Bible Study Articles

Learn more about how to use Olive Tree’s Bible Study App and other products for Bible study.

How are Commentaries Enhanced for the Resource Guide?

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Bible Commentaries can be an extremely valuable study tools. Many commentaries include historical and culture context, theological interpretation, and other resources like timelines and charts. The resource guide of The Bible Study App makes using commentaries a seamless part of your study.

Watch the video below to see how commentaries work within The Bible Study App’s Resource Guide.

Browse this week’s highlighted commentaries!

What is the Resource Guide?

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What is the Resource Guide? As you read along in your Bible in the main window of The Bible Study App, the Resource Guide in the split window follows along, looking in your library for any Bible study information that is relevant to your reading. As you scroll or change scripture references the Resource Guide will stay in sync looking to all of your study resources making for a powerful and easy to use study tool.

Your Very Own Research Assistant Think of the Resource Guide as your own personal research assistant. If you were reading about Paul’s first missionary journey in Acts 13, your research assistant has a map of Paul’s journey, cross references to passages in Paul’s letters written to the churches he founded, charts that give an overview of Paul’s life, and all sorts of other resources. You didn’t have to do anything, in fact, you didn’t even have to ask. All of the work was already done by your personal research assistant, the Resource Guide.

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Completely Customizable The configuration of the Resource Guide is also customizable. To access the options for customizing the Resource Guide tap on the double arrow button (double gear for Android) in the upper right corner. You will then see the various options for customizing the different sections in the Resource Guide.

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Here’s a short video on the basics of the Resource Guide:

What types of resources work with the Resource Guide? The Resource Guide is ‘verse driven’ which means that the Bible passage that is open in the main window directs what references appear in the Resource Guide. Not every resource is verse driven but some examples of verse driven resources are:

  • Articles on people, places, and other topics
  • Study Bible notes
  • Commentaries
  • Outlines
  • Dictionaries
  • Introductions to books of the Bible
  • Cross references
  • Maps
Browse Titles Enhanced for the Resource Guide

Using the NA28 in The Bible Study App

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By Olive Tree Staff: Matthew Jonas

Many features of The Bible Study App make the NA-28 easier to use, but using certain features of the text and the apparatus can still be confusing.  With that in mind, I’d like to explain how to do a few basic things with the NA-28 text with Critical Apparatus and Mounce parsings, available through the Bible Study App.  We also offer the NA28 with critical apparatus (but no parsings), and the NA28 with parsings (but no apparatus).  If you have one of these texts, you may still find this article helpful, but not all of the information will apply to the particular text that you have.

Using the Parsings
Accessing a parsing in the Bible Study App is as simple as tapping on a word.  A popup should then appear displaying the dictionary form of the word, followed by a link to a Greek-English dictionary, followed by a gloss, then the parsing information.  The parsing information is stored in the form of a code which is written out fully immediately below.android-morph

One feature that many users are not aware of is that the Bible Study App supports searching for specific forms of words by using these codes.  To do so, first check the “options” when you initiate a search.  You will need to have a parsed text open, and you will also need to switch the “search options” to “Search on Morphology.  Next, type in the dictionary form of the word, followed by the @ symbol, followed by the appropriate parsing code.  For example, searching for ἀγάπη@NNFS would return all occurrences of the noun ἀγάπη in the nominative singular.

At the bottom of the pop-up window, there is also a “lookup” button.  This queries other dictionaries in your library to find out if they have any articles about that word.  If they do, they will show up in the results.  Tapping on one will open that article in the popup window.  Often at this point, I will tap on the “tear out” button and choose to open the dictionary in the split window in order to read it more easily.  When I’m done, I simply tap the slider bar, which closes the split window.  The resource is still open there if I want to access it again, but it is out of view while I continue my reading.  If I want to open an article on another word, I repeat the process that I just outlined rather than opening the dictionary and trying to navigate to the entry I want.

Using the Critical Apparatus
There are two ways to access the critical apparatus in the Bible Study App.  The first is to tap on one of the text-critical symbols in the Greek text.  This will open the apparatus in a popup window to the corresponding location.  If you wish to keep the apparatus open in the split window, tap on the “tear-out” icon and select “open in split window”.android-criticalapp

I have pretty large fingers and find that I only hit the symbol about half the time.  When working with a parsed text, this can be obnoxious since I generally end up hitting the word and getting the parsing info rather than the apparatus.  In order to facilitate more easily opening the apparatus, we have included it as a separate item in your library.  This means that you can also get to it by opening the split window, clicking on the library button, and choosing the NA-28 Critical Apparatus from your library.

