Look Inside: Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical & Post-Biblical Antiquity

Posted by on 10/15/2018 in: ,

Dictionary of Daily Life


Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical & Post-Biblical Antiquity has quite a long, exact, title—just like its dictionary entries. We were seriously impressed with the depth of information provided in this resource. So much so, we want to give you a look inside. Keep reading to find out the inspiration behind this dictionary, its contents, and how it conveniently works in the app.


In the introduction of the Dictionary of Daily Life, Edwin Yamauchi gives an insightful explanation of why he put together this resource. Instead of summarizing it, we put it here for you to read:

Edwin M. Yamauchi

“While there are many excellent Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, and popular books on biblical backgrounds available, I had noticed a serious deficiency. I noted that while every one of these had an entry on “Abomination,” none (with the exception of the six-volume Anchor Bible Dictionary) had an entry on “Abortion.” Why was this the case? It was because these references were keyed to the words which occurred in the Bible.

From my 40 years of teaching the history of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, early Judaism, and early Christianity, I was well aware of the widespread practice of abortion, contraception, and infanticide in these societies and epochs. I therefore proposed a new framework for the DDL, one based on the Human Relations Area Files, an anthropological grid of human society, which would systematically and comparatively survey different aspects of culture, whether they were highlighted in the Bible or not.

The biblical texts were not intended to give us a complete representation of their worlds. In fact, they take for granted what was well known to both the writers and readers, but of which we are not aware. It is as though we hear the vocalization of an operatic libretto, but do not see the scenery and the costumes of the singers. Thanks, however, to extra-biblical texts and archaeology, we are able to recreate much of the background for the Bible.”


Inside, you’ll find four volumes. However, by tapping the Browse Dictionary tab, you can easily search and scroll through the entire resource.



But what kind of topics are covered? There are 120 different subjects, some mentioned in the Bible and some that are not, but key features of the ancient world. Here is the author’s perspective:

“Rather than attempting to cover all possible topics, we have chosen to concentrate on 120 subjects, not because of their prominence in the biblical text but because of their significant roles in the ancient world. For example, ASTROLOGY, DREAMS, MAGIC, and DIVINATION & SORTITION (i.e., the casting of lots) are mentioned sparingly in the biblical texts themselves but they were dominant facets of life in antiquity.” — Edwin M. Yamauchi

Each subject is then covered in six sections:

(1) the Old Testament and

(2) the New Testament; followed by

(3) the Near Eastern world, primarily Mesopotamia and Egypt, with some references to Anatolia and Persia;

(4) the Greco-Roman world, from the Minoans and Mycenaeans, Homer, through the Hellenistic era, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire;

(5) the Jewish world, including the Old Testament Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mishnah, and the Talmuds (Babylonian and Jerusalem); and

(6) the Christian world, including the church fathers up to Chrysostom and Augustine, as well as the early Byzantine empire to Justinian.


There several ways that you can use this resource in the app. The first is by looking up a word. Simple select a word and tap “look up.” If you have a resource that talks about that word, we’ll show it to you. It’s that easy.


Another option is to open up the Resource Guide. We’ll show you topics that are mentioned in the passage you are reading. Tap on one to see if you have any resources that give you additional information.


We learned in the introduction that some of the topics in this dictionary aren’t necessarily listed in the Bible, though. So, this is a dictionary worth opening on its own. Take time to do some research a learn more about the ancient world with the Dictionary of Daily Life.


You can learn more about this resource and buy it today by visiting our website.

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The Growth of the Disciples

Posted by on 10/08/2018 in:

In Mark 8, we see huge growth for the disciples. They go from worrying about where they will get their next meal to proclaiming that Jesus is God. If you read quickly through the chapter, you may not think critically about all the changes that take place. But, with a Bible like the ESV Story of Redemption Bible, you’ll get easy-to-read commentary that shows you the ebb and flow of the story.

