Olive Tree Staff

Olive Tree Staff

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Look Inside: Bible+ 6.0 for Android

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Take a look at the latest update for Bible+ 6.0 for Android devices.

Check out many of New Titles that are 50% off this week to celebrate the launch of Bible+ 6.0 Update for Android.

Learn more about the Bible+ 6.0 for Android update here.

If you haven’t already done so, you can update to the latest Bible+ 6.0 for Android version by clicking the link Google Play Store graphic below:

googleplaystore

Designing Bible+ 6.0 for Android

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The most important thing we do at Olive Tree is give people access to Scripture.

We want to make it easy for you to read, study, understand, and share Scripture. We believe that a great way to do that is through technology. It gives you the ability to always carry things like multiple translations, study notes, maps, commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and more (phew)! You’d need a truck to carry around all the books that you can keep in your pocket with Olive Tree.

sak210Computers and apps can be hard to use, though. More features and tools inherently make apps (and other things) more complicated. A butter knife is easy enough to figure out, but a 50+ function multi-tool has a steeper learning curve. What do I do if I just want to open a box?

As we add features and tools to The Bible Study App, we want to make sure that the app is helping you to read and study the Bible, not hindering you. We want to make sure that the features are there when you need them, but also ensure that they don’t get in the way when you don’t need them. This is why design is a very important part of what we do at Olive Tree.

We’re always working to improve the design of our apps to provide an easy-to-use and engaging experience. You can expect to see updates in the future with more design changes to make it easier for you to study the Bible on all our platforms. Let’s take a look at some of the work we’ve done in Bible+ version 6.0 for Android.

A More Engaging Interface

The first thing you’ll notice is that the interface is a bit more colorful. This was done to bring the app up-to-date with Google’s material design initiative, to make the app feel more like a true Olive Tree app, and to provide a more positive and less gray experience.

Screenshot_2015-05-19-15-33-49

Something else you’ll notice is that if you double tap the screen, the toolbar will appear or disappear. We found that users had a hard time with the toolbar appearing and disappearing when they didn’t mean it to, which is why we made this change. Once you toggle the toolbar off, you’ll find that the whole screen is dedicated to showing text; the app gets completely out of your way so that you can read God’s Word without distractions.

One other change we made was to eliminate the use of the hardware-menu button found only on older Android devices. We’ve now moved the menu button into the interface to follow Android standards and to make the app easier to use for users whose phones don’t have a menu button. This change should also make it quicker and easier to make changes to settings when needed.

A Better Reading Experience

Something we’ve started working hard on at Olive Tree is the reading experience. We’ve dedicated some special attention to something called typography, basically the layout of text on the screen. We want you to be able to read Scripture and other books easily, without experiencing eye-strain, fatigue, or “bumps” in the layout that slow you down when reading.Screenshot_2015-05-21-14-45-55

To that end, we’ve replaced the default font with one that will be more readable on devices of all shapes, sizes, and display-types. We’ve also changed how text is laid out on the screen so that there is a more consistent rhythm, which makes for a seamless reading experience.

The fonts we’re using now also allow us to better support bold and italics (especially in Greek), which is important since bold and italics are often used to denote specific things in our resources. For example, the King James Bible uses italics to denote words that weren’t explicitly in the original languages but were added by the translators for clarity.

We’ve also been able to better bring over the formatting elements like tables, headers, and charts from Study Bibles and other resources. This makes the resources look a lot more like their print counterparts and thus provides a richer, more engaging reading experience.

Faster Performance

Often, when an app updates to make big changes like these, the app gets slower. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Bible+. The changes we’ve made have actually increased performance, especially on newer devices. You should find that you can scroll much faster than you ever could, and you’ll notice that the app feels all around snappier.

This is especially useful when doing your devotions in the morning, because it gives you more time reading and less time waiting to get to a passage. It’s also useful when trying to keep up in church while listening to a sermon, or in a small group studying a passage.

Still the Same Olive Tree

We’ve made a lot of changes to make the app better, but if you’ve used the app in the past, you should still feel right at home. We’re trying our best to bring improvements to the app while keeping the familiar functionality and overall experience that you expect from Olive Tree.

A lot of our employees have been using and enjoying these updates for a while, so we’re really excited to release it for everyone to enjoy. You can get the update by going to the updates section of the Google Play Store, or by tapping here on your device.

Android Users. Something Big is Coming.

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Coming June 1st to the Google Play Store.

Look Inside: Thompson Chain Reference System

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By Olive Tree Employee: Genny Gager

Bible commentaries and study notes are great tools for understanding what the Bible has to say to us today. Often overlooked, however, is the value that using scripture to understand scripture can bring. God’s inspired word is a complex tapestry of themes all woven together, and the development of those themes can provide us with insight into the relevant message of the Bible for today’s readers.

Finding our way around these themes can be a daunting task, especially given the variety of subjects covered in the Bible. A word search can be helpful, but it can give an incomplete picture due to the complexity of language and the context in which words are used. The great news is that Olive Tree offers the Thompson Chain Reference System, which links various themes together as they are touched upon and developed throughout Scripture. The very heart of this product is the thematic chains that number in the thousands, and people at all stages of learning about the Bible have used it in the 100 years since its initial release. The Thompson Chain resource is also a great study Bible, offering cross references, book outlines, book introductions, maps, and harmonies to aid us in our study.

