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.”

GET THEM BOTH TODAY

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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What is Application?

Posted by on 08/04/2018 in: ,

What is Application?

This content is taken directly from the Life Application Study Bible.

The best way to define application is to first determine what it is not. Application is not just accumulating knowledge. This helps us discover and understand facts and concepts, but it stops there. History is filled with philosophers who knew what the Bible said but failed to apply it to their lives, keeping them from believing and changing. Many think that understanding is the end goal of Bible study, but it is really only the beginning.

Application is not just illustration.

Illustration only tells us how someone else handled a similar situation. While we may empathize with that person, we still have little direction for our personal situation.

Application is not just making a passage “relevant.”

Making the Bible relevant only helps us to see that the same lessons that were true in Bible times are true today; it does not show us how to apply them to the problems and pressures of our individual lives.

What is it then?

Application begins by knowing and understanding God’s Word and its timeless truths. But you cannot stop there. If you do, God’s Word may not change your life, and it may become dull, difficult, tedious, and tiring. A good application focuses the truth of God’s Word, shows the reader what to do about what is being read, and motivates the reader to respond to what God is teaching. All three are essential to applying the Bible.

Application is putting into practice what we already know (see Mark 4:24 and Hebrews 5:14) and answering the question, “So what?” by confronting us with the right questions and motivating us to take action (see 1 John 2:5, 6 and James 2:17). Applying the Bible is deeply personal—unique for each individual. It is making a relevant truth a personal truth, and involves developing a strategy and action plan to live your life in harmony with the Bible. It is the Biblical “how to” of life.

Can application study Bible notes relevant to my life?

You may ask, “How can your application notes be relevant to my life?” Each application note [in the Life Application Study Bible] has three parts:

  1. an explanation that ties the note directly to the Scripture passage and sets up the truth that is being taught
  2. the bridge that explains the timeless truth and makes it relevant for today
  3. the application that shows you how to take the timeless truth and apply it to your personal situation.

No note, by itself, can apply Scripture directly to your life. It can only teach, direct, lead, guide, inspire, recommend, and urge. It can give you the resources and direction you need to apply the Bible; but only you can take these resources and put them into practice.

What makes a good tool for Bible study application?

A good note, therefore, should not only give you knowledge and understanding, but point you to application. Before you buy any kind of resource Bible, you should evaluate the notes and ask the following questions:

  1. Does the note contain enough information to help me understand the point of the Scripture passage?
  2. Does the note assume I know too much?
  3. Do the notes touch most of life’s experiences?
  4. Does the note avoid denominational bias?
  5. Does the note help me apply God’s Word?

LEARN MORE

The Life Application Study Bible is unlike any study Bible you’ve used before. It comes with the Bible text, full of links to maps, extra notes, and other goodies. Then, you also get the study Bible, which comes with over 9,000 Life Application notes, 324 charts, 161 Personality Profiles, 240 full-color maps, a dictionary and concordance, and more.

The best part is that there are tons of articles included in the resource that teach you how to use it, the benefit of applying the Bible to your life, and how to share with others.

The Life Application Study Bible comes in several translations, and even a chronological version. Visit our website to learn more and add this fantastic study Bible to your Olive Tree account.

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Covered in Grace

Posted by on 08/01/2018 in: ,

Covered in Grace

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7–8

THE UNIVERSAL LAWS OF LIFE

Universal laws govern our lives. Just as the law of gravity governs our movements, so the law of sowing and reaping governs our choices. We reap what we sow. If we sow life–giving choices, we reap blessing; if we sow to please our sinful nature, we reap pain. God is abundantly gracious, always willing to forgive our sins and welcome us home with open arms, but forgiveness does not always negate painful consequences of our poor choices.

Sometimes we can’t see the direct correlation between choices and consequences. Sometimes the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer … for now. It seems like the laws of sowing and reaping is not really true. But we have to take the long view. God promises that in the end, no one who disregards him or his ways will be without consequences. In faith we trust that God will make everything right.

THE LINK BETWEEN CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES

Sometimes we clearly see the link between choices and consequences. “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD” (1 Chronicles 10:13). King Saul, God’s chosen leader made a series of foolish, increasingly wicked choices. He disobeyed God and consulted a witch for guidance. Did God still love Saul? Certainly he did. But God held him accountable for his choices, and he allowed Saul to reap the painful consequences.

COVERED IN GRACE

Consider how this plays out in our lives. A husband has an affair and betrays his wife. He repents. God forgives him and perhaps his wife does too. Though he is covered in grace, he still faces consequences: a torn marriage, a devastated wife, mixed–up children, haunting regret. Yes, grace, but also pain. It is always better to avoid the sin or the temptation in the first place.

What consequences are you facing?

