Author Archives for LaRosa Johnson

7 Reasons to Study the Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible

April 24, 2017 8:00 am Published by 12 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


Look Inside: The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible

March 29, 2017 8:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible includes more than 7,500 articles, hundreds of full-color and black-and-white illustrations, charts, graphs and maps from 238 contributors from around the world. With this much content, how can you sort it all out to see what’s relevant for your Bible study? Here are three ways the Olive Tree Bible App makes the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible even more powerful: ONE: Open your favorite Bible in the main window. (I’ve got the NIV open in this example.)  Tap the split window and drag it to a width or height you like.  As I scroll through the Bible text, the resource guide keeps up with me and searches through all the books in my library for content related to the Scripture passage in the main window. If you scroll down the resource guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.” Tap or click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about.  I chose “Altar” in this example.  The Bible Study App then brings you results from within the resources you have on your device.  This is where you will find results from the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible. You’ll see that the resource has... View Article


Making the Most of NIVAC

March 22, 2017 8:00 am Published by 4 Comments

No matter your level of expertise with the Bible, there are certain things we all do when we come to a time of studying God’s Word. After reading the text, there are two things we always hope to walk away with from the text: 1) what does this passage mean, and 2) how does it apply to me? There are any number of good tools we can use to find these answers. The problem is that the majority of the tools available only do half the job. You either get really good commentary explaining the text, but little to no application; or, you get lots of anecdotes & application, but find it lacking when it comes to helping you understand what the passage says. The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC) is a study tool that gives you everything you need to both understand and apply the text. Let’s take a look at how NIVAC can help you get the most out of any Bible passage. Original Meaning Before you can attempt to make any sort of application from Scripture you first have to understand it. This involves figuring out the author’s intent and how the original recipients would have understood what was said. Here... View Article


Tips on Using Preaching the Word Commentary

February 20, 2017 8:41 am Published by 1 Comment

The Preaching the Word Commentary Series offers unique insight into Biblical texts from the heart of a pastor. It is noted for its unqualified commitment to biblical authority and clear exposition of Scripture. Its emphasis on application and shepherding makes it a valuable asset for sermon and class preparation, as well as personal study. Here are Six Reasons to use The Preaching the Word Commentary Series in the Olive Tree Bible App.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4.  Click on Images for a larger view) 1. Resource Guide Open your preferred Bible Translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window.  You’ll see relevant “hits” from Preaching the Word in the split window. The Bible app keeps up with the scripture passage you’re reading in the main window with sync scrolling.  As you move along in the Bible text, the commentary syncs to exactly where you are in your study.  No more flipping pages back and forth.  No more holding the commentary text open on your desk in one spot, reading through your Bible text, and having to go back and find your place in the commentary. You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.... View Article


Read & Research Bible Study Method: Part 6 (Final)

September 24, 2016 4:00 am Published by 3 Comments

Application is the last step in the Read & Research study method. In this final video in the series we show you how to take everything you’ve done so you can apply it to your life. We even share some of the points of application we got from our study of Psalm 1. Missed any of the series? Watch them on our YouTube channel and make sure to subscribe!


Read & Research Bible Study Method: Part 5

September 23, 2016 4:30 am Published by 2 Comments

Now that you’ve taken a look at your cross reference resources, the next step of this method takes you to your commentaries and study Bible notes. In this video we show you how to quickly access these resources, as well as copying & pasting portions of the commentary into your notes. Let’s see what our commentaries have to say about Psalm 1.


Read & Research Bible Study Method: Part 4

September 22, 2016 4:30 am Published by Leave your thoughts

In this fourth video of the series we’re doing more research as we begin to explore other resources in our library. To start, we’re showing you how cross reference tools can be a vital part of understanding the Bible. Dive in and see what other passages relate to Psalm 1. Missed a video?  – Video 1 – Video 2 – Video 3


Read & Research Bible Study Method: Part 3

September 21, 2016 8:23 am Published by 1 Comment

In the third video of this series we are beginning the research part of the Read & Research Method. We begin by making simple observations of the passage we’re studying. What observations will you get from reading Psalm 1? Want to add more Bible study resources to your app? Go here for this week’s specials!


Read & Research Bible Study Method: Part 1

September 19, 2016 8:05 am Published by 14 Comments

This week we are going to be showing you step by step instructions on how to do a a personal Bible study using the Read and Research Bible Study Method. Watch part 1 below! Select Bible study resources are on special now! See them here.