Look Inside: Reading the New Testament Commentary Series

Posted by on 08/21/2017 in:

KEEPING THE BIG PICTURE

Anyone who teaches the Bible for any length of time knows how easy it is to lose the forest for the trees. It doesn’t take long before you’re caught up in the details of a verse that you’ve forgotten the bigger picture. But, not all commentaries address this problem.

Most commentaries deal with the biblical text on a verse-by-verse or phrase-by-phrase level, making it easy to get lost in the details. While this information is essential for a proper understanding of a passage, it doesn’t keep the big picture in mind. So, along comes the Reading the New Testament CommentarySeries, a commentary that addresses this problem head-on.

Here’s a brief look at the Reading the New Testament Commentary Series and how it works in the Olive Tree Bible App.

WHAT SETS IT APART?

I appreciate when a commentary is upfront about its intended audience because it lets me know what to expect. Christians with some level of formal training will find Reading the New Testament Commentary to be right in their wheelhouse. This means it’s the perfect commentary for both pastors and seminary students.

A focus on larger passages of Scripture sets this commentary apart from others, helping the reader understand the text as a whole. Additionally, it captures the big picture without getting caught in the details. Pastors preaching through the New Testament will find this resource incredibly helpful.

Alongside insightful commentary, Reading the New Testament Commentary also includes extensive introductions to each New Testament book. Here you will find everything you need to know about the book’s author and purpose for writing.

READY FOR THE BIG PICTURE?

Add Reading the New Testament Commentary Series to your Olive Tree library today!

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10 Books to Start Your Bible Education

Posted by on 08/18/2017 in: ,

1) The Moody Bible Commentary

This single-volume commentary is perfect for the beginner Bible student. It is exclusively composed by faculty at Moody Bible Institute, which has been rigorously teaching God’s Word since 1886. Walk through the entire Bible with insights from well-respected professors, learning the historical basics of each book while referencing helpful charts and biographies. The Moody Bible Commentary will help you better understand and apply God’s written revelation to all of life! Originally $49.99 | Now $24.99

2) Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

As you dig deeper into God’s Word, you may not know the definitions of some of the trickier terminology. That’s why Bible Dictionaries are helpful! Select words straight from your Bible text, and Nelson’s provides helpful definitions, facts, and maps to help further your understanding. Also, Nelson’s comes with a Visual Survey of the Bible, providing easy-to-understand depictions of historical events. Originally $39.99 | Now $19.99

3) NIV Word Study Bible with G/K and Strong’s Numbers

Word Study Bibles give a complete index of a word, listing everywhere it can be found in the Bible. This is helpful when wanting to understand a word or topic in a more holistic way. What makes our version of this Bible unique is that it is packaged with a Strong’s concordance, also providing you with the Greek or Hebrew word and its definition. Prefer a different translation? We have multiple versions of our Strong’s Tagged Bibles! Originally $39.99 | Now $19.99

4) God is Love

What’s the difference between a commentary and a systematic theology? While a commentary goes verse-by-verse, systematic theologies trace and define who God is and who we are throughout the Bible. Bray’s book is great for a beginner because of its conversational nature and structure. Instead of tackling massive theological quandaries, Bray finds different ways to incorporate theological distinctions inside one important topic: God’s love. Nervous about studying theology? Check out #8 in this list!  Originally $40.99 | Now $19.99

5) Greg Laurie 15 Volume Collection

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA. At age 19 he began his ministry by leading a Bible study of 30 people. Now, Harvest is one of the largest churches in America. This collection contains 15 of Laurie’s books, including Married. Happily., Dealing with Giants, Following Jesus in a Modern World, and more. Biblical education isn’t just about academics, but also about spiritual growth and learning to apply God’s Word to your life. Originally $149.85 | Now $14.99

6) Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol I & II

John Calvin was an influential French theologian, pastor and reformer during the Protestant Reformation. In the Biblical-academic world, everyone knows his name. Although reading his Institutes is a challenge, they are some of the most significant Christian theological texts in history. This specific translation preserves the rugged strength and vividness of Calvin’s writing, but also conforms to modern English and renders heavy theological terms in simple language.  Originally $64.99 | Now $34.99

7) Apologetics for the Twenty-first Century

Apologetics–making a defense for the faith. Louis Markos walks through the history of Apologetics, following figures such as C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Francis Schaeffer, Josh McDowell and more. Then he teaches you how to think logically, making your own arguments for the existence of God, the historical Jesus, and confronting post-modernism. Originally $40.99 | Now $19.99

