Author Archives for Cierra Klatt

10 Literary Features of the Bible

October 17, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The following content can be found in the introduction notes of the ESV Literary Study Bible. The Bible is not a totally unique book. In general, its literary forms function in the same way that these forms function beyond the Bible. A story is a story, whether in the Bible or beyond it. A metaphor is a metaphor. Nonetheless, it is possible to make generalizations about characteristic literary features of the Bible, with no implication that these features do not exist elsewhere. Below are twelve literary qualities or preferred literary techniques that we often find in the Bible. 1. A UNIFYING STORYLINE Although the overall genre of the Bible is the anthology of individual books and passages, the Bible possesses a unity far beyond that of other literary anthologies. The technical term for a unifying superstructure such as we find in the Bible is metanarrative (big or overarching story). In the Bible, the metanarrative is the story of salvation history—the events by which God worked out his plan to redeem humanity and the creation after they fell from original innocence. This story of salvation history is Christocentric in the sense that it focuses ultimately on the substitutionary sacrifice and atonement... View Article


Learn to Read Books of the Bible as Books

October 16, 2017 8:45 am Published by Leave your thoughts

APPROACHING THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE There’s no doubt you’ve realized that the Bible is a book, but have you ever thought about what that means? If you took a literature class is high school or college, you may remember that there’s a lot more to studying books than simply reading them. There’s a storyline, plot, characters, themes, motifs, genre and literary devices. Sometimes, the author’s intentions are easy to understand. And sometimes, the author’s intentions lie deep beneath the surface. Just like reading Shakespeare or Nathaniel Hawthorne, if we hope to understand the Bible, we have to understand how and why it was written. But what will you gain by approaching the Bible as literature? First, you will be able to see the Bible as a metanarrative (a fancy word that means “one big story”). It’s incredibly neat to see patterns throughout not only books of the Bible, but the Bible itself. Secondly, you will be able to better understand and apply some of the more confusing books of the Bible—like Ecclesiastes. WHAT RESOURCES DO I USE? There are so many different ways to study the Bible, and it can be hard to know which resources will give you the... View Article


Learn to Preach Christ-Centered Sermons

October 16, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There are SO many Biblical resources out there—but how do you know which ones will be helpful to you?  Especially if you’re a pastor, you don’t have a lot of time or money to waste! The Christ-Centered Exposition Series makes its purpose clear just from the title. This commentary series is made for pastors. Pastors who want to preach Christ at the center of their message. WHAT MAKES THIS DIFFERENT OR BETTER? But wouldn’t every Biblical resource mention Jesus where it’s applicable? Nope! The authors of this commentary noticed that there are two ways to study the Bible: with a magnifying glass or a wide-angle lens. For years, Bible study resources have been focused on the tiny details that can be uncovered in each verse. There’s two issues with this for pastors: It takes a lot of time to turn those tiny details into a message that your audience can resonate with The tiny details address individual Bible stories—not the whole story of the Bible with Christ at the center Pastors need resources to help them prepare heart-transformative messages, making Jesus known to their congregants—no matter what book of the Bible they are studying. David Platt, Tony Merida, and Daniel Akin... View Article


How-To: Get the Most Out of Your Strong’s Tagged Bible

October 13, 2017 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

The great part about Strong’s Tagged Bibles is that anyone can use them. You don’t need to be seminary trained or have years of experience. You can just tap and read. The tool is powerful and practical enough to be useful even for personal study. As with many powerful tools, these resources can do more if you know how to use them. They can also be somewhat dangerous if you don’t know how to use them. We don’t just want to provide you with the resource; we want to help you get the most out of it and avoid the dangers of misinterpretation. In this post, we’ll talk about the basic features of Strong’s Tagged Bibles and about how to get the most out of each of them. TAP TO SEE GREEK/HEBREW WORD The first feature is the most obvious. As soon as you tap, you can see what Greek or Hebrew word is behind it. This is the first thing you’ll see when you tap on a word. It’s probably most helpful for people who know Greek or Hebrew. Now, if you tap on a darker word and it doesn’t open to do anything, that means that the word isn’t explicitly in the Greek... View Article


Thoughts on Meekness

October 12, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

A LUTHERAN’S PERSPECTIVE Have you ever heard of Lenski’s Commentary on the New Testament? R.H.C. Lenski was a German-born American and conservative Lutheran. He lived from 1864 to 1936 and loved to write. For our blog today, I’ve pulled out Lenski’s commentary on Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (NKJV). I found a great reminder in his writing; While we wait for Jesus’ return, we ought to remain meek, trusting that God will cut down the wicked. THOUGHTS FROM LENKSI Blessed the meek; for just they shall inherit the earth. The best commentary is Ps. 37; note v. 11. “The meek” are the mild, gentle, patient. The word refers to an inward virtue exercised toward persons. When they are wronged or abused they show no resentment and do not threaten or avenge themselves. The opposite are the vehement, bitter, wild, and violent. Jesus is the greatest example of meekness. The paradox is again startling, the fact that people of this kind “shall inherit the earth.” Jesus does not say, “the new earth,” yet many regard his word as a reference to the millennial earth or to Rev. 21:1. And Jesus says “shall inherit,” namely... View Article