Be guided through the story and transformation that happens in Mark 8 with the ESV Story of Redemption Bible below.


Just as he fed a multitude in Jewish lands, Jesus now does exactly the same thing here in Gentile lands. The symbolism again is rich: the resources and bounty of the kingdom are limitless and are not only for Jews but also—just as God had promised Abraham—for all the families of the nations.

MARK 8:1-10

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

Seven,” they replied.

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied.

Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.


Meanwhile, the Pharisees continue in their hardhearted judgment of Jesus, and he continues to thunder down condemnation on their stubbornness.

MARK 8:11-13

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.


The theme of the disciples’ spiritual dullness reaches a new height here, and Jesus seems genuinely exasperated. Even after seeing him feed nine thousand people on a lunchbox’s worth of food, they are worried about where they are going to find bread. Even worse, when Jesus makes a spiritual lesson of the situation, they are completely dim to it.

MARK 8:14-21

Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

They said to him, “Twelve.”

“And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

And they said to him, “Seven.”

And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

If it were not for the next story, we might be tempted to despair entirely of the disciples’ ever getting it.


The two-stage healing of this blind man is not an instance of Jesus making a mistake (as if he failed at first to heal the man). Rather, it is an enacted parable of the disciples (especially Peters) coming to see and understand Jesus.

MARK 8:22-26

And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”

And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.”

Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”


Peter’s understanding of Jesus’ identity is real but still blurry. He understands that Jesus is the Christ (that is, the King); he even understands, as Matthew tells us, that Jesus is the divine Son of God.

MARK 8:27-30

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”

And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”

And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.


But he does not yet understand that being the Christ necessarily entails dying. Even more, he does not yet understand that following the Christ will mean following him even to death.

MARK 8:31-33

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

This is the meaning of Jesus’ phrase here that a disciple must “take up his cross” (8:34). He is not referring to a regrettable circumstance in one’s life or even to sickness or hardship. He is promising that the world will always be intractably, furiously, and even lethally opposed to Christians—precisely because it is opposed to Christ the Lord.

MARK 8:34-38

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Now, though, a small group of the disciples is about to witness the greatest revelation of Jesus’ glory so far.


The Bible is the epic story of the unfolding plan of God over the course of the history of the world. The Story of Redemption Bible: A Journey through the Unfolding Promises of God leads readers on a journey through this storyline from start to finish, with conversational commentary written by Pastor Greg Gilbert.

Visit our website to learn more about this resource.

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Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series

Posted by on 10/05/2018 in: ,

Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series

Reading Bible passages in the original languages is a great way to enhance personal study and lesson preparation. But if you’re like me, and it’s been a while since you studied Greek or Hebrew, your vocabulary isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Or maybe you’re just beginning the adventure of learning the biblical languages, and you’d appreciate a vocabulary-building resource that’s a little flashier than flash cards. I’d like to introduce you to a new series designed specifically to help you build (or rebuild) your language skills: The Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series.


The Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series offers five volumes, two for biblical Greek, two for biblical Hebrew, and even one for biblical Aramaic. Depending on your needs and interests, you can purchase a single volume, a two volume set (Greek or Hebrew), or the five-volume collection.

For Greek and Hebrew, the first volumes review the 365 most frequently occurring words; the second volumes have the next 365 most frequently occurring words. For Aramaic (found mostly in parts of Daniel and Ezra), there are 365 entries, but some days introduce more than one vocabulary word. If you finish the Aramaic volume, you will actually encounter every single Aramaic word used in the Bible.


Each daily entry introduces a new vocabulary word along with two review words from previous days.

First you see the English text of a Bible verse, with your new and review vocabulary words in parentheses right after the corresponding English word.

Next, the new vocabulary word is presented with its transliteration and meanings, the number of occurrences in the Bible, and its Strong’s word. If you want more details, you can tap on the Strong’s word to see a popup window with that word’s Strong’s dictionary definition.

