Author Archives for Cierra Loux

The Avalanche of Sin in Genesis

May 8, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There is an avalanche of sin in Genesis. It includes pride, murder, sexual immorality to name a few. But what is the significance of these stories? Read this excerpt by Gordon J. Wenham. We found it in the Word Biblical Commentary. THE IMPORTANCE OF GENESIS The ancient [Near Eastern] background to Gen 1—11 shows it to be concerned with rather different issues from those that tend to preoccupy modern readers. It is affirming the unity of God in the face of polytheism, his justice rather than his caprice, his power as opposed to his impotence, his concern for mankind rather than his exploitation. And whereas Mesopotamia clung to the wisdom of primeval man, Genesis records his sinful disobedience. Because as Christians we tend to assume these points in our theology, we often fail to recognize the striking originality of the message of Gen 1—11 and concentrate on subsidiary points that may well be of less moment. But an examination of the wider context of Gen 1—11 within the book itself, and the structure of these chapters, does, I believe, emphasize the centrality of these [following] themes in the opening chapters… THE AVALANCHE OF SIN IN GENESIS The opening chapters of... View Article

Do Christian Missionaries Impose Their Culture?

May 7, 2018 7:00 am Published by 7 Comments

Christian missions can be done well… and not well. But does this mean that we should abandon missions? Is it really that bad? Read this adapted article from the CSB Apologetics Study Bible to think deeper on the question, “Do Christian missionaries impose their culture?” DO CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES IMPOSE THEIR CULTURE? Many people believe Christian missionaries impose their culture on others. Missionaries allegedly soften up native peoples by weakening their cultural resistance, leaving the field open for colonists and Western capitalism. Mission has been described as enslavement or even as genocide, and the gospel has been called the “everlasting story of the West against the Indians.” ADDRESSING THE STEREOTYPES Such extreme accusations signal that we are entering a world of stereotype and caricature. We first find them in the nineteenth century but stereotypes of missionaries became widespread in the mid-twentieth century, with the recognition that some cultures can oppress others. This insight was applied to “Christian” cultures of the West, especially as supposedly spread by missionaries. Most caricatures have a basis in fact, however flimsy, and some missionaries have fit aspects of the stereotype. The early church faced similar issues (Ac 15; Gl 2) when the apostles rejected the imposition of... View Article

Paul’s “Cutting” Remarks

May 7, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Richard N. Longenecker walks through Galatians and Paul’s “cutting” remarks. You’ll find that Galatians is more applicable than you know. Check out this excerpt from the Word Biblical Commentary below. PAUL’S “CUTTING” REMARKS 5:7 “you were running well. Who cut in on you to be keeping you from obeying the truth?” While the first half of this section on “Holding Fast to Freedom” is, as Betz notes, a “highly condensed section,” the second half beginning with v 7 “is freer, appearing like a rambling collection of pointed remarks, rhetorical questions, proverbial expressions, threats, irony, and, climaxing it all, a joke of stark sarcasm” (Galatians, 264). In effect, having argued and exhorted at length, Paul now brings his treatment of the Judaizing threat to a close with this loose collection of comments and remarks. The figurative use of an athlete running in a stadium to represent living one’s life is frequent in Paul (cf. 2:2; also 1 Cor 9:24-27; Phil 3:14; 2 Tim 4:7; Acts 20:24). Such athletic imagery for life was common in the ancient world… The verb [translated as] (“hinder,” “thwart,” “block the way) in the context of a race suggests tripping or otherwise interfering with a runner, which inevitably... View Article

A Call For God’s Protection

May 2, 2018 7:00 am Published by 11 Comments

Psalm 56, written by David, is a call for God’s protection. Read this Psalm and learn more about the meaning behind the Hebrew words from the CSB Study Bible. Be gracious to me, God, for a man is trampling me; he fights and oppresses me all day long. My adversaries trample me all day, for many arrogantly fight against me. — PSALM 56:1-2 Trampling (Hb sh’p) appears twice in these verses. There are two meanings for this Hebrew word: (1) “pant” or “long for” (Is 42:14; Jr 2:24) and (2) “crush” or “trample” (Ps 57:3; Am 8:4). Since the first of these is more common, some translations take that as the meaning here. However, the parallel terms fights and oppresses argue for the second meaning. When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? — PSALM 56:3-4 Mere mortals is literally “flesh” (Hb basar), which represents man’s weakness and mortality (Is 2:22; 31:3; 40:6). This word is often used to contrast man’s weakness with God’s power (2Ch 32:8). Similar words are repeated in Ps 56:10-11. They twist my... View Article