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This blog was adapted from an Insight note in the NIV Life Journey BiblePractical biblical insights, essays and character profiles by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud will deepen your understanding of your world and yourself, enabling you to grow spiritually, personally, and relationally.

This resource also comes with reading plans that you can use in the reading plan section of our app. Schedule notifications, keep tracking of your reading, and take notes and highlights along the way.

Interested? Learn more about the NIV Life Journey Bible on our website.

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Owning Our Feelings

Posted by on 07/31/2018 in: ,

Owning our Feelings

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” —Luke 15:20

IGNORING OUR FEELINGS

Some Christians view feelings with suspicion. They think emotions are unimportant or unreliable. Yet our feelings play an enormous role in our motivation and behavior. Think of a time when hurt feelings prompted someone to lash out in anger or to take revenge. Consider that some people have been hospitalized for depression after years of trying to ignore their feelings. And on the positive side, the Bible says that Jesus was motivated by his compassion, a deep feeling of empathy.

Feelings should neither be ignored nor placed in charge. Feelings can often motivate us to do much good. The Good Samaritan’s pity moved him to go to the injured Israelite (Luke 10:33–34). In the parable of the lost son, the father was filled with compassion for his lost son and “threw his arms around him” (Luke 15:20). Many times Jesus had compassion for the people to whom he ministered (Matthew 9:36; 15:32).

OWNING OUR FEELINGS

Feelings come from our hearts and can tell us the state of our relationships. They can tell us if things are going well or if there is a problem. If we feel close and loving, things are probably going well. If we feel angry, we have a problem that needs to be addressed. But it is important to remember that our feelings are our responsibility; we must own them and see them as our problem so we can begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to. We should not disown responsibility by disowning our feelings. Instead, we need to embrace them and deal with them.

Are you owning your feelings today?

LEARN MORE

This blog was adapted from an Insight note in the NIV Life Journey BiblePractical biblical insights, essays and character profiles by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud will deepen your understanding of your world and yourself, enabling you to grow spiritually, personally, and relationally.

This resource also comes with reading plans that you can use in the reading plan section of our app. Schedule notifications, keep tracking of your reading, and take notes and highlights along the way.

Interested? Learn more about the NIV Life Journey Bible on our website.

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The Life Application Study Bible

Posted by on 07/31/2018 in: ,

Life Application Study Bible Review

Knowledge and understanding are great, but mean nothing if they aren’t applied! The Life Application Study Bible recognizes this. It doesn’t only contain informative notes on Bible life and times, helping you understand difficult Bible passages. Instead, it goes a step further, showing you how to apply the Bible personally. The Life Application Study Bible gives you the best of both worlds: top scholarship that answers your real-life questions.

WHAT COMES WITH THE LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE?

Here is a list of the study Bible’s features:

  • 240 full-color maps
  • Over 160,000 embedded links, getting you the information you want, where you want it
  • Over 9,000 Life Application notes
  • 324 Charts
  • 161 Personality Profiles
  • Comprehensive Master Index, Dictionary/Concordance, and Feature Indexes
  • Christian Worker’s Resource, a special supplement to enhance the reader’s ministry effectiveness, includes: How to Become a Believer, How to Follow Up with a New Believer, Mining the Treasures of the Life Application Study Bible, So You’ve Been Asked to Speak, and Taking the Step to Application.

HOW IT WORKS IN THE APP

If you’ve bought study Bibles from us before, you know that they usually come with just the notes. This is because you can use any translation you want by putting a Bible in the main window and study Bible in the Study Center.

But, the Life Application Study Bible comes with both the Bible text and the study notes.

Why?

Because the Bible text is also filled with links, embedded maps, and even the study Bible notes. If you want to keep the Study Center tucked away, you can still access the notes from the main window.

STUDY BIBLES

If you want more information on how study Bibles work in our app, here is an overview video!

GET IT TODAY

Get help applying the Bible to your life today. Visit our website to learn more about the Life Application Study Bible and add it to your Olive Tree account.

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A Blast from the Past: 10 Years in the App Store

Posted by on 07/30/2018 in:

10 Years in the App Store

This week, we are celebrating a BIG anniversary: ten years in the App Store! Around the office, we’ve been eating lots of food, swapping stories, and being nostalgic. Olive Tree has come a long way since its beginnings. But did you know that we have been putting the Bible on phones long before the App Store?

A VISUAL HISTORY OF OLIVE TREE

Some of these images are almost embarrassing to share since technology has come such a long way over the past decade. But we hope you’ll enjoy this throwback as much as we do.

It started with a website.

Like most things tech-related, we started with a website, providing people with access to the Bible on the Internet.

Then came Palm Pilots.

Not too long after, we began putting our Bible Reader program on Palm Pilots. Although it wasn’t the most beautiful program, it was definitely innovative during its time.