The next line features the day’s two review words. You can tap on the day to go back and review that entry. Or if you need just a quick reminder, tap on the review word to see its Strong’s definition.

After the review words, the day’s Bible verse is shown in its original language, once in full and once broken out phrase by phrase, with the corresponding English translation. The new and review words are highlighted, so it’s easy to spot them.

Reading the verse, even if you don’t yet understand some (or most) of the words, helps you recognize other familiar words and phrases, and helps review what you know about syntax and word forms.


Each volume in the Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series can be used in the Olive Tree Bible App as a Reading Plan. That can help keep you on schedule, not only for your daily vocabulary lesson, but for the devotional value you will get from reading and meditating on the day’s Bible verse. Or, if you prefer, you can work at your own pace, starting at any time, and going back over previous lessons until you recognize and remember the words.


Check out the Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series here. Let us know what you think about this new resource in the comments!

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Meditating on His Word

Posted by on 10/03/2018 in:

Meditating on His Word

Many have written about the hyperactivity of today’s contemporary society and our cultural attention deficit disorder that makes slow reflection and meditation a lost art. Nonetheless, if prayer is to be a true conversation with God, it must be regularly preceded by listening to God’s voice through meditation on the Scripture.

Learn about meditating on Scripture with this excerpt from The NKJV Ancient-Modern Bible and Timothy Keller.


Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. — Psalm 1:1-6


The Psalms are the prayer book of the Bible, but it is noteworthy that the first Psalm is not a prayer per se but a meditation—in fact, it is a meditation on meditation. This Psalm’s prime place is not an accident. Eugene Peterson points out that the Psalms are an edited book, and Psalm 1 is the entrance to the rest.

“The text [of the Psalms] that teaches us to pray doesn’t begin with prayer. We are not ready. We are wrapped up in ourselves. We are knocked around by the world.”

Psalm 1 is “pre-prayer, getting us ready.” This is an important discovery. Many of us have a devotional life in which we jump from fairly academic study of the Bible into prayer. There is a “middle ground,” however, between prayer and Bible study, a kind of bridge between the two.


While deep experiences of the presence and power of God can happen in innumerable ways, the ordinary way for going deeper spiritually into prayer is through meditation on Scripture.

“If we pray without meditation,” writes Edmund Clowney, “our own communion with God becomes poor and distant.”

According to Psalm 1, meditation promises at least three things.


The person experienced in meditation is like a tree rooted so that wind cannot blow it away. Notice that this tree is planted by streams of water. Trees by streams do well even if there is little rain. This is an image of someone who can keep going in hard, dry times. We need to have the roots of our heart and soul in God at such times, and meditation is the way to do that. The streams of water represent the “law of the Lord,” the Word of God, and to put roots into the water is a metaphor for meditation.

Meditation, then, is what gives you stability, peace, and courage in times of great difficulty, adversity, and upheaval. It helps you stay rooted in divine “water” when all other sources of moisture—of joy, hope, and strength—dry up. By contrast, chaff—the husk around the seed or the kernel in grain—is very lightweight and in any little puff of breeze just blows away. Anything can move it. The way to avoid being chaff rather than a tree is through meditation on God’s Word.

There is a note of realism here.

Notice that the tree bears fruit only in season, yet it never loses its leaves. Meditation leads to stability—the tree is an evergreen!—but not to complete immunity from suffering and dryness. We must not always expect meditation to lead to uniform experiences of joy and love. There are seasons for great delight (springtime blossoms?) and for wisdom and maturity (summertime fruit?).

However, there are also spiritual wintertimes, when we don’t feel God to be close, though our roots may still be firmly in His truth.
Meditation also brings the promise of substance, of character. Chaff cannot produce anything, while the tree can produce fruit. The reason for the difference is that the tree is a growing thing, and the chaff is not. Persons who meditate become people of substance who have thought things out and have deep convictions, who can explain difficult concepts in simple language, and who have good reasons behind everything they do.

