App Tips

Here’s how to get the most out of The Bible Study App by learning about its powerful features and how they can work for you.

5 Benefits of NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study App

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The New International Commentary Series on the Old Testament (NICOT) and New Testament (NICNT) are highly regarded scholarly resources that are always ranked at the top by scholars, pastors, students, and professors.

Here are Five benefits of the NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study 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 NICOT/NICNT commentary “hits” in the split window.

Bible+ 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 NICOT/NICNT 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.


2. Search & Look Up Feature

Search the NICOT/NICNT for words or passages.  Take “love” as an example.  You can search the entire NICOT/NICNT series for where “love” is mentioned in the commentary series.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

 

3. Linked Reference Pop ups

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One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary. With a hard copy, I have to open a different Bible and find each and every reference to read how the verse relates to what I am currently studying.  This is time consuming, slows down my study momentum, and requires me to keep all of my study materials out and open, spread out over a large desk space. With Bible+, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text.  All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

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Related to this is footnotes/endnotes.  Since the NICOT/NICNT is a highly scholarly work, there are a lot of references to other materials.  In the past I would have to stop where I was in the reading, look at the footnote, then go back to where I was in the writing.  This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought.  With Bible+, all of the footnotes are linked.  Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.

4. Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)

In iPhone/iPad app, you also have an additional option.  Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options to Copy, Highlight, Note, Save, Share, Define, Lookup and More.

If you tap “Define” you will get the integrated iOS dictionary pop-up.  This is extremely helpful when you run across a word in the NICOT/NICNT or even the Bible text that you do not readily know.

5. Look at One Verse (iOS Extra)

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options to Tap and hold on a verse number and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Save, 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 NICOT/NICNT in the main or split window.

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This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the NICOT/NICNT when you want to see what it says about a particular verse.

As you can see, the NICOT/NICNT within Bible+ gives you the best in scholarly work, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Bible Study Tip: Night Theme

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While there is a lot that has remained the same with the recent updates to our apps, there is a lot that has changed & new features that have come your way. One feature users have been wanting for some time is the ability to easily use our app at night or in a dark location. A theming engine was one of the new features that was added to the app. This theming engine includes a dark theme that is perfect for night reading. We haven’t said a lot about this feature, but now that it is making its debut on Android, we want to show you how to enable and use the dark/night theme on each platform.

iPhone & iPad

Enabling the dark theme on iOS devices is extremely easy and only takes two taps. First, tap the menu icon (the icon at the top left of the screen). Second, tap the dark circle under “Select Theme” at the top of the menu. That’s it, you’re done! You’ve enabled the dark theme, which you can use for reading at night or other low light situations. To go back to the normal theme follow the same steps & select the other theme.

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Android

The dark theme on Android is only two taps away and here are the steps to make it happen. First, tap the “Quick Settings” icon (the “A” with a gear). Second, tap the dark circle at the bottom of the Quick Settings menu. It’s that easy! To go back to the normal theme follow the same steps & select the other theme.

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Windows Desktop

We didn’t mention this as a feature when we released our Windows Desktop update last summer, but it has a dark theme as well. It’s not quite as easy to find as it is on iOS or Android, but it’s there nonetheless. Here are the steps to enable it. First, click the “Bible Study” button (green button at the top left) to open the menu. Select “Bible+ Options.” Next, click the “Colors and Fonts” tab in the Options pop-up. With that tab open, go to the bottom and select the dark theme. This enables the dark theme; now close the Options menu and get back to studying. Again, follow the same steps to return to the light theme.

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Enhanced Maps: ESV Bible Atlas

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Capitalizing on recent advances in satellite imaging and geographic information systems, the Crossway ESV Bible Atlas offers Bible readers a comprehensive, up-to-date resource that blends technical sophistication with readability, visual appeal, and historical and biblical accuracy.

All the key methods of presenting Bible geography and history are here, including more than 175 full-color maps, 70 photographs, 3-D re-creations of biblical objects and sites, indexes, timelines, and 65,000 words of narrative description.  With The Bible Study App, all Scripture references become hyperlinks that you can tap and read the Bible text without having to leave the ESV Bible Atlas.

 

Here are a two examples: (screenshots are taken from an iPad Mini 4, click for a larger view)

 

Using The Bible Study App’s powerful resource guide, the ESV Bible Atlas detects where you are in the text that you’re reading and pull up maps pertaining to that particular passage. You can then tap on a map for a bigger view and even zoom in and out on the map for more details.

You can then tap the “Go” button and read the content applicable to the map you are viewing.

Or, you can view the map full screen on your mobile device.

Enhance your Bible study with the ESV Bible Atlas!  See all Maps & Atlases available for The Bible Study App!

Studying Theology using Bible+

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Out of all the works that a Christian can read, systematic theologies are some of the most daunting. While some people might have a volume or two on their bookshelf just for looks, about the only people you will find reading them are pastors and seminary students. Why is that? More often than not, these titles are seen as dense and hard to understand. That is usually reason enough for the average Christian to leave these titles alone. Having read through several sets and volumes, I would argue that all Christians should own a systematic theology or two and reference them often in their studies. Let me share a few reasons why Christians should read theology.

I will use John Frame’s Systematic Theology for illustration.

Bible+ Makes it Easy

Much like commentaries, a systematic theology title can be a big book, or even span multiple volumes. Trying to carry that around with other books could quickly become unwieldy. Bible+ alleviates this problem by allowing you to fit an entire Bible study library in the palm of your hand. This is reason alone to consider buying a systematic theology in Olive Tree.

Portability aside, Bible+ also makes systematic theology titles easy to use. The first way they are made easier to use is by making Bible references into links. Instead of needing a Bible nearby to lookup references, you can tap on the verse and quickly read it.

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The same is true for footnotes and end notes. Instead of flipping back and forth or having a page cluttered with footnotes, Bible+ puts all that info out of the way. If all you want to do is read the text, you can do that uninterrupted & without breaking the flow of text. Want to read the footnotes? Just tap on them and they instantly appear.

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One final way that systematic theology titles are easier to use in Bible+ is search. Searching a physical book is near impossible. Sure, you may get an index that’ll help you find certain topics or words, but it may not give you everything you’re looking for. In Bible+ you can search for a word or phrase and find every occurrence and do so with ease.

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You Don’t Have to Read it Cover to Cover

One common misconception about systematic theology titles is that you need to read them cover to cover. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, there are some that you may want to read straight through, but you won’t do that with most of them. Many theology titles are best used as a reference work alongside a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia. Let’s say you’re studying a topic like the Trinity. If you consult your Bible dictionary you may only get a few paragraphs or a page or two of information, and maybe a handful of Bible verses. What do you do if you want to dig a little further? This is where a systematic theology can be of huge benefit. All you have to do is open your favorite systematic theology and find its chapter or section on the Trinity and you’ll get any and everything you wanted to know, and nearly (if not every) supporting passage in Scripture. If we look at Frame’s Systematic Theology you’ll see that he dedicates three entire chapters to the subject of the Trinity.

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Systematic theology titles are also useful if you have a friend who has questions about a particular doctrine. Sometimes instead of trying to explain it all myself I’ll have them read a section discussing the topic at hand, and then we can follow up our discussion in a more focused manner. More often than not, the systematic theology will do a better job of explaining things than I ever could & will answer most of their questions.

Great for Small Groups or Sunday School

Finally, systematic theology titles can be great to use for small group or Sunday school curriculum. While many are formatted like textbooks, there are a handful that are written in such a way that they easily lend themselves to this use, Frame’s being one of them & Grudem’s being another. At the end of each chapter in Frame’s Systematic Theology you will find a 3 things: key terms that are discussed in the chapter, study questions, and memory verses. With this information in hand, one could easily put together a lesson and facilitate a discussion on each chapter.

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This type of content is helpful in keeping the reader focused as they’re reading, while also making it less daunting because they can know what to look for ahead of time.

While theology can delve into the deep, it should still be accessible to all, and these types of resources make that possible.

Be sure to check out our top theology titles in our 12 Days of Christmas sale!

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):

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…)

Using Gospel Harmonies

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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 how to use this Bible study tool. (screeshots are taken from an iPad Mini 4. 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.

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), New King James Version (NKJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and Byzantine Greek New Testament.

All available Harmony of the Gospels and other Bible Study tools are on sale now. Go HERE to see them.

 

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