Category: App Tips

New! Verse of the Day Graphics

Posted by on 12/11/2017 in:


We’ve had the option for our users to receive Verse of the Day notifications for awhile now. We know that it can be a great reminder to get into the Word and to spend time thinking about the Lord.

Now, we’ve been able to add something new to this already well-loved feature on iOS devices.  Let’s check it out.

WHERE TO FIND IT

All you need to do is open the main window and tap “Verse of the Day.” If you have your apps set-up to automatically update on your phone, you’ve probably already seen this! If you haven’t updated yet, you’ll need to do so.

HOW TO USE IT

There’s much more you can do with Verse of the Day than simply read the verse. Tap “Read” to be taken to the passage in context in the main window. Tap “Share” to share the Verse of the Day on social, in a text, or anywhere else. Lastly, tap “settings” to customize this feature the way you want.

VERSE OF THE DAY SETTINGS

Inside the settings, you’re able to select your preferred translation and turn on verse delivery. You can even choose what time you want to receive the notification on your device.

ENJOY!

We hope you love this new feature. Always remember that you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’ll be sharing these graphics once in awhile!

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Warm Up with Devotional Reading

Posted by on 12/04/2017 in:

Once upon a time, Olive Tree didn’t have devotional reading plans. This meant that, when you wanted to work your way through a devotional, you had to find it in your library and get yourself to where you last stopped reading. But now, with a few improvements, devotional reading in the app is an amazing experience. After this blog post, you’re going to want to warm up by the fireplace with Max Lucado’s Grace for the Moment or C.S. Lewis’ A Year with Aslan.

1) WHAT ARE DEVOTIONALS?

When looking at enhanced devotionals on olivetree.com, you will quickly see what sets them apart from simple reading plans. These are well-crafted, thought-out devotional books that you might think to buy at a bookstore. They all contain great content meant to encourage and inspire you. Some devotionals pick a certain passage of Scripture to talk about each day. Meanwhile, other devotionals may be topical.

On our website, you will see familiar names like Ann Voskamp, Sarah Young, Franklin Graham, and Brian Simmons. You could start on a year-long devotional plan or work through a 40-day plan with your family.

2) WHAT ARE ENHANCED DEVOTIONALS?

This is where our addition of reading plans really improved the way certain devotionals work inside our app. Any devotional that is enhanced (see a full list here) can be read and tracked as a reading plan. All you have to do is head on over to the reading plan tab and start reading.

Enhanced devotionals will appear under “My Devotionals.”

Look at your assignments in advance.

Receive reminders and customize your plan in the settings. 

Read until you reach the “Completed Reading” button. Tap it to finish!

3) START A NEW DEVOTIONAL PLAN!

Look through all of our enhanced devotionals by clicking here! You can start your reading plan today and keeping reading on any device that is logged into the Olive Tree Bible App.

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How To: Dictionaries in the App

Posted by on 11/28/2017 in: ,

The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIBD), complete 5-volume set, is the definitive starting point for research on any topic, place or person in the Bible, with emphasis on the crucial theological concepts. Based on the NRSV, the NIBD is a balanced and relevant Bible study resource for any pastor, teacher, or student who is preparing to serve a congregation.

Here are three ways you can use this dictionary in the Olive Tree Bible App.

All of the screenshots are taken from our Mac app. But you can use this resource in all the same ways on your phone or tablet.

1) RESOURCE GUIDE

The first way is through the Split Window and Resource Guide.  Open your favorite Bible translation in the main window and the Resource Guide in the Split Window.  As you read through your Bible text, the Resource Guide searches through all the downloaded resources in your library to find related Bible study content.


You’ll notice that the Resource Guide pulls related content from all of your downloaded resources.  If you scroll down the Resource Guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”  These headings give you the results of articles based on your downloaded resources.

Click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about. I chose “Nebo” in this example.  Our app then brings you results from within the resources you have on your device.  This is where you will find the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIBD) within the Resource Guide.

You’ll notice that the resource has the words “Article to Nebo” underneath the book cover.  Click on the book cover and you’ll go directly to the article within the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIBD). As you are reading the article, any Scripture references become hyperlinks that you can click to view as a pop-out window:

FUN FACT!

The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible was written by 900 scholars from 40 nations. It contains 7,100 original articles and 1,300 distinct cross-reference entries.  Here’s one example from the Mount Nebo article we’ve been reading:

2) A TRADITIONAL DICTIONARY

The second way you can utilize the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIBD)  is as a traditional dictionary in the Olive Tree Bible App.  Just pull down the Go To menu and scroll through this awesome resource as you would a hard-copy dictionary.

