Category: App Tips

Start a Lent Reading Plan

Posted by on 02/09/2016 in: ,

Lent begins this Ash Wednesday—February 10 this year—and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. For many people, it is a 40-day period—not including the six Sundays—devoted to reflection, repentance, fasting, and preparation prior to Easter.

Unlike Christmas, Easter is not a fixed date on the calendar; it is sometimes described as a “moveable feast.” The Western church decided long ago to set Easter as the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). Since the date of Easter varies widely (from March 22 to April 25), the dates of every other holiday related to Easter vary as well. The week before Easter is referred to as Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Thursday of that week is known in some traditions as Maundy Thursday because it memorializes Jesus’ final instructions and last meal with His disciples. The term “Maundy” is related to the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” which is the first word in the Latin version of John 13:34 that records Jesus’ new commandment to His disciples that they love one another. Since Jesus washed his disciples’ feet that fateful evening, Christians often do as Jesus did and wash one another’s feet. Good Friday follows. It is the day that commemorates the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Calling the day “good” seems ironic since Jesus died such a horrid death that day. However, what Jesus’ death accomplished for the redemption of the world is the greatest good the world has ever seen. The Sunday following Good Friday ends the season of Lent and is designated Easter. It may be the most celebrated day on the Christian calendar, for it commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the beginning of the new Kingdom. – Adapted from The Voice Bible.

startyourreadingplaninapp
Lent is a great time to think about starting a new reading plan.

Checkout our free reading plan especially for Lent.  Adapted from The Voice Bible, this plan starts on Ash Wednesday, February 10 and continues until Easter Sunday. This is a great way to prepare your heart for Easter.

  • Go to the Reading Plans section of the BIble+ App
  • At the bottom of the list of reading plans tap the ‘Get More Reading Plans’ button
  • The Lent Reading plan will be listed first

Once you tap the install button, the reading plan will be available to start.

Continue Reading

5 Benefits of NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study App

Posted by on 02/01/2016 in: , , ,

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

IMG_0235

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.

IMG_0236

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.

IMG_0239

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.

Continue Reading

Bible Study Tip: Night Theme

Posted by on 01/21/2016 in:

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.

ios_dark_01ios_dark_02

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.

android_dark_01android_dark_02

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.

windows_dark_01

windows_dark_02

windows_dark_03

Continue Reading

Enhanced Maps: ESV Bible Atlas

Posted by on 01/03/2016 in: , ,

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!

Continue Reading

Studying Theology Doesn’t Have to be Hard

Posted by on 01/02/2016 in:

Out of all the works that a Christian can read, systematic theologies are some of the most daunting. While some might have a volume or two on their bookshelf just for looks, about the only people you 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 study theology and why it doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

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

Bible+ Makes it Easy

Like commentaries, a systematic theology title can be a big book, or even span multiple volumes. Trying to carry that around with other books can 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 turning Bible references into links. Instead of needing a Bible nearby to lookup references, you can tap on the verse and quickly read it. With the Bible open in a pop-up, you can read the verse referenced, or scroll up/down & get the verse’s surrounding context.

systheo_01

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.

systheo_02

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.

systheo_03

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, even in seminary. 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.

systheo_04

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 3 things: key terms 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.

systheo_05

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 can still be accessible to all, and these types of resources make that possible.

Be sure to check out our top theology titles!

Continue Reading

Using Gospel Harmonies

Posted by on 12/31/2015 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. (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.

Continue Reading

How to Use Dictionaries in Bible+

Posted by on 12/30/2015 in:

Here are three ways you can use dictionaries & lexicons in Bible+. To illustrate we will use the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.

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.

Tap or click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about. I chose “Nebo” in this example.  Bible+ 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.  Tap/Click on the book cover and Bible+ will take you 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 tap/click to view as a pop-out window:

The second way you can utilize a Bible dictionary is as a traditional dictionary in Bible+.  Just Tap/Click the book title and scroll through this awesome resource as you would a hard-copy dictionary.

The third way is to use the Bible+’s Lookup Feature. Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  If you tap the “Lookup” button you’ll get “hits” 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.

IMG_0177

If you’re on an iOS device, you can also tap the verse number and a menu bar will appear.  Tap “Guide” and you will get hits from your resources on that specific verse.  Then just follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option.

IMG_0180

As you can see, Bible dictionaries are extremely helpful resources for studying the Bible.  Check out our list of great Bible dictionaries here.

Continue Reading

Make the Most of Bible Handbooks

Posted by on 12/29/2015 in:

Bible Handbooks and Quick References are great resources that help you go deeper in your Bible study.

Here’s how we’ve enhanced these resources:

Bring up your preferred Bible translation in the main window. Then open the split window.

Adjust the split window to your desired size. Next, make sure the Resource Guide is open. Please note that the split window opens to the last place that you had viewed, so if you were last in the library, the screen will default back to the library.

IMG_0166

The Resource Guide keeps up with me as I scroll through the Bible text and searches through the books in my library for content related to the Scripture passage in the main window.

IMG_0167

Scroll down to view “Places,” “Maps,” “Outlines,” and “Introductions.” All quick reference content will be displayed in these sections. In our example, after clicking “Rome” under “Places,” the resource guide shows me that I have several images and maps available in my library. I can click these images to see a larger view or even view them within the resource from which the content is found.

