A Feature to Keep You Focused

Posted by on 02/23/2018 in:

When I was in Bible college, my homiletics professor said that for every minute you preach, you should spend one hour studying. I would sit down, ready to put a few good hours of research in… and I would get distracted. The worst part is that I wasn’t primarily distracted by people, or noise, or daydreaming.

I was distracted by all the resources.

Maybe you’ve experienced this, too. Your table is full of commentaries. You’re unsure which one to crack open first. Will it have the type of information you’re looking for?

Before you know it, you opened four more commentaries, went down six rabbit holes, and spent most of your time flipping pages. You’ve lost focus on your sermon. And you’re drowning in all the information. At least, that’s how I always felt by the end of it!


Imagine that you’re sitting at that table full of commentaries. As you flip through your Bible, all the commentaries automatically turn their pages as well. You can stand up and get a bird’s eye view of all the content you have on a passage at once.

Then, you can easily focus on what’s vital and relevant to your study.


Well, not with paper resources… that would defy laws of nature. But with digital resources, we’ve found a way to work smarter, not harder.


Underneath the list of features on the Life Application Study Bible, you’ll see that “Commentary / Study Notes” is listed. This means that the commentary or study Bible notes in the resource are enhanced. They will follow along with your Bible reading. It looks like this:

Even when you switch books of the Bible, the commentary or study Bible notes will keep up with you.

Also, this feature will help you make the preliminary decision of which resource to open up. When you have a Bible open, look at the Resource Guide to see which commentaries or study Bibles have related content.

Even if you aren’t doing hard research, this feature is useful. Picture yourself in small group and you’re about to start reading 1 Kings. You wonder if there’s any quick insights you could get about the passage before everyone starts asking questions.

You open up the Study Center and check out the list of applicable commentary the Resource Guide has found for you:

Now you can focus on what’s important (the passage, the conversation in the room, and questions being asked) instead of flipping pages, trying to find something relevant to share.


We recently published a blog about ALL of our different features: what they are, how they work, and what they look like in the app. If you want to see a list of our top-selling enhanced resources, visit our website by clicking here.


  • kelly lue says:

    I’m so spoiled by the resource guide. I’ve purchased all my favorites study resources plus a bunch more.

    Now, I won’t buy a book unless it’s available on Olive Tree and is linked to the “Resource Guide”. I just know I won’t use it on a digital e-reader or even worse an actual paper printed book.

    Keep up the great work Olive Tree and keep those digital books coming.

  • Laurence edgar says:

    I have been using Olive Tree now for a number of months and its brilliant, I much prefer it over all other bible study apps it is my go to app every time. Although I do have one small niggle just one, I would love to see more ways in which to highlight texts colours and lines are good but it could be so much better in this area. But it still remains my number one study app.

    • Randy says:

      Yes, Laurence, I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with you about more text, highlight and background color options. For example, my favorite format is a royal blue background with white text – as it’s so much easier on my aging eyes, and thus I’ll tend to spend far more time studying.

      Many years ago I had a very inexpensive bible software program on CD I bought on sale at Mardell’s that allowed users to easily change colors like this.

      As a retired graphics artist, I find it astonishing how so many programs being churned out these days don’t allow users to do this, which indicates to me they are being designed by folks who clearly don’t understand how humans best take in visual information, color being so crucial to the process.

  • Zagnoli says:

    Sounds great for researching for a sermon, however many get distracted from reading their bible by the commentaries ( man’s words about God’s word). Most people would do well having one bible study and one selected commentary by their elder or pastor when they do the homework. Maybe a concordance on hand. Also people are inherently lazy due to the fall, so easily are captivated by technology that supposedly does all the heavy lifting. Studies have already shown that their is a significant decline in memory correlated positively with use of screens and reading all their information on a screen. It is directly correlate.

    • BikerBro says:

      I agree with your statement that commentaries tend to redirect our focus from God’s word to man’s word about God’s word. I find myself spending much more time on man’s word than on God’s word during my Scripture time! I have to redirect my mind to The Word.

      Don’t get me wrong; I feel that commentaries are great and very helpful during study for presentations–whether sermons, teaching, or other. We just need to FOCUS–Find OUR Commentary Using Scripture. We need to balance the use of external resources during Scripture time–pray for that focus and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

      Just my $0.02 worth!

  • David says:

    One thing that I use quite often and keeps me from being distracted, or mind wandering, is to have on a headset with noise making app like Naturespace that loops different sounds without vocals. I find this works very well along with specific commentaries open at the bottom of my screen to keep me focused.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *