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.

How to do a Word Study


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. After several years of study I learned something very important: my English Bible was often 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. If true, that begs the question. How do I use the original languages in my Bible study? Usually I’m doing word studies, which I want to show you how to do in Bible+.

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.

ESV with Strong's

ESV with Strong’s

I then 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.

Strong's Definition Popup

Strong’s Definition Popup

Finding All Occurrences

The next step in the process is to check all the occurrences of this word in the New Testament. This provides a wider grasp for how dokimazō is translated and its meaning(s). Bible+ makes this step really easy. All I have to do is tap the “Search for g1381″ button and it’ll search my 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 data further improves my understanding of the original phrase in question.

Searching for a Strong's Number

Searching for a Strong’s Number

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 at that because I may be missing something. What can I do to go further? Simple, I’ll go back and tap the “Lookup δοκιμάζω” button from my Strong’s popup & search my dictionaries. Of the ones where I have hits, of particular interest to me is the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. 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.

Lookup Greek Word

Lookup Greek Word

New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis

New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis

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 that easy with Bible+. 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!

Building the Ultimate Study Bible



As a Bible teacher and technologist, people often ask me what they should buy to start building their Bible study library. I love answering this question and many are shocked by my response. The conversation begins by describing the massive library I’ve built over the years in several Bible software platforms. Then I tell them they don’t need all that & start listing the handful of resources that I find essential to Bible study. The end result is a concise but robust set of tools that anyone can use to study the Bible and grow in the things of God. Today, I will show you how you can build your ultimate Bible study library.

Step 0: Use the Bible Study App

If you’re at all technologically inclined, and I assume you are if you’re reading this, the initial step is downloading Bible software. For as much as I love print, it is easier and faster to study the Bible digitally. You can search resources in a matter of seconds, quickly look up cross references, and study anywhere. You don’t have to worry about flipping pages or having a large desk so that you can open all your books at once. Instead, carry your entire library on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

I always recommend the Bible Study App to people because it is feature rich and easy to use, and I say this not just as an Olive Tree employee. There is no steep learning curve required to use the app and all the features are intuitive. Plus, it’s free to download and try! So, download the app & let’s move to Step 1.

Step 1: Add a Bible Translation

A lot of people don’t think about Bible translations and how they can help their Bible study. For many, they use whatever Bible translation they were given when they became a Christian and never give it a second thought. Yes, the thee’s and thou’s of the KJV may be quite poetic, but what good is it if you cannot understand what you’re reading? In many respects, the Bible is already a difficult book to study, so why make it harder with a difficult to read translation? There is nothing wrong with owning a Bible written in a modern translation.

When choosing a Bible translation, you should find one that works for you. I also believe you should own at least two Bible translations. The first should be more word-for-word in its translation of the original languages, while the second should be more thought-for-thought or a balance between the two. I recommend checking out some of the translations listed below at and pick the one you find most readable in each category.

Once you have your Bible translations, you’re ready to build the rest of your ultimate study Bible library.



Step 2: Add Study Notes

Next to the Bible, if you had to spend money on one resource, hands down it would have to be a study Bible. These are great tools because they are an all-in-one resource. You get commentary, introductions, and a wealth of other useful features. With so many study Bibles on the market, wisdom is needed when making a purchase. You want to make sure you’re buying something that will help you understand what you’re reading and keep things in their proper context.

A good study Bible should contain: thorough study notes, book introductions, maps, charts & illustrations, and Bible chronologies. A few worth checking out include: the ESV Study Bible, NLT Study Bible, NKJV Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, and the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible.

ESV Study Bible

ESV Study Bible

Step 3: Add Key Reference Tools

As you expand your library beyond Bibles and study Bibles, you should start by adding key reference tools. This is a broad category that ranges from single volume commentaries to Bible dictionaries and atlases.

Bible commentaries come in many flavors and vary in their target audience, which is often reflected in the price. Because of their depth, commentaries can quickly become the most expensive tool in your library. I recommend starting with single volume commentaries since they cover the entire Bible. While single volume commentaries may not be as thorough as their single-book counterparts, they do take time to cover all passages in general and are sure to explain the more difficult ones, making them useful additions to your library.

