Category: App Tips

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:

Create Your Own Parallel Bibles
Parallel Bibles are a useful way to compare two different Bible translations. In print, you can often find parallel Bibles that contain both an English translation and another language. Another type of parallel Bible may contain 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 you know how to create a parallel Bible. But why use one? Here are three reasons:

  • 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

MAKE YOUR OWN PARALLEL BIBLES

See all the 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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NEW: Use Emojis in Your Notes 🎉

Posted by on 09/22/2017 in: ,

The day has finally arrived—YOU CAN INSERT EMOJIS INTO YOUR NOTES!
Some of you may have tried this before and it worked. But as soon as you went to look at the note on another device… emojis were gone! It wasn’t until now that we have been able to provided emoji that will sync across devices.

So, go on! Get carried away! Insert emojis wherever you please! Here’s how I used this new feature last week. Tap to enlarge the images!

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Newly Enhanced Sermons

Posted by on 09/08/2017 in: ,

Last week, we highlighted a new feature: enhanced devotionals! This lets you use select devotionals as reading plans in the app (for iOS currently).

But, we toss around that word “enhanced” a lot, and thought we should clarify. Have you heard us talk about our enhanced sermons? We have those! But it means something different than it does with devotionals.

Inside sermons, there are scripture references (at least… we hope there would be scripture references!). When we receive an eBook version of a sermon from a publisher, it contains normal text. When we want to enhance a sermon, our lovely formatting team finds the scripture references and adds hyperlinks! This will allow you to tap on the reference and open a pop-up window, reading the verse without leaving your eBook.

This feature also works the other way around! While you’re reading the Bible, open the Resource Guide and look under “Sermons”. If any of your enhanced sermons reference the passage of scripture, it will appear here!

What does this look like? Here’s some screenshots from my iPad!

ONE: GO TO SERMONS

TWO: CHOOSE A SERMON

THREE: TAP A VERSE

FOUR: READ SCRIPTURE + OPEN RESOURCE GUIDE

GET YOUR OWN!

Recently, we enhanced more popular sermons! Here are some titles that we are really excited about:

  1. Men and Women of the Old Testament
  2. Able to the Uttermost
  3. London, 1933-35
  4. The Young Bonhoeffer: 1918-1927
  5. Berlin, 1932-33
  6. Theological Education at Finkenwalde: 1935-1937
  7. J.B. Chapman Writings

Want to see them all? Head on over to our website to view all of the sermons in our store. We’ve even got some discounts happening!

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3 Highlights of the Android Update

Posted by on 08/30/2017 in:

Have you heard? We updated our Android app! This update wasn’t a little bug fix or adding one new feature. Hours and hours of hard work from our development team went into this update, and we couldn’t be more proud.

Maybe you have already updated the app and seen the changes. Great! We hope to continue releasing support videos and articles to help you make the transition. But if you haven’t heard about the update, here are 3 major highlights of the work we accomplished.

1) REDESIGN

We gave the app a makeover! The new design is sleek and clean—not busy or overwhelming, despite all the unique features we offer for studying the Bible in-depth.

We’ve reorganized a few things as well, moving the “My Stuff” features within the main menu (accessible on the far left). Also, the Search, Library, Verse Chooser, and Resource Guide all have a new look that will enhance your experience in the app. Hello, simplicity!


2) READING PLANS

We’ve made 100s of reading plans accessible from the toolbar! Scroll through the inspirational graphics and find a daily reading plan that will encourage you to grow spiritually. You’ll be held accountable and able to check off each day inside the app.

We have a variety now, but also hope to keep growing our collection! You can find reading plans to help you read through the entire Bible in year, learn more about Biblical topics, study the Bible chronologically, and more.


3) AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS

When enabled, the new automatic downloads feature allows you to quickly import synced resources. You don’t have to find the resource in your library and initiate the download yourself—it will do it all on its own!


LEARN MORE

Check out these videos we made to see the app in action. Then, experience the update for yourself!

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How-To: Devotionals in the App

Posted by on 08/28/2017 in:

We have exciting news! You can now use some of our most popular devotionals in the same way you use a reading plan! You can “complete” your readings, set reminders, and more. We want to make sure you get the most out of this new feature, so we’ve written this how-to article to get you going.

WHAT IS A DEVOTIONAL?

First things first—we want to make sure you know what a devotional is and why they are helpful. Devotionals vary quite a bit. Some may walk you through book(s) of the Bible, some may cover a topic, and some may be filled with advice and unique perspectives. Although they differ in content, they all have the same goal: to help you grow spiritually, consistently. Devotionals are divided into smaller chunks so that you can read a little each day and process it.

HOW-TO: DEVOTIONALS

1) UPDATE YOUR DEVICE AND DEVOTIONALS

This feature comes with our most recent update to iOS (6.3). Make sure that your app is up-to-date before you go looking for updated devotionals! Sorry Android devices, this update is coming to your app soon!

Also, check your currently owned devotionals for updates. You can do this by finding the resource in your library. Does it have a little arrow on the cover image? Tap it! Then the resource will update.

One more note: did you just purchase a devotional? Make sure you download it to your library. If you don’t, then it won’t appear in the Reading Plan menu.

