Category: Bible Study Articles

Using the NA28 Apparatus as a Part of a Bible Study

Posted by on 05/29/2014 in: , , ,

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…)

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Learning How to Study the Bible

Posted by on 05/01/2014 in: ,

ipad for teachingReading and studying the Bible are important disciplines for all Christians, but the concept of Bible study can be more elusive. In Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods, Warren starts out by saying, “I have discovered that most Christians sincerely want to study their Bibles on their own, but they just don’t know how.”

There are many classes, books and seminars full of theories and methods to teach you how to study the Bible. I took a class in seminary called Principles of Inductive Bible Study, and to this day I can hear the professor’s voice in my head. Every day the professor would ask, “What’s the first step in inductive Bible study?” and as a class we had to respond in unison, “Observation!” Then he would ask, “What question do we ask in the first step of Inductive Bible Study” and in unison we would again respond, “What does the text say?!” Often he would repeat these questions over and over until he felt we responded enthusiastically enough. He drilled into us what he believed to be the right steps for inductive Bible study, but his was just one out of a multitude of Bible study methods.

I’d recommend taking a look at How to Read the Bible Book by Book and How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart as good introductory Bible study resources. Learn To Study The Bible by Andy Deane, and Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul are also helpful for picking up good Bible study tools and habits. Study Bibles, like the NIV Study Bible Notes can provide notes, cross references and other insights into the text to help you in your Bible study. I have several study Bibles, dictionaries, commentaries and other resources that I consult when studying a particular passage of Scripture. However, don’t get too bogged down with study books and miss out on the truths you can glean from digging into the text on your own.

Here are some things I do when studying the Bible (don’t worry; I won’t make you memorize these!):

Context, Context, Context

I start by looking for the historical context: the author, style of writing, time period, audience and the historical background that surrounds the text. I then focus on the biblical context. I read the previous and subsequent chapters to get a full picture of the passage. Finally, I look for how the passage is applicable to my life.

Absorb It

I like to read the passage through three times. I write down repeated words or phrases, metaphors, similes, exclamations or anything that stands out. If anything reminds me of another passage I’ll look it up and compare. I like to pick out a couple of the repeated words and phrases for a quick word study, looking for other places those words are used in Scripture using my Strong’s Bible.

Retain It

I like to re-write the passage of Scripture in my own words, taking into account all of the work I’ve done up to this point. I then summarize my study in three sentences or less. I’m terrible at memorizing Scripture, but I’ve found that re-writing the passage in my own words helps me to recall the verse, even if it isn’t exact.

Do you have steps for Bible study that you follow? Is there a resource that you find especially helpful for your study? Let us know by leaving us a comment.

See more Resources to Help you Study The Bible HERE.

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3 Ways to Enhance your NIV Study Experience

Posted by on 01/20/2014 in: , , ,

You have the NIV, but what’s the next step in your Bible Study Experience?

Here are three ways you can enhance your NIV Bible Study Experience (screenshots are taken from an iPad 2. Click for a larger view).

#1: NIV Study Bible Notes

A study Bible in The Bible Study App is an easy to use and very powerful tool in guiding you in your understanding of the text. Many study Bibles contain resources such as maps, timelines, profiles on Biblical characters, commentaries and articles.

Our most popular NIV Study Bible Notes are Archaeological Study Bible Notes and the NIV Study Bible Notes.  However, there are also several other Study Bible Notes to choose from.  From Quest Study Bible Notes, and Couples’ Devotional Bible Notes, to Men’s Devotional Bible Notes and NIV True Identity Notes: The