Many people do not meditate. They skim everything, picking and choosing on impulse, having no thought-out reasons for their behavior. Following whims, they live shallow lives. The people who meditate can resist pressure—but those who do not go along with the throng, chaff-like, wherever it is going.


Meditation bears fruit, which in the Bible means character traits such as love, joy, peace, patience, humility, self-control (Gal. 5:22ff.). Real meditation, then, does not merely make us feel “close to God” but changes our life. As Old Testament scholar Derek Kidner observes:

“The tree is no mere channel, piping water unchanged from one place to another, but a living organism which absorbs it, to produce in due course something new and delightful, proper to its kind and to its time.”


Finally, meditation brings blessedness—a very fulsome idea in the Bible. It means peace and well-being in every dimension. It means character growth, stability, and delight (Ps. 1:2). Meditating on the law of the Lord, the Scripture, moves us through duty toward joy. The biblical promises for meditation are enormous.

-Timothy Keller


Many things have changed in the last two-thousand years. The good news of Jesus Christ isn’t one of them.

The NKJV Ancient-Modern Bible features all-new book introductions, articles, and commentary from voices both ancient and modern to help you experience the Word of God as never before. Read the Bible alongside Augustine, Luther, Graham, and others—and discover the rich wisdom of ages past and present, which is the rightful inheritance of every follower of Christ.

The NKJV Ancient-Modern Bible is an opportunity for readers to experience the Word of God with fresh eyes, as members of the global and historical community of faith. This is a Bible two thousand years in the making.

Visit our website to learn more.

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Stay in the Word: The Last 90 Days of 2018

Posted by on 10/01/2018 in:

On October 2nd, the countdown for the last 90 days of 2018 begins. In those last 90 days, we enter the busy holiday season, full of food, family, and let’s be real, laziness. (I often call it hibernation in order to feel better about it).

During this time, we typically start letting go of our routine and goals. We promise ourselves that we will return to them after the start of the new year… even though we have an entire quarter of the year to go.

So, we’ve put together three suggestions on how you can stay on top of your spiritual growth these next 90 days. Read them, make a plan, get some accountability, and stay in the Word during the holidays.


Our latest update brought a big change to the app: audio Bibles and books. However, that wasn’t the only change!

On iOS devices, you can now add the Verse of the Day as a widget. You can quickly see the verse and the image, without even opening the app. Hopefully, this will keep your mind more focused during these last 90 days. Use this as a daily reminder to get into the Word.


We have two 90-day reading plans in the app that can encourage you to get in the Word daily!

Through the Bible in 90 Days

This reading plan takes you through the ENTIRE Bible in 90 days. Each day’s reading comes from the Old Testament, Psalms or Proverbs, and the New Testament.

90-Day Reading Plan

This reading plan takes you through the New Testament in three months. During the first month, you’ll spend time with Jesus in the four Gospels. In the second month, you’ll read Acts and Paul’s longest letters. Then, during the last month, you’ll read letters from Paul, John, Jude, and Peter, ending with Revelation.

Don’t Forget to Set a Reminder!

You can set a reading plan reminder schedule. Choose which days you want us to send you a reminder, and at what time. This way, you’ll never forget to get in God’s Word.


New Reading Method

It can be easy to lose motivation when you find yourself doing the same study methods day in and day out. Here are a few posts we made that can teach you to read the Bible in new ways.

A Method to Help You Stop Skimming the Bible

6 Steps for Effectively Using Cross-References

Read and Study the Bible in New Ways

Start Listening

Want to make an even bigger change? Try listening to your Bible instead! Here’s a link to all of our audio Bibles.

And if you interested in audiobooks, we’ve got that as well.


Make a pact with yourself today that you’ll end 2018 on a high-note—especially when it comes to spiritual growth. Pick one or all three of these suggestions and stick to it!