We’ve put quite a bit of attention into converting the rich topical content so it can be used in the Bible Study app. Our goal was to make navigating the famous topical chains easy and intuitive and to allow quick access to the additional materials as well.

We’re going to walk through a quick example of how the Bible Study App can make navigating the Thompson Chain Reference System enjoyable and easy. The example uses and refers to the iPad version of our software. We’ve designed this resource to work seamlessly with the built-in resource guide, so if you don’t already know how to open it, read this article to open it in the split window, and have your Bible of choice open in the main window of your app.  Although we’ll be relying on the iPad version in our example, other versions of our app will have similar functionality.

If you want to follow along with the example, bring 1 Samuel chapter 17 up in your Bible. With everything set up, the screen will look similar to this (your screen may look a little different depending on what resources you have and how you have your resource guide set up):

IMG_1609

To activate the chains, tap the name of the Thompson Chain under the commentaries section of your resource guide. Your split-window view will change to a listing of verses directly related to your location: (more…)

How to use a Concordance in the App

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A Bible Concordance is an alphabetical list that shows where specific words appear in the Bible.

In The Bible Study App you can use a concordance as a standalone resource or access it by looking up a word in the Bible text you’re reading.

Watch the video below to see how they work in the App!

Browse available Concordances here!

How to Use God’s Commentary on Scripture

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By Olive Tree Employee: David Mikucki

Olive Tree has a lot of commentaries and study Bibles available, and I love using them. I find myself using one almost every day, even if it’s only to get background information on a verse as I read each day. The Resource Guide makes it easy to do just that. I can’t even imagine trying to carry Calvin’s 22-volume commentary set or even the hefty ESV Study Bible with me everywhere.

But as I’m sure you’re aware, commentaries and study Bibles can get things wrong. Theologians and scholars make mistakes and misinterpret things, but God is perfect and doesn’t make any mistakes. Wouldn’t it be great if God had written a commentary on Scripture? Well, in a way He did, and His commentary comes free with The Bible Study App. Let me explain what I mean…

Interpreting Scripture with Scripture

frustrationIt has been said that Scripture is its own best interpreter, and that’s absolutely true. It has also been said that when we’re having trouble interpreting a text that seems unclear, the best place we can go is to clearer texts that talk about the same subject. So when Jesus speaks in a parable, it can be very helpful to see what Paul had to say about the subject. That can help to guard us from error as we seek to understand the meaning of difficult passages. In this sense, God gives us commentary on Scripture through other Scripture.

Before I used The Bible Study App, I would do this by looking at the tiny cross-references in my Bible text, then I would try to keep my finger where I started as I used my other hand to look up the cross-references—leaving a finger at each cross reference. That got pretty crazy pretty quick since I only have ten fingers. Besides that, what about keeping my place in commentaries?

Thankfully, Olive Tree offers a few features that make this a lot easier.

Cross Reference Popups

Several of the translations Olive Tree offers (like the ESV and the NIV) have cross-references built right into the Bible text. Cross-references are references to verses that the translators thought were related to the verse you’re reading. They look like little superscripted letters. When you tap them, you see popup that shows you the cross references related to that verse:

crossreferences

The list of cross-references, of course, isn’t inspired. But Scripture is inspired and the cross references are designed to take you to places in Scripture that are related to the passage you’re reading. In the example below, I was reading the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, and I found a cross-reference where Hebrews gives us some extra insight into this story:

cainandabel

Two Passages Side-by-Side

If you want to dig into God’s commentary even more, you might find popups don’t show enough context and they can get in your way of reading the original passage. With split window, you can easily pull up two whole passages of Scripture side-by-side. First open split window by tapping on the arrow at the edge of your screen:

resourceguide

This will probably bring up the Resource Guide, so tap Open at the top of the Resource Guide, then tap Recently Opened and select one your preferred Bible translations:

recentlyopened

By default, the split window is set to show the same passage that you have open in the main window so that you can compare translations, but if you disable window syncing, you can use the two screens as if they’re two separate Bibles. To do this, tap the [>>] icon at the top right of the split window, then tap Sync Settings and turn off Sync Windows:

syncwindows

Now, you can open a passage that’s related to the one you’re currently reading. I’m in Jeremiah 31:31, reading about the New Covenant. Hebrews has a lot to say about this passage in chapters 8 and 10, so I’ll take my split window to Hebrews 8 by using the Go To button:

goto

Now I have both passages opened. I can read Scripture and God’s commentary on Scripture—more Scripture—right next to each other!

hebrews

Conclusion

I don’t consider my study of a passage complete until I’ve looked to see what God says about that passage elsewhere in His Word. These features make it a lot easier to do that. Another tool I often use is the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which is a collection of cross-references that’s a bit larger than what you’ll find in a Bible translation. It’s quite useful and we’ve even written a blog post about how to use it.

The steps I showed you here were for iPad, but these things can be done on all of our platforms. You can learn about how to use split window and lots of other features for all our supported platforms on our help website.

David is a front end web developer at Olive Tree. He also writes on his personal blog, And the Rest of It.

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