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Posts by Monty
Lent begins this with Ash Wednesday—February 18 this year—and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. To many people, it is a 40-day period—not including the six Sundays—devoted to reflection, repentance, fasting, and preparation prior to Easter.
Unlike Christmas, Easter is not a fixed date on the calendar; it is sometimes described as a “moveable feast.” The Western church decided long ago to set Easter as the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). Since the date of Easter varies widely (from March 22 to April 25), the dates of every other holiday related to Easter vary as well. The week before Easter is referred to as Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Thursday of that week is known in some traditions as Maundy Thursday because it memorializes Jesus’ final instructions and last meal with His disciples. The term “Maundy” is related to the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” which is the first word in the Latin version of John 13:34 that records Jesus’ new commandment to His disciples that they love one another. Since Jesus washed his disciples’ feet that fateful evening, Christians often do as Jesus did and wash one another’s feet. Good Friday follows. It is the day that commemorates the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Calling the day “good” seems ironic since Jesus died such a horrid death that day. However, what Jesus’ death accomplished for the redemption of the world is the greatest good the world has ever seen. The Sunday following Good Friday ends the season of Lent and is designated Easter. It may be the most celebrated day on the Christian calendar, for it commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the beginning of the new Kingdom. - Adapted from The Voice Bible.
Lent is a great time to think about starting a new reading plan. To help you get started, we’ve added a new reading plan especially for Lent! Adapted from The Voice Bible, this plan starts on Ash Wednesday, February 18 and continues until Easter Sunday. This is a great way to prepare your heart for Easter.
Tap the ‘My Stuff’ icon in your app and select Reading Plans. At the bottom of the list of reading plans, tap the ‘Get More Reading Plan’ button. You’ll see a list of reading plans that are available to download here.
Once you tap the install button, the reading plan will be available to start.
Study Bible Notes are a great resource for those wanting to go deeper in their study of the Bible. Here’s 3 Ways to use them and get more out of your quiet time. (screenshots are taken from an iPad 2. Click for a larger view)
1. Resource Guide
In your Main Window, open the Bible translation of your choice. (I have the NIV translation open in this example). Then tap, hold and pull the split window handle bar at the bottom of the screen. Tap Open > Resource Guide.
You’ll see relevant “hits” in the resource guide from all of the resources you have downloaded to your device.The Bible Study App also keeps up with the scripture passage you’re reading in the main window with sync scrolling. This means that as you move along in the Bible text, the Bible notes sync to exactly where you are in your reading. You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.
As I scroll through the Resource Guide I can see all of my enhanced resources that have an entry pertaining to the current text that I’m reading. I notice that my NIV First-Century Study Bible Notes has entries for commentaries, outlines, introductions, and maps. The numbers indicate how many entries are available for each enhanced resource.
The NIV First-Century Study Bible Notes in the resource guide shows two entries under the Commentary section for Romans 1:1-10. When you tap on the NIV First-Century Study Bible Notes it then shows me a preview of those entries and I can click again to read the full commentary. As you read on in the text, those entries will stay in sync with your passage no matter what translation I have open in the main window.
The NIV First-Century Study Bible Notes also include articles under the headings of People, Places, and Topics. As with the commentary section of the Study Bible notes, I can tap to read the articles without having to lose your place in your Bible reading.
2. Split Window – Specific Resource
Go to the main Split Window, Tap Open and you will see the navigation menu again. Here you can choose Recently Opened, Library Favorites, My Notes, My Highlights, and My Bookmarks. At the bottom of that screen tap Open Full Library. This will open your Library navigation. Scroll down the list and find the NIV First-Century Study Bible Notes (or the study notes of your choice). Tap to open it.
As with the resource guide, The Bible Study App’s sync scrolling will keep track of where you are in the Bible text regardless of what translation you have open. This is a great way to study if you just want to focus on one resource in your library.
3. Resource Guide on a Verse
An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse. Tap a verse number in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Bookmark, Share, Guide, and More.
If you tap the “Guide” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific verse. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above. You can even choose to open the NIV First-Century Study Bible Notes in the main or split window.
This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the study notes when you want to see what it says about a specific verse.
As you can see, study Bibles notes in The Bible Study App can save you a lot of time and will help you get more of of your quiet time.
In July 2014 we released our newest App update to iOS 5.9. With this update we released Greek Interlinear Bibles and they soon became a go to Bible study tool for many people.
What’s an Interlinear Bible? An interlinear Bible typically is the Hebrew or Greek text of the Old or New Testament with a literal English translation between the lines of the original-language text. This is a helpful Bible Study tool, especially for those wanting to dig deeper into original Bible language studies.
Here’s a brief look inside the ESV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. (Screenshots are taken from an iPad 2, click for a larger view)
Not only can The Bible Study App display the text in an Interlinear format, we’ve tagged the Greek word with the Greek Parsing and Strong’s Definition: Simply tap a word to get more details on that Greek word.
We’ve also tagged the English Word:
And the Strong’s Number:
Searching for this Greek word in the text? No problem. Tap search and The Bible Study App will bring you a list of results for that Greek Word:
You can also tap “lookup” and The Bible Study App will find dictionaries already downloaded to your device that contain more information on this Greek word:
You can also search the Greek word in the same form as the word you’ve tapped:
Or, you can search for all Greek words in the same form as the word you’ve tapped:
To celebrate their becoming the best Bible Study Tool of 2014, we’re offering great discounts on the ESV, NKJV, and KJV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament Bibles as well as the Best New Titles from 2014.
