Author Archives for Cierra Klatt

Sealing the Tomb of Jesus

February 7, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Ever wondered about Jesus’ tomb? Let archaeology experts teach you! This blog post is an excerpt from the Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology. TOMB NEAR MEGIDDO ARE ALL TOMBS THE SAME? According to Jewish practice the body of the deceased was initially laid to rest in the inner chamber of a tomb. First-century tombs characteristically had a small forecourt that led to the interior features of the tomb, including an inner chamber with benches situated along the walls, often with arcosolia, arched recesses in the wall, a lower elevation pit (for standing inside the tomb), and tunnel-like niches called loculi (Latin) or kokhim (Hebrew). No two tombs are exactly alike, and though they share these common features, as Jerusalem archaeologist Shimon Gibson has noted, “individualism was pronounced.” This means we have not found, and should not expect to find, a first-century tomb precisely matching the tomb of Jesus as described in the Gospel accounts. THE ROLLING STONES The body of the deceased was laid out on a stone bench and a heavy stone was set into the small entrance door and sealed to thwart the unwanted entrance of animals and grave robbers. Matthew reports that a “big” (Greek megan) stone... View Article


Waging War on Legalism

February 5, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

“IMAGINE IF… you had a neighbor who had been paralyzed from the neck down by an accident more than thirty years ago. One Sunday morning, just after six o’clock, the sound of a lawnmower jolts you from a deep, satisfying sleep. Annoyed, you bolt to the front door to see who would be so insensitive as to rattle every window on the block with that infernal noise so early on a day of rest. Upon seeing your formerly paralyzed friend gleefully mowing his lawn in perfect health, what do you think you would say? If you’re a normal person, you’d say, “Hank! What happened? How are you not paralyzed?!” But if you’re a Pharisee, you’d scream, “Hank! It’s Sunday morning! Turn that thing off!”” —Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary photo from resource, originally taken from holylandphotos.orgTHE POOL AT BETHESDA John 5:1-18 tells the story of Jesus healing a sick man at the pool of Bethesda. When the man stands and picks up his mat after 38 years of illness, the religious leaders do not rejoice with him. The Pharisees rebuke him. Why? Because it was the Sabbath. This is a classic representation of legalism, which Chuck Swindoll calls a... View Article


Marriage at the Resurrection: Life Application Bible Commentary

February 2, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

MATTHEW 22:24-32 – MARRIAGE AT THE RESURRECTION USING THE LIFE APPLICATION BIBLE COMMENTARY NEW TESTAMENT SET In this blog, we are going to walk through the commentary provided by the Life Application Bible Commentary for Matthew 22:24-32. This series does a great job including all the historical details to help explain the Old Testament references. It goes verse-by-verse, guiding you through the passage. Then, this commentary also helps you see how you can apply the passage to your life. Let’s learn about the the Sadducees, their desire to bring God down to their level, and Jesus’ amazing response to conflict. Matthew 22:24 — “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him.” The Sadducees probably asked this question frequently, because they liked to argue and stir up controversy. The question refers to “levirate” marriage, which was meant to protect a poor widow during the time of Moses. The Life Application Bible Commentary explains this succinctly: In the Law, Moses had written that when a man died ­without a son, his unmarried brother (or nearest male relative) was to marry the widow and produce ­children. The first son... View Article


3 Common Difficulties in Doing Word Studies

January 29, 2018 7:00 am Published by 8 Comments

This week we are highlighting different methods of studying the Bible. Today’s topic is word studies, and we’re using Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods to provide you with this helpful information. At the bottom, we’ve also included a video about our Strong’s Tagged Bibles because they are a fantastic tool in completing word studies. 1) SEVERAL GREEK WORDS ARE TRANSLATED BY ONE ENGLISH WORD As an example, the English word servant has seven Greek equivalents, each with a different shade of meaning. Be sure to check your concordance carefully to see if this might be true of the word you are studying. Find out what each different original word meant. 2) ONE GREEK OR HEBREW WORD IS TRANSLATED SEVERAL WAYS IN ENGLISH To overcome this difficulty you will have to do a careful study on all the different renderings of that original word. You can do this quite easily through the use of your exhaustive concordance. For example, the Greek word koinonia is translated five different ways in the King James Version: (1) “communication” — once; (2) “communion” — 4 times; (3) “contribution” — once; (4) “distribution” — once; and (5) “fellowship” — 12 times. Follow this procedure in solving this... View Article


6 Steps for Effectively Using Cross References

January 26, 2018 7:00 am Published by 11 Comments

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: the Bible provides the best interpretation of itself. So, when you have a question, doubt, or an inkling of curiosity, the best action you can take is to cross-reference the passage you’re reading. But how? In this blog post, we’ll not only describe how to do cross-referencing well, but we will also show you a fun, easy way to keep track of your findings. Lastly, we’ll talk about applying the Bible to your daily life. In our examples, we will be using the Olive Tree Cross References Expanded Set. STEP ONE: OPEN A NOTE With the new update in our app for iOS, you can use the Study Center to keep your cross-references and notes easily accessible. Here’s how: STEP TWO: CHOOSE A PARAGRAPH OR CHAPTER Read the section entirely. Then, make headings for each verse you are going to study. STEP THREE: FIND A CROSS REFERENCE Next, write down as many cross references as you would like under each verse heading. Only list the reference, not the verse itself. The main purpose of cross references is to help build context to the passage you are reading. However, we must remember... View Article


