Bible Study Articles
Learn more about how to use Olive Tree’s Bible Study App and other products for Bible study.
The Strong’s Concordance matches every word in the King James Bible to the word it came from in the original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. Olive Tree’s Bible Study App has integrated Strong’s numbers to work with the ESV, KJV, HCSB, NKJV, NASB, and the Almeida Revista e Atualizada (RA) translations of the Bible.
I recently found the integrated Strong’s function particularly helpful when reading John 21:5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” Since I normally read the NIV in my devotional time, I was puzzled by the use of the word “children” in this passage as the NIV Translation uses the word “Friends”. So, I wanted to do a quick study to find out more.
Here’s three quick tips that helped me discover more about the translation behind this word. (Screenshots are taken with the ESV with Strong’s on an iPad, but will work with any of the Translations mentioned above and all supported devices.)
Open the your Bible with Strong’s and you’ll see that some words are a slightly different color. Tapping or clicking on those words will pop-up the Strong’s information for that word. These pop-ups contain a wealth of information, including:
- The Strong’s number (beginning with either a “g” or an “h”) for that word.
- A short definition for that word.
- An outlined list of the different meanings for that word in the original language.
- Often you will also find that another Strong’s number is included as a link. These can be similar words that you can compare or other words from which your current word selection derives its meaning.
You can also go to your settings in the The Bible Study App and turn on the setting to show Strong’s Numbers (iOS = Settings – Advanced Settings – Text Layout / Display; for Android = Settings – Other Settings). The numbers for the words will appear in the Bible text. Tapping on the number will also bring up the Strong’s pop-up.
At the bottom of the Strong’s pop-up, there are two buttons that perform “look-ups” or searches based on the Strong’s number or the word in its original language.
Look-up by Strong’s Number
The first button contains the Strong’s number for your word. Clicking or tapping on this button will perform a search in your library for articles containing this Strong’s number.
Look-up by Original Language
The second button contains the word in its original language. Clicking or tapping on this word will perform a search in your library for articles about the word in its original language.
Using the Search Function
Strong’s tagged Bibles can quickly create a very accurate concordance. By entering the Strong’s number into the search bar at the top right of the The Bible Study App, you can easily find all of the places within the Bible where that specific word is used. This is different than searching for the word in its English form.
Secondly, when you have a Strong’s pop-up open, you can select the word as it appears in its original language form, like αγάπη, and copy and paste it into your search bar to find all of the places in the Greek text were this Greek word appears.
I also love using the Strong’s Bibles on my iPhone. It’s a fantastic resource when I’m at church, small group, or on the go.
Bibles tagged with Strong’s Numbers are excellent resources for diving deeper into the biblical text. It offers insight into the original languages of Scripture without requiring you to have any formal training in Greek or Hebrew. Be sure to check out these great resources on sale this week.
After you’ve studied the Bible for yourself, it’s often helpful to read trusted Bible scholars to see how they explain the text you’re reading. Commentaries are a great way to do just that and The Bible Study App makes them even more powerful!
Here are a few quick tips on how to get the best experience with commentaries in The Bible Study App (screenshots are taken from an iPad 2).
Open your preferred Bible translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the split window. You’ll see relevant commentary “hits” in the split window.
(click on the images for a larger view)
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, your commentaries sync 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.
Comparing Commentaries within the Resource Guide
Not only does the Resource Guide keep up with you in one commentary, it keeps track in ALL of your commentaries. This makes comparing multiple commentaries easy. In this example, I’ve got the Boice Expositional Commentary Series, Thru the Bible Commentary series, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, and the Zondervan Bible Commentary all showing “hits” from the Matthew 12:1-8 passage I’m studying.
With hard copies, I would have to go and find this passage in each commentary and then compare. With the Bible Study App, the Resource Guide keeps track of where I am. All I have to do is tap the book cover and it lists out the relevant sections of the commentary for me. I then tap the section that interests me and The Bible Study App takes me exactly to that place in the commentary.
To see what each commentary says about the passage in my main window, I just tap the “back” button and The Bible Study App will take me back to the “hits” list. I then follow the same process as I did before to read my secondary commentary resource. This is especially helpful if I’m comparing more technical, research-driven commentaries versus more devotional/pastoral commentaries.
Comparing Commentaries in the Main and Split Windows
Another handy way to compare commentaries on a specific passage is to place one of my commentaries in the main window. I then open the resource guide in the split window. Since commentaries are based on the biblical text, the resource guide searches my library for relevant content. This means that I can check other commentaries for comparison and see what other scholars have said about the passage I’m studying.
Putting your commentary in the main window will also allow you to search your commentaries for words or passages. Take “Sabbath” as our example. You can search the entire commentary series for where “Sabbath” is mentioned. 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 passage. You can also copy the text to add to an existing note or add a note right from the search results.
As above, I can open the resource guide and see results from all my commentaries and other resources on my device.
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 Matthew about Jesus being Lord of the Sabbath, there are references to the Old Testament that I want to understand. 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.
As you can see, using commentaries within The Bible Study App gives you the best in scholarly work while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.
When I first heard about the Archaeological Study Bible, I wasn’t sure what to think. My initial thought was how could there be an entire Bible devoted to archaeological study? And honestly, how could a study Bible devoted to archaeological study not be a snoozer? So, I got a copy of the Archaeological Study Bible and began looking through it. Wow, was I impressed (and wrong)!
