How Audio Bibles Change The Way You Engage

Posted by on 09/21/2018 in:

By listening to the Bible, you may think you’ve joined the new phenomenon of audio book, podcasts, etc. However, you’re actually participating in an ancient tradition of listening to God’s Word read aloud. Here are four ways that audio Bibles can change the way you engage Scripture and the world around you.

ENGAGE HOLISTICALLY WITH AUDIO BIBLES

Ancient Near-Eastern societies were hearing dominant. They didn’t have much that compares to books and authors like we do today. Instead, all information was shared orally. Traditions and stories were passed on, generation by generation, through word of mouth. This may seem incredibly impressive—but, think about how many songs you know the words to, without ever seeing them written down. If you hear something enough times, you’re sure to remember it.

In our days of writing and reading, authority is often found in books and authors. But, in hearing-dominant societies, authority remains in tradition and community. We can see this play out even after Jesus leaves. The Gospels weren’t written immediately after the ascension. Instead, for years the disciples shared the good news by word-of-mouth. The stories of Jesus’ life belonged to the Christian community and were preserved by their constant re-hashing of events.

There are many important reasons for us to have Scripture written down. But, when you listen to the Bible read aloud, you are participating in an ancient tradition. It’s neat to step back, close your eyes, and hear God’s Word spoken over you like Christians and Jews experiences for centuries.

ENGAGE EFFECTIVELY WITH AUDIO BIBLES

We all know at least one speed-reader who can bust through the Lord of the Rings trilogy in a month. They make reading look easy. But, for most people, reading is more of a challenge.

First of all, it can be difficult to keep a focused mind. Ever find yourself re-reading that verse for a third time? We’ve all been there.

But secondly, the Bible is definitely one of the more difficult books to stay completely focused while reading. This isn’t something we should be ashamed of, but recognize that there are a lot of unfamiliar concepts in there! Not only are you trying to understand what God is trying to teach you (a big enough goal!) but you’re also trying to pronounce Melchizideck correctly, understand the importance of Levirate law, and remember the context of the passage.

That’s a lot.

But audio Bibles can relieve some of that overload.

By listening, you can give your mind a break. You can more easily take in information and process it… and then remember it.

Most people learn better, retaining more information, by listening. If this is you, then audio Bibles can be a game-changer.

ENGAGE DIFFERENTLY WITH AUDIO BIBLES

You also may discover that you can find new takeaways by listening.

This is similar to the differences you may find in reading an email and having a person talk to you over the phone.

Inflections can bring text to life, providing more emotion and context. While reading Paul’s sometimes long-winded letters, you may get lost and lose sight of the point of the sentence. But by listening, you may actually be able to engage different with the text than ever before.

ENGAGE MORE WITH AUDIO BIBLES

Often, the sweetest moments of being a child of God are found in intentional silence, quietly reading or writing. It is definitely important to find this quiet alone time, where we can humbly meet with God.

However, if you have kids, a job, or the need to go buy groceries once in awhile, then you know this quiet alone time can be hard to attain.

But audio Bibles can help fill in the gaps.

Say you only have 40 minutes left before you need to get the kids ready for bed. You haven’t exercised or read the Bible today. Instead of feeling torn between two healthy activities, combine them. Listen to an audio Bible while you run, taking care of both your soul and your body.

You can also get creative. Think of activities you do during the day that require your hands and eyes, but your ears are free to listen. What about:

  • driving
  • doing dishes
  • rocking a baby to sleep
  • going on a walk
  • getting ready in the morning

I’m sure you can think of many other opportunities to listen to God’s Word.

Lastly, I wouldn’t recommend that you replace intentional quiet time with this multi-tasking-Bible-listening. Like I said before, audio Bibles can help fill in the gaps. They can help you engage more. Find ways to use them throughout the day to get an extra dose of God’s Word that you couldn’t have before.

START LISTENING

Ready to start listening to God’s Word? Visit our website to see all the new audio Bibles we’ve made available.

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10 Things to Know About Olive Tree Audio

Posted by on 09/17/2018 in:

During a meeting a few months ago, the head of our development team showed us a chart. But this was not a normal chart. A gamut of colors, lines, and words, mostly indiscernible to non-developers, filled the screen like a jumbled mess of colorful spaghetti. This, we were told, is our new goal. After many pots of coffee, inspirational meetings, and finally putting a legend on the chart, a brand-new feature emerged from this tangled web: Olive Tree audio Bibles and books.

After months of hard work, we have finally released this new feature in our app. 

You can get this new feature as soon as the update hits your device.
For iOS devices, you’ll need to have iOS 10 or higher.
For Android, you’ll need to be running 5.0 or higher.

But, like most things we do, we want to go above and beyond expectations. We don’t want people to use our app to only read the Bible. We want people to study the Bible. So, why would our audio experience only consist of listening to the Bible? That would be too easy.

Here are 10 ways the Olive Tree audio feature will raise the bar.

Rather watch a video? Scroll to the bottom.

Olive Tree Audio 1

1) WHERE DO YOU WANT TO START?

If you’ve tried to listen to the Bible in an app not built by Christians, for Christians, then you know the pain of always starting audio at the beginning of a chapter (or worse, the beginning of a book!). What if you want to start at verse 43?

Enter Olive Tree’s verse-level navigation for audio Bibles. With the same familiarity of choosing where you want to start reading the Bible, you can choose where to start listening.

Olive Tree Audio 2

2) SPEAKING OF READING…

Want to read as you listen? No problem. We’ll have the verse display on your device while the audio is running so you can read along.

Olive Tree Audio 3

3) PICK UP THE PACE

You get to be in charge of how fast or slow the audio plays. Speed controls can get those slow-talking narrators to pick up the pace.

Olive Tree Audio 4

4) TAKE YOUR PICK

We have been working hard to get some of the best audio Bibles and books out there. Our store currently has over 12,000 different digital books and resources, and we are equally dedicated to providing as much quality, audio content as possible.