8) A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology

Theology happens whenever we read, think, hear or say anything about God. This short books gives an introduction to the relevance of theology and the skills, attitudes and spiritual practices needed by those who take up the discipline. As you begin to pursue a Biblical education, lay the ground work properly. Originally $8.99 | Now $4.99

9) Visual Theology

This book is incredibly unique. With beautiful illustrations and flowcharts, you can learn theology easily from your device—but only with the Olive Tree Bible App. We are the only company offering this title in a digital format! For the budding theologian, this is a very helpful tool in wrapping your mind around the complexities of theology. Visit our webpage listing of this product for a chance to look inside! Originally $14.99 | Now $7.99

10) Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith

Not only is this book incredibly informative, it is an enjoyable read. Reeves gives understanding to the most important characteristic of our God: His triune nature. This concept is incredibly difficult (and rather impossible, actually) to wrap our minds around. Yet, it is the crux of what separates our God from other gods–it is what makes salvation possible. Originally $16.99 | Now $7.99

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Church History & Why It Matters

Posted by on 08/17/2017 in:

MY OWN STORY

A couple months ago I talked about how I learned to love church history. Around that time, I started work on another history project: my family tree. I don’t remember what motivated me, but I spent countless hours stitching together my family’s history on Ancestry.com. While working on this, I learned some interesting things. The most notable tidbit is that my second great-grandfather was a pastor & founded the church that my grandparents still attend. On my grandfather’s 90th birthday two years ago, I got to preach at that church. How awesome is that?!

OUR STORY

Now, what does my story have to do with church history? Well, Scripture teaches us in Ephesians 2:19 that Christians are members of the “household of God” because we’ve been adopted into his family. This means we’re reading about our own family & heritage when we study church history. Knowing that we’re learning about our own family should motivate us to dive into church history with fervor. These aren’t random people we’re learning about; no, the great theologians of times past are our spiritual family, and we should relish the opportunity to learn about them!

7 TITLES TO GET YOU STARTED

It doesn’t matter if you’re heading into Bible college or seminary or just looking to brush up on your church history, Olive Tree has some great resources that’ll meet your needs. I challenge you to pick up at least one of these titles and begin learning about your spiritual family’s history.

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Why Every Christian
Should Study the Bible

Posted by on 08/16/2017 in: ,

This title might seem slightly redundant. Shouldn’t a Christian study the Bible because she (or he) is a Christian? If only that was enough to convince us. I graduated from a Bible college and work for a Bible app—and yet I still find myself procrastinating on reading God’s Word. Somehow, I manage to forget the importance of it all.

So, this blog post is for me just as much as it’s for you. We’re all in need of a reminder now and again. And perhaps you are reading this and you have never, on your own, truly studied the Bible. That’s alright! Let’s chat about three reasons we should study God’s Word.

1. THE BIBLE IS ALIVE

The writer of Hebrews tells us that “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). What does this mean? The Bible pierces our souls. It discerns our thoughts and intentions. It brings our darkness to light.

This can take place without deep, academic study. You don’t need a PhD or a seminary education in order to be changed by God’s Word. Simple meditation can bring about growth because that’s how God works. If you knock, He will answer.

This is the first reason that we should study the Bible. Even if you hold to the word study very loosely–that’s okay. Read the Bible. Even if you struggle to understand, or find it boring at times, or would rather be doing something else… find time to read the Bible. Read the Bible because God desires to communicate with you, encourage you, and make you more like Him. This can only happen when we take time to be in His presence and to read His life-giving words.

2. IT ISN’T ALWAYS ABOUT US

Now, I won’t retract what I’ve said. Simply reading the Bible is better than not reading at all. But there are a few other points we need to consider.

The Bible, being the very Word of God, deserves great respect. We need to treat it better than we would Hamlet and Don Quixote, which means taking the time to understand the author and their intent. It would be wrong to say “This line in Pride and Prejudice reminds me of my sister, so I think that Jane Austen wrote about my sister.” That would be silly! In the same way, the Bible isn’t (always) about us. It is for us and our edification, but more often than not, Scripture is talking about a group of people in an era of time that we have never experienced.

However, one of the neatest accomplishments of our God is that He composed His Word for His people through His people. He included humanity in the process. Although remarkable, this characteristic does make our job of understanding the Bible a bit harder. Scripture is wrapped in history, cultural nuance, assumptions of understanding, and genre differentiations. Leviticus was law for the Israelites, the Epistles were letters to different churches, the Psalms were songs of praise and lament, Song of Solomon… you get the picture.

So, what do we do? For starters, we can read study bible notes, single-volume commentaries, or Bible dictionaries alongside Scripture. As we grow, we could read about Hermeneutics (the study of interpreting Scripture), Systematic Theology, Greek, Hebrew, or any other number of areas of study. That way, we don’t make our own assumptions about the text, but instead listen to those who have dedicated their lives to investigating the history of God’s Word. Then, with a more accurate understanding, we can begin to apply what we have learned about God to our own lives.