Moody Bible Commentary

Moody Bible Commentary

While study Bibles and commentaries are good at explaining the text of the Bible, they don’t always give enough detail about some of the Bible’s concepts and words. This is where a good Bible dictionary comes into play, which is, in effect, an encyclopedia for the Bible. To illustrate it’s usefulness, let’s say you’re reading the gospels and you encounter the Pharisees and Sadducees. Who are these guys and where did they get their authority? A Bible dictionary will explain who they are so you’re not left clueless about their role and purpose in the Bible.

New Bible Dictionary

New Bible Dictionary

Atlases are a fantastic tool to have in your library. If we’re honest, most of us aren’t familiar with the geography of the lands from Bible times. Not to mention, you’ll have no luck finding many places mentioned in the Bible on a modern map. Atlases provide you with extensive maps that help you get a lay of the land so that you can make better sense of the Bible’s narrative. Many atlases also provide relevant commentary on the Bible that corresponds to the map or picture.

Zondervan Atlas of the Bible

Zondervan Atlas of the Bible

Many of these tools you can add to your Olive Tree library at minimal cost and they will go a long way in helping you study the Bible.

Step 4: Add Advanced Reference Tools

Most people could stop at Step 3, but if you’re the person who wants to dive deeper into God’s Word you can buy more advanced reference tools. Resources that fall into this category would include: single book commentary sets, Greek & Hebrew lexicons, and more extensive versions of the tools found in Step 3. These are the tools used by pastors, seminary students, and those, like myself, who don’t mind treading through the original languages and academic level terminology. This is an area where you can spend a lot of money, but each resource is well worth the cost.

New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology & Exegesis

New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology & Exegesis

Build Your Ultimate Study Bible Today

By following the above steps, you will have built your own Ultimate Study Bible and have all the essential tools needed to study the Bible. Start building yours today with our Build Your Ultimate Study Bible sale!

Next week we’ll show you various ways of using these resources to study the Bible.

5 Benefits of WBC in the Bible Study App


With 62 volumes and 26,000+ pages of content, the Word Biblical Commentary is a hefty commentary series.  With this much content, how do you navigate it all?

With the Bible Study App, you can easily read and study the WBC anywhere.  Here are 5 benefits of using the WBC in the Bible Study App (Screenshots are from the Windows Desktop version of The Bible Study App.  Click on Images for a larger view)

1. Resource Guide & Split Window

Open your preferred Bible translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window.  You’ll see relevant Word Biblical Commentary “hits” in the split window.

If you prefer to just read one resource at a time, you can open the WBC in the split window. 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 WBC 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 these first two features alone.

2. Easily Navigate to Commentary Sections

Each section of commentary in WBC (covering a range of verses) is further divided into a number of sub-sections which each approach the entire set of verses from different perspectives like “Bibliography”, “Translation” and more. Each of the sub-sections has been individually tagged based on content, meaning that if you have a particular Bible passage open in the main window, the Resource Guide will display the commentary notes for that passage in the WBC for each of the subsections.

Using it with the Resource Guide like this makes it easy to drill down to one sub-section, then jump back up quickly and then back down to another

3. Search & Look Up Features

Search the Word Biblical Commentary for words or passages.  Take “elder” as an example.  You can search the entire 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.

When your search hits are displayed, you can tap on the result to go directly to that section in the WBC.  You can also choose to open the search in a pop out window making this search accessible for further study.

4. Linked Reference Pop ups

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 Genesis 12 about Abram, there are multiple Scripture references in the WBC that help me with this passage. 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.

5. Highlight, Add a Note, Bookmark or Copy & Paste

Make the Word Biblical Commentary your own with the Bible Study App. Without having to leave your current study, you can:


Add a Note, Copy & Paste


Or Bookmark and save under your own custom category

Bonus: Cross Platform

The Bible Study App is available for your iPhone, iPad, Android Phone or Tablet, PC or Mac.  With our our background sync technology, you can access all of your notes, highlights, and bookmarks on all of your devices with a free Olive Tree Account.