The Archaeological Study Bible is a great resource. There are 520 articles covering five main categories: Archaeological Sites, Cultural and Historical Notes, Ancient Peoples and Lands, the Reliability of the Bible, and Ancient Texts and Artifacts. The Bible Study App enriches the Archaeological Study Bible. As you read through your Bible, the split screen and resource guide keep you synced with your reading.
Here’s an example of an article on the Zealots and Essenes (screenshots from an iPad, click images to enlarge):
Also included are almost 500 full-color photographs throughout the text. Here’s two examples:
Throughout the text there are detailed charts like this one:
At the end of the Archaeological Study Bible there are several maps that help you get an idea of the placement of biblical events:
The authors of the Archaeological Study Bible also included detailed book introductions for every book of the Bible. Other study tools include a glossary, extensive concordance and several indexes to help you find articles relevant to your study.
The Bible Study App enhances this resource when articles reference other articles within the Archaeological Study Bible. By tapping or clicking on the hyperlink, you can go directly to the related article, view in the Split Window, or view it in a Popup screen.
As you can see, you can spend hours learning the historical background of the Bible and the settings in which biblical events took place. The articles and pictures will give you insights into the Bible and make you feel like you could have been there.
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…)
From Guest Blogger: Shawn Woo
As an avid Bible reader, I need a simple and user-friendly interface that facilitates my daily reading and sharing of the Bible, but as a pastor-in-training, I also need powerful features and extensive resources for in-depth exegetical study. Olive Tree serves these dual functions for me as my default Bible Study App.
Every morning, I use the M’Cheyne Bible-Reading Plan, which gets me through the New Testament and the Psalms twice, and the rest of the Old Testament once, in a year. Olive Tree reminds me what to read and shows me the progress I am making so I never have to worry about losing my place.
Of course, I don’t merely read from the plan. Sometimes I need to study a particular passage or research a topic, then I use the search function to find what I need via verse references or key words (Bye bye concordance!).
While reading, I highlight verses and passages that speak to me afresh, and share them on Facebook and/or Twitter. You can even highlight multiple verses at a time, which is very convenient! I use the blue highlighter for the OT, red for the NT, and yellow for my memory verses.
In addition to highlighting, I take notes, which I have sorted into six categories, Exegesis, Gospel, Mission, Spiritual Formation, Theology, and Miscellaneous. Within each of these categories I have sub-categories. For example, I have my Theology folder subdivided into major Systematic Theology categories. Each individual note is also tagged with key words and/or phrases so that I can easily find them.
These functions greatly facilitate my Bible study, because my notes are collected and organized in accessible fashion, as opposed to being scattered throughout thousands of pages. Furthermore, I never have to worry about losing all my highlights and notes when I get a new Bible. Olive Tree automatically syncs my highlights and notes across the different Bible versions that I have on my device! I can also back-up my notes on Evernote through Olive Tree for added security.
When I need to delve deeper into a passage of Scripture in preparation for preaching, I reference the original Greek or Hebrew, do word studies using theological dictionaries, and peruse my favorite commentaries for further insights.
Having Olive Tree on my phone means that I have the Bible with me everywhere I go. It’s a great way to stay connected to the Word of God as I go about my business in the world!
What is the resource guide? The resource guide is your personal research assistant within The Bible Study App. When we say a resource is “enhanced” for the resource guide, it means it’s more than just a flat ebook that you read once and put away. An enhanced resource is a powerful feature in The Bible Study App that you can use to find what you’re looking for easily and quickly. A Bible dictionary is one of the products that Olive Tree enhances for the resource guide.
Here’s three ways The Bible Study App enhances a Bible dictionary (screenshots are from an iPad):
Open your favorite Bible in the main window. (I’ve got the NLT open in this example.) Then tap the split window handle and drag it to a width or height you like. As I scroll through the Bible text, the resource guide keeps up with me and searches through all the books in my library for content related to the Scripture passage in the Main Window. If you scroll down the resource guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”
Tap or click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about. I chose “Gethsemane” in this example. The Bible Study App then brings you results from within the resources you have on your device. This is where you will find dictionaries that have been enhanced for the resource guide.
You’ll see that the resource has the words “Article to Gethsemane” underneath the book cover. Tap/Click on the book cover and The Bible Study App will take you directly to the article within the enhanced resource.
Here I’ve chosen the Tyndale Bible Dictionary as an example. Already an invaluable addition to the library of pastors, students, and any serious reader of the Bible, The Bible Study App makes it even more powerful. You’ll find over 1,000 articles on a comprehensive range of topics, complete with hundreds of additional maps, photos, and illustrations—all based on the research of 139 prominent Biblical scholars and available at your fingertips.
After you’ve tapped on the Tyndale Bible Dictionary, you can scroll down and read the entire article without having to leave your Bible text.
If there are scripture references in the article, just tap the verse and it will appear in a pop-up window.
You can also tap the top right hand corner of the pop-up window to bring up the option to open these hyperlinked references in the main window or the split window.
You can also utilize the Tyndale Bible Dictionary as a traditional dictionary in The Bible Study App. Just Tap/Click the “Go-To” button and scroll through this awesome resource as you would a hard-copy dictionary.
The Bible Study App Search feature takes Bible dictionaries to another level. Tap/Click the “Search” icon (magnifying glass icon) and type the word you’re looking for to find all the references of that word in the Tyndale Bible Dictionary.
This is how Bible dictionaries enhanced for the resource guide will enhance your Bible Study. How do you use Bible dictionaries in your personal Bible Study?