Author Archives for LaRosa Johnson

How I Learned to Love Church History

June 20, 2017 10:00 am Published by 2 Comments

If you asked me to list my favorite subjects when I was in school, history would not even make the list. While I believe those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, I still found the subject boring. Memorizing dates and seemingly random events never resonated with me. That said, I enjoy studying the Bible and all things related to it. A part of that involves studying history, the subject I loathe. What was I to do? Let me tell you how I learned to love Church history. When it comes to learning Church history, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Starting with the Apostles, we’re looking at almost 2,000 years of history to explore. I can barely keep up with all the world events that have taken place in my 35 years of life, so how was I going to tackle learning Church history? Easy. I found a resource that gives an overview of the entirety of Church history from early Christianity to the present day, and does it in a way that’s easy to digest. The Atlas of Christian History is that resource! Instead of tackling a thick history book that would give me far... View Article


Last chance: Sale on Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Revised Edition

June 14, 2017 10:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Right now, the 13-volume Expositor’s Bible Commentary—Revised Edition is over $200 off at Olive Tree. This commentary set is a favorite of pastors, teachers, and Bible students for its scholarly but accessible approach to helping you understand the biblical text’s core meaning. It’s full of world-class scholarship from D. A. Carson, George Guthrie, John Walton, Andreas Kostenberger, and many others. “If there is one set of commentaries that all pastors and teachers should have, this is it,” writes Daniel I. Block. Get the complete collection on sale now at Olive Tree. Don’t wait! The deal will disappear soon.


Which Expositor’s Commentary is Right for Me?

June 5, 2017 10:00 am Published by 3 Comments

If you’re looking for a great Bible commentary you may have noticed a couple resources in the Olive Tree store that have similar names: Expositor’s Bible Commentary (12 Volumes) Expositors Bible Commentary – Revised Series (13 Volumes) While price may often be the biggest influence on whether you’d like to add them to your study library, the most important question is, ‘What’s the difference between them?’ Here are few things that may help you in your decision. Authorship Both commentary sets have a strong evangelical influence while at the same time drawing from a broad diversity of churches, including Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and Reformed. The original Expositor’s Bible Commentary was compiled between the years of 1976-1992 with 50 different authors contributing. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Revised Series is a 2012 update to the original that includes the work of 56 different authors – 30 of whom are new. Content The original and the revised editions include the following content: Comprehensive introductions Short and precise bibliographies Detailed outlines Insightful expositions of passages and verses Overviews of sections of Scripture to illuminate the big picture Occasional reflections to give more detail on important issues Notes on textual questions and special... View Article


Pentecost: A Fulfillment of the Jewish Feast

May 31, 2017 10:00 am Published by 24 Comments

Originally posted at Bible Connection. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. —John 14:16-17 NKJV The Feast of Weeks The Feast of Weeks was the festival celebrated at the beginning of the grain harvest (Exodus 34:22). This was the feast at which the Hebrews offered their firstfruits of the harvest to the Lord at the tabernacle. It was one of the three major Jewish feasts, along with the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles (see Exodus 23:14–17; 4:18–23; Deuteronomy 16:1–17). According to Leviticus 23:15, 16, the Feast was celebrated for seven consecutive weeks beginning “the morning following the Sabbath day” of Passover. Thus comes its title, the “Feast of Weeks.” Later in the Old Testament this feast became known as “Pentecost” (“fiftieth”), since it was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. Pentecost The Jewish Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled as described in Acts 2. On this Day of Pentecost came the outpouring of the Holy Spirit... View Article


Jesus, the Peace–Bringer

May 30, 2017 10:00 am Published by 15 Comments

Originally posted at Bible Connection. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” —John 14:27 Peace, shalom (shah–loam). Shalom comes from the root verb shalam, meaning “to be complete, perfect, and full.” Thus shalom is much more than the absence of war and conflict; it is the wholeness that the entire human race seeks. The word shalom occurs about 250 times in the Old Testament. In Psalm 35:27, God takes delight in the shalom (the wholeness, the total well–being) of His servant. In Isaiah 53:5, the suffering Messiah was beaten to bring us shalom. The angels understood at His birth that Jesus was to be the great peace–bringer, as they called out, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:14–17). Just as the saving power of His death and resurrection makes it possible for us to have peace with God (being made right with Him, Romans 5:1), the indwelling of His life and character through the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is intended... View Article