I’m really excited about a newly released title of ours, Harmony of the Gospels. What’s a Harmony of the Gospel? I’m glad you asked! A Gospel Harmony seeks to take the Four Gospels and put them in a Chronological order so that you can compare how the Gospel writers address events in Jesus’ life. We wanted to show you a brief look inside this new Bible study tool. (screeshots are taken from an iPad 2. Click the image for a larger view)
When Jesus goes to Pilate in Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1; John 18:28 – you can read the interactions between Jesus and Pilate in all four Gospels without having to navigate back and forth. Because of this unique layout, the screen will default to vertical “flick” scrolling for a better viewing experience. On a larger device like a tablet you can view all (4) columns side-by-side. The side-by-side view scales down two a two or single column view as the horizontal viewable area gets smaller, or when Resource Guide is opened.
All of the Scripture references are hyperlinked, so you can tap on the headers to see that one reference in a popup.
Here’s where the Harmony of the Gospels is also very helpful. You can see that John goes into much more detail about the conversation between Jesus and Pilate than the other three Gospels. You can also see you see that only Luke records that Jesus went before Herod, but all four Gospels record further interactions between Jesus and Pilate.
Olive Tree’s Harmony of the Gospels are divided into over 250 events in the life of Christ. The chronology is primarily ordered based on Mark and Luke’s gospels with Matthew and John’s accounts harmonizing with them, creating a seamless reading experience. A full index of the titles and passages is included. To access the full index, Tap Go To > End Matter > Go
In the index you can view all 250 events and quickly see how many Gospels address that event. You can even tap on the Event to go straight to the event. All of the verse references are hyperlinked so you can see each passage in a popup window. This is set by default to your last open Bible, so I do recommend going to Settings (A*) > Advanced Settings > Hyperlinks > Default Bible for Hyperlinks > and Choosing your favorite Translation for the popup. I like using the Translation that I have the Harmony of The Gospel in. For example, I have the NIV chosen as the default Bible when I’m in the Harmony of the Gospel – NIV.
The Olive Tree Harmony of the Gospels is currently available in the following translations: New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), KIng James Version (KJV), Byzantine Greek New Testament, and the JUST RELEASED New King James Version (NKJV).
All available Harmony of the Gospels and our top titles from 2014 are on sale now. Go HERE to see them.
It’s a New Year. You’ve started your reading plan and are off to a great start studying the Bible this year. My early attempts at Bible study were sporadic and didn’t go that smoothly. I soon learned that I needed a more formalized approach to my Bible study. Here are a few tips & resources that I’ve found that will help you keep your Bible Study on track.
Prepare yourself through Prayer
“All our study is futile without the work of God overcoming our blindness and hardheartedness.” – John Piper, Martin Luther Lessons from His Life and Labor p. 33
There is no substitute for prayer when reading and studying the Bible. Prayer takes the attention off of what we can do and puts the attention instead on what God can do in and through us. Bible study is a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1) in which we present our best to God. We have to remember that this is not just a book we’re reading. We need prepare our hearts and minds for Bible study.
Read the Scripture for yourself
Read and re-read the passage you’re studying. Get familiar with the flow of the passage. If there are terms that you don’t know, look them up in a simple dictionary.
Ask yourself these Questions
- Observe – What does the text say?
- Interpret – What does the text mean?
- Apply – How does it apply to me today?
Asking these questions will keep you focused on the study at hand. These questions are also helpful when preparing, guiding, and leading discussions for small group and Sunday school Bible studies.
Read and Research
1.Bible Study Notes
There are multiple Bibles that have study notes written by scholars and trusted authors that will assist you in better understanding the Bible. I recommend choosing one that corresponds to your preferred translation (KJV, ESV, NIV, NLT, etc.)
2. Bible Concordances
Concordances are great tools that give you a list of verses that contain that root word in the Bible. However, be careful that you do not JUST use a concordance in your preparation. Concordances are a great place to BEGIN, but are never the END of your Bible Study.
With that “don’t try this at home” disclaimer, I do suggest using a digital Bible with Strong’s numbers integrated into the text for your Bible study.
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) – cross references
- Holman Concise Topical Concordance
- Other Concordances Available
3. Bible Dictionaries
Dictionaries give you more explanation and meaning for specific words. They also help us to keep our Bible Study on track.
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary (Free Olive Tree Resource)
- Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary (Free Olive Tree Resource)
- Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
4. Bible Commentaries
After you’ve studied the Bible for yourself, it is often helpful to read trusted Bible scholars to see how they explain the text you are reading.
- Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary (Free Olive Tree Resource)
- Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible (Free Olive Tree Resource)
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary
- Word Biblical Commentary (WBC)
I would also suggest checking BestCommentaries.com. It’s a great site with recommendations for commentaries on each book of the Bible.
Lastly, here are some useful resources to further your Bible Study methods:
- How to Study the Bible by Rose Publishing
- Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods by Rick Warren
- How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart
Using these simple methods and tools will deepen your Bible Study and further prepare you to present God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).
What are your favorite Bible Study titles and tools?