A Romans Rivalry: Law vs. Faith

April 30, 2018 7:00 am Published by 3 Comments

Law vs. Faith: one of the main conflicts Paul seeks to resolve in his letter to the Romans. Dig deeper into Romans 3:27-31 with Marvin C. Pate and this excerpt from his contribution to the Teach the Text Commentary Series. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. — Romans 3:27-31 BIG IDEA These verses contain three contrasts between boasting in the law of Moses and justification by faith in Christ alone: boasting in individual legalism versus justification by faith and acceptance before God; boasting in national exclusivism versus justification by faith and monotheism; boasting in the old covenant versus justification by faith and the new covenant. KEY THEMES Paul... View Article

Getting Started: Bible Handbooks

April 24, 2018 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

A Bible handbook gives a clearly written overview of the Bible. So, it is a perfect companion to Bible reading. It’s arranged in the order of the books of the Bible. Also, it provides background before you read through a Bible book, commentary and illustrations as you read, and topical and historical notes to expand your understanding. The first Bible handbook ever published was Halley’s Bible Handbook. It was a revolutionary concept that came out of Dr. Halley’s desire to get people to read the Bible with more understanding. Notably, it remains a perennial bestseller to this day. We recently released Halley’s Bible Handbook Deluxe Edition! It is the 25th edition of this classic and trustworthy study tool. HOW TO CHOOSE A Bible handbook is arranged in the order of the books of the Bible, and typically contains maps, charts, indexes, essays on special topics, outlines of Bible books, brief commentary on the Bible text, and cross-references to other parts of the Handbook. ASK YOURSELF Is it more devotional or informational? Which am I looking for? How much more content does it have than my study Bible? Is it too basicfor my needs? Do I plan to use it permanently... View Article

Does the Old Testament Law Still Apply?

April 16, 2018 7:00 am Published by 100 Comments

It’s a question we all ask ourselves at some point: does the Old Testament law still apply? Read the passage below along with the notes taken from the Chronological Life Application Study Bible to help you explore this question. “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” — MATTHEW 5:17-20 DOES THE OLD TESTAMENT LAW STILL APPLY? If Jesus did not come to abolish the law, does that mean all the Old Testament laws still apply to us today? In the Old Testament,... View Article

Mix & Match Study Bibles

April 11, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When you buy a paper study Bible, you have the Bible text and study notes. Because there is just one Bible text, that means you are limited to that translation if you want to refer to those study notes. Here are some problems that may arise: You want to use a different translation.  Paper solution? Open another Bible. Now you have two books open: twice the flipping, twice the confusion, and twice the time. You want to look at two sets of study Bible notes. Paper solution? Same as above. Now you have THREE books open! And that’s just the beginning. There is another way. With digital study Bibles at Olive Tree, we give you two resources: the Bible text and the study notes. This way you can mix and match translations and study notes as often as you’d like. The options are ENDLESS.

How to Build Your Ultimate Study Bible

April 9, 2018 7:00 am Published by 9 Comments

Paper copies don’t allow you to build your own study Bible—at least, not without a lot of glue, precision, and paper cuts. With digital resources, you can have the exact study Bible you want in just four, easy steps. Here’s how to build your ultimate study Bible with Olive Tree. 1) PICK A TRANSLATION In fact, pick two or three. Using multiple translations in your Bible study is much more helpful than you may realize. Why? Translations can be categorized across a spectrum. On one side, there are word-for-word translations. These sometimes sound awkward and can be a bit confusing, but are meant to be a more literal interpretation or the original language. The further you get to this end of the spectrum, the better than translation is for word studies and academic research. On the other side of the spectrum, there are thought-for-thought translations. When we hire translators to interpret a presentation or book, they often use this method. Language does not always translate well word-for-word. It would lose it’s meaning! So, thought-for-thought translations aim to express the main concept and emotion of the text in a way modern speakers can understand. Like I said, these range on a... View Article

Interlinear Bibles in the App

April 7, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Learning Greek can be a difficult task. It takes years of study and countless hours of practice before you reach the point of reading the Greek New Testament without the help of additional resources. Unless your aim is to be a New Testament scholar, most will not achieve that level of comfort with the Greek text. But that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from using the Greek New Testament in your studies. Whether you’re someone who can read Greek proficiently or have only ever used a Strong’s Bible, Olive Tree’s Interlinear Bibles are here to meet your needs.Here’s a look at some of the top features of interlinear Bibles in the Olive Tree Bible App. Not only can our app display the text in an Interlinear format, we’ve tagged the Greek word with the Greek Parsing and Strong’s Definition: Simply tap a word to get more details on that Greek word. We’ve also tagged the English Word: And the Strong’s Number: Searching for this Greek word in the text? No problem. Tap “search” and the app will bring you a list of results for that Greek Word: You can also tap “lookup” to find dictionaries already downloaded to your device. This... View Article