3. WE’RE CALLED TO DEFEND OUR FAITH

You’ve probably heard this verse: “Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:14-15). What kind of defenses do we need to be able to make today—and to whom?

There may come a time when you need to answer questions such as:

These might be questions that other people ask you, or these might be questions that you ask yourself. How do you answer them? You read.

Millions of Christians have composed their defenses of the faith in books such as commentaries, apologetic undertakings, topical research, personal testimonies, and more. These, although not perfect like the Bible, are fantastic resources for you to grow in your understanding and trust of God’s Word.

OUR PASSION: INSPIRING PEOPLE TO READ GOD’S WORD

The reason the Olive Tree Bible App exists is to encourage people to read God’s Word. We also want you to study God’s Word, and to apply it to your life. This is why we work very hard with publishers to give you price reductions on titles that we think will help you achieve this goal.

Right now, we have an array of titles on sale with the aim of helping you read and study God’s Word in new ways. Check out what is available by visiting our website.

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Look Inside: Mounce’s Expository Dictionary

Posted by on 08/14/2017 in: ,

It’s time for another Look Inside blog! Today we are looking at Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (MED), which is a word study dictionary covering the entire Bible.

Here are three tips for using MED in our app to enrich your personal Bible study!

ONE: RESOURCE GUIDE

We talk about the Resource Guide all the time because it is incredibly helpful when studying the Bible in our app. Have you ever been reading a passage of scripture and had a question about a person, place, or topic? Now you can get answers without even leaving the passage.

Open your favorite Bible translation in the main window. I’ve picked out the ESV! Then, tap the split window handle and drag it to a width or height that you prefer.  As you scroll through the Bible text, the Resource Guide keeps up with you and searches through all the books in your library for related content.  If you scroll down through the Resource Guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”

Tap on the person, place, or topic that you want to learn more about.  I chose the topic “Fellowship” because my church is currently working through Acts. Scripture tells us that the early church what devoted to fellowship… but what does that mean?

You’ll see that Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary has the words “Article to Fellowship” underneath the book cover.  Tap on the book cover and the app will take you directly to the article. You can scroll and read the entire article without having to leave your Bible text! I was able to follow along as we read this passage in church, while also gaining deeper insights. It’s honestly so convenient.

If there are scripture references in the article that you would like to read, tap the verse and it will appear in a pop-up window.  You can also tap the top right hand corner of the pop-up window to change which window you read the scripture in—main or split! It looks like this:

TWO: LOOKUP FEATURES

Maybe you aren’t sure where to find a certain topic in God’s Word, but you want to know more! You can search any topic in our Lookup Feature and resources like MED will show up, ready to give you the information you’re looking for. Here’s how:

For iPhone or iPad users, open the Resource Guide in the split window. Then tap the gear icon, followed by the “lookup” option in iOS. You can type “Fellowship” and tap “search”.  This will bring up Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary article on Fellowship as we’ve seen before.

If you like reading your Bible “full screen”, try the integrated look-up feature. Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get an array of option—one of them being Lookup!

If you tap the “Lookup” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific word.  Like before, just tap the book cover and you can read the article in the pop-up window, or choose to open it in the Main or Split window.

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THREE: INTEGRATES WITH STRONG’S TAGGED BIBLES

If you have a Bible Tagged with Strong’sMounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary is a great addition to your library.  Since I have the English Standard Version (ESV) with Strong’s, I pulled it up in my main window and tapped “fellowship”. This brings up the Strong’s article and definition for κοινωνία (koinōnia).

From there I tapped “look up κοινωνία (koinōnia).”  This brought up Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary that I can tap and read the article on κοινωνία (koinōnia) in a window of my choosing.

  

This is how Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary has been enhanced for our app! You can get it this week for 50% off. Visit our website to learn more.

How do you use the Mounce Expository Dictionary in your personal Bible Study? What are some insights you have learned by using Mounce’s Expository Dictionary?

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The Value of Systematic Theology

Posted by on 08/11/2017 in:

WHAT IS SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY?

Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, ‘What does the whole Bible teach us today?’ about any given topic.” —Wayne Grudem

Everyone is a theologian! Everyone has beliefs about God, what saves them, and how they should live. What makes Systematic Theology special is the way it considers the Bible as a whole when looking at a topic. Like a puzzle, theologians collect and understand all the relevant passages in the Bible on a topic and then summarize this information in clear teaching. Thankfully, people like Wayne Grudem have already done a lot of the hard work. We can use their research to help further our understanding of God and the Bible.

