on English translations (where available) and standard original language editions of the work cited.
The Bible Study App makes the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture even more powerful!
Open your preferred Bible Translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window. You’ll see relevant commentary “hits” from the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture in the split window.
The Bible Study App also keeps up with the scripture passage you’re reading in the main window with sync scrolling. This means that as you move along in the Bible text, the commentary syncs to exactly where you are in your study. No more flipping pages back and forth. No more holding the commentary text open on your desk in one spot, reading through your Bible text, and having to go back and find your place in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.
Linked Reference Pop ups
One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary. With a hard copy, I have to open a different Bible and find each and every reference to read how the verse relates to what I am currently studying. This is time consuming, slows down my study momentum, and requires me to keep all of my study materials out and open, spread out over a large desk space. With The Bible Study App, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text. All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.
Copy/Paste into Notes
Commentaries are full of great content. I often find myself reading a passage, going deeper with the commentary and finding that “perfect quote” that sums up what I was thinking but didn’t know how to express it in written form. However, in the world of hard copy commentaries, I have to re-type it into my personal study notes. With The Bible Study App, all I have to do is highlight the text that i want, copy it and paste it into my notes. This feature saves me a ton of time, not to mention the wear and tear on my typing fingers!
Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)
In iPhone/iPad app, you also have an additional option. Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options to Copy, Highlight, Note, Bookmark, Share, Define, Lookup and More.
If you tap “Define” you will get the integrated iOS dictionary pop-up. This is extremely helpful when you run across a word in the commentaries or even the Bible text that you do not know.
Resource Guide on One Verse (iOS Extra)
An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse. Tap on a verse number and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Save, Share, Guide, and More.
If you tap the “Guide” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific verse. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above. You can even choose to open the commentary in the main or split window.
This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the commentary when you want to see what it says about a particular verse.
One of Bible+’s key features over the years has been its ability to store your notes and sync them across devices. Creating notes in Bible+ is so easy a caveman could do it. Yet, when it comes to getting those notes into another app or sharing them with someone else, that wasn’t nearly as easy. Before, if you wanted to get your notes out of our app you had one of two choices: 1) use our buggy Evernote sync solution or 2) manually select the text, then copy & paste it into another app, such as Pages. Neither of those solutions were very user friendly.
Bible+ 6 for iOS resolves this pain point and makes sharing a lot easier. In place of the previous methods, now Bible+ 6 implements the native iOS share functionality, both for notes and when you select text in a Bible or resource. You can use the share feature to share or export a note to Evernote, your social media accounts, email, or any other app that appears in the share menu.
For those who used the old Evernote sync, the export of notes no longer happens automatically, but we believe this functionality gives you more control and doesn’t limit you to just using Evernote.
Here are the steps to share a note to Evernote or any other app (screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4):
1. Create a note by tapping on a verse number or selecting text
2. After you’ve added content to the note, tap the Settings icon in the upper right corner of the “Edit Note” box
3. Tap “Share” from the bottom of the list and choose Evernote (or the app you want to share to)
Please note that you must have the Evernote app installed on your device for this option to work. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to sync your notes from Evernote back to Bible+. These same steps work for sharing Bible verses and any other text you can select within Bible+.