Lent begins this Ash Wednesday—February 10 this year—and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. For many people, it is a 40-day period—not including the six Sundays—devoted to reflection, repentance, fasting, and preparation prior to Easter.
Unlike Christmas, Easter is not a fixed date on the calendar; it is sometimes described as a “moveable feast.” The Western church decided long ago to set Easter as the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). Since the date of Easter varies widely (from March 22 to April 25), the dates of every other holiday related to Easter vary as well. The week before Easter is referred to as Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Thursday of that week is known in some traditions as Maundy Thursday because it memorializes Jesus’ final instructions and last meal with His disciples. The term “Maundy” is related to the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” which is the first word in the Latin version of John 13:34 that records Jesus’ new commandment to His disciples that they love one another. Since Jesus washed his disciples’ feet that fateful evening, Christians often do as Jesus did and wash one another’s feet. Good Friday follows. It is the day that commemorates the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Calling the day “good” seems ironic since Jesus died such a horrid death that day. However, what Jesus’ death accomplished for the redemption of the world is the greatest good the world has ever seen. The Sunday following Good Friday ends the season of Lent and is designated Easter. It may be the most celebrated day on the Christian calendar, for it commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the beginning of the new Kingdom. - Adapted from The Voice Bible.
Lent is a great time to think about starting a new reading plan.
Checkout our free reading plan especially for Lent. Adapted from The Voice Bible, this plan starts on Ash Wednesday, February 10 and continues until Easter Sunday. This is a great way to prepare your heart for Easter.
- Go to the Reading Plans section of the BIble+ App
- At the bottom of the list of reading plans tap the ‘Get More Reading Plans’ button
- The Lent Reading plan will be listed first
Once you tap the install button, the reading plan will be available to start.
With Valentine’s Day a few days away, love seems to be on everyone’s mind. While dates, fancy dinners, flowers, candy, and romance are nice, there is also the need to connect on a spiritual level. Christian couples ought to be investing in each other’s spiritual well-being just as much as they focus on the other areas of a relationship. Reading the Bible together is one way to cultivate this kind of intimacy & a resource like the Love Languages Devotional Bible is a great tool for making it happen. Today we want to show you how this devotional Bible can help you connect with and grow spiritually alongside your spouse.
Bible and Devotional in One
One of the great things about the Love Languages Devotional Bible is that it truly is an all-in-one resource. Unlike some of our resources where we split the Bible text and notes into separate resources in your library, this time we kept everything together to create a seamless experience. This Bible is to be used daily with your spouse as you walk through the pages of Scripture together. As you read from Genesis to Revelation you will encounter 312 devotions and studies that help you engage the Bible and apply it to your lives as a married couple. There is a devotion for each weekday that includes a Bible reference and biblical insights, as well as prayer and reflection prompts. Each weekend contains a short Bible study that can be completed individually or as a couple.
There are a few ways to access the devotional material in this Bible. The first way is to encounter it as you’re reading through the Bible. Throughout the Bible text are links to the day’s corresponding devotion.
The second way is to use the menu (switch to List View) and navigate to the list of devotional readings and choose your current day.
Additional Readings and Articles
Because God made men and women differently, there are no one-size-fits-all answers to questions about topics like communication, sex, friendship, and free time. That is why the Love Languages Devotional Bible also includes articles that help you understand each other a little better while also providing some context to talk about those differences together.
There are also a couple sets of 30 Bible readings that will help you in your understanding of who God is or grow in your faith. If you’re not quite ready to dive in deep with the devotions and longer Bible reading, these are a good way to get started studying the Scriptures with your spouse.
Finally, the Love Languages Devotional Bible also includes a topical index. This section is designed to help you find information about more than 100 relationship-oriented themes. It’s a great resource that will link you to both Bible verses and articles related to whatever topic you’re exploring. If you want to study what the Bible says on a specific subject, this is the place to start.
Enhance Your Marriage
There is no one “right way” to use this Bible. You can read it individually or set aside a time to read it together. If you can’t always find the time to read as a couple, that’s okay! The important thing is that the two of you are reading the Bible, talking about your relationship, and learning to love one another more deeply—following the example of Christ.
Whether your relationship is healthy or struggling, spending time with God, reading His Word, and communicating meaningfully will greatly enhance your marriage. Prayerfully, God will use the Love Languages Devotional Bible as a helpful tool to draw you closer to Him and closer to each other.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.