Author Archives for Cierra Klatt

How the Protestant
Reformation Began

October 30, 2017 7:00 am Published by 9 Comments

Why This Post? Today is October 30—the day before the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Many Protestants are celebrating this day, all around the world! Although Olive Tree provides resources to a wide-variety of denominations, we thought this would be a great opportunity to talk a bit about history on our blog. Throughout the month, we shared posts about the reformers and the solas, free resources, and we even made a quiz! This post is rather long, but covers the history of how the Reformation began and why. If you’ve never learned about this part of Christian history, it’s definitely an important transition worth knowing about. This content is taken from a blog post by our friends at Zondervan! See the original post here. How the Protestant Reformation Began You probably know at least one thing about Martin Luther: that he nailed the 95 theses to a church door and defied the Roman Catholic Church. This was Luther’s declaration of independence from Rome. The truth is, this is historically inaccurate. Yes, October 31, 1517, would turn out to be the first hint that the Western world was about to be turned upside down. But Luther’s act on October 31,... View Article


A Reformed, Christ-Centered Commentary

October 27, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next week, we’ve been looking for helpful resources for our Reformed folk—and we found one that we think some of you will enjoy greatly. The Reformed Expository Commentary Series is edited by Richard Phillips and and Phillip Ryken: two Reformed pastors dedicated to Christ-centered preaching paired with a vigorously Reformed doctrinal stance. A LITTLE BACKGROUND Phillips and Ryken were both proteges of James Montogomery Boice. Sound familiar? Not too long ago we had the Boice Expositional Commentary Series on sale. Boice’s commentary set contains 27 volumes—that man knew how to write! So, when Phillips and Ryken decided to produce their own commentary set, it was very important to them that they didn’t simply copy Boice. They wanted to make sure that their resource would be fulfilling a need. A COMMENTARY THAT ANSWERS A NEED (OR 3) Here are three needs that Phillips and Ryken want to fill: 1. There a few commentaries that extend from exegesis into exposition (answering technical questions while also applying the passage) But this commentary set proclaims, explains, and applies the whole text within each set—perfect for sermons and Bible lessons It also includes information on exegesis, text criticism, theology,... View Article


What’s a Topical Bible?

October 25, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When you don’t know a word, your first inclination is to find a dictionary definition of it. Although that information is helpful, you can learn so much more by hearing the word used in a sentence. When you experience the word being used, you learn how to use it for yourself. So, in this blog, I’ll tell you what a topical Bible is, but we won’t stop there. I’ll show you how to use one and how it can change the way you study the Bible. WHAT’S A TOPICAL BIBLE? Simply put, a topical Bible takes passages of Scripture and organizes them by topic. Our most recently acquired topical Bible looks like this in the app: You can search through the resource like a dictionary, finding important Biblical themes, people, and places. When you pull one up, you’ll see a long list Scripture references. These are all linked. Just tap on it to open a pop-up window showing you the verse in context. A TOPICAL BIBLE IN ACTION I was asking myself this question not too long ago. I knew what a topical Bible was, and how I might use it… but I wondered how the authors of this resource... View Article


The Message of the Reformers

October 23, 2017 7:00 am Published by 5 Comments

Did you know that John Calvin made a point to write very little about himself—which is one reason why we don’t know much about his personal life? He isn’t the only one. The reformers didn’t write too many captivating memoirs, despite their brave and dangerous lives. Why didn’t the reformers write about themselves, and what were they writing instead? The reason the reformers wrote so little about themselves was that they were not focused on themselves; they were focused on the message. We may best remember Luther for nailing up his theses or Tyndale praying “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes.” But I believe the reformers would be deeply saddened if we remembered only their brave actions and not their important message. So, for those of us who are celebrating the anniversary of the Reformation, we should make it our aim to pick up something the reformers penned. READING THEIR MESSAGE Of course, it’s slightly impossible to read everything the reformers penned. Even picking up Calvin’s Institutes alone is a daunting task. Plus, without being familiar with their writing styles and historical context, their writings can be difficult to understand. Thankfully, the second generation of reformers was aware of... View Article


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 ten 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.