Why We Do Digital Devotionals

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Guest Post by Lana Dwire via EdifyHub

“Steve, I’m not sure if I’d really use an iPad if we got it.”

“Well, Lana, if you don’t use it, it will become mine. I’m sure I’ll use it!”

That was the conversation several years ago. Hard to believe I thought I wouldn’t use the iPad that much. Guess what? Steve never got the iPad we bought because I absolutely love being able to use Olive Tree on it for my Bible devotions!

Previously I was a firm believer in doing devotions with a “real” Bible. There’s just something about having the actual book in your hands….but then I saw all that Steve could do with the Olive Tree app….and how I had a stack of books – the BIG Strong’s Concordance, Nave’s Topical Bible, my notebook & pen. Hmmm….maybe it would be nice to have it all together as one. It would make it so easy for traveling too!

So, I got the iPad, installed Olive Tree, and haven’t regretted one bit switching to having my devotions on the iPad! Oh, I do love using my “real” Bible for church, but I can dig into His Word so much more and so much more easily by using Olive Tree resources for my devotions.

So, what about Olive Tree do I love so much? Glad you asked!

As I previously mentioned, it’s so nice having everything together – no need to have a pile of books beside me, and when we’re traveling, I still easily have everything I need – concordance, commentaries, cross references, my notes, etc., even when there is no internet connection.

Here are some of the features I love:

    • Strong’s Concordance – I can simply tap on a word and have the Strong’s info pop right up (including the definitions and other verses it is used in). I love this feature because it is so much quicker than using
      the HUGE concordance with tiny print, and it aids so much to understanding the verses.
    • Notes – I can then type or copy & paste the Strong’s definitions right in my notes which can be attached to a specific verse or just in a file.
    • Split Screen – It’s so nice to have the Scriptures on one side of my screen and my notes, commentary, cross references, maps, etc. on the other half!
    • Highlighting – If I want to highlight or underline words in different colors in the Scriptures, I can do that too.
    • Prayer List – I also keep my prayer lists in the notes files. I enjoy praying Scripture verses for my husband and children, and I love being able to put a Bible reference in my prayer list, tap on the reference, and voila – I have the Bible verse right in front of me!
    • Commentaries – I can access various commentaries right at my fingertips, and I can have it side by side with the Scripture passage I am reading.
    • Cross Referencing – Do you have a Bible that cross references to other verses? Well, I enjoy using the cross referencing part of Olive Tree too.

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I believe the easy access to all these features and tools has greatly helped me learn so much more from God’s Word, and it has gotten me excited to keep learning more!

Read more here!

5 Benefits of NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study App

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The New International Commentary Series on the Old Testament (NICOT) and New Testament (NICNT) are highly regarded scholarly resources that are always ranked at the top by scholars, pastors, students, and professors.

Here are Five benefits of the NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study App.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4.  Click on Images for a larger view)

1. Resource Guide

Open your preferred Bible Translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window.  You’ll see relevant NICOT/NICNT commentary “hits” in the split window.

Bible+ 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 NICOT/NICNT 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 commentary. You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.


2. Search & Look Up Feature

Search the NICOT/NICNT for words or passages.  Take “love” as an example.  You can search the entire NICOT/NICNT series for where “love” is mentioned in the commentary series.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

 

3. Linked Reference Pop ups

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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 Bible+, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text.  All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

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Related to this is footnotes/endnotes.  Since the NICOT/NICNT is a highly scholarly work, there are a lot of references to other materials.  In the past I would have to stop where I was in the reading, look at the footnote, then go back to where I was in the writing.  This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought.  With Bible+, all of the footnotes are linked.  Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.

4. 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, Save, 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 NICOT/NICNT or even the Bible text that you do not readily know.

5. Look at One Verse (iOS Extra)

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options to Tap and hold 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 NICOT/NICNT in the main or split window.

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This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the NICOT/NICNT when you want to see what it says about a particular verse.