Here are some of our favorites:

NKJV Word of Promise Audio Bible

NIV Listener’s Audio Bible

ESV Hear the Word Audio Bible

KJV Audio Bible — Voice Only

Olive Tree Audio 5

5) BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: STREAMING & DOWNLOADING

Most audio apps offer either streaming or downloading. A survey of our users taught us that having both options is the crowd favorite. So, we decided to give the people what they want.

We’ll even let you download individual books of the Bible to conserve space. We wouldn’t want you deleting all those cute pictures of your dog from your phone.

Olive Tree Audio 6

6) KEEP YOUR FAVORITES

Want to remember your favorite parts without scrolling through audio? Easy. Create a bookmark or short clip of the audio for safekeeping.

Olive Tree Audio 7

7)  SWITCH IT UP

You’re free to stop listening and later continue where you left off. You shouldn’t have to start over just because you began listening on your iPhone in the car and can’t start again until tomorrow.

Olive Tree Audio 8

8) LISTEN SAFELY IN THE CAR

Want to listen while you drive? We’ve included a driving mode that provides you with an easy-to-tap design. Being in God’s Word is important, but we would hate for you to be distracted behind the wheel.

9) LISTEN WHILE STUDYING

If you’re a multi-tasker, you’ll love this feature. Using audio in our app won’t prevent you from accessing all your other resources. Instead, continue opening maps, comparing translations, reading commentaries, and taking notes.

10) ALL IN ONE PLACE

Lastly, this feature is added to our already popular, free app: the Olive Tree Bible App. There won’t be a separate app for audio. We want to keep everything easy to access, all in one place.

LEARN MORE

See all the new audio Bibles and books available on our store!

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The Meaning of Instruments in Psalms

Posted by on 09/10/2018 in:

Instruments in Psalms srcset=

Psalm 150 talks about praising God with many different kinds of instruments that you may or may not find in your own church. The NIV Application Commentary offers fantastic background to the meaning of instruments in Psalms. Read the excerpt below to learn for yourself!

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

—Psalm 150:3-5

OFFER PRAISE TO THE DIVINE KING

In verses 3–5 the psalmist declares that the praise of God as the great King begins in the context of celebratory worship. Even though the instruments listed in these verses were used in temple worship, their purpose has likely been expanded in Psalm 150.

As suggested below, the language and imagery used in these verses allude to “everything the biblical tradition knows about celebrating the appearance and majesty of a king, or a god-­king.”

Thus verses 3–5 do not comprise simply a call to make music before God; instead, they suggest that celebratory music and dancing are demonstrable evidences of the people’s confession concerning the kingship of Yahweh.

INSTRUMENTS IN PSALMS: THE TRUMPET

The Hebrew term for “trumpet” is shofar, a term that makes its way into the English vocabulary as well (“shofar”). Rather than being a polished brass instrument, the shofar is the horn of an animal and lacks any type of mouthpiece. Because the shofar lacks a mouthpiece to govern sound, it is not designed to serve as a melodic instrument.

Instead, in the Old Testament world the shofar was simply blown to signal that certain events were impending, including war (Josh 6:4–20; Judg 3:27) and festal events such as the Day of Atonement (Lev 25:9).

In Exodus 19 the shofar is sounded at Sinai to signal to the people the coming presence of Yahweh. In other words, the shofar served as “the acoustic signal of the theophany” of Yahweh, the Divine King. Similarly, the shofar was used as a signal to announce God’s royal rule (Pss 47:6; 98:6).

INSTRUMENTS IN PSALMS: THE HARP AND LYRE

Both terms refer to stringed instruments, although the word for “harp,” nebal, is more difficult to identify with precision. It is possible that nebal simply refers to a different type of lyre (a standing lyre versus a hand lyre).

The books of Chronicles explain that the harp and lyre were the instruments played by the Levites for temple music (cf. 1 Chr 15:16).

In addition to making music, these instruments were understood to have something of a “numinous effect.” The playing of the harp and lyre drove the evil spirit out of Saul (1 Sam 19:9–10), and according to 2 Chronicles 5, the harp and lyre were played prior to the arrival of the glory of Yahweh.

INSTRUMENTS IN PSALMS: TIMBREL AND DANCING

As noted in the commentary on Psalm 149, dancing and the playing of the timbrel can function in a proleptic, anticipatory sense.

In Psalms 96 and 98 the making of music and dancing signaled “the inbreaking of the universal royal reign” of Yahweh. Both psalms declare that Yahweh will judge the peoples of the earth and, in doing so, will restore the world to its right order under the reign of God.

As similarly in Psalm 149, the call to dance and make music in Psalm 150 functions proleptically. The psalmist invites “everything that has breath” to sing and dance before the Divine King in praise of who he is and in anticipation of what he will do.

INSTRUMENTS IN PSALMS: CLASH OF CYMBALS

Verse 5 mentions cymbals (tseltselim) twice: “clash of cymbals” and “resounding cymbals.” The Hebrew could also be translated as “cymbals of sound [shema]” and “cymbals of a loud blast [teru‘ah].”

While the translation provided by the NIV attempts to be descriptive of their sounds, the alternative translation provided here attempts to capture their purpose. The word teru‘ah, “loud blast,” has a considerable range of meaning, but included in that range is reference to a war cry that would have been shouted prior to battle. Such a cry would have accompanied the blowing of the shofar (cf. Zeph 1:16). Elsewhere the loud “blast” or shout was used in cultic settings (Lev 23:9) to announce the great feast.

Additionally, the “shout” was lifted up in celebration of the coming of the Divine King (Pss 47:5; 81:2; 95:1).

Thus, as John Goldingay explains, the first reference to cymbals (“cymbals of sound”) was meant to encourage “the people to listen to what is about to happen,” and the second reference (“cymbals of a loud blast”) tells them that it is “time to shout in acclamation.” Understood in this way, verse 5 does not imply the loud, frenetic clanging of cymbals, as might first be imagined, but instead may reflect the liturgical use of musical instruments to guide the people toward anticipatory worship and unfettered praise of their God.

NIV Application Commentary

LEARN MORE

This excerpt on instruments in Psalms is from the NIV Application Commentary. It is the perfect balance of scholarly insights and real-life application. Learn more about this resource and add it to your library on our website.

