Author Archives for LaRosa Johnson

Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines: Learning for a Lifetime

September 18, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There are lots of ways to learn the Bible, but one of the better ways is to start is by getting an overview of the Bible’s big picture. Warren Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old and New Testament is a fantastic tool for achieving this. HISTORY The content in this book grew out of Bible studies Wiersbe prepared during his time at Calvary Baptist Church in Covington, Kentucky. Taking the course his predecessor, Dr. D. B. Easter, had devised, Wiersbe taught it to his congregation and distributed lessons week by week to his students. Eventually other churches heard about it and wanted to do the same, so the material was compiled into a notebook and published by the church. Now, in a more permanent form, an updated and revised version is available for all to partake. The structure of Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines is straightforward. Each book of the Bible gives you three things: 1) a simple suggested outline for each book of the Bible, 2) some essential introductory material, and 3) summaries for key passages & chapters. Let’s look at how these work in the Olive Tree Bible Study app, using James as our launching point. OUTLINES When you start... View Article


Why Does God Allow Trials?

September 16, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

JAMES 1:2-3 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Have you ever wondered why God allows us to experience trials? Here are eight purposes for trials in the life of the Christian: 1. TO TEST THE STRENGTH OF OUR FAITH Trials help us take inventory of our faith and see how strong or weak it truly is. God tested the children of Israel (Ex. 16:4), Hezekiah (2 Chron. 32:31), and many others in Scripture. 2. TO HUMBLE US As we grow spiritually, sometimes we can become proud and puffed up because of what we know. Thus, trials are meant to humble us and prevent such spiritual pride. Paul was humbled because of the things God had shown him (2 Cor. 12:7). 3. TO WEAN US FROM OUR DEPENDENCE ON WORLDLY THINGS Too often we trust in ourselves and our own means. Trials remind us that we need to depend on God alone for spiritual strength and satisfaction. This is why Jesus challenged the disciples when it came time to feed five thousand followers (John 6:5-6). 4. TO CALL US TO ETERNAL AND HEAVENLY... View Article


Look Inside: KJV Word Study Bible

September 15, 2017 6:00 am Published by 2 Comments

The newly released KJV Word Study Bible is a fantastic resource for your personal Bible study. It includes the King James Version (KJV) Bible text with Strong’s tagging KJV paragraph-style text, book introductions, word studies, Indexes and a concordance. In this blog we’ll show you how this great resource works when used in the Olive Tree Bible App. Strong’s Tagging The KJV Word Study Bible includes Strong’s tagging. This means you can tap an English word and get the Greek or Hebrew word that the English word is translated from. Strong’s tagged words are indicated by a slight blue/grey shading. The Strong’s popup will then give you a dictionary definition of that word and the option to lookup more information on the word itself (very useful if you have more in depth dictionaries in your library) or search on the Strong’s number to see where that word appears throughout the Bible. Study Bible Notes The study Bible notes in the KJV Word Study Bible are best used in the split window of the Bible App. You can access them in the Resource Guide under ‘Commentaries’ or from your Library in the split window. They will stay in sync as you... View Article


Boice: By a Pastor, For a Pastor

August 31, 2017 8:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Pastors have a hard job. They get in front of their congregations every week and preach a word from the Lord. They do this with the hope of impacting lives and saving souls. To accomplish this goal the preacher must do two things: 1) explain the text, and 2) relate the text. What can a preacher do to aide in the application of Scripture both to himself and others? The same question can also be asked of those engaged in personal Bible study. This is where a resource like the Boice Expositional Commentary Series is handy. It helps preachers, teachers & students of the Bible understand their passage while providing applicable truths & illustrations. Let’s look inside the Boice Expositional Commentary Series and see how it works in the Olive Tree Bible App. Resource Guide Like any enhanced resource you purchase for the Bible App, the Boice Expositional Commentary Series is built to work hand-in-hand with the Resource Guide. As you read the Bible, the Resource Guide follows along and shows you resources with relevant content. In the screenshot below you can see we have a hit in the commentary section for Boice’s Commentary. Since I’m currently studying Jesus’ prayer in John 17,... View Article