GRUDEM’S SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

Grudem’s Systematic Theology is widely read and very accepted in Christian academic circles. This edition has several distinct features, such as keeping technical terms at a minimum, a friendly and emotive tone, and frequent life-application notes. If you’re looking for your first systematic theology or more solid teaching, this is a great resource. Learn more by following the link above.

ORIGINALLY $39.99 | NOW: $19.99

VIDEO: WAYNE GRUDEM EXPLAINS SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

Although a bit out-dated (in regards to branding!), this video contains great content about Systematic Theology. So, we’re sharing it anyway. Forgive us for the “Bible Reader” references.

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How-to Personally Apply the Bible

Posted by on 08/09/2017 in: ,

It is a marvel how personally the Bible applies. The words pointedly address the concerns of long-ago people in faraway places, facing specific problems, many of which no longer exist. They had no difficulty seeing the application. Much of what they read was personal application to actual situations they were facing.

But nothing in the Bible was written directly to you or specifically about what you face. We are reading someone else’s mail. Yet the Bible repeatedly affirms that these words are also written for us: “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction” (Rom. 15:4; cf. Deut. 29:29; 1 Cor. 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:15–17).

Furthermore, the Bible is primarily about God, not you. The essential subject matter is the triune Redeemer Lord, culminating in Jesus Christ. We are reading someone else’s biography. Yet that very story demonstrates how he includes us within his story.

“Personal application” proves wise when you reckon with these marvels. The Bible was written to others—but speaks to you. The Bible is about God—but draws you in. Your challenge is always to reapply Scripture afresh, because God’s purpose is always to rescript your life.

What chunk of Scripture has made the most difference in your life? What verse or passage have you turned to most frequently? What makes these exact words frequently and immediately relevant? Your answer will likely embody four foundational truths about how to read the Bible for wise application.

FIRST, THIS PASSAGE BECOMES YOUR OWN BECAUSE YOU LISTEN.

You remember what God says. He is saying this to you. You need these words. This promise, revelation, or command must be true. You must act on this call to faith and love. When you forget, you drift, stray, and flounder. When you remember and put it to work, bright truth rearranges your life. The foundation of application is always attentive listening to what God says.

SECOND, THE PASSAGE AND YOUR LIFE BECOME FUSED.

It is not simply a passage in the Bible. A specific word from God connects to some pointed struggle inside you and around you. These inner and outer troubles express your experience of the dual evil that plagues every human heart: sin and confusion from within; trouble and beguilement from without (1 Kings 8:37–39; Eccles. 9:3).

But something God says invades your darkness with his light. He meets your actual need with his actual mercies. Your life and God’s words meet. Application depends on honesty about where you need help. Your kind of trouble is everywhere in the Bible.

THIRD, YOUR APPROPRIATION OF THIS PASSAGE REVEALS HOW GOD HIMSELF DOES THE APPLYING.

He meets you before you meet him. The passage arrested you. God arranged your struggle with sin and suffering so that you would need this exact help. Without God’s initiative (“I will write it on their hearts,” Jer. 31:33) you would never make the connection. The Spirit chose to rewrite your inner script, pouring God’s love into your heart, inviting you to live in a new reality. He awakens your sense of need, gives you ears to hear, and freely gives necessary wisdom. Application is a gift, because wisdom is a gift.

FOURTH, THE APPLICATION OF BELOVED PASSAGES IS USALLY QUITE STRAIGHTFORWARD.
  • God states something in general terms. You insert your relevant particulars. For example:
    “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps. 23:4). What troubles are you facing? Who is with you?
  • “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). What is your particular way of straying? How does the Lamb of God connect with your situation?
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). With what are you obsessed? What promises anchor your plea for help (Phil. 4:5, 7-9)?

Such words speak to common human experiences. A passage becomes personal when your details participate in what is said. The gap across centuries and between cultures seems almost to disappear. Your God is a very present help in trouble—this trouble. Application occurs in specifics.

Interested in learning other ways to apply God’s Word to your life? This content was pulled from the ESV Study Bible, available in our store for 50% off. This resource comes with 20,000 notes, 50 articles, maps, charts, and more. It is perfect for daily study of the Bible.

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Look Inside: Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Posted by on 08/08/2017 in: ,

Brimming with lavish, full-color photos and graphics (over 2000!), the Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary goes above and beyond to enhance your learning experience. It will walk you through the entire Bible verse-by-verse, providing you with archaeological findings, historical explanations, geographic insights, and more.