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Healing Two Women: Commentary on Mark 5:21-43

Posted by on 09/03/2018 in:

Healing Two Women: Commentary on Mark 5

Jesus did many remarkable miracles during his ministry. One of the most captivating is his healing of two women on the same day in Mark 5. When reading this passage with commentary, you gain so many insights that you wouldn’t know otherwise. So, we’ve included excerpts from the IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 2nd Edition. Enjoy reading this familiar passage with commentary on Mark 5.

FROM THE IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT, 2nd EDITION

This passage includes two cases of reversing uncleanness: a woman with a continual flow of blood and a corpse (see Lev 15:19-33; Num 19:11-22). Even after the flow stopped, the first woman would be counted unclean for seven days (Lev 15:28); the dead girl was even more unclean, so that one who touched her contracted impurity for a week (Num 19:11).

MEETING JAIRUS — MARK 5:21-24 

21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 

Commentary on Mark 5:21-24

The precise duties of “rulers of the *synagogue” probably varied somewhat from one place in the empire to another; sometimes the title designates simply benefactors, perhaps to honor them, but elsewhere they were the chief officials in synagogues (perhaps not unrelated to their social influence); virtually always they were prominent members of their communities.

Jairus’s daughter had been a minor until that year and on account of both her age and her gender had little social status apart from her family. One would fall at the feet of someone of much greater status (like a king) or prostrate oneself before God; for this prominent man to humble himself in this way before Jesus was thus to recognize Jesus’ power in a serious way.

THE BLEEDING WOMAN — MARK 5:25

25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 

Commentary on Mark 5:25

This woman’s sickness was reckoned as if she had a menstrual period all month long; it made her continually unclean under the *law (Lev 15:25-28)—a social and religious problem on top of the physical one. Sometimes this condition starts after puberty; if that was true in her case, given a common ancient life expectancy of about forty years and the “twelve years” that she had been ill, she may have spent even half or all her adult life with this trouble.

Since she could not bear children in this state, and Jewish men often divorced women who were incapable of bearing (cf., e.g., Pseudo-Philo, Biblical Antiquities 42:1), this woman probably had never married or (if the sickness began after marriage) had been divorced and remained single. In a society where single, celibate women could not easily earn much income, the illness affected virtually every area of her life.

THE BLEEDING WOMAN — MARK 5:26

26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 

Commentary on Mark 5:26

Although some remedies were genuinely empirically based, many practices of both Jewish and Gentile physicians in biblical times were no more than superstitious remedies, which not surprisingly often proved ineffective (cf. 2 Chron 16:12; Tobit 2:10; *Qumran Genesis Apocryphon 20:19-20). Although many physicians in the Greek world were slaves, Palestinian Jewish sources suggest that physicians in Palestine had ample incomes. Some Palestinian Jews were skeptical of physicians’ value.

THE BLEEDING WOMAN HEALED — MARK 5:27-29

27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

Commentary on Mark 5:27-29

If this woman touched anyone or anyone’s clothes, she rendered that person ceremonially unclean for the rest of the day (cf. Lev 15:26-27). Some uncleanness was unavoidable, but it was inconvenient to fulfill the required bath, and men avoided uncleanness when they could. Because she rendered unclean anyone she touched, she should not have even been in this heavy crowd.

Later Jewish tradition made this danger even more serious than Leviticus had (e.g., Mishnah Toharot 5:8), so many teachers avoided touching women (other than their wives) altogether, lest they become accidentally contaminated. Thus she could not touch or be touched, was probably now divorced or had never married, and was marginal to Jewish society.

THE BLEEDING WOMAN HEALED — MARK 5:30-34

30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Commentary on Mark 5 - photo 1

Commentary on Mark 5:30-34

Jewish people believed that only teachers closest to God had supernatural knowledge. Jesus uses his supernatural knowledge to identify with the woman who had touched him—even though in the eyes of the public this would mean that he had contracted ritual uncleanness. (By law, she was still counted as unclean for seven days after her flow of blood stopped; Lev 15:28.)

Given the frequent failure of the male *disciples’ faith (8:17-21; 9:19), Mark’s record of this woman’s faith (cf. 7:29; 12:44; 15:40-41) is all the more striking, especially for readers whose culture considered women less stable and emotionally weaker than men.

JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER IS DEAD — MARK 5:35-39

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 

Commentary on Mark 5:35-39

Childhood deaths were common (in Egypt, which was poorer, perhaps half the children born did not survive into adulthood). Tradition expected at least two or three professional mourners (two flutists and a mourning woman) to facilitate grief at the funeral of even the poorest person; more mourners would assemble at the death of a member of a prominent family like this one.

Because bodies decomposed rapidly in Palestine, mourners had to be assembled immediately upon someone’s death (presumably especially when it had been expected), and in this case they had gathered before word even reached Jairus that his daughter had died. Messengers were normally dispatched immediately to bring a parent or spouse the sad news.

THE SECOND WOMAN HEALED — MARK 5:40-43

40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Commentary on Mark 5:40-43

In that culture, at the age of twelve the girl was a virgin probably soon to be married (with very rare exceptions, women were not able to continue in education as they do today). Young girls usually looked forward eagerly to their wedding day as the most joyous event in their life, and to die unmarried—especially just short of it—was lamented as a particularly great tragedy.

Jewish interpreters sometimes linked texts by a common word; that this girl had lived the same number of years as the woman with the flow of blood had been ill (5:25) provides a useful literary connection. Whereas contact with the bleeding woman would render Jesus unclean for a day in the eyes of others (Lev 15:19-33), touching a corpse led to seven days of uncleanness (Num 19:11-22, esp. 19:11). Jesus spoke to her in *Aramaic, perhaps her first language, although Greek was widely spoken in Palestine. (On the use of Aramaic in healings, See comment on 7:34-35.)

IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 2nd Edition

IVP BIBLE BACKGROUNDS COMMENTARY

Craig Keener recently updated his IVP Bible Background Commentary on the New Testament. He is one of the leading New Testament scholars on Jewish, Greek, and Roman culture.