Introduction to the Gospels

May 25, 2017 10:00 am Published by 2 Comments

Originally posted at Bible Connection. Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” —John 20:30–31 The English word “gospel” derives from the Anglo–Saxon word godspell, which can mean either “a story about God,” or “a good story.” The latter meaning is in harmony with the Greek word translated “gospel,” euangellion, which means “good news.” In secular Greek, euangellion referred to a good report about an important event. The four gospels are the good news about the most significant events in all of history—the life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The gospels are not biographies in the modern sense of the word, since they do not intend to present a complete life of Jesus (cf. Jn 20:30; 21:25). Apart from the birth narratives, they give little information about the first 30 years of Jesus’ life. While Jesus’ public ministry lasted over three years, the gospels focus much of their attention on the last week of His life (cf. Jn 12–20).... View Article


Look Inside: Understanding the Bible Commentary Series

May 5, 2017 8:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The Understanding The Bible Commentary Series is a 36 volume commentary spanning the entire Old Testament and New Testament. Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books. To make the commentary easier to use key terms and phrases are highlighted, and all Greek & Hebrew has been transliterated. (Screenshots are from an 9.7″ iPad Pro) Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper. A bibliography as well as Scripture and subject indexes are also included. Pastors, students, and Bible teachers will find in this series a commitment to accessibility without sacrificing serious scholarship. Get the entire Understanding The Bible Commentary Series here! Watch the video below to hear more about The Understanding The Bible Commentary series.


Prayer Journaling with the Bible App

May 1, 2017 11:30 am Published by 13 Comments

Everyone knows that the Olive Tree Bible App is great for reading and studying the Bible. But, did you know that it can help you with other areas of your spiritual life? With the National Day of Prayer approaching, I want to show you how you can transform your Bible App into a tool for journaling and keeping track of your prayers. What is Journaling? There are numerous ways to define journaling. In a spiritual sense, journaling involves writing out your thoughts and prayers as you study the Bible. Some people write with pen or pencil in a physical notebook, while others type them out in a journaling app or word processor. Just about anything that falls within those parameters can qualify as journaling. Now, let me show you how you can start journaling within the Bible Study App because it’s easy! Praying with the Bible App Instead of showing you different methods for journaling, I want to show you how to do it in the Bible App. To begin journaling in the Bible App, you don’t need to do anything more than create a note. If your note is based on a specific passage or verse, it’s best to... View Article


Look Inside: Reformation Commentary on Scripture Series

April 28, 2017 10:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The Reformation Commentary on Scripture (RCS) provides a crucial link between the contemporary church and the great cloud of witnesses that is the historical church. The biblical insights and rhetorical power of the tradition of the Reformation are here made available as a powerful tool for the church of the twenty-first century. Like never before, believers can feel they are a part of a genuine tradition of renewal as they faithfully approach the Scriptures. Hear from landmark figures such as Luther and Calvin, as well as lesser-known commentators such as Peter Martyr Vermigli, Johannes Oecolampadius, Martin Bucer, Johannes Brenz, Caspar Cruciger, Giovanni Diodati, and Kaspar Olevianus. The series introduces you to the great diversity that constituted the Reformation, with commentary from Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Anabaptist and even reform-minded Catholic thinkers, who all shared a commitment to the faithful exposition of Scripture. Many of these texts are being published in English for the first time, and volumes also contain biographies of figures from the Reformation era, adding an essential reference for students of church history. Several features have been incorporated into the design of this commentary and we wanted to show you just a few.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Pro.  Click... View Article


7 Reasons to Study the Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible

April 24, 2017 8:00 am Published by 13 Comments

1. Understand the audience: Grasping the original audience’s perspective helps us understand the setting to which the inspired authors communicated their message. 2. Understand how the text communicates: A text is ideas linked by threads of writing. Each phrase and each word communicates by the ideas and thoughts that they will trigger in the reader or hearer. 3. Biblical writers made assumptions: Biblical writers normally could take for granted that their audiences shared their language and culture; some matters, therefore, they assumed rather than stated. Think about what happens when later audiences from different cultures read the text without the same un-stated understandings as the original audience. 4. Understand the differences: We can see the differences between [ancient people] and us. To better understand how they would have interpreted what was being shared to them. 5. Understand what issues were being addressed: When we hear the message in its authentic, original cultural setting we can reapply it afresh for our own different setting most fully, because we understand what issues were really being addressed. 6. Prevent imposing your own culture: If we know nothing of the ancient world, we will be inclined to impose our own culture and worldview on the Biblical text. This... View Article