2) GO TO READING PLANS

In the main menu, choose Reading Plans. If you own a devotional that is updated with this feature, it will appear at the top of the Reading Plans menu. 

3) START READING

Select the devotional you want to read and then tap ‘Start Reading Plan.’ This will create a plan under the ‘My Plans’ tab for you to access later. Now you should see the control menu for your selected reading plan. It will show today’s date, your progress, plan details and options, and related reading plans!  You can tap ‘Start Reading’ to begin your first assignment.

What happens when you finish today’s assignment? A check mark will replace today’s date in the control menu.

4) CUSTOMIZE YOUR PLAN

There are several ways to customize your reading plan that can be found under “Plan Details and Options” in your devotional’s control menu. You can set it as your default plan, set reminders, and choose to either jump into the calendar-day reading or start from the very beginning.

DON’T HAVE A DEVOTIONAL?

Here are some of our most popular devotionals that have been updated to support reading plans!

  1. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional by Charles Spurgeon
  2. Through the Bible Day by Day: A Devotional Commentary by F.B. Meyer
  3. Year with G. K. Chesterton by G.K. Chesterton
  4. Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings by L.B. Cowman
  5. Unto the Hills: A Daily Devotional by Billy Graham
  6. Grace For The Moment Daily Bible: Devotional Readings by Max Lucado
  7. A Year with C.S. Lewis by C.S. Lewis
  8. Jesus Calling 52-Week Discussion Guide by Sarah Young
  9. Olive Tree One Year Daily Devotional by Olive Tree
  10. Strength for Today by John MacArthur

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How-To: Vine’s Dictionary in the App

Posted by on 07/26/2017 in:

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary is a great resource for those that don’t have any background with Greek or Hebrew.  Here’s how I used it in a recent sermon.

I read this verse in Genesis 39:2: “And Jehovah was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”

This passage got me thinking about the word “prosperous” in this passage, so, I opened the Resource Guide in the split window of the Olive Tree Bible App typed in “prosper”.

This brought up Vine’s under the search menu for tsaleach צָלַח, along with an article about the word.

The article shows some of the different occurrences of tsaleach in the Bible. All I have to do is tap the reference and the biblical passage appears in a pop-up window. This gives me instant access to other places the word is used in the Bible and helps me keep my Bible Study on track by not having to stop in the middle of my study to find the reference.

Another great thing about this resource is that Vine’s gives the Strong’s number (6743 in this case) and is tied into the Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary that is included in this resource.  This allows me to tap on the Strong’s number and see the definition of the word and the words in both the original language and transliterated form.

As you can see, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words is a fantastic, easy-to-use resource that gives anyone access to the original languages.  With over 6,000 key biblical words that have reference to Strong’s numbers, there is no end to how it can help you understand the Bible and keep your study on track. Learn more about it on our website!

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Prayer Journaling with the Bible App

Posted by on 05/01/2017 in: ,

Everyone knows that the Olive Tree Bible App is great for reading and studying the Bible. But, did you know that it can help you with other areas of your spiritual life? With the National Day of Prayer approaching, I want to show you how you can transform your Bible App into a tool for journaling and keeping track of your prayers.

What is Journaling?

There are numerous ways to define journaling. In a spiritual sense, journaling involves writing out your thoughts and prayers as you study the Bible. Some people write with pen or pencil in a physical notebook, while others type them out in a journaling app or word processor. Just about anything that falls within those parameters can qualify as journaling.

Now, let me show you how you can start journaling within the Bible Study App because it’s easy!

Praying with the Bible App

Instead of showing you different methods for journaling, I want to show you how to do it in the Bible App.

To begin journaling in the Bible App, you don’t need to do anything more than create a note. If your note is based on a specific passage or verse, it’s best to make a verse or word based note.

To create a note tied to a verse, tap the verse number and select “Note.” Otherwise, if you want it based on a word or phrase, select your text and then tap “Note.”

Alternatively, you can also create a standalone note by opening the Split Window to the “My Notes” screen. At this screen tap the “Add Note” button and begin writing your note.

Organizing Your Notes

If you’re going to regularly pray and journal with the Bible App, keeping your notes organized is important. The easiest way to keep your journal organized is to use categories. I like to start by creating a top level category called “Prayer Journal.” To create this folder have the “My Notes” screen open and tap “Add Category” at the bottom. You can then further refine your categories for greater organization. For example, you can create subcategories for each year. Once the categories are created to your liking, you can then start placing your notes in each category.

Adding Tags

Tags are another great way to organize your prayer journal. As you write in your journal, you can add tags to your notes to help you find them later. You can create your own tags, or you can use the preexisting tags. The nice thing about using the preexisting tags is that they are tied to the Resource Guide. With the Resource Guide integration, your journal notes will appear under your tagged topics in Resource Guide when you are in a relevant Bible passage. This is a great way to keep old notes in front of you, while also using them as a part of your Bible study.

Try It Today

If you’ve been an Olive Tree user for any length of time, I haven’t shown you anything that you didn’t already know how to do. You know how to makes notes within the app. But, I hope I broadened your thinking about how to use notes within the Olive Tree Bible App. If you’re already using the Bible App to take notes, then start adding your prayers as well. If you haven’t made any notes, today is a great day to get started!

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