This unique commentary provides crucial cultural background you need for richer Bible study. One of the best parts is the glossary of cultural terms and historical figures. Additionally, you’ll find plenty of maps, charts, bibliographies, and introductory essays.

Visit our website to learn more about the IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 2nd Edition.

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A Lesson on Leadership: Gideon

Posted by on 08/27/2018 in:

Lesson on Leadership: Gideon

Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” — Judges 6:11-12

Read the entire story of Gideon in the Bible here.

The content of this blog on Gideon and leadership came from the Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes.

PEOPLE BUY IN TO THE LEADER, THEN THE VISION

At leadership seminars I field a lot of questions about vision. Invariably someone will come up to me during a break, give me a brief description of an evolving vision, and ask,

“Do you think my people will buy in to my vision?”

I always respond the same way:

“First tell me this—do your people buy in to you?”

Many believe that if the cause is good enough, people will automatically buy in to it and follow. But that’s not how leadership works. People don’t at first follow worthy causes; they follow worthy leaders who promote worthwhile causes. People buy in to the leader first, then the leader’s vision. Listeners filter every message through the messenger who delivers it.

You cannot separate the leader from the cause he promotes. It’s not an either/or proposition; the two always go together.

GIDEON AND THE LAW OF BUY-IN

Who would have picked Gideon as a leader? Certainly not Gideon; he didn’t even see himself as a leader. “Pardon me, my lord, but how can I save Israel?” asked Gideon of the angel who told him that God wanted to use him to defeat the Midianites. “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Jdg 6:15).

Despite Gideon’s doubts, God used him. The people rallied around Gideon, and he led Israel to the most lopsided victory in the nation’s history.

THE ANATOMY OF BUY-IN

Gideon progressed from being an obscure member of a minor clan to a leader of the northern tribes. He grew as a leader through several stages:

1. Started at home (character)

A good leader first proves himself to those closest to him. Gideon started with 10 household servants. With their help, he destroyed an altar of Baal, built a new altar to God, and offered the sacrifice requested by God.

2. Won a key influencer (charisma)

The men of Ophrah grew furious with Gideon when they discovered he had destroyed Baal’s altar. “Bring out your son,” they ordered his father, Joash. “He must die” (Jdg 6:30). Yet Gideon won over a powerful ally in his father. Joash stood up for his son and spared Gideon’s life.

3. Broadened his circle (credibility)

Gideon won over his city by winning the influence of Joash, then quickly won the allegiance of the Abiezrites (the people of his region), along with tribes beyond his borders: Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali. Even the people of Ephraim joined him. Once a core group of people buy in to your leadership, it’s possible to broaden your circle of influence.

4. Moved at the right time (culmination)

So many people bought into Gideon’s leadership that God had to send a bunch of them home (Jdg 7:2). God reduced the number of Gideon’s followers to 300. Yet when they fought under Gideon’s leadership, they won a great victory—and God received the glory.

Lesson in Leadership Gideon 1

SEVEN ASSETS FOLLOWERS WANT IN A LEADER

People always ask, “Why should I follow you?” Leaders must understand that they themselves go on display before they ever get the chance to display their vision. Once followers gain confidence in the leader, they will feel confident about the vision. Note seven qualities that attract people to a leader:

1. Calling

Few things are as compelling as a leader’s clear calling. Beforehand, Gideon had lived in fear, doubted himself, and asked for multiple signs to confirm his mission. But once he embraced his calling, passion and boldness filled his heart.

2. Insight

People respect a leader with insight, wisdom to see the issues, and vision to see what lies ahead. God gave Gideon insight into the weak hearts of the Midianites. By the time Gideon called his men to battle, he understood that God had assured their victory.

3. Charisma

People flock to leaders who make them feel good about themselves. When Gideon invited the people of Ephraim to join in pursuing the Midianites, they reacted angrily. But Gideon helped them see the significance of their role by reminding them that they had captured and killed the Midianite leaders (Jdg 8:1-30).

4. Talent

Look no further than the entertainment industry for evidence that followers swarm around talent. While we don’t know much about Gideon’s natural abilities, the angel called him a “mighty warrior” and instructed him to “go in the strength you have” (Jdg 6:12, 14). More than likely, Gideon possessed both physical strength and courage.

5. Ability

People feel a natural attraction to someone who can get things done. Gideon didn’t attempt to get the Ephraimites on board until he had proven his ability.

6. Communication Skills

A leader who cannot communicate his calling and vision has trouble getting anyone to buy in to his leadership. Whenever Gideon spoke to his people, they understood him and eagerly followed.

7. Character

It takes character to win and maintain trust. Gideon started out strong, standing up when others wouldn’t. He displayed courage in the face of incredible odds. But in the end, a flaw in his character betrayed both him and the people. After his victories, Gideon created an idol and erected it in Ophrah: “All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family” (Jdg 8:27).

Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes

LEARN MORE ABOUT LEADERSHIP IN THE BIBLE

The content of this blog on Gideon and leadership came from the Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes. It offers principles of leadership that will greatly impact the way you guide others.

John Maxwell believes the God created all of us to be leaders/influencers at some level. The principles for leadership in this book can be applied in everyone’s life and every type of relationship, to become more effective in God’s kingdom.

This edition includes new empowering, inspiring tools to equip you to be an even better leader:

  • Maxwell’s 65 Bible book introductions
  • Articles describing the 21 Laws of Leadership and the 21 Qualities of a Leader
  • Notes throughout the Bible that connect with the Laws and Qualities
  • Indexes to the 21 Laws of Leadership and the 21 Qualities of a Leader

Interested? You can learn more about the Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes on our website.

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Look Inside: Works of Jonathan Edwards

Posted by on 08/27/2018 in:

Works of Jonathan EdwardsAre you a fan of Jonathan Edwards? The Works of Jonathan Edwards (26 Vols) is filled with nothing but his writing—and you’re going to love it. Let’s learn a bit more about this fantastic collection. Then, we can take a look inside.