2) THE LOOKUP FEATURE

The third way is to use the Lookup Feature. Use your mouse to highlight a word and right-click in the Bible text, and an option menu bar will pop up.  If you select “Search full library for ‘Nebo’” button you’ll receive a list from your resources on just that specific word. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above.

LEARN MORE

As you can see, the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible is an extremely helpful resource for studying the Bible in-depth. Whether you are using your smart phone, tablet, or laptop, you can have quick access to historical, biblical insights.

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Using Gospel Harmonies

Posted by on 11/09/2017 in:

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.

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 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 to 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:

See All Available Gospel Harmonies!

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How-To: Get the Most Out of Your Strong’s Tagged Bible

Posted by on 10/13/2017 in:

The great part about Strong’s Tagged Bibles is that anyone can use them. You don’t need to be seminary trained or have years of experience. You can just tap and read. The tool is powerful and practical enough to be useful even for personal study.

As with many powerful tools, these resources can do more if you know how to use them. They can also be somewhat dangerous if you don’t know how to use them. We don’t just want to provide you with the resource; we want to help you get the most out of it and avoid the dangers of misinterpretation. In this post, we’ll talk about the basic features of Strong’s Tagged Bibles and about how to get the most out of each of them.

TAP TO SEE GREEK/HEBREW WORD

The first feature is the most obvious. As soon as you tap, you can see what Greek or Hebrew word is behind it. This is the first thing you’ll see when you tap on a word. It’s probably most helpful for people who know Greek or Hebrew.

Now, if you tap on a darker word and it doesn’t open to do anything, that means that the word isn’t explicitly in the Greek or Hebrew text. The word was added by the translators in order to help the sentence make sense. We do this all the time in English, leaving out words because they’re assumed. Of course, the words left out in Greek aren’t necessarily the words we can leave out in English. Different languages have different rules for what’s important and what can be left out.

The takeaway here is that, while a word might not be in the original Greek or Hebrew, that doesn’t mean the word isn’t implied by other words. Sometimes the Bible translators add those words so that we English readers won’t be left scratching our heads.

ENHANCED STRONG’S DICTIONARY

The Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary is what appears when you tap a word that does have a Greek or Hebrew word behind it. This is a really handy tool because it will show you all the ways that the word gets translated throughout the Bible and give you an idea of how common each translation is. This can give you a fuller idea of what the word meant in the original language.

The thing to keep in mind here is something that all languages share in common: just because a word can mean something in one place, doesn’t mean it means that thing everywhere else. How and where a word is used in a sentence, paragraph, chapter, and book is a critical part of understanding what the word means.

Many words in English have several diverse meanings. For example, the word “dodge” can mean to get out of the way of something. It can also mean to lighten part of an image or photo (like the “dodge brush” in image editing programs). If you were to simply look up the dictionary definition and pick the first one, you could find yourself very confused. Another example is the English word “love.” When someone says “I love ice cream,” he means something very different from when he says “I love my wife” (or at least he ought to).

The point here is that we want to let the dictionary help us get an idea of what the word can mean, then let the context of the passage determine what the word does mean. If we’re in a class on photography, “dodge” probably doesn’t mean “get out of the way.” It probably means “lighten.” But we wouldn’t want to make that assumption in gym class.

VIEW ALL OCCURRENCES

This is probably my favorite feature in The Bible Study App for word studies. It’s the button that says “Search for g5457” (or some other number). This feature allows you to search for everywhere in the Bible where that particular Greek or Hebrew word is used. Since a translation might translate one word twelve different ways, it’s hard to know when that word is being used. But this feature can help.

The best way to use this feature is to start with where the word is used closest to the verse you’re studying, then work outward from there. Look in the verse, then the chapter, then the book, then other books the author has written, then in the whole Bible.

In this way you can get a sense for how a certain author used a particular word in its context, in all his writings, and how the word gets used throughout the whole Bible. While this doesn’t necessarily result in the same mastery of the word that a scholar might have, it certainly does help us to better understand the word and the passage we found it in.

Generally speaking, this isn’t going to completely change the way you read a passage of Scripture. The translators know the languages a lot better than most of us, so most often we’ll end up agreeing. But doing a word study can help us discover a richness to the word that we otherwise might not have seen. It can also help us to connect things in Scripture that we otherwise might not have thought to connect.

LOOK UP WORD IN DICTIONARIES

The Look Up feature allows you to look up a word in any Greek/Hebrew dictionaries that you might have. There are a lot of really helpful dictionaries out there by scholars who have already done the work of a detailed word study. They may also include information about where the word came from and how it was used in books outside the Bible. These can be extremely helpful to supplement the word studies that you’re already doing with the ESV with Strong’s. Here are a few you might find helpful:

CONCLUSION

Tools like Strong’s Tagged Bibles and Bible dictionaries can be really helpful in understanding what God has to say. We should pray that, in our study, we will allow God to correct us with what we learn about the words of Scripture. This is very different from using the tools to bend God’s words to mean what we want them to. Humility and openness to correction are important here.