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8 Tips for Audio in the Olive Tree Bible App

Posted by on 09/28/2018 in:

When we released the audio update, it was important that we taught you the basics first. But now, a bit of time has passed, and we have a few tips on how to make the most of the new features. Here are 8 tips and tricks for audio in the Olive Tree Bible App.


The audio update wasn’t just an audio update. We changed up a few things in the library! The largest improvement is the book covers. By turning on Grid View from the menu in the top-right, you can see all your resources in a more visually-appealing way, as seen below.

We love this layout because it communicates the value behind the products you have in your library. They may not go on a bookshelf, but you’ve still built a collection worth admiring!


We were able to add over 1,300 new audio products in preparation of this release. It’s very exciting, but also very challenging to decide how to organize that many titles.

Here’s a tip on how to find audio books that are up your alley. Instead of click on the audio tab, still go to the genre you’re interested in. Then select the box “only audio.”

You might be surprised by the kinds of audio books that are out there! Some aren’t even books, but lectures and interviews with authors. We wrote a different blog that shows you some of the genres of audio books we offer. Check it out if you’re interested in learning more!


Once you get your audio Bible or book playing in the app, you don’t have to stay there. In fact, we encourage you to let the audio play in the background while you take notes, read commentary, check out cross-references, and even respond to a text or two if you need. It’s all possible.


When you see Drive Mode and the Connect button at the bottom, it can be hard to think outside the box. Obviously, connect is for connecting to your bluetooth car speaker, right?

Actually, the possibilities are endless. You can discover new ways and times to get God’s Word into your day. Connect your device with your Apple TV, the wireless speaker you usually use to listen to music while you get ready in the morning, or anything else you can think of.


First, you can take inventory of how much space our app is taking on your phone… by resource. Now, you can see exactly how large a resource is and easily choose to offload it. All you need to do is open the library and tap the menu in the top-right. Next, choose “Manage Storage.” Then tap on “Offload Resources.” Now you can tap on any resource, followed by “Offload Book” to remove it from your device.

If you made any notes or highlights in the resource, those won’t be removed. They will be saved for you, and the next time you re-download the resource, you can access them again.

When you want to download a resource, you typically tap the green arrow next to it in the library, right? Well now, audio Bibles have a blue arrow. Instead of initiating a download, you are taken to another menu where you can choose which books of the Bible you’d like to download. This is because audio Bibles are rather large files. We didn’t want you accidentally downloading something that would take up lots of precious space on your device.


If you’re listening to a resource, tap the menu in the top-right of the audio player. This is where you can access the sleep timer.

You can choose to have your audio automatically turn off after 8, 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes—or, just choose to have it end at the end of a chapter. To me, the most obvious time to use the sleep timer is if you are listening right before bed. That’s probably just because the word “sleep” is in there… but don’t be fooled! This is about the audio going to sleep, not you!

So, here are a few unique ideas for how you could use the sleep timer:

  • Make a goal of listening for exactly 15 or 30 minutes each day. You won’t have to watch the clock when you use the sleep timer. Simply focus on listening and we’ll let you know when you’re done.
  • Do you have a time-goal for running? Put in your headphones and pick how long you want the audio and you to run.
  • Just put your kids in time-out? Use a timer that also instills some godly patience in you. [I’m joking… kinda]

Can you think of any other ideas? Let us know in the comments.


Or slower, if that’s how you like your audio. Either way, tap speed at the bottom of the audio player to get the narrator talking at the rate you want. This is definitely helpful if you only have so much time and your audio book or Bible is a little slow-going.


One last change in the library is the ability to toggle between books only, audio only, and books & audio. Just tap at the top of the library to get started.


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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Audio: More Genres Than You’d Think

Posted by on 09/24/2018 in:

Audio Genres

With the release of our new audio feature, we also released a good amount of audio Bibles and audio books—over 1,300 new products. That can be overwhelming to look through! So, here is a breakdown of different types of audio Bibles and audio books we’ve released, with links to some of our favorites. Enjoy!