THE WORKS OF JONATHAN EDWARDS (26 VOLUMES)

“Jonathan Edwards (1703-58), noted theologian and religious leader of 18th-century New England, left his impression on theological thinking not only in this country but throughout the entire Protestant world. Not since 1874, however, has a collected edition of his works been printed.

This edition, undertaken with the generous support of the Bollingen Foundation, has been launched with the purpose not only of republishing all of the printed works of Edwards but also of publishing the massive manuscript materials in which much of Edwards’ most profound thinking and finest prose have been concealed.”

— from the publisher

Previously, the attempts to publish Edwards works in print proved daunting. “While the previously released letterpress edition of Yale’s Works of Jonathan Edwards is a significant achievement, it includes less than half of what Edwards wrote,” said Dr. Kenneth Minkema, Executive Editor and Director at the Jonathan Edwards Center and Online Archive at Yale University.

But now, with the ability to digitize old writings like Edward’s, we can make his entire works available with just a few taps. Here are the works included in our 26-volume collection.

WHAT VOLUMES ARE INCLUDED?

FEATURES OF THE WORKS OF JONATHAN EDWARDS

  • A massive collection of content equal to over 16,000 pages in printed text.
  • Over 1,000 sermons, manuscripts & discourses enhanced for the Olive Tree Bible App.
  • Notes on Scripture – the first complete edition of the private biblical notebook that Jonathan Edwards compiled over a period of nearly thirty-five years.
  • The “Blank Bible” – a manuscript more than five thousand notes and entries relating to biblical texts.
  • Multiple volumes of previously unpublished works.
  • Many of Edwards’ famous writing including commentary from leading scholars & theologians
  • and so much more!

LOOK INSIDE THE WORKS OF JONATHAN EDWARDS

First, let me repeat that there are TWENTY-SIX volumes in this set. You can easily access all of them from your library and read Edward’s to your heart’s content.

IN THE LIBRARY

Works of Jonathan Edwards 1

Next, I’ll show you how the applicable volumes can show up in the Resource Guide. If you have volumes of sermons or commentary from Edwards, them we’ve set them up to show up in this space. We will let you know if anything Edward’s wrote is applicable to what you’re reading in the Bible.

COMMENTARY IN THE RESOURCE GUIDE

Works of Jonathan Edwards 2

SERMONS IN THE RESOURCE GUIDE

Works of Jonathan Edwards 3

One of our favorite volumes in this collection is “The Blank Bible.” In this volume, you can read Jonathan Edward’s thoughts on passages throughout the Bible.

A LOOK AT THE NEW TESTAMENT

Works of Jonathan Edwards 4

THE ARCHIVE: Easily read Bible passages and Jonathan Edward’s comments

Works of Jonathan Edwards 5

GET THE WORKS OF JONATHAN EDWARDS TODAY

If you love the Works of Jonathan Edwards, then reading them inside the Olive Tree Bible App will be your favorite experience. Add a volume or the whole set to your library today. Visit our website to learn more.

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Worry: A Thief that Causes Paralysis of Faith

Posted by on 08/15/2018 in:

Bible verses about worry

Worrying can be an addiction that goes unseen and unaddressed. Yet, it can wreck so much havoc on your life! In this blog, we’ve taken an excerpt from the NIV Woman’s Study Bible. Hear this exhortation, read Bible verses about worry, and then spend some time in prayer and reflection!

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT WORRY

Depending on context, words translated as “cares” and “concerns” or “fear” and “anxiety” can be either right or wrong attitudes in a Christian’s life. Fear is right when it is reverence toward God because of his holiness (Isa 8:13), and care is good when showing concern for others (1Co 12:252Co 11:28). But worry is always wrong, for it paralyzes active faith in your life.

JESUS TAUGHT: DO NOT WORRY

When you worry, you assume responsibility for things you were never intended to handle. Jesus repeatedly taught, “Do not worry” (Gk. merimneo, lit. “to divide the mind”), even about the basic essentials of life (Mt 6:25–34). Worry divides your mind between useful and hurtful thinking. Worrying does not change anything (Mt 6:27) except to draw your focus away from God and his faithfulness and righteousness to concerns about the things of life, such as possessions and material goods (Mt 6:31).

WORRYING IS HARMFUL

Worry is a choking, harmful emotion that saps your energy and elevates human strength and ingenuity above God’s strength and his purposeful plan. Sources of worry include change, lack of understanding and lack of control over your life. Worry opens the door to worldliness, that is, preoccupation with the things of this life. Though the children of Israel had watched God split open the Red Sea to deliver them from Egypt, they could not believe he would provide water in the desert to meet their needs.

Worry is the opposite of faith, suggesting that God cannot be trusted to take care of you or to provide what you need (Php 4:19).

WORRY CAUSES FEAR TO CROWD OUT FAITH

Thus, in the final reckoning, “the cowardly” are listed alongside the “unbelieving” (Rev 21:8). Linking worry with unbelief, Scripture gives direction for a return to full faith. The road from worry to faith begins with recognition that worry is sin and confession of lack of faith (Ps 139:23), continues with deliverance (Ps 34:4), and finally ends with the assurance that absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God who is the great I am (Ro 8:35Ex 3:14–15).

In place of anxious thoughts, you then freely offer thanksgiving from a heart established with trust in God as all sufficient (Ps 112:7–8Php 4:6–7).

What worry or fear are you surrendering to the Lord today?

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT WORRY

Bible Verses About Worry #1: Psalm 23:1–6

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.”

Bible Verses About Worry #2: Psalm 94:19

“When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.”

Bible Verses About Worry #3: Luke 10:40–42

40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

Bible Verses About Worry #4: Matthew 6:25

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” 

NIV WOMAN’S STUDY BIBLE

The Woman’s Study Bible poignantly reveals the Word of God to women, inviting them to receive God’s truth for balance, hope, and transformation. Special features designed to speak to a woman’s heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman’s identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.

The Woman’s Study Bible reflects the contributions of over 80 women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Since the publication of the first edition of The Woman’s Study Bible under the editorial guidance of Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley, this landmark study Bible has sold over 1.5 million copies.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NIV WOMAN’S STUDY BIBLE ON OUR WEBSITE.