How-To: Cross References

October 10, 2017 8:00 am Published by 2 Comments

Have you ever wondered what cross references are or how to use them? Kyle from Support is here to help! Watch this short video. LEARN MORE In the video, Kyle mentions our Olive Tree Cross References: Expanded Set. It contains over 100,000 cross references to enhance your Bible study! Visit our website to learn more.


3 Ways to Improve Your Highlights

October 10, 2017 7:00 am Published by 7 Comments

Highlighters, crayons, markers, and pens are staples for personal Bible study. When you find a passage you want to memorize or remember for later, you mark it up in some kind way that makes it stand out from the rest of the text. When it comes to digital Bibles we often neglect using highlights as a part of our study methods. Sure, we may highlight a favorite verse or passage, but most don’t go any further than that. Today, I want to open up a world of highlighting possibilities for you in the Olive Tree Bible App that will hopefully improve your Bible study. HOW TO HIGHLIGHT Before we dive into the ways you can use highlights, first let me give you a refresher on the two ways to make a highlight in the app. VERSE HIGHLIGHTS The most popular way to make a highlight in our app is to highlight an entire verse, or a group of verses. To do this, you tap the verse number and select “Highlight.” If you want to highlight a range of verses you can increase the range to your desired selection, then choose your color. This method is useful if you want to have your... View Article


A Commentary You Can Apply to Your Life

October 8, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There’s a reason students call seminary, “cemetery.” When I think of my Bible college experience, I remember the thick, dry textbooks. The information usually felt distant: arguments about authorship, textual criticism, definitions of the Greek and Hebrew. Although I learned a lot about the Bible (it was a priceless experience, believe me), I often finished my reading assignments wondering what any of it had to do with my personal life. This is why academic Bible study can feel like a graveyard; the Bible can quickly become only an ancient text to study, instead of the life-transforming book that it is. A DIFFERENT KIND OF COMMENTARY Not all commentaries neglect this important aspect. Recently, I was reading through Mark and thought it would be nice to have some extra input in my Bible study. I remembered that this week we have the NIV Application Commentary on sale, and I’ve never opened it before. So, I tried it out! Every section of Scripture is explained in three ways: Original Meaning, Bridging Contexts, and Contemporary Significance. I’ll give you an example from my own study: MARK 9:30-50 This passage is outlined in four sections: The Second Prediction of Jesus Suffering and Resurrection (9;30-37), The... View Article


The John Phillips Commentary Series

October 7, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

1) WHO WAS JOHN PHILLIPS? Phillips was born in South Wales on February 11, 1927. He didn’t stay put there, however. He served in the British Army in Palestine, then moved to Canada, married the love of his life, and then found himself in the United States. For years he worked at Moody Bible Institute, serving as the Assistant Director of their Evening Extension School. Additionally, he directed the Emmaus Correspondence School, which was, at the time, the largest school of its kind in the world. With this Doctor of Ministry, Phillips not only taught and organized academic study of God’s Word, but he wrote more than 50 books about the Bible, including complete sets of New Testament Commentaries, the Exploring the Bible Series and his Introducing People of the Bible Series This man was a dedicated, hard worker who strived to teach others about God and His Word. 2) WHAT IS HIS COMMENTARY LIKE? Currently, Olive Tree offers Phillips commentary collection that contains 27 volumes: 19 New Testament volumes and 8 Old Testament volumes. You can see the entire list by visiting our website. Phillips uses the KJV translation of the Bible for all of his work, and speaks... View Article


Paul and Meditation

October 6, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

This week, we are focusing on teaching others how to study the Bible. One of our favorite methods is the SOAP study: Scripture, observation, application, and prayer. Here’s our findings from our study on Philippians 4:8-9 while using the Blackaby Study Bible. SCRIPTURE Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. OBSERVATION Taken from the Blackaby Study Bible introductory notes on the book of Philippians. The early church accepted Philippians as an authentic letter written by the apostle Paul (Phil. 1:1), and modern scholars agree. Paul wrote the letter from prison (1:13, 14), almost certainly in Rome (Acts 28:16–31) in A.D. 61–62. His situation confined him, but it did not keep him from communicating with churches and preaching the gospel to his captors (Phil. 1:12–14). A notable feature is Paul’s sensitivity to the Christian mind. He challenged believers to... View Article