The expansion of cell phones.

As cell phones grew in popularity, we continued to find ways to make our Bible Reader program accessible.

Then, the App Store began.

Ten years ago, the App Store began, and we were quick to get our app up and running for iOS devices.

As time passed and apps gained more functionality and fancier designs, we stayed up-to-date. It has been a marathon, but we are so thankful to share God’s Word with others around the world.

OLIVE TREE TODAY

Our app has been installed over 6,500,000 times in the past ten years. We are so thankful first to God, for giving us the ability to participate in His restorative plan of teaching others about Himself, and second, to you. Without our faithful users who make studying the Bible a priority, we wouldn’t have made it as far as we have today. Thanks for sticking with us. We can’t wait to see where we will be in another ten years.

To celebrate, we’ve put together a sale just for you. Head on over to our website to see some fantastic resources discounted to a really low price.

How long have you been using Olive Tree? Share below in the comments!

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Communicating the Gospel: One-to-One

Posted by on 07/07/2018 in:

Communicating The Gospel

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.—Luke 1:1–4

Communicating the Gospel is not only a big task, but a big responsibility. So, of course we want to know the best way to communicate it! The Preacher’s Commentary on Luke, by Bruce Larson, gives great insight for preachers and teachers alike by examining Luke’s methods for communication the Gospel.

Here’s an excerpt for you to read!

COMMUNICATING ONE-TO-ONE

The Gospel of Luke

Luke is the only one of the Gospel writers who did not know the physical Jesus. He was not present during our Lord’s three-year ministry and did not witness His death and Resurrection. His sources for this Gospel are eyewitnesses of these events. He visited the people who actually saw the physical Jesus: His family, His disciples, His friends. These are the sources of his information.

The second verse of the first chapter of the story tells us that Luke is reporting these events “just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us. He is not concerned about eyewitnesses who aren’t ministers. By ministers he does not refer to clergy, but to those people who are ministering and doing the will of God. We Protestants believe strongly in the doctrine of “the priesthood of all believers”—that every Christian is a minister, serving Jesus Christ wherever he or she happens to be, in laboratories, schools, offices, shops, or neighborhoods. Ministers like this were Luke’s sources.

An Illustration

The story is told about a man who was so intrigued by a Christian friend at work that he came to him one day and asked how he could find God. His friend said, “You need a theologian. You’d better talk to my pastor.”

When he talked to the pastor he was told, “I’m not a theologian, I’m just a poor preacher who learned some things in seminary. I suggest you see my seminary professor.”

Undaunted, the man made an appointment to see the seminary professor. At the start of the visit, he asked, “Are you a theologian?” “No, no,” was the reply. “I am just a teacher. I get my material from all these theology books in my library. You’d better go and see some of the authors of these books.”

When he finally arranged an interview with one of the important authors, his first question again was, “Are you a theologian?” “No, no,” answered the author. “I’m just a scientist who observes life and who writes about what I see. If you want a theologian, talk to somebody who is living out the faith day by day.”

I think this points up what Luke is implying. He got his story from the authentic theologians of his time. Beyond being eyewitnesses, they were living out their faith day by day.

What Sets Luke’s Gospel Apart

Perhaps the genius of Luke’s Gospel is that it is written to one person, to Theophilus. I am convinced that Luke is the most universal of the four Gospels because he is the most personal. The personal is universal; the general is vague. Some time ago I was in downtown Seattle shopping and I observed a man standing in front of one of our large department stores talking about Jesus. He was shouting at all those passing by. He was ranting about salvation to the world and nobody was listening. Though he was shouting loudly about the Good News, no one stopped and no one heeded. His message was so general it was meaningless.

Just For You

In contrast, the secret of genuinely effective communication is caught by one of the television commercials advertising a brokerage firm. When somebody whispers the firm’s name in a crowd, all conversation stops. When someone says, “Listen, this is not for the world, this is just for you,” the whole world—waiters, cab drivers, passersby—stops. We all want to eavesdrop on intimate conversation.

Luke’s Gospel, written just for Theophilus, had this quality. He is saying, “This is good news just for you, Theophilus.” And the whole world has been reading ever since Luke’s words to Theophilus. Whenever I am asked about speaking or writing effectively, I say, “Try to imagine one person sitting across the desk from you, and write your book or sermon to that one person. If your writing is for groups of people or for the world, it’s going to be vague. The more personally aimed your speaking or writing is, the more universal it is.”

LEARN MORE

The Preacher’s Commentary Series (35 Vols) brings together a team of skilled and exceptional communicators to blend sound scholarship with life-related illustrations. With all this applicable information, you will be on your way to teaching and preaching God’s Word sooner than you would be flipping through all those pages of commentary off your shelf.

Learn more about this series and how it works in our app by visiting our store.

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