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Preaching? This Bible Can Help.

Posted by on 08/14/2018 in:

Preaching? This Bible Can Help

Preaching soon, but not exactly sure what you’ll be saying? The NKJV Vines Expository Bible is jam-packed with helpful information: word studies, sermon outlines, and book introductions. Also, this resource is written by a name you can trust, Dr. Jerry Vines.

PREACHING WITH DR. JERRY VINES

Dr. Jerry Vines is a native of Carrollton, Georgia. He was educated at Mercer University (B.A.), New Orleans Theological Seminary (B.D.), and Luther Rice Seminary, (Th.D.). Dr. Vines accepted the call to be pastor at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida, in July 1982 and retired from the pastorate in February of 2006. Additionally, He was elected President of the Alabama Pastors’ Conference in 1976, President of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference for 1976 -1977. He also served two terms as President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1988 – 1989.

All this information tells us something: Dr. Jerry Vines has experience preaching and he knows how to do it well.

A WORD FROM THE PREACHER

Before we dig in too much (because we are definitely going to show you this inside of this awesome preaching resource!) let’s hear from Jerry. This quote comes directly from the introduction of the NKJV Vines Expository Bible.

Let me give you some ideas about how to get the most out of The Vines Expository Bible. At the beginning of each book, there is an “Introducing” section. This will give you some insight into how to understand that book’s content. More than 300 key word studies are available in “Discerning the Meaning” notes. Along the way you will find hundreds of “Applying the Message” and “Living the Message” articles.

The purpose of these is to show you how to apply the Bible truths from specific Scripture passages and live them out in your daily life. Along the way you will see a selection of over 200 of my expository sermon outlines in “Presenting the Message” sections. In the back of the Bible you will find a subject index, an NKJV concordance, and full-color Bible maps. — Dr. Jerry Vines

PREACHING WITH INTRODUCTIONS

Preaching (gif 1)

When you’re preparing a sermon, the first step is to remember the context of the passage you’re preaching on. The NKJV Vines Expository Bible gives concise and meaningful introductions to each book of the Bible so that you don’t have to spend tons of time searching for this information. Dr. Vines provides you with some of his thoughts and research on authorship, date, outline and themes before digging into the main text.

PREACHING WITH WORD STUDIES

Preaching - Word StudiesOftentimes, it can be difficult to pick a word to study and share with your listeners. You could spend hours researching most of the words in a passage! But, for those times that you are in a pinch, Dr. Vines picked out important key words throughout the entire Bible and did most of the research for you. Now, all you have to do is read the definition and tap on the green verses to read cross references.

PREACHING WITH APPLICATION

Certain passages only bring to mind specific application points. You’ve heard so many sermons on a passage that you can’t think of any other way to apply it! Or, vice versa, you may try to preach on a very unfamiliar passage, and be left wondering how this relates to anyone’s lives.

When preparing a sermon or lesson, it can be so helpful to read someone else’s application points. Most likely, these will inspire a way for you to uniquely apply the passage to your listeners, while staying within the context of the passage.

PREACHING WITH SERMON OUTLINES

Preaching (gif)Newer to preaching and would benefit from looking at possible sermon outlines? Dr. Vines has been teaching and preaching for years! So, he included many of his own sermon outlines. You can look them over, gain inspiration, make new connections, and prepare an awesome lesson for your listeners.

PREACHING WITH A CONCORDANCE

Preaching ConcordanceWant to see all the references to a specific word in the Bible? Dr. Vines provided a concordance in the back of this resource. Navigate quickly through the concordance by tapping on any of the green, hyper-linked letters and words! We guarantee that this will get the job done much faster than with a paper concordance!

PREACHING WITH BIBLE MAPS

Preaching MapsBring the Bible to life with maps. In the back of this resource, there are 14 full-color maps. Get the big picture, then zoom in and focus on the details. Then, share what you discovered with your congregation or small group! If you have a way to display your device on a large screen, you could even project our app and show the map to everyone!

GET THE NKJV VINES EXPOSITORY BIBLE

Ready to start preaching with the help of Dr. Jerry Vines? Purchase the NKJV Vines Expository Bible today.

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Romans 8 – Teaching the Bible

Posted by on 08/13/2018 in: ,

Romans 8: Teaching the Bible

Romans 8 is a complex chapter (along with the rest of the book!). It can be difficult to understand on our own… and even more difficult to teach to others! We found this gem of a commentary set: Teaching the Bible Series. In this blog, we are giving you an excerpt of their work on Romans 8. You’ll even find application points and possible sermon ideas. Dig in!

TEACHING THE BIBLE: ROMANS 8

How safe do you feel living under grace? How sure of the future? To entrust ourselves to the free grace of God in Jesus can feel like falling backwards into the arms of a friend who may or may not be there, and may or may not catch us even if he is. Is it safe to entrust ourselves entirely to the God of grace?

We feel this acutely when two things happen: when we fail and fall in the struggle with sin from within, and when we are afflicted by suffering from without. Both of these experiences threaten our confidence that grace works. Just as the person falling backwards is tempted to move a foot back to save themselves, so we are tempted to add a proportion of self-reliance to our Christian lives.

ATTENTIVE LISTENING TO THE TEXT: ROMANS 8

Context and Structure: Romans 8 and Romans 5

Romans 8 concludes the second main section of the body of the letter, ‘Living under grace’. We have seen that chapters 5–8 have a kind of sandwich structure.

5:1-11 Suffering with assurance of future glory

5:12-21 The basis for assurance in the work of Christ

6:1-23 Slavery to sin

7:1-25 The weakness of law

8:1-17 The basis for assurance in the ministry of the Spirit

8:18-39 Suffering with assurance of future glory

So in reading chapter 8, we will notice a number of themes picked up again from chapter 5.

