Author Archives for Cierra Loux

Look Inside: Cornerstone Biblical Commentary

June 5, 2018 8:30 am Published by 4 Comments

CORNERSTONE BIBLICAL COMMENTARY One of the best ways to decide if a commentary is right for you is to read the general editor’s preface. This gives you an overview of why and how they created the commentary. Here’s what the general editor, Philip W. Comfort, has to say about the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: The Cornerstone Biblical Commentary is based on the second edition of the New Living Translation (2015). Nearly 100 scholars from various church backgrounds and from several countries (United States, Canada, England, and Australia) participated in the creation of the NLT. Many of these same scholars are contributors to this commentary series. All the commentators, whether participants in the NLT or not, believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word and have a desire to make God’s word clear and accessible to his people. This Bible commentary is the natural extension of our vision for the New Living Translation, which we believe is both exegetically accurate and idiomatically powerful. The NLT attempts to communicate God’s inspired word in a lucid English translation of the original languages so that English readers can understand and appreciate the thought of the original writers. In the same way, the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary... View Article


Study Through the Summer [GIVEAWAY!]

June 4, 2018 7:00 am Published by 4 Comments

The winter is so dreary in Spokane (where our office is located). The sun rarely makes an appearance. By the time March rolls around we are all desperate for blue skies, warm weather, getting outside and out-of-town—SUMMER. Praise the Lord that it’s almost here! Although summer is a fantastic for spending quality time with family, being active, and traveling, it can also distract you from important responsibilities. I doubt I’m the only one who procrastinates on getting into God’s Word from June – September. It’s easy to confuse short-term and long-term happiness. If I don’t think before making a decision, I will always choose a hike with friends or trip to Lake Coeur d’Alene over quiet time with the Lord. LET’S MAKE THIS SUMMER DIFFERENT How can we keep from making the same mistakes this summer? ONE: We have a bunch of reading plans in the app! These are a great way to kickstart your summer reading. Set reminders for yourself to get into the Word every day—even if it’s just for 15 minutes. TWO: Take your Bible study WITH YOU. Remember, Olive Tree Bible… APP. You can get into the Word from your phone or tablet wherever you are... View Article


Asking for Wisdom

June 4, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

During times of trial, it is crucial that we ask for wisdom. The Book of James touches on how we should be praying, asking for wisdom, and that He will be faithful in giving it to us. Read through this excerpt from the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary for in-depth learning of this lesson. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. — James 1:5-8 THE PROBLEM OF TRIALS James uses a “chain-argument” utilizing catchwords (“need,” 1:4b, 5a; “faith,” 1:3, 6) to bring together the problem of trials and their solution (wisdom and prayer). When faith is tested by times of affliction and suffering, the Christian must turn to God in prayer and find the wisdom to turn the trial... View Article


When Christians Disagree

May 31, 2018 7:00 am Published by 3 Comments

Christians disagree… a lot. And when Christians disagree, it can be very confusing and frustrating for believers and non-believers alike. How can the Church stay united and Christians continue to be known for their love while also disagreeing? Read this excerpt from the Wiersbe BE Series Commentary on Romans. WHEN CHRISTIANS DISAGREE: ROMANS 14:1–15:7 Disunity has always been a major problem with God’s people. Even the Old Testament records the civil wars and family fights among the people of Israel, and almost every local church mentioned in the New Testament had divisions to contend with. The Corinthians were divided over human leaders, and some of the members were even suing each other (1 Cor. 1:10-13; 6:1-8). The Galatian saints were “biting and devouring” one another (see Gal. 5:15), and the saints in Ephesus and Colossae had to be reminded of the importance of Christian unity (Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 2:1-2). In the church at Philippi, two women were at odds with each other and, as a result, were splitting the church (Phil. 4:1-3). No wonder the psalmist wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1). Some of these problems stemmed from... View Article


What’s Inside an Archaeology Study Bible?

May 30, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

If you’re like me, you hear the word “archaeology” and you primarily think of Indiana Jones. Then, if you toss the word “study” next to it, you know it will be nothing like Indiana Jones. Instead, you get a mental image of a lot of dirt being pushed around with tiny brushes. How riveting… but actually, it really can be riveting! But We are here to tell you what is inside an archaeology study Bible, and just how influential it can be on your study of God’s Word. THE IMPORTANCE OF BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY But the truth is that history and archaeology are essential to Christianity. God created time and history The universe has a beginning and end The historical event of Christ’s death and resurrection is key to your salvation Your hope is grounded in a real place, at a real time… in history Archaeology is an area of study that helps us uncover more truths about history. It teaches us important details on the setting and background in which the story of the Bible occurs. A plethora of authors wrote the Bible over at least a thousand-year period, so this information is crucial to our understanding of the text.... View Article