If we come to the Scriptures with our tools, ready to be taught by the Scriptures, then we will be in the right place to see God’s love for us in Christ and how we are to live in light of that love. We hope these tools prove helpful in your studies.

PSALM 119:130 (ESV)

The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple

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3 Ways to Improve Your Highlights

Posted by on 10/10/2017 in:

Highlighters, crayons, markers, and pens are staples for personal Bible study. When you find a passage you want to memorize or remember for later, you mark it up in some kind way that makes it stand out from the rest of the text. When it comes to digital Bibles we often neglect using highlights as a part of our study methods. Sure, we may highlight a favorite verse or passage, but most don’t go any further than that. Today, I want to open up a world of highlighting possibilities for you in the Olive Tree Bible App that will hopefully improve your Bible study.

HOW TO HIGHLIGHT

Before we dive into the ways you can use highlights, first let me give you a refresher on the two ways to make a highlight in the app.

VERSE HIGHLIGHTS

The most popular way to make a highlight in our app is to highlight an entire verse, or a group of verses. To do this, you tap the verse number and select “Highlight.” If you want to highlight a range of verses you can increase the range to your desired selection, then choose your color. This method is useful if you want to have your highlights appear across various Bible translations. Since these are tagged on a verse level, they will appear in all your Bibles.

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WORD-BASED HIGHLIGHTS

You also have the option to make word based highlights that are resource specific. To do this, simply select your desired text, and then follow the same steps to highlight as above.

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MAKE YOUR OWN HIGHLIGHTER STYLES

One advantage of using Olive Tree is that you are not limited to default highlighter styles or colors that come with the app. You have the ability to create your own highlighter colors & styles to suit your needs. This is the first step in making highlights more useful in your study.

There are a couple different ways you can get to the new highlighter menu. First, you can go to the Main Menu, select Highlights, tap Edit, then choose “Add Highlighter.”  Alternatively, you can reach this menu by selecting a verse or text to highlight, tap Highlight, select the “More” icon, then choose “Add Highlighter.”

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Once you’ve reached this screen you are presented with a few different options. First, you can give your highlighter a name in the Label field. You can either name it the color you’re going to create, or you can get creative and give the highlight a specific meaning. For example, you can have all references to the Holy Spirit or Jesus use this highlighter, and then name it as such. The choice is yours. From there you can select whether you want it to be a traditional highlight or underline. Then you have the ability to customize how that highlight or underline will appear by selecting intensity, thickness (for underline), and the color.

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Once you’ve made all the highlighters you need, you’re ready to start using them in your study. And, remember, it’s just as easy to make new highlighters as you need them; just follow these steps.

ADD NOTES TO THE MIX

Another way to highlight and emphasize key passages is to use the notes functionality within the app. This works just like highlighting, except you choose “Note” instead of “Highlight” when selecting a verse or text. One of the cool things about notes  is that you can select a cool icon to go represent what the note is about. This is cool for when I’m taking notes on sermons, but it’s also useful for calling out a part of the text. If something is extra important you might want to add a “star” or if it’s puzzling you can select the “question mark” icon. Even if you don’t put anything in the note, these icons will appear in your Bible and can serve to as an additional layer of highlighting and meaning.

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GREAT FOR INDUCTIVE STUDY

While the purpose of this post is to show you the possibilities for highlighting instead of a specific method, there are some Bible study methods that are centered around highlighting. One of the more popular methods is the Precepts Inductive Bible Study method popularized by Kay Arthur. While the Precepts method involves some fairly complicated highlighting models, with the infinite highlighting possibilities that you can create in the app you can certainly adapt it for your needs. Click here to learn more about the Inductive Bible Study method from Precepts Ministries International.

Experiment with highlights & notes icons to create a Bible study method that works for you. Also be sure to check out the Bible study titles we currently have on sale.

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How-To Do a Word Study

Posted by on 10/05/2017 in: ,

While many have lamented the thought of having to learn the original languages in Bible college or seminary, I relished the idea. I saw it as an opportunity to unlock a new world of Bible study that would give me greater insight for Bible interpretation. But after several years of study I learned something very important. My English Bible was enough!

Yes, there were times when knowing Greek and Hebrew proved useful; but, for the most part, I found Bible translators had done a great job in conveying the thoughts of the Bible’s authors. But I was still asking myself: “How can I effectively use the original languages in my Bible study?”

Are you wondering the same thing? Let me share what I’ve learned.