The Structure of Romans 8

Romans 8 begins with ‘no condemnation’ by the wrath of God (v. 1) and ends with ‘no separation’ from the love of God in Christ (v. 39). The overarching theme is assurance. Between these end markers two other themes dominate: first (and mostly in vv. 1-17) there is life in the Spirit, who is named 15 times in verses 1-17 and then 4 more times later in the chapter; second (vv. 17-39) there is suffering. Verse 17 is the hinge between these two (‘… children … heirs … if indeed we share in his sufferings …’). Verse 31 (‘What, then, shall we say …?’) signals Paul’s great conclusion.

It is probably best to divide the chapter in three, including verse 17 in both first and second sections.

  1. (vv. 1-17) Life in the Spirit (continued from 7:14-25)
  2. (vv. 17-30) Suffering and glory
  3. (vv. 31-39) Unbreakable ties to Christ

Romans 8: Teaching the Bible (2)

WORKING THROUGH THE TEXT: ROMANS 8

Life in the Spirit (Romans 8:1-17, continued from 7:6 and 7:14-25)

Paul begins with a statement (v. 1), which he explains (v. 2) and expands (v. 3) before going on to God’s purpose (vv. 4-11).

The statement (Romans 8:1)

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

This is a summary of the letter so far. ‘Now’ refers not to individual conversion or some supposed change of gear into the higher Christian life, but to the gospel events which have brought into the open (1:17 ‘revealed’; 3:21 ‘made known’) the justification by faith by which believers of every age have been rescued from condemnation.

‘Therefore’ refers back generally to the argument so far, but very specifically to 5:12-21. Paul uses this word ‘condemnation’ only here and in 5:16, 18 in all his letters. It is the opposite of ‘justification’ (5:16). The words ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (7:25) and ‘in Christ Jesus’ (8:1) tie us back to Paul’s exposition of life in union with Christ in 5:12-21 (developed in 6:1-11).

The explanation (Romans 8:2)

2…because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
[…because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set you/me free from the law of sin and death.]

(We are not certain whether Paul wrote ‘me’ or ‘you’, but it doesn’t matter.)

This very compressed verse needs unpacking.

  1. The phrase ‘in Christ Jesus’ is repeated from verse 1 (disguised in niv). The word ‘in’ carries the senses both of ‘in union with’ and ‘through the work of’. What has happened to us, has happened because of what Jesus did (niv‘through Christ Jesus’) and because we have been united by faith with him (‘in Christ Jesus’), and therefore we benefit from what he did.
  2. It is most natural to take ‘the law’ to refer to ‘the Law of Moses’ in both phrases.
  3. The ‘law of sin and death’ is a compressed way of summing up what the Law of Moses does to the unregenerate sinner (7:7-12).The law when it comes from the outside into contact with sin, exposes sin, condemns sin, and results in the death of the sinner (7:7-10). This terrible ‘marriage’ was always heading for the rocks (7:1-5). This is what someone has called ‘the law on the wall’, like the Ten Commandments written on a church wall, true and good but outside of our sinful hearts.
  4. ‘The law of the Spirit of life’ is a shorthand for what happens when the Spirit of Christ takes the obedience of Christ (5:19), imputes the righteousness of Christ to us, and writes the fundamental demand of the good law on the cleansed heart of the believer, changing us from the inside, and so leading to eternal life (6:23). The ‘law on the wall’ becomes the ‘law in the heart’.

Paul has ‘trailed’ the ministry of the Spirit in 2:15 (probably); 2:29; 5:5; and 7:6. Now he begins to expound this theme.

The explanation expanded (Romans 8:3)

3For
what the law was powerless to do [the weakness of the law]
in that it was weakened by the sinful nature [the flesh],

God did
by sending his own Son
in the likeness of sinful man [sinful flesh]
to be a sin offering [and for sin].
And so he condemned sin in sinful man, [in the flesh]

How were we ‘set free’ (v. 2)? Paul takes each part in turn. Negatively, he speaks of ‘the weakness of the law, in that it was weakened by the flesh’. He has shown in 7:7-12 (and 3:20; 4:15; 7:5) that law is powerless to save. When the law remains outside of us, it is just a dead ‘letter’ (2:29; 7:6).

The law cannot save. But God can! ‘the weakness of the law … God did …’ (i.e. God did what the law was too weak to do). How did God do it?

‘By sending his own Son …’:

  1. ‘…in the likeness of sinful flesh’ taking our human nature upon him with all its weakness, being really tempted and fully identified with sinners, and yet without sin (the word ‘likeness’ guards this difference).
  2. ‘… for sin’ an expression which usually refers in the Greek Old Testament to a sacrifice for sin.

As an old hymn puts it, ‘Because the sinless Saviour died … the wrath of God is satisfied’, and that terrible slave-master sin has been ‘condemned … in the flesh’, that is, in the flesh of Jesus on the cross. This is why we may be sure ‘there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’.

Notice that the basis of our rescue is the death of the Son on the cross, and the application of that rescue to our lifestyle is by the ministry of the Spirit. Both are necessary. No one benefits from the Cross without receiving the Spirit, and no one receives the Spirit who is not justified by the blood of the Son.

God’s purpose: why did God set us free? (Romans 8:4-6)

3b… he condemned sin in sinful man, [in the flesh] 4in order that
the righteous requirements [requirement (singular)]
of the law
might be fully met[fulfilled] in us,
who do not live according to the sinful nature [flesh]
but according to the Spirit.

5Those who live according to the sinful nature
[Those who are according to the flesh]
have their minds set on what that nature [the flesh]
desires;
but those who live in accordance with the Spirit
have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

6The mind of sinful man [the flesh] is death,
but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

Why did God ‘condemn sin in the flesh’ of Jesus? Why the cross, and why the gift of the Spirit to apply the benefits of the cross to the believer? Answer: ‘in order that’ something might happen that could not happen through the law: ‘the righteous requirement (singular) of the law’ is now ‘fulfilled in us …’.

What does this mean? We need to hold together two parts of the answer.

  1. By his death Jesus fulfills the law for us. This links back to verse 3b, about the cross.
  2. By the Spirit we fulfill the law in union with Jesus. This links forward to verses 4b-6, which speak of how we actually ‘live’ (lit. ‘walk’).