Audio books are just what you would expect audio books to be… with a few extra-special features. First, you can either download or stream these from your device. You can add bookmarks to your favorite spots you want to return to. And lastly, you can do other things in the app while you listen or even leave the app entirely — the audio will keep playing.


Soul Keeping by John Ortberg

“Two things are for sure. One is: you have a soul. The other is: if you don’t look after this one you won’t be issued a replacement.

Bestselling author John Ortberg writes another classic that will help readers discover their soul and take their relationship with God to the next level.”

Grace Revealed by Jerry Sittser

“Twenty years ago, Jerry Sittser lost his daughter, wife, and mother in a car accident. He chronicled that tragic experience in A Grace Disguised, a book that has become a classic on the topic of grief and loss.

Now he asks: How do we live meaningfully, even fruitfully, in this world and at the same time long for heaven? How do we respond to the paradox of being a new creature in Christ even though we don’t always feel or act like one? How can we trust God is involved in our story when our circumstances seem to say he isn’t?”

Unashamed by Christine Caine

“In Unashamed, Christine reveals the often-hidden consequences of shame—in her own life and the lives of so many Christian women—and invites you to join her in moving from a shame-filled to a shame-free life.”

[and the audio study, a recording of Christine talking through applying key points of the book]


What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops?: A 30 Day Devotional by Laura Story

“What if the trials of this life are mercies in disguise? 30 devotions by Laura Story, whose Grammy Award-winning song “Blessings” has inspired millions. Empowering messages about heartache, healing, and grace.”

God in the Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In by Sarah Van Diest

“These letters were originally written as encouragement to a friend when the darkness began to overtake his path. Each day for 22 days, a letter arrived with one of the eight-verse sections from Psalm 119 along with a small thought to bring light and hope and to be a reminder that we do not fight our battles alone. When these devotions were augmented by nine on the subject of experiencing God in the dark, a 31-day devotional was created.”

Jesus Always by Sarah Young

“Enjoy these joy-filled reminders daily with this beautifully recorded audio devotional. Featuring multi-voice narration and musical scoring, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus. Also includes full scripture readings for each day in addition to guided reflection and prayer thoughts.”


Survey of the New Testament: Audio Lectures by Robert Gundry

“These audio lectures are a unique learning experience. Unlike a traditional audiobook’s direct narration of a book’s text, A Survey of the New Testament: Audio Lectures includes high quality live-recordings of college-level lectures that cover the important points from each subject as well as relevant material from other sources.”

Introduction to Biblical Interpretation: Audio Lectures by Craig L. Blomberg

“Introduction to Biblical Interpretation: Audio Lectures, provides a full seminary-level overview of biblical hermeneutics. Biblical scholars William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard cover:

  • the history of biblical interpretation,
  • current discussions about finding meaning in written texts,
  • the formation of the biblical canon and the task of translating Scripture,
  • guidelines for reading biblical poetry and prose,
  • identification of the various genres of the Old and New Testaments,
  • and insights for understanding and applying Scripture today.”

Historical Theology: Audio Lectures by Gregg Allison

“In Historical Theology: Audio Lectures, Gregg Allison offers students the opportunity to study the historical development of theology by a topical-chronological arrangement, setting out the history one doctrine at a time. This approach allows students to concentrate on one tenet of Christianity and its formulation in the early church, through the Middle Ages, Reformation, and post-Reformation era, and into the modern period.”


Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

“Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their own fields.

Strobel challenges them with questions like, How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?”

Book on Leadership by John MacArthur

“Author John MacArthur writes on more than 60 traits every leader needs. These elements of character form the framework from which MacArthur details the qualifications and responsibilities of effective leaders, no matter if they are full-time staff members or Christians seeking to serve God at church, home, work, and with friends.”