The critical apparatus has been “versified” which means that it will follow the main window (as long as your settings are set up this way).  It also means that when you tap on the “navigate” button that you will see the familiar verse chooser rather than a table of contents.  If the apparatus is left open in the split window with the Greek text in the main window, it will follow along as you read through a passage, providing an effect similar to reading from the print edition.

Probably the greatest obstacle to using the critical apparatus is becoming familiar with all of the symbols that it uses.  Unfortunately, we do not have these all tagged at this point, which means that there is no simple way to access the meanings.  However, we do include the introduction to the NA-28, which includes the definitions.  These are listed under “III. THE CRITICAL APPARATUS” in the introduction.  A simple hack which makes it much easier to jump to this section is to add a bookmark at this location.  It will then show up under the “My Stuff” menu in your bookmarks.  While this is not an ideal solution, it does help a lot when trying to look up symbols or abbreviations.  In fact, you could bookmark the sub-sections as well to make it even easier to get to exactly where you want each time.

See all Greek & Hebrew titles available for The Bible Study App HERE.

 

 

Using the NA28 Apparatus as a Part of a Bible Study

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NA28inabiblestudy

By Olive Tree Staff: Matthew Jonas

I teach a weekly Bible study, and recently we were reading through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).  This has always been one of my favorite passages in the Scriptures and I was especially excited to get to the section on prayer and specifically to discuss the Lord’s Prayer.  I began by reading over the text of the passage itself.  I generally prepare my notes working from the Greek and Hebrew, but I then read from a number of different English translations in the study itself.  For this particular passage, I was reading from the ESV.  As soon as I had finished reading, someone pointed out that there was a line “missing” from the ESV at the end of the Lord’s Prayer.  She was using the NKJV, which adds the line “for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen” at the end of verse 13.  This question led to a discussion about why that line is in some translations but not others.

Since I started working for Olive Tree, I’ve transitioned to using almost entirely electronic texts of the Bible.  I had my notes and my Bibles there on my tablet, so I was able to quickly look up this addition in the NA28 critical apparatus.

The first thing that I noticed was a T-shaped symbol at the end of verse 13 in the main text.  If you consult section three in the introduction (“THE CRITICAL APPARATUS”), it is explained that this symbol means that one or more words is inserted by the manuscripts listed.  If you are unfamiliar with the apparatus, I would recommend that you simply memorize the list of symbols used.  I believe that there are only eight of them, and they indicate what is going on.  For example, a T-shaped symbol is used to indicate an addition, an O-shaped symbol is used to indicate an omission, an S-shaped symbol with a dot in it is used to indicate a transposition, and so on.  It should be kept in mind as well that “additions” and “omissions” are relative to the main text of the NA28.  An addition is material that the editors of the NA28 chose not to include in the main text, but that some manuscripts contain.  An omission is material that the editors of the NA28 included, but that some manuscripts do not contain.

Clicking on the symbol in the text will open a popup.  If you wish to open this in the split window, tap on the “tear out” icon in the top corner.  The first addition listed is simply the word αμην, which is found only in a few manuscripts.  As far as the abbreviations for manuscripts go, a Fraktur letter P followed by a superscript number is used to indicate papyri, uppercase Latin and Greek letters (and the Hebrew Alef) are used to indicate the different uncial manuscripts, and numbers are used for the miniscules.  There are also additional special abbreviations for medieval cursive manuscripts, lectionaries, the different versions (e.g. the Vulgate, the Peshitta, etc.), and citations in the Church Fathers.  These abbreviations are explained in the introduction, and more complete information about each of the manuscripts is given in Appendix I in the end matter.  The star next to 288 indicates an original reading that was subsequently corrected.   “Vg” stands for Vulgate and the abbreviation “cl” indicates that this reading is found specific in the Clementine Vulgate.  The take away here is that there is not much manuscript evidence for adding just the word αμην to the end verse 13. (more…)

Look Inside: The Complete Word Study Bible (CWSB)

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By Olive Tree Employee: Joe Carter

I’ve been a big fan of the Complete Word Study Bible (CWSB) from AMG Publishing House on Olive Tree’s Bible Study app for some time now.