Spiritual Gifts in Worship

May 29, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

There has been, and probably always will be, a great debate over spiritual gifts and their role in the Church. Richard L. Pratt (and editor Max Anders) walk Christians through this 1 Corinthians controversy in the Holman Commentary. We’ve included an excerpt of this part of the commentary, but we did cut quite a bit out because it comes with SO much information. Every section has a meaningful quote, real-life stories, plenty of summaries, verse-by-verse commentary, introductions, application points, teaching tips, and lots of direction for further discovery. We couldn’t ask for more in a commentary! So, here are just a few parts of the Holman Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12:1-30. “Let us all then, considering these things, imitate the love of these members; let us not in any wise do the contrary, trampling on the miseries of our neighbor and envying his good things. For this is the part of madmen and persons beside themselves. Just as he that digs out his own eye hath displayed a very great proof of senselessness; and he that devours his own hand exhibits a clear evidence of downright madness.” — John Chrysostom IN A NUTSHELL In this chapter the apostle Paul turned to... View Article


Organize Your Notes [VIDEO]

May 22, 2018 7:00 am Published by 5 Comments

Want to organize your notes? It can be a big task, especially if you’ve been note-taking for years without much of a structure. Below is a video and some instructions on how I like to structure my notes. As an example, I’m showing you how to organize notes you take during sermons—but the steps can be applied in other ways. GO TO NOTES TO ORGANIZE YOUR NOTES First step of organizing your notes is… opening up your notes. Big surprise there! ADD SERMON CATEGORY Categories are my best friend. Again, calling it “sermons” is just my example. You could call it “My Notes on Matthew,” “SOAP Studies,” “Unanswered Prayers,” or “Grocery Lists.” Although, we don’t recommend keeping your grocery lists in the app. There’s probably a better app for those types of notes. ADD SERMON SERIES CATEGORY If categories are my BF then subcategories are my BFFL (best friend for life… if you don’t get 2000’s text lingo). One way to stay organized is to make folders than take you from very broad topics to narrow topics. In the example, I use subcategories to delineate different sermon series that I have heard. ADD NOTE (title it content) Inside the sermon... View Article


What Were Roman Jails Like in Paul’s Time?

May 21, 2018 7:00 am Published by 11 Comments

In the New Testament, we hear a lot about Christians being imprisoned—especially Paul. In fact, he wrote his letter to the Philippians while in jail! We’ve gathered some information from the ESV Archaeology Study Bible here for you to learn more about Roman jails were like. PAUL WRITING THE PHILIPPIANS FROM PRISON In the Roman world, imprisonment was rarely a long-term punishment. Most prisoners were awaiting either trial or execution. Debtors could be imprisoned until their friends or family paid o‘ the debt (Matt. 18:30). The length of imprisonment depended on the swiftness of a trial, which could be drawn out for years, especially in political cases. Conditions of imprisonment were closely linked to the status of the prisoner. Non-Roman citizens, even of high status, were often harshly treated. In contrast, house arrest was typically more comfortable for the prisoner, who was usually physically chained to a guard but could still host visitors. PRISON CONDITIONS Paul experienced a wide variety of prison conditions. He was chained in a common holding cell in Philippi (Acts 16:23– 30), imprisoned in probably better conditions in the praetorium at Caesarea (Acts 23:35), and held in relative comfort while in house arrest in Rome (Acts... View Article


Yet I Will Rejoice

May 15, 2018 7:00 am Published by 28 Comments

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. –Habakkuk 3:17-18 HE SAW Habakkuk saw the sin of his day, its impact on the people of Judah and the collective corrosion of the nation. Seeking to frame what he saw with a lens of faith, he waited on God, calling out for divine help. But Habakkuk struggled when God told him his plan to punish evilness with more evilness. Would God actually use the wicked nation of Babylon to punish the (relatively less wicked) nation of Judah (Hab 1:6)? HE WAITED Habakkuk waited for God to answer his questions (1:2-32:1). He listened as God explained that the righteous would live by faith (2:4) and marveled as God promised that, in time, the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (2:3, 14). HE REFLECTED As Habakkuk reflected on all that was happening in... View Article


What Does It Mean to Fear the Lord?

May 14, 2018 7:00 am Published by 28 Comments

“These are the commands, the decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” — Deuteronomy 6:1-2  A frequent command given to God’s people in the OT is to “fear God” or “fear the Lord.” It is important that we understand what this command means for Christ’s followers today. Only as we truly fear the Lord will we be freed from all destructive and satanic fears. By fearing God, we can avoid being trapped by the natural pull toward going our own way, defying God and giving in to the inviting ways of immoral behavior. What does it MEAN to FEAR God? The broad command to “fear the Lord” involves understanding several things about a believer’s relationship with God. ONE: GOD IS LOVING & JUST First of all, we must recognize that God is loving, merciful and forgiving; but he also is holy, just and... View Article