The Word Biblical Commentary set serves as an exceptional resource for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.

Watch a short video to See the Word Biblical Commentary in Action!

WBC On Sale

The WBC is currently on sale. All volumes are currently priced at $9.99. The full set is also discounted, along with new OT & NT sets. Be sure to buy these before the price permanently goes up after this month.

Quick Tip: Using TWOT in the Bible Study App

Let’s face it, studying the Old Testament can be hard work. This is doubly true once you dive into the original languages, and Hebrew in particular. There are a plethora of useful resources to choose from when studying Biblical Greek, such as BDAG, EDNT, TDNT, NIDNTTE, Louw & Nida, to name a few. Yet when it comes to studying Hebrew the pickings are slim. In Olive Tree, outside of the Strong’s Dictionary, you’re limited to a few titles including: NIDOTTE, HALOT, and TWOT. Even though there’s not a lot to choose from when it comes to studying Hebrew, the available resources are extremely useful.

Today I will show you how to use the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) in the Bible Study App.

Studying with TWOT

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament is essentially a Hebrew lexicon and can be used like any other Hebrew lexicon. However, it has certain special features which are designed to facilitate its use, especially for those less at home in the Hebrew language. It is primarily intended to be a ready tool for the pastor and the serious student, who want to study carefully and understand more fully the sacred text.

I recommend using the TWOT in conjunction with a Strong’s Bible, such as the ESV, to get the most out of it. To illustrate how TWOT works, we will take a look at 1 Samuel 16, a passage I recently read in my Olive Tree daily reading plan. In this passage we find Samuel anointing David as the new king of Israel, since Saul, the current king, had chosen to stop obeying the Lord.

1 Samuel 16 in ESV Strong's Bible

1 Samuel 16 in ESV Strong’s Bible

With the emphasis of anointing in this passage, I wanted to find out more about the Hebrew word behind it, since I knew it is used in several contexts in Scripture. To do this, I tap on the word “anoint” in 1 Samuel 16:3 to bring up a Strong’s popup.

Strong's Popup for "Anoint"

Strong’s Popup for “Anoint”

The definition from the Strong’s dictionary is rather sparse, so I want to find out more. This is where the TWOT comes into play. I tap the “Lookup” button and then select the TWOT article.

Lookup for Hebrew Word

Lookup for Hebrew Word

TWOT in Popup Window

TWOT in Popup Window

The TWOT is now in view and I can read more about the Hebrew root word. If I want to keep the window open or have more space to read, I can then open it in the split window.

Open TWOT in Split Window

Open TWOT in Split Window

TWOT in Split Window

TWOT in Split Window

As I read I can see there is some theological significance to this word, including the divine enablement that accompanied someone being anointed king over Israel. This is information I wouldn’t have gotten from Bible reading alone or from my Study Bible notes. Thanks to TWOT I have a richer understanding of the importance of Samuel anointing David as king.

Because the TWOT is an enhanced Olive Tree product, it is extremely easy to use. Anywhere you find a tagged Hebrew word you’ll be able to quickly get to its TWOT entry. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading your Hebrew and Strong’s Bibles or looking at another Hebrew lexicon. TWOT is always right at your fingertips to expand your understanding of the Hebrew text.

Add TWOT to Your Library

The TWOT is currently half off in our Back to School sale. Add it to your Olive Tree library today and check out the other titles on sale.

Top 5 Advantages of Windows Desktop


Who doesn’t love a good Top 5 list? I know I do! Here are the top reasons why you should use our new Windows Desktop app alongside your mobile. Ready. Set. Go!

1. Multiple Windows

One limitation of working with the Bible Study app on mobile is that you can only have two resources open at a single time, or three if you count pop-ups. This limitation exists for various reasons, ranging from screen size to processing power. You don’t have this problem with Windows Desktop. Open multiple windows to your heart’s content and resize them however you’d like. The possibilities are endless.

