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.

6 Reasons to use Preaching the Word in The Bible Study App

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The Preaching the Word Commentary Series offers unique insights 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 Bible Study App.  (Screenshots are from an iPad 2.  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.

resourceguide

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 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.

2. Search & Look Up Feature

Search The Preaching the Word Commentary Series for words or passages.  Take “Vine” as an example.  You can search the entire commentary  series for where “Vine” is mentioned in the commentary series.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

search

When your search hits are displayed, you can tap on the result to go directly to that passage. You can also copy the text to add to an existing note or add a note right from the search results.

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3. Linked Reference Pop ups

verse popup

One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary.  For example, when I’m reading in John 15 where Jesus is talking about the Vine and the Branches. In the Preaching the Word Commentary there’s a reference to Isaiah 5:7. 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 The Bible Study App, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text.  All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

footnote popup

Related to this is footnotes/endnotes. The Preaching the Word Commentary Series has 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 book.  This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought.  With The Bible Study App footnotes are linked.  Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.

4. Copy/Paste into Notes

The Preaching the Word Commentaries are full of great content.  I often find myself reading a passage, going deeper with the commentary and finding that “perfect quote” that sums up what I was thinking but didn’t know how to express it in written form.  However, in the world of hard copy commentaries, I have to re-type it into my personal study notes.  With The Bible Study App, all I have to do is highlight the text that i want, copy it and paste it into my notes.  This feature saves me a ton of time, not to mention the wear and tear on my typing fingers!

copy paste

5. 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, Bookmark, Share, Define, Lookup and More.

define popup

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 commentaries or even the Bible text that you do not know.

6. Resource Guide on 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, Bookmark, Share, Guide, and More..

lookup feature

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 The Preaching the Word Commentary in the main or split window.

lookup split window

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

As you can see, The Preaching the Word Commentaries within The Bible Study App give you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Right now you can get All Preaching the Word Commentaries for only $7.99 each, and save even more when you purchase the 29 Volume Set!

Improved Highlighting Now on Android

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When it comes to feature parity in the Bible Study App, it’s no secret that Android has lagged behind in some key functionality when compared to its iOS counterpart. One area that stood out more than others was highlighting. In the iOS app highlights look like you took a highlighter to the text, plus you could highlight just about anything in any resource. Android, on the other hand, only allowed you to highlight whole Bible verses, and the highlights appeared as a boring block of color behind the text. There was no way to highlight an individual word in a verse, nor could you highlight anything other than a Bible. This was a frustration for many of our Android users, myself included. That all changes with our Bible+ 6.0 update for Android!

Along with a new look, our highlighting functionality is vastly improved in the our Android app. Highlighting has improved in a few key ways: 1) its look & feel, 2) word based annotations, and 3) easier organization.

Look & Feel

Take a look at the image below. On the left is what our Android app used to look like before the update. Pretty boring and drab, right? The image on the right is what highlighting looks like in the new app. Highlights are softer and textured so that they look like you took a highlighter to the words on your screen. This may be a minor change to some, but it’s one we feel dramatically improves how text appears on the screen, which makes for a better reading experience.

NTE Android: Highlighter Comparison

Word Based Annotations

Not being able to select individual words to highlight was the biggest complaint we received from Android users. Due to technical limitations, that was impossible in our old app. That is no longer the case. Just like on iOS, you can now select individual words in your Bible and resources to highlight. What does that mean? It means the possibilities are now endless! Want to highlight all the pronouns that mention the Trinity in your Bible? Now you can. Want to highlight text in a commentary or dictionary? You can do that too! As you can see in the screenshot below, highlighting in a textbook is now a reality on Android.

NTE Android: Word Based Annotation

Easier Organization

Giving you the ability to highlight all the things is nice, but we realize that organizing them can quickly become a nightmare. If you’re like me, anything you highlight in the Bible has meaning, and you want to be able to quickly reference it in the future. In the old app this was a pain point because it meant remembering to manually move your highlights to its appropriate category after you were done reading. If you make a lot of highlights, this makes for a lot of extra work afterward. With our Bible+ 6.0 update you can now choose your tags & categories as you create your highlight. Simply select your text, tap “Highlight,” choose your tags & categories, then pick your highlighter color. That’s it! Now your highlights will be where you expect them.

NTE Android - Highlight Categories

We hope you enjoy all these new highlighting features in the Bible+ 6.0 update for Android and use them to take your Bible study even deeper!

Look Inside: NIV Word Study Bible

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We’re thrilled to release the brand new NIV Word Study Bible with Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers. This resource includes everything you need to start doing basic word studies in the NIV.

The NIV Word Study Bible provides a complete index of every appearance of every word in the NIV Bible; it’s a must-own for every reader of the NIV Bible. More accurate and comprehensive than online searches and offering complete access to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek from which the NIV was translated, this resource promises to make your Bible study the very best.

Olive Tree’s Bible Study App makes Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers easy and powerful. Tap on a word in the text and open the related dictionary information in a new screen, split screen, or pop-up window, depending on your device and settings.

Here’s quick look inside on how the NIV Word Study Bible can help you in your word studies. (Screenshots are taken from an iPad, but the NIV Word Study Bible is available for all customer running Bible+ 5.9 apps and above, including Android 6.0.)

G/K & Strong’s Number Pop-Ups

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Open the NIV Word Study Bible you’ll see that some words are a slightly different color. Tapping or clicking on those words will pop-up the information for that word. These pop-ups contain a wealth of information, including:

  1. The Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers for that word.
  2. A short definition for that word.
  3. An outlined list of the different meanings for that word in the original language.
  4. Often you will also find that another number is included as a link. These can be similar words that you can compare or other words from which your current word selection derives its meaning.

Look-Up Options

At the bottom of the pop-up, there are two buttons that perform “look-ups” or searches based on the Strong’s number or the word in its original language.

Look-up by Keyed Number

The first button contains the keyed number for your word. Clicking or tapping on this button will perform a search in your library for articles containing this number.

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Look-up by Original Language

The second button contains the word in its original language. Clicking or tapping on this word will perform a search in your library for articles about the word in its original language.  For example, I see that Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary has an article on this word.

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I also love using the NIV Word Study Bible on my iPhone.  It’s a fantastic resource when I’m at church, small group, or on the go.

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The NIV Word Study Bible with Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers is an excellent resource for diving deeper into the biblical text. It offers insight into the original languages of Scripture without requiring you to have any formal training in Greek or Hebrew.  Be sure to check out the NIV Word Study Bible & More Great New Titles that are 50% Off this week!

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):

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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:

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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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