As you can see, the NICOT/NICNT within Bible+ gives you the best in scholarly work, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Look Inside: The Preacher’s Commentary Series

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Pastors have a hard job. They get in front of their congregations every week and preach a word from the Lord with the intent of impacting their lives and souls. To accomplish this goal the preacher must do two things: 1) explain the text, and 2) relate the text. Many of the Puritans believed a preacher had to saturate himself with Scripture and apply it to himself before he could preach it with power to others. With such sound advice, what can a preacher do to aide in the application of Scripture both to himself and others? This is where a resource like the Preacher’s Commentary Series is handy; it helps preachers and teachers understand their passage while providing applicable truths & illustrations.

Let’s look inside The Preacher’s Commentary Series and see how it works in the Bible Study App.

Resource Guide

Like any enhanced resource you purchase for the Bible Study App, the Preacher’s Commentary Series is built to work hand-in-hand with the Resource Guide. As you read the Bible the Resource Guide follows along and gives an overview of resources in your library that have content related to your passage. In the screenshot below you can see we have a hit in the commentary section for the Preacher’s Commentary Series. Since I’m currently studying the armor of God in Ephesians 6, I can quickly see what this commentary says without having to go find the commentary in my library and manually open it to my desired location. Not only do I save time, but I get the information I need with minimal effort.

The Commentary

One thing I appreciate about the Preacher’s Commentary is it reads like a devotional. Instead of getting caught in the nuances of the text that may not help you teach a passage, the commentary keeps an eye on explaining the things that matter. This means you don’t waste time skimming through pages of endless commentary to find the nuggets you came for. For example, in the commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20 the text is explained while intertwining a great illustration that bring immediate application. You then get descriptions for each piece of armor and their relevance to the Christian life.

Use it Today

The Preacher’s Commentary Series is a perfect companion for the teacher or pastor looking to relate the passage to their students or congregation.

Add the Preacher’s Commentary Series to your Olive Tree library today. Also be sure to check out the other titles we have on sale!

Bible Study Tip: Night Theme

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While there is a lot that has remained the same with the recent updates to our apps, there is a lot that has changed & new features that have come your way. One feature users have been wanting for some time is the ability to easily use our app at night or in a dark location. A theming engine was one of the new features that was added to the app. This theming engine includes a dark theme that is perfect for night reading. We haven’t said a lot about this feature, but now that it is making its debut on Android, we want to show you how to enable and use the dark/night theme on each platform.

iPhone & iPad

Enabling the dark theme on iOS devices is extremely easy and only takes two taps. First, tap the menu icon (the icon at the top left of the screen). Second, tap the dark circle under “Select Theme” at the top of the menu. That’s it, you’re done! You’ve enabled the dark theme, which you can use for reading at night or other low light situations. To go back to the normal theme follow the same steps & select the other theme.

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Android

The dark theme on Android is only two taps away and here are the steps to make it happen. First, tap the “Quick Settings” icon (the “A” with a gear). Second, tap the dark circle at the bottom of the Quick Settings menu. It’s that easy! To go back to the normal theme follow the same steps & select the other theme.

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Windows Desktop

We didn’t mention this as a feature when we released our Windows Desktop update last summer, but it has a dark theme as well. It’s not quite as easy to find as it is on iOS or Android, but it’s there nonetheless. Here are the steps to enable it. First, click the “Bible Study” button (green button at the top left) to open the menu. Select “Bible+ Options.” Next, click the “Colors and Fonts” tab in the Options pop-up. With that tab open, go to the bottom and select the dark theme. This enables the dark theme; now close the Options menu and get back to studying. Again, follow the same steps to return to the light theme.

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Look Inside: Boice Expositional Commentary Series

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Pastors have a hard job. They get in front of their congregations every week and preach a word from the Lord with the intent of impacting their lives and souls. To accomplish this goal the preacher must do two things: 1) explain the text, and 2) relate the text. What can a preacher do to aide in the application of Scripture both to himself and others? The same question can also be asked of those engaged in personal Bible study. This is where a resource like the Boice Expositional Commentary Series is handy; it helps preachers, teachers & students of the Bible understand their passage while providing applicable truths & illustrations.

Let’s look inside the Boice Expositional Commentary Series and see how it works in Bible+.