The Structure of Thanksgiving

January 24, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The NIV Application Commentary is a great tool for in-depth study of the Bible while ALSO helping you apply the Bible to your life. Below is an excerpt taken from the commentary on Colossians, by David E. Garland. THE IMPORTANCE OF PAUL’S PRAYER FOR THE COLOSSIANS Paul adopted the custom in ancient letter writing of offering a prayer of thanks to the gods and transformed this convention by expanding it and filling it with Christian meaning. His thanksgiving is not some perfunctory nod to various divinities for blessings received and misfortunes averted. It is a prayer to be read aloud in Christian worship and thereby becomes a witness of Christian faith and a means of Christian instruction. Paul never trots out some stock, all-purpose prayer but carefully tailors it to the situation of the church he is addressing. He sensitively weaves together the church’s progress in the faith, their needs, and his hopes for them into a beautiful tapestry of praise and thanks to God. One should not ignore the thanksgiving proems in Paul’s letters as unimportant devotional meditations unrelated to the key themes of the letter. They lay the groundwork for what follows in the letter, previewing its major... View Article


A Method to Help You Stop Skimming the Bible

January 22, 2018 7:00 am Published by 30 Comments

One of the most popular ways of reading the Bible is to open up a familiar passage, read over it quickly, and then move onto something else. When we don’t take time to ponder Scripture and ask questions, we miss out on discovering truth.  By slowing down, we can be convicted, encouraged, and strengthened in new ways. The Exhaustive Questions Bible study method is a great option for solving this problem. Here’s some instructions we found inside Andy Deane’s Learn to Study the Bible. We’ve also included helpful tips on how to use this method without leaving the app. 1) CHOOSE A CHAPTER & READ IT 3x This isn’t a race to see how fast you can read the passage! Slow down. Take in each word. Think critically about what you are reading. 2) WRITE DOWN 3+ QUESTIONS FOR EACH VERSE This sounds like a lot… because it is. But it’s worth it! Ask questions about everything and anything. You won’t need to answer all of them, so don’t worry about that. Write down as many as you can think of so that you get in a rhythm. It will help you to eventually ask unique questions you might have not thought... View Article


We’ve Reached Another Milestone!

January 19, 2018 7:00 am Published by 6 Comments

This week is all about looking back on 2017 and celebrating what we’ve accomplished. Not just us at Olive Tree—although we have done a lot of work on improving the app!—but also what you, our users, have done. With that being said… we’ve reached another jaw-dropping milestone! 1 BILLION SYNCABLES It’s hard to be as excited as us if you aren’t sure what “syncables” are. Syncables are items like: notes highlights tags Anything that syncs across your devices when you tap “sync” in the app—that’s a syncable item. WHY IS THIS EXCITING? It can be hard to measure how engaged everyone is inside our app. Lots of people download Bible apps and then barely use them. We don’t want our app to be just another icon on your home screen. Instead, we want our users to use our app to spend time connecting with God and His Word. The more syncable items you all create, the more you are interacting with the Bible. This is why we are incredibly excited about reaching the 1 billion mark. CELEBRATE WITH US How can you celebrate with us? Open the app, read the Bible, take some notes, make some highlights, and pray. Reflect... View Article


Is a Study Bible Right for You?

January 17, 2018 8:58 am Published by Leave your thoughts

1) ARE YOU A VISUAL LEARNER? Sometimes the best way to make sense of a lot of text is to represent it visually. This is why many study Bibles almost come with photos, charts, timelines and more. That way, if you’re reading a description of a place you’ve never visited in the Middle East, you can see a picture of it. Or, if you’re reading about a long list of historical events, look at an organized charts of all the important dates. Whether you consider yourself a visual learner or not, these resources will immerse you in your Bible study. TAP TO ENLARGE! 2) HAVE YOU WONDERED WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE IN BIBLE TIMES? If you’ve ever read Leviticus, you definitely know that the Bible talks about confusing rituals and practices. Since we’re living in the 21st century, and most of us aren’t professional historians, these passages can be daunting. You’re not alone in wishing that you could step inside the Bible times, even for just a second. Surely it would give some insight into what the Bible is trying to communicate. Thankfully, there are Christians who enjoy studying history professionally! With plenty of research and fact-checking, these scholars have... View Article


2017 Year in Review

January 15, 2018 7:00 am Published by 8 Comments

2017 was a fantastic year at Olive Tree. You guys read the Bible (a lot!). We were able to make some big changes that improved the way you study the Bible. It was a win-win. So, let’s reminisce over the last twelve months and what we accomplished together! YOU GOT IN THE APP AND READ THE WORD You all opened the app 262 MILLION times in 2017. That’s 262 million instances of someone reading God’s Word. Since our mission is to encourage people to connect with God and the Bible through technology, this statistic makes us SO happy. YOU GOT IN THE APP AND STAYED IN THE APP We like looking at this statistic because it lets us know if users are having quality study time inside the app. Based on the numbers, that seems to be the case! Keep it up, you guys. WE MADE NOTES MORE FUN This was a little addition we thought would be fun for our notes feature. Now when you want to represent the 🥖🥖🥖🥖🥖 and 🐟🐟 from John 6, nothing is holding you back. TOP 5 PURCHASED RESOURCES We’ll have another blog up soon that goes even more in-depth on the top titles from last year, but... View Article