IMG_0168

I can also see that there are Outlines and Introductions available in MacArthur’s Quick Reference Guide to the Bible and other resources that have related content.

IMG_0169

By clicking the book covers for these resources, I can see all of the results within that resource for the Bible passage. In this example, I can see that there are three entries under introductions in MacArthur’s Quick Reference Guide to the Bible. Click the article or reference and I can read the content in the resource. Again, any Scripture verse becomes a hyperlink that I can view within the resource guide.

IMG_0170

View today’s special on Quick References & Bible Handbooks here!

Continue Reading

Kickstart Your Bible Reading in 2016

Posted by on 12/28/2015 in:

Every new year thousands of Christians start a new Bible reading plan with the hope of reading through the entire Bible in a year. A few weeks into January or February and most have already abandoned those plans. I readily admit that I used to be one of those people. Let’s be honest, after getting through the familiar & event packed books of Genesis & Exodus things start to slow down and get boring. This is particularly true once you get to Leviticus and all the talk about being clean or unclean.

In 2016 I want to encourage you to start a new reading plan and provide some tips that will keep you reading throughout the year.

Bible Reading Tips

Here are a few tips that I have found helpful over the years, and I hope they encourage you as we enter the new year:

  • Start Small. If you’ve never read through large portions of Scripture before, don’t try to start with a plan that looks insurmountable. That’s like someone new to the gym thinking they can lift the same weights as a power lifter. It’s not a good idea and can be a setup for failure. Instead of a year long reading plan, start with something that’s 2 weeks or 30 days. Once you finish that, try another 30 day plan, and gradually lengthen your plan.
  • Pick a Time & Place. One of the easiest ways to maintain success in your Bible reading is by making it routine. Try to read at the same time everyday, and preferably in the same place. This will create a routine that you’ll get used to and put you in the right mindset. Also, I suggest doing it at a time of day when you’re most alert. There’s nothing worse than reading the Bible when you’re tired or sleepy.
  • Don’t Give Up. This one is the most important. There will be times when you want to give up, but push through it and keep at it. You’ll hit difficult passages and sometimes you may not understand what you just read, and that’s okay. Just keep at it and ask God to help you understand what you’re reading. Over time God will make it clear to you. When you hit those difficult spots, remember to make use of the tools available to you. And, inevitably, you may fall off the wagon and stop reading altogether for a season. Don’t get discouraged, just start again.

Starting a Plan in Bible+

One of the great things about doing a reading plan in Bible+ is that it syncs across all your devices. You can read on your computer one day, and then read it on your phone or tablet the next day when you’re on the go. Here’s how to start a new reading plan in Bible+.

Open Reading Plans from the Menu

IMG_0162

Select a Plan

Choose from one of the pre-installed plans or select “Get More Reading Plans” and download a new one

IMG_0163

Label & Start the Plan

Give your reading plan a name and set it as the default plan (this is helpful if you have several), and then select “Start Reading Plan” to get it started.

IMG_0164

IMG_0165

Check out the reading plans in our app, and also be sure to check out other devotional titles that we have on sale that can enhance your daily Bible reading in the new year.

Continue Reading

Using Commentaries in Bible+

Posted by on 12/27/2015 in:

One of the key components to any digital Bible study library is a commentary. Study Bibles are great for getting quick information about a passage but when you want to investigate a passage further you’ll turn to a commentary. Today I want to show you how most commentaries work in Bible+.

Using a Commentary

Like many resources in Bible+, the best way to get the most out of your library is by using the Resource Guide; commentaries are no exception. To illustrate, let’s use the Moody Bible Commentary & assume we’re starting to read Mark’s gospel.

Introductions

When beginning a study on a new book of the Bible, one of the first things you want to do is get some background information. Resource Guide makes this easy. Simply scroll down to the “Introductions” section, where we find a hit for our commentary.

Here we find information about the gospel, it’s author, date, audience, purpose, and other issues worth keeping in mind.

Outlines

Next, you’ll want to get a feel for how the book is laid out, so let’s find an outline. Again, the Resource Guide shows us that Moody Bible Commentary has an outline for our book, and we see that it is quite extensive. One thing worth noting is a commentary’s outline often serves as its layout. This helps you see how a handful of verses relate to their larger context. Personally, I refer to the outline often throughout the course of studying a book of the Bible, as it keeps the big picture in view.

Commentary Text

Finally, when it’s time to dive into the commentary text, the Resource Guide is again our friend. Instead of hunting down the commentary on your passage, let Resource Guide do the heavy lifting. Find the Moody Bible Commentary in the commentaries section, find your passage, and commence reading. This saves you both time and effort while studying, which is useful with our busy lives.

Alternatively, you can leave your commentary open in your split window and it’ll always be at the right location when you need it. This will save you even more time if you don’t plan on consulting other resources.

Finally, there are some people who like to read through commentaries like a book. This is possible in Bible+ as well. Just open the commentary in the main window and commence reading.

Upgrade Your Library Today

No matter who you are we have a commentary that will suit your needs. Check out the commentaries we currently have on sale and add some new titles to your library.

Continue Reading