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

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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].”

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CWSB_2 CWSB_3

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.

As you can see, the Complete Word Study Bible (CWSB) is a great resource that helps you find original word meanings quickly and easily.

Watch the video below to see how the Complete Word Study Bible works on The Bible Study App.

You can find the Complete Word Study Bible (CWSB) on the Olive Tree Store here.

My Favorite Three Bible Study methods

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From Guest Blogger: Andy Deane, author of Learn to Study the Bible

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Studying the Scriptures is supposed to be exciting! That’s why King David tells us in Psalm 119:103: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Like me, I hope that you have found this verse to be true. Maybe, like me, you have also discovered that having plain honey multiple times a day can get repetitive. I’m not saying that God’s word becomes boring over time. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I love that God’s word is so diverse and continues to excite and bless the reader taste after taste. The Scriptures are not to blame if we lose our taste for them. The Bible is designed to be a continual blessing to the believer. But believers may sometimes need to mix up how they study the Scriptures to make sure to avoid the ruts that their method of extracting the honey can bring about. Sometimes when we use the same approach to studying each and every day, the approach can become repetitive. It’s not God’s word that needs new spice, it’s the method of study that needs variety. That is why I wrote Learn to Study the Bible. With forty different ways to study the Scriptures, you always have a fresh way to prepare and digest your daily manna from heaven.

I’d like to share briefly the three ways that I personally enjoy studying the Bible.

FAVORITE VERSE BIBLE STUDY METHOD:

To start, please consider buying a new Bible to use with this method, or at least a new color highlighter. Begin by reading one to four chapters of the Bible a day. Remember that reading one chapter a day will get you through the entire New Testament in a year with one hundred make up days for when you miss a day of reading. Four chapters a day will get you through the entire Bible in a year in less than 25 minutes of reading time. The key is that each day you underline only one favorite verse from each chapter you read. That’s easy when you are in Leviticus but extremely difficult when you are in Matthew! After you are finished reading the entire book, go back and circle one favorite verse from the verses you underlined in the whole book. Write a few sentences in your Bible about why that is your favorite verse for that book. After you’ve read the whole Bible, you’ll have 1,189 favorite verses underlined (one from each chapter) and 66 all-time favorite verses (one from each book). Think about how valuable that Bible will be to you because of this investment. As you turn to any page in Scripture you will remember which verse spoke to your heart the most. You might even consider putting the date next to the verses you choose to connect them to your daily journal to enhance the experience even more. These will become the verses you choose to memorize since they have meaning to you. It’s a simple but fruitful and personal way to study the Bible.

TRANSLATION COMPARISON BIBLE STUDY METHOD

Not every student of God’s word is going to have the blessing of learning the original biblical languages. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t stand on the shoulders of scholars who spend their lives steeped in these languages, and this is the beauty of the Translation Comparison Bible Study Method. Every translation of the Bible represents the understanding and choice of dozens of skilled language scholars. When you see a unique word in a verse, you can be sure an important decision was made to choose that word over another word. This method helps you notice the different word selections that scholars made when creating English translations of the Bible. You’ll also learn how to prayerfully meditate on why these words were chosen over other words and how that can impact your understanding of the text. Learn how to compare Bible translations for spiritual growth and profit by reading a chapter from the book for free by visiting this link:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/167983176/Translation-Comparison-Method.

DAILY BREAD BIBLE STUDY METHOD

Sometimes our biggest problem is rushing our reading of a passage of Scripture. If we simply slow down and chew on God’s word then we would be blessed by it. Slowing down is exactly what the Daily Bread Bible Study Method will force you to do. With this method, you’ll learn techniques that invite you to take the time to make sure you’re squeezing all the meaning you can out of the Scriptures. If you’ve struggled with understanding what your pastor means when he tells you to “meditate on God’s word,” then this method is for you. Read another free chapter from the book by visiting http://www.scribd.com/doc/16565590/The-Daily-Bread-Bible-Study-Method.

I hope these three Bible study methods that I use personally will bless you as you experiment with them. Remember that however you mix it up, keep it exciting—don’t let your Bible study time become dull or a duty. I hope you’ll enjoy and use one of these methods, but don’t forget that you should never become devoted to the method—only to the Savior to whom the methods lead!

Learn to Study the Bible by Andy Deane can be purchased for the Bible Study App on www.OliveTree.com here.

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