Multiple Windows

Multiple Windows

2. Universal Search

Have you ever wanted to search your entire library for a topic or word? The Resource Guide helps with this to an extent, but it only works with enhanced resources. With the Windows Desktop app you can type anything you want in the search field and you’ll get hits from your entire library. This alone is a time saver or reason to get lost in rabbit trails, you decide.

Universal Search

Universal Search

3. Multitasking

Do you like using Microsoft Word or Google Docs to write your sermons or notes? That’s easy with the Bible Study app on Windows Desktop. If you have multiple monitors, have the app open on one screen and Word open in the other. Don’t have two monitors? Resize your windows and you can still do the same. Try doing that on your phone!

Easy Multitasking

Easy Multitasking

4. More Text on the Screen

My phone has a higher resolution (1440 x 2560) than my computer (1920 x 1080). But given the fact my phone is 5.7″ versus the 15″ screen of my laptop, I can still fit a lot more text on my laptop’s screen than I can on my phone. This means I can study a lot easier than I can on my phone. I can read more with less scrolling, which saves time and effort.

Look how much more text you can fit on a desktop computer versus a tablet (Nexus 10).

Greek-English Interlinear Bible - Android Tablet

Greek-English Interlinear Bible – Android Tablet

Greek-English Interlinear Bible - Windows Desktop

Greek-English Interlinear Bible – Windows Desktop

5. Distraction Free Studying

The refreshed user interface of Bible+ 6.0 for Windows Desktop was designed to get out of the way so you could focus on studying. How often have you tried reading the Bible on your phone only to get distracted by a call, text message, or notification? Happens to me all the time, and sometimes I don’t have the luxury of turning on Airplane mode to keep it from happening. The simple gesture of sitting at a computer often implies that it’s time for serious work, which can make it easier to focus and get your studying done distraction free. Plus, it’s easier to “unplug” your computer from the Internet without feeling like you’re cut off from the world.

What Are Yours?

What are some of your favorite features and tips when using the Windows Desktop app? Leave a comment and share them with us and other Olive Tree users.

Quick Tip: TDNT & HALOT Quick Dictionary Lookup

With the Bible Study App we make it easy for you to read & study the Bible wherever you are. This is especially true with original language study. Instead of hunting down the dictionaries and lexicons that possess the information you’re looking for, we put it at your fingertips. Today we’re going to show you how to use the lookup feature in the Bible Study app to access HALOT and TDNT entries in the BHS Parsed and ESV Greek-English Interlinear Bible. We’ll show you how to do this on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but the steps are exactly the same on iOS.


Step 1: Find a word that you want to study in-depth. Tap on that word to get a basic definition and parsing information. Then tap on “Lookup” to begin searching your installed dictionaries for your currently selected word.

HALOT Lookup Step 1

Step 1: Tap your word & then tap “Lookup”


Step 2: Find your dictionary, in this case HALOT, and tap on it.

HALOT Lookup Step 2

Step 2: Find HALOT in the list of dictionaries


Step 3: Read the entry for your word in the resource you selected.

HALOT Lookup Step 3

Step 3: Read the HALOT entry

Greek-English Interlinear & TDNT

These steps work exactly the same way for Greek resources. We’ll perform the same steps to lookup a Greek word in our ESV Greek-English Interlinear Bible.

Step 1: Find a word you want to study and tap on it. Then tap the “Lookup” button in the popup.

Step 1: Find a word to study & tap "Lookup"

Step 1: Find a word to study & tap “Lookup”


Step 2: Find the dictionary/lexicon that you want to read, here the TDNT.

Step 2: Select your dictionary or lexicon

Step 2: Select your dictionary or lexicon


Step 3: Read your entry in the TDNT.

Step 3: Read your entry

Step 3: Read your entry


Other Resources

This lookup feature isn’t just limited to HALOT and TDNT. Use it to lookup words in any of your lexicons or dictionaries. Tap on a Strong’s tagged word and do the same. Want to find entries on Moses? Select his name in your English Bible and perform a lookup on his name. Try it for yourself and see just how indispensable the lookup feature can be to your own studies!

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