The Meaning of Marriage Audio Study by Timothy Keller

“According to the Bible, all of these modern-day assumptions miss what marriage is all about. In this audio study, Timothy Keller, along with Kathy, his wife of forty years, draws a profound portrait of marriage from the pages of Scripture that neither idealizes nor rejects the institution but points us back to the relationship between God and man. The result is a vision for marriage that is refreshingly frank and unsentimental, yet hopeful and beautiful.”


What makes audio Bibles so fantastic in the app? You can start at any verse you want. If you’ve tried out other audio platforms, you know that they usually start at the chapter, or even the book! With us, you have the control to start exactly where you want to.

You can also read along, with the text appearing with the audio. If you want to do any studying or take notes while listening, just go back into the main part of the app. The audio will keep playing as you do all your normal Bible study tasks.


NKJV Word of Promise Audio Bible

“This world-class audio production immerses listeners in the dramatic reality of the Scriptures as never before with an original music score by composer Stefano Mainetti (Abba Pater), feature film quality sound effects, and compelling narration by Michael York and the work of over 600 actors.”

Inspired By… The Bible Experience (TNIV)

“The most ambitious, critically-acclaimed presentation of the Bible ever produced, Inspired By … The Bible Experience features a star-studded cast of almost 200 performers. Highlighting the cast is 2007 Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker as the voice of Moses, along with Angela Bassett (Esther), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Jonah), Denzel and Pauletta Washington (Song of Songs), LL Cool J (Samson), Eartha Kitt (Serpent), Bishop T.D. Jakes (Abraham), and Bishop Eddie L. Long (Joel) among others.”

KJV Complete Audio Bible Dramatized

“For those who value the timeless KJV translation, this new audio recording offers a rich listening experience. Featuring top voice talent enhanced by original music and sound effects, the KJV Complete Bible Dramatized Audio brings the King James Version to life. World-class narration, a fully orchestrated background, and colorful character renderings engage the ears, the imagination, and the heart.”


ESV Hear the Word Audio Bible

“The ESV “sounds like” the Bible – with the kind of beauty, clarity, and dignity that we love to hear and read. It also retains the Bible’s rich imagery and theological words – words like grace and justification and salvation – that are essential to our faith. This audio bible is read by David Heath.”

NASB Audio Bible, Read by Stephen Johnston

“Let the power of the Scriptures refresh your soul and encourage you in daily life when you listen to the precise New American Standard Bible. This recording, which is carefully read word-for-word by masterful narrator Stephen Johnston, features the NASB without background music.”

NRSV Audio Bible – Voice Only

“Let the power of the Scriptures refresh your soul. Cutting-edge recording delivers the complete text of the NRSV–over 80 hours— in a convenient audio format. Carefully read word-for-word by masterful narrator Stephen Johnston.”


Johnny Cash Reads the New Testament Audio Bible: NKJV

“The Spiritual Legacy of an American Legend:

‘To turn the written Word into the spoken Word has long been my dream. As I read the words of the Lord I prayed to feel and show only His love with a clear deliverance of His messages, constantly aware that He is speaking to me, and that when I am reading His words, I am not Him.'”

Complete NIV Audio Bible Read by David Suchet

“Ever since he became a Christian at the age of 40, it has been Poirot actor David Suchet’s dream to make an audio recording of the whole Bible. In between filming the final episodes of Poirot, David Suchet spent over 200 hours in the recording studio to create the very first full-length audio version of the NIV Bible spoken by a single British actor.”

NIV Listener’s Audio Bible Read By Max McLean

“Verses you have read many times will impact you in a new way when you hear them through the NIV Listener’s Audio Bible. Read in a single voice with subtle background music, Max McLean’s skillful, engaging, but never over-dramatized style will bring God’s Word to life during your personal and family devotion times, group Bible study, or during your weekday commute.”


Wondering what else we have? Visit our website to see all the new audio books and Bibles we have to offer.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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:

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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


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.


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).


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.


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.


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


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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