The word translated ‘righteous requirement’ is used in the singular only four times by Paul in his letters, all in Romans (1:32; 5:16, 18; 8:4). (He also uses the plural in 2:26). In the singular, the word means something like ‘what the law says is the right thing’. So in 1:32 it is the ‘righteous decree’ of God that sinners deserve to die. In 5:16 it is translated ‘justification’ with the sense of ‘fulfilled law’, ‘what the law says is the right thing has been done’. In 5:18 it is ‘the one act of righteousness’ of Jesus, his one ‘fulfillment of the law’, which is also called his ‘obedience’ (v. 19).

The key is to hold together the doctrines of the work of Christ for us and the person of Christ in us. Although these are distinct they are inseparable.

We can’t include ALL the teaching from this commentary on Romans 8. It would definitely be too much! So, let’s move onto some application.

Romans 8: Teaching the Bible (4)

FROM TEXT TO TEACHING: ROMANS 8

Getting the Message Clear: The Theme

The grand theme is assurance, from ‘no condemnation’ at the start to ‘no separation’ at the end of the chapter. In between, the argument progresses in two main stages with a conclusion. The first stage is verses 1-17, whose focus is the ministry of the Spirit. Because Christians walk by the Spirit now, they may be certain that they are heading for glory later. We must hold together the present ministry of the Spirit with his role to point us securely towards a promised future.

In the second stage, verses 17-30, the focus shifts from the Spirit to suffering, but we are still being pointed to future glory. The central point is stated in verse 18 that, for the Christian, certain glory later outweighs present suffering. The conclusion in verses 31-38 needs to hold together the objective and the subjective: the objective truth of the cross guarantees that God loves us for ever in Christ.

Getting the Message Clear: The Aim

How do the aims of Romans 5-8 relate to the aims of the letter as a whole?

This is a good point to look back on the whole section ‘Living under grace’ to ask how this section contributes to Paul’s overarching aims in the letter, to promote harmony within the church and a zeal for missionary partnership beyond the church. Why do we need to understand our unbreakable relationship with God (5:1-12; 8:17-39), our reliance upon the work of Christ and the ministry of the Spirit (5:12-21 with 8:1-17), our freedom from slavery to sin and condemnation by the law (chapters 6 and 7), the struggle with indwelling sin (7:14-25) and so on? Of course it is a good thing to understand these things, but how will it make us a harmonious and outward-looking church?

The key is to grasp the connection between works and assurance. We go back to our imaginary (but not unrealistic) Mr X (pp. 153-155), who begins to rest his standing before God and in the church partly on his own moral uprightness, Bible knowledge or religious privileges. Not only does this make him boast (and so destroy harmony); it also undermines his assurance. And an insecure Christian is a dangerous Christian (and an insecure pastor is an especially dangerous one!). If I am insecure, I always feel I have something to prove. So my attitude to my fellow Christians will have an element of competitiveness (however discreet). And my evangelistic involvement (if any) will never be the humility of one forgiven sinner telling other sinners where to find grace.

POINTERS TO APPLICATION: ROMANS 8

  • The message ‘no condemnation’ (v. 1) only makes sense to those who have grasped that without Christ we are and must be condemned. It may therefore be necessary to recap some of the argument of the letter so far (especially 1:18–3:20). We need to feel the wonder of ‘no condemnation’ and never take it for granted.
  • We may also need to recap ‘the law of sin and death’ (v. 2). We need to understand and feel our helplessness, and the inability of moral guidance (‘the law on the wall’) to help us (v. 3).
  • Show how vital it is that the ‘law on the wall’ should become the ‘law in the heart’. Previously the law bid me fly, but left me on the ground. Now the law bids me fly and the Spirit gives me wings.
  • THERE ARE 18 MORE APPLICATION POINTS

SUGGESTIONS FOR PREACHING AND TEACHING THE TEXT

Sermon 1: Romans 8:1-17

We might lead in by asking, ‘How safe do you feel?’ and explore the kinds of regrets about past failures, and anxieties about future pressures, which make us feel insecure.

Our teaching points might be as follows:

To be a real Christian means …

  1. To be under new management (vv. 1-8);
  2. … who gives us new hope for our bodies (vv. 9-11);
  3. … and guarantees us a great inheritance (vv. 12-17).

Alternatively, we might divide the passage as follows:

To be a real Christian means…

  1. No condemnation, because of the sacrifice of God the Son (vv. 1-4);
  2. Resurrection hope, because of the indwelling of God the Spirit (vv. 5-11);
  3. Present assurance in the security of God the Father (vv. 12-17).

Our tone is not so much exhortation (‘Now be good and walk by the Spirit’) as encouragement to see the connection between the Spirit’s ministry in us in the present, and future resurrection.

There are TWO other sermons ideas, along with 22 questions to ask while leading a Bible study!

Romans 8: Teaching the Bible (3)

LEARN MORE WITH THE TEACHING THE BIBLE SERIES

Did you enjoy the excerpt? The Teaching the Bible Series is full of insight and practicality. If you often find yourself teaching or preaching God’s Word, then this resource could save you lots of time in preparation! Visit our website to learn more about it.

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The Two Best Tools for Word Study

Posted by on 08/08/2018 in: ,

The Two Best Tools for Word Study

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 easier.

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. 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.

WORD STUDIES WITH 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, inside the Olive Tree Bible App.

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.

Word Study Tools 1

NEVER WONDER WHAT WORDS TO STUDY IN YOUR WORD STUDY

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.

CROSS REFERENCES

I love cross references and Vine’s Word Pictures is not shy about providing them. The Olive Tree Bible App 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.

Word Study Tools 2

STRONG’S DEFINITIONS

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 the app 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.

Word Study Tools 3

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 get more than just information about our word’s usage as a noun. 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.

Word Study Tools 4

Word Study Tools 5

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! We’ll walk away with a full understanding of the Greek word behind “comfort.”

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Get both Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures and Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary today and improve your word study. Not only will you save yourself time, but you can rest assured that you’ll never miss an important word again.

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