Per usual, we have incorporated this resource into our resource guide! This way, you can read the commentary alongside a Bible of your choice. Check out the screenshots below to see just how easy it is to do in-depth Bible study without flipping a page!

LOOK INSIDE

1) In the screenshot below (taken from an iPad) I have my Bible opened to Daniel chapter 1. The commentary section of the resource guide then shows me which of my commentaries have related entries to this text.

ibc1

2) The Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary appeared, indicating that there are five entries related to this small bit of scripture! So, I’ll tap on it to bring up the information.

ibc2

3) This chapter talks about Daniel and his friends being relocated to a Babylonian learning environment. This was a major transition for David, but I’m not quite sure what the implications would have been. So, I can click on the third entry that explains more in-depth about the Babylonian culture–its language and literature.

ibc3

The Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary is a phenomenal tool for any teacher or preacher, providing rich insights into every passage of scripture. For a limited time, we are able to offer this Old and New Testament commentary for only $99.99 (originally $359.98!). Learn more about this title on our website.

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5 Books for Spiritual Growth

Posted by on 08/07/2017 in: ,

SPIRITUAL GROWTH BUNDLE (27 VOLS.)

Our Spiritual Growth Bundle includes four Bible translations, five devotionals, and an array of books on spiritual growth. A few of those titles are The Power of Prayer, An Appeal to All That Doubt, and Holy in Christ. This is being discounted an incredible 81% for our Back to School sale, so we HAD to highlight it. All the titles included in this set are listed on our website, so follow the link above to learn more. ORIGINALLY: $102.74 | NOW: $19.99

GREG LAURIE COLLECTION (15 VOLS.)

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA. At age 19 he began his ministry by leading a Bible study of 30 people. Now, Harvest is one of the largest churches in America. This collection contains 15 of Laurie’s books, including Married. Happily., Dealing with Giants, Following Jesus in a Modern World, and more. Biblical education isn’t just about academics, but also about spiritual growth and learning to apply God’s Word to your life. ORIGINALLY: $149.85 | NOW: $14.99

PRAYING GOD’S WORD DAY BY DAY

Praying God’s Word is powerful. When you do this, you always know that you are praying His will because it’s His promises! Beth Moore put together this day-by-day format of her best-selling book, Praying God’s Word. Learn to seek the mind of Christ through daily, fervent prayer directly from Scripture. The best part about this book is that there are devotions for one-full year!
ORIGINALLY: $8.99 | NOW: $2.99


A LONG OBEDIENCE IN THE SAME
DIRECTION: DISCIPLESHIP IN AN
INSTANT SOCIETY

As a society, we are no less obsessed with the immediate than when Eugene Peterson first wrote this Christian classic. If anything, social media and the Internet may have intensified our quest for the quick fix. Peterson finds encouragement for modern pilgrims as we learn to grow in worship, service, and joy. This 20th anniversary edition of A Long Obedience in the Same Direction features these Psalms in Peterson’s widely acclaimed paraphrase, The Message. ORIGINALLY: $16.99 | NOW: $9.99

THE DEVOTIONAL BIBLE NOTES: EXPERIENCING THE HEART OF JESUS

Read the Bible and be encouraged by famous author Max Lucado. This study Bible brings together words of encouragement and gentle wisdom, all accessible with just a tap within our Bible app. The Devotional Bible is the perfect refuge for anyone that needs truth and encouragement to hold on to. By following the link above you will also be able to watch a video explaining how this resource works inside our app.
ORIGINALLY: $39.99 | NOW: $14.99



Want to see more deals? Check out our Back to School Sale! Know of any other great books on spiritual growth that should be on this list? Share in a comment below!

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Look Inside: Tyndale Commentaries

Posted by on 08/04/2017 in:

The Tyndale Commentary Series is a 49 volume commentary set spanning the entirety of both the Old and New Testaments. Long known for being a trusted resource for Bible study, this commentary is written by some of the most distinguished evangelical scholars from across the globe.

Here’s a brief look at the Tyndale Commentaries and how they look in the Olive Tree Bible App on an iPad.

You can access all of the Tyndale Commentaries‘ study helps from within the Resource Guide in the split window. As with all our commentaries, they are uniquely enhanced to follow along with what you’re reading in the main window. Introductions, outlines, and commentary notes are all easily accessible, no matter where you are in the Bible. Not only does this save you time, but you get the information you need with minimal effort!

The introduction to each volume in the series is a concise yet thorough description of the authorship, date, and historical background of the book under consideration. The commentary itself examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning of the Bible and to make its message plain to readers today.

Verses in the commentary notes are hyperlinked so you can quickly view cross references.

Add the Tyndale Commentaries to your Olive Tree library today!

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