Look Inside: Reading the New Testament Commentary Series

August 21, 2017 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

KEEPING THE BIG PICTURE Anyone who teaches the Bible for any length of time knows how easy it is to lose the forest for the trees. It doesn’t take long before you’re caught up in the details of a verse that you’ve forgotten the bigger picture. But, not all commentaries address this problem. Most commentaries deal with the biblical text on a verse-by-verse or phrase-by-phrase level, making it easy to get lost in the details. While this information is essential for a proper understanding of a passage, it doesn’t keep the big picture in mind. So, along comes the Reading the New Testament CommentarySeries, a commentary that addresses this problem head-on. Here’s a brief look at the Reading the New Testament Commentary Series and how it works in the Olive Tree Bible App. WHAT SETS IT APART? I appreciate when a commentary is upfront about its intended audience because it lets me know what to expect. Christians with some level of formal training will find Reading the New Testament Commentary to be right in their wheelhouse. This means it’s the perfect commentary for both pastors and seminary students. A focus on larger passages of Scripture sets this commentary apart from... View Article


Church History & Why It Matters

August 17, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

MY OWN STORY A couple months ago I talked about how I learned to love church history. Around that time, I started work on another history project: my family tree. I don’t remember what motivated me, but I spent countless hours stitching together my family’s history on Ancestry.com. While working on this, I learned some interesting things. The most notable tidbit is that my second great-grandfather was a pastor & founded the church that my grandparents still attend. On my grandfather’s 90th birthday two years ago, I got to preach at that church. How awesome is that?! OUR STORY Now, what does my story have to do with church history? Well, Scripture teaches us in Ephesians 2:19 that Christians are members of the “household of God” because we’ve been adopted into his family. This means we’re reading about our own family & heritage when we study church history. Knowing that we’re learning about our own family should motivate us to dive into church history with fervor. These aren’t random people we’re learning about; no, the great theologians of times past are our spiritual family, and we should relish the opportunity to learn about them! 7 TITLES TO GET YOU STARTED... View Article


Look Inside: Tyndale Commentaries

August 4, 2017 1:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The Tyndale Commentary Series is a 49 volume commentary set spanning the entirety of both the Old and New Testaments. Long known for being a trusted resource for Bible study, this commentary is written by some of the most distinguished evangelical scholars from across the globe. Here’s a brief look at the Tyndale Commentaries and how they look in the Olive Tree Bible App on an iPad. You can access all of the Tyndale Commentaries‘ study helps from within the Resource Guide in the split window. As with all our commentaries, they are uniquely enhanced to follow along with what you’re reading in the main window. Introductions, outlines, and commentary notes are all easily accessible, no matter where you are in the Bible. Not only does this save you time, but you get the information you need with minimal effort! The introduction to each volume in the series is a concise yet thorough description of the authorship, date, and historical background of the book under consideration. The commentary itself examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning... View Article


Look Inside: Everyman’s Bible Commentary

July 21, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When it comes to commentaries, figuring out which one is right for you can prove a difficult task. Commentaries like Anchor Yale and Hermeneia are clearly aimed at an academic crowd; whereas, commentaries like the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible and NIV Application Commentary are a great aid to pastors and teachers. But how does the Christian sitting in the pew know which commentary is right for them? A single volume commentary is a perfect start, but where do you turn for deeper studies? What if I told you there’s a commentary designed for every Christian? It does exist & it’s aptly called the Everyman’s Bible Commentary. Let’s take a look inside this commentary to see how it can help you in your studies. Old and New Testament Surveys When studying a book of the Bible, the first place to start when using the EvBC is with the Old and New Testament Surveys. The surveys provide broad overviews of every book of the Bible. Here you will find information about the book’s author, dating, purpose, theme, and so much more. You will also find a basic outline, allowing you to see the overall structure of the book you’re studying. The... View Article


LOOK INSIDE:
Open Your Bible Commentary

July 20, 2017 1:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The difficulties of maintaining a daily Bible study routine are many. Where do you start? How do you make adequate time for more than a cursory reading of the Text? How do you find the right balance of study and devotion? And the list goes on. The truth is there are no easy answers to any of these questions. But we shouldn’t throw in the towel and give up. Every Christian struggles with their Bible reading at some point in their life. Today I want to share a new Olive Tree resource whose aim is to help your daily Bible study. Let me introduce you to the Open Your Bible Commentary. BACKGROUND The Open Your Bible Commentary was written to encourage daily Bible study. The content of this two volume commentary began as a series of Bible Study books originally published by Scripture Union. The series’ intent was to create a resource that encouraged a greater depth of Bible study in a way that wasn’t possible with study notes alone. This format allowed the authors to give fuller discussions on introductory, textual, and background material that might otherwise be overlooked in something like a study Bible. The principal aim of the studies was to stimulate... View Article


How I Learned to Love Church History

June 20, 2017 10:00 am Published by 4 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