FIND A WORD TO STUDY

A few years ago I was teaching through 1 Thessalonians at my church. As I was reading through the second chapter, I encountered a phrase in verse 4 that made me pause: “we have been approved by God.” The word “approved” felt a bit awkward to me, so I decided to investigate. To get started, I switched from my standard ESV Bible to the ESV with Strong’s tagging.

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Then, I tapped on “approved” in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, which gave me some quick information from the Strong’s dictionary. I see that I’m dealing with the Greek word δοκιμάζω (dokimazō), which is Strong’s number G1381. The glosses are helpful in showing me how the word is translated, but that doesn’t satisfy my curiosity.

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FINDING ALL OCCURRENCES

Next, check all the occurrences of this word in the New Testament. This will provide a wider understanding for how dokimazō is translated and its meaning(s). Our app makes this step really easy! All you have to do is tap the “Search for g1381” button, and it’ll search the ESV Strong’s Bible for every occurrence of dokimazō based on its Strong’s number.

What I found is that dokimazō has a lot to do with the idea of examining or testing something. The majority of the usage comes from Paul and refers to examining one’s self. That’s an interesting observation. And, in the case of 1 Thessalonians 2:4, it’s interesting to see how God is the one approving or examining Paul and his co-laborers for the work of ministry.

It’s also worth noting that dokimazō occurs twice in this verse, which I wouldn’t have noticed from the English alone, since the second instance is translated as “tests.” This information further improves my understanding of the original phrase in question.

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DIGGING DEEPER WITH LEXICONS AND DICTIONARIES

At this point, I have a good grasp on the lexical range of dokimazō—at least how it’s used in the New Testament. But, I don’t want to leave my study there because I may be missing something. What can I do to go further? It’s simple! I’ll go back and tap the “Lookup δοκιμάζω” button from my Strong’s popup and search my dictionaries. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis appears and it sparked my interest! There are two things I like about this dictionary: 1) the entry provides a list of related words that I may want to study further, and 2) it looks at the word’s usage and how it is theologically relevant, instead of just giving me a list of ways it can be translated into English.

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After some reading, I find my understanding of dokimazō to be on par with what the dictionaries say. As it relates to our verse, not only does God test, like on the day of judgment (1 Cor. 3:13), but He is currently testing our hearts—specifically as it relates to our usefulness in ministry.

GET THE RESOURCES YOU NEED

While it takes some time to read through all the material, a word study is really easy with the Olive Tree Bible App. Everything you need to do a word study is at your fingertips! Many of the resources you need to perform a word study are currently discounted in our How to Study the Bible Sale! Pick them up today while they’re at these low prices!

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Create Your Own Parallel Bibles

Posted by on 10/02/2017 in:

Parallel Bibles are a useful way to compare two different Bible translations. In print, you can often find parallel Bibles that have English on one side and another language on the other side or a more literal translation next to a dynamic translation or paraphrase. With the Olive Tree Bible App, you can easily set up your own customized parallel Bible and in video below we’ll show you how.

WHY MULTIPLE TRANSLATIONS?

Now that you know how to create a parallel Bible in the Olive Tree Bible App, why would you want to use one? Here are some ideas:

  • Read a more literal translation (KJVESVNASB) alongside a more dynamic one (NLTMessageTLB) to get a better idea of what the text says
  • Have an English translation open alongside the different language text
  • Compare commentaries or dictionaries by having those resources open instead of a Bible

SEE AVAILABLE BIBLES FOR THE OLIVE TREE BIBLE APP HERE!

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Important! Dropping Support for Old Devices

Posted by on 09/25/2017 in: ,

As time advances, so does technology. We’d love to be able to support everyone’s device, giving access to God’s Word on every phone, tablet, and computer out there. But the truth is, managing that type of wide-spread usage would hinder us from enhancing our app in deeper ways.

So, in order to keep growing, we are dropping support for the following devices:

  • Kindle Fire, 2011 (1st Gen)
  • Kindle Fire, 2012 (2nd Gen)
  • Kindle Fire HD, 2012 (2nd Gen)
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9, 2012 (2.5th Gen)
  • Android devices using Ice Cream Sandwich or older (Android OS 4.0.4 or earlier)

If you are using one of the previously listed devices, we apologize. Starting on October 15, 2017, we will be phasing out these devices, and thus, the following functionalities:

  • Sync
  • Downloading titles
  • Logging-in to your Olive Tree Account
  • Viewing the In-App Store

Once again, we want to thank all of our users for your support and dedication to our app! If you have any questions about this information, please email us at support@olivetree.com. We hope to continue to provide you with the best resources at the best price, inspiring you in your pursuit of knowing God more.

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