Bible Study Articles
Learn more about how to use Olive Tree’s Bible Study App and other products for Bible study.
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 enjoyable and easy. The example uses and refers to the PC 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 PC 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):
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…)
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary is a great resource for who 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”, so I opened the Resource Guide in the split window of The Bible Study App and 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.
You can get Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words for 50% off the regular price now through June 10th. Check it out today!
By Olive Tree Employee: Emily Roth, Content Editor
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1:1-2).
The nature of my position at Olive Tree requires that I read the Bible throughout the day, whether to check a verse citation or to study an entire book. Due to a recent project, I managed for the first time to read straight from Genesis to Revelation. Each day on this project, no matter where I was in the Bible, something from God’s Word spoke to my heart, convicted my soul, or related to my struggles. My computer monitors store a collection of sticky notes for the verses I want to keep in mind.
It surprised me on a consistent basis the value of the simplest or most overlooked of verses. While I’ve long believed in the inspiration of the Bible in its entirety, I tended to judge certain books or passages as “most important” and then ignored the rest. What did I care about the Minor Prophets? They had to be called “minor” for a reason, right? But as I read, I realized that the Bible isn’t a bunch of stories about a bunch of people. It’s one continuous story about one God.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16).
Even Jesus affirms the absolute necessity of reading God’s word. He quotes from Deuteronomy, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4). And the best part? Anyone who doubts the Bible’s benefits can test it for himself.
The Bible Study App now has several reading plans available for free download. Over time, this new feature will offer additional plans across all platforms. Find one that interests you by looking under “Reading Plans” in the “My Stuff” window. After beginning a plan, you can check off each reading as you go.
If you have never read the Bible as a whole, it may seem like a daunting challenge. The Olive Tree Summer Bible Reading Plan provides guidance to study major themes and events throughout your preferred version of Scripture from June 1 to September 11. Compiled by the Olive Tree staff, this resource includes brief introductions of each book as well as the literary subgroups such as the History books of the Old Testament or the Pauline Epistles.
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thess. 2:13).
Until I read through the Bible all at once, I didn’t realize how much I had been missing. The Minor Prophets, for instance, display some of the most heartbreakingly expressive poetry that I’ve ever read. Read them for yourself if you don’t believe me. And while you’re at it, just finish the whole collection of books in the Bible if you never have before.
If the idea of daily reading intimidates you, simply commit to finding out what God wants to tell you today. Then do the same tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. It won’t take long to feel its effect. You will find a deeper appreciation of the Bible, God, and the story he has invited us into.
This week you can get the Olive Tree Summer Bible Reading Plan for FREE now through June 6th.
By Olive Tree Employee: Joe Carter
This one resource in print actually takes 4 volumes:
- The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament
- The Complete Word Study Old Testament
- The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament
- The Complete Word Study New Testament
This is a massive original language study in one resource!
I love that you can search by the English, Greek, Hebrew, or by Strong’s Numbers! Even though I personally have limited knowledge about the underlying original languages, the CWSB allows me to read through the text in English, and quickly get in-depth info on any word there just by tapping on it!
The CWSB will give you information on the parts of speech for a word (and give you links that explain what those parts of speech mean if you don’t know – with examples no less!) – the Strong’s Number for that word, a VERY robust dictionary / exegetical discussion about the word in question as well as a link to a concordance at the end of nearly every entry showing you every verse in the Bible where a word is used.
Compare this resource to a standard “Strong’s” Bible and the amount of information available with the CWSB is staggering.
For example – the entry on αγαπαω:
In a Strong’s Bible you get this:
g0025. αγαπαω agapao;
perhaps from αγαν agan (much) (or compare h5689); to love (in a social or moral sense):— (be-) love (- ed). Compare 5368.
AV (142)- love 135, beloved 7;
of persons to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly of things to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing
By comparison, in the CWSB, the entry on αγαπαω goes on for over 2 pages when pasted into my word processor – with various usages of the word compared and contrasted between different passages of scripture.
Here’s a very small taste of the article on αγαπαω from the CWSB (comparing the different words for love used in Peter’s encounter with the resurrected Jesus in John 21 – FYI: Greek words in the text are transliterated into English for ease of use):
The third question of Jesus to Peter was different, “Do you love me [phileo, Are you my friend]?” (a. t.). Are your interests, now that you have seen Me risen from the dead, different than before the resurrection? Peter became sorrowful because he understood the deeper meaning of Jesus ‘question (John 21:17). His answer utilized two similar, but distinct verbs, oida, to know intuitively, and ginosko (G1097), to know experientially:”Lord, thou knowest, [oidas, intuitively] all things. Thou knowest [ginoskeis, know experientially] that I love thee [philo, that I am now your friend].”
With this one resource you can get a backpack full of resources that you can carry around in your pocket – and instead of having to reference a number in one volume – then open another one and find that number, I can just tap on a word – then tap the links. Seamlessly moving between different ‘books’ in the collection.
This week you can get the Complete Word Study Bible (CWSB) Half Off the regular price now through Monday, June 3rd. As you can see, this is a great resource that helps you find original word meanings quickly and easily.
Sermon & Lesson Prep in the Windows Desktop App
But what if I want to view different scriptures in my study? What if I want to study how Ezra and Nehemiah compare to each other? I can open multiple pop out windows and choose either to have them sync or not sync with the main window. When I choose to have them not sync with the main window, I can move around in my main window without moving the other resources that I want open. To do this, choose the “Windows Link Options” in the pop out window drop down menu.
Here’s how it works:
After I’ve opened the new pop out window (usually a different Bible translation, comparing NIV and the ESV, for example), I click on the drop down menu of the new window and mouse down to the Window Link options. There I find that I can have this new window track with the Main Window, or I can choose “link sets” of windows, up to three groups A-B-C.
This means that I can have up to four groups of resources (including the Main Window and Split Window) open at the same time. These groups will scroll together without affecting the other groups or the main window. At this point, I can open as many as windows as my computer’s memory can handle.
What I like to do is have my favorite Bible translation in the main window and my favorite Study Bible in the split window. Then, I pop out an alternative Bible translation, Commentary, and Study Bible for Group A, then a third set of Bible + Study Bible + Commentary for Group B, and a fourth set for Group C.
It looks something like this:
|Main / Split Window||Group A||Group B||Group C|
|ESV Study Bible||NIV Study Notes||HCSB Study Notes||NKJV Study Notes|
|NIV Application Commentary||Key Word Commentary||Thompson Chain Reference System|
|Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible|
An alternative would be this:
|Main / Split Window||Group A||Group B||Group C|
|ESV Study Bible||NIV Study Notes||HCSB Study Notes||NKJV|
|Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary||Holman Bible Atlas||NLT|
|Word Biblical Commentary||ESV Bible Atlas||The Message|
This allows me to check different translations, commentaries, and other Bible study resources without leaving my main text.
There is a plethora of possibilities with these features. How do you make the most of multiple windows and resources in The Bible Study App?