Resource Guide

Like any enhanced resource you purchase for Bible+, the Boice Expositional Commentary Series is built to work hand-in-hand with the Resource Guide. As you read the Bible the Resource Guide follows along and gives an overview of resources in your library that have content related to your passage. In the screenshot below you can see we have a hit in the commentary section for Boice’s Commentary. Since I’m currently studying Jesus’ prayer in John 17, I can quickly see what this commentary says without having to go find the commentary in my library and manually open it to my desired location. Not only do I save time, but I get the information I need with minimal effort.

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The Commentary

One thing I appreciate about the Boice Expositional Commentary Series is it reads like a devotional or sermon. Instead of getting caught in the nuances of the text that may not help you teach or better understand a passage, the commentary keeps an eye on explaining the things that matter. The series combines careful scholarship and clear communication in a verse-by-verse and section by section reading of the books of the Bible it covers. Combining thoughtful interpretation with contemporary insight for daily living, Boice explains the meaning of the text and relates the text’s concerns to the church, Christianity, and the world in which we live. Whether used for devotions, preaching, or teaching, this authoritative and thought-provoking series appeals to a wide range of readers, from serious Bible students to the interested everyday Christian.

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Add it Today

The Boice Expositional Commentary Series is a perfect companion for the pastor or Bible student who wants to dig into the Bible and apply it. Add this commentary series to your Olive Tree library today. Also be sure to check out the other titles we have on sale!

What’s in the 500 Million Synced Items?

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If you haven’t already heard, our sync server recently reached the milestone of syncing 500 million items. Today, we wanted to give you an idea of what this data looks like in terms of numbers and types of items that are synced.

With over 6 million users of our software, over one million have created an account so they can sync their annotations. Of those million users, here’s some interesting data based on what they’ve synced.

Highlights

Whether you have a physical or digital Bible, one of the things that people like to do in their Bibles is highlight their favorite passages. This is no different in Bible+ and our users love to highlight. Our users have created and synced over 87 million highlights to our servers!

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Of those highlights that have been made, here are their favorite colors: 1) yellow, 2) green, and 3) pink. But, did you know you can also create your own highlighter colors & styles? The highlighting possibilities are endless & you can truly make your Bible+ experience unique.

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Although you can highlight more than Bible text in Bible+, the Bible verse that has been highlighted the most is Romans 12:2, which is certainly a verse we should all live by.

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Notes

Another thing Olive Tree users like to do is make notes. These are an excellent way to use our app. When synced you can access them on any device and easily share them with others via email or your favorite social network. You can create notes on a single word, an entire Bible verse or chapter, or anywhere you can highlight & select text. Notes are a versatile way to remember what you’ve learned as you study the Bible or for preparing a lesson. How you use notes is completely up to you.

When it comes to making notes, our users have synced over 13 million notes. If you were to put each note on a single piece of paper, it would create a stack of paper over a mile high!

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Sharing

The beauty of owning a digital Bible is that it makes it easy to share things with others. With Bible+ sharing verses or favorite quotes is only a few taps away. Again, if you can select the text you can probably share it from the app. Of the users that sync their data, over 1.5 million verses & quotes have been shared outside the app, whether it be to a social network or email. That’s a lot of sharing of God’s Word!

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Other Interesting Stats

Here are a few other stats that may impress you about the 500 million synced items:

  • Almost 600,000 titles have been marked as a favorite in users’ libraries
  • Over 470,000 reading plans have been started
  • More than 4.3 million user tags have been created

Finally, a few more general stats that may interest you:

  • We’ve received over 38,000 5 Star reviews on iTunes
  • The Book formatting department released over 2,000 new titles in 2015
  • Customer support answered over 47,000 support tickets in 2015
  • Our developers released major updates to 3 platforms in 2015 (Mac is still in the works)

If you haven’t taken advantage of the free sync service in Bible+, register for a free account today!

In celebration of these 500 million synced items and taking a look back at an incredible 2015 we have put last year’s best selling Bible study tools on sale. Add them to your library today!

Note: No user identifiable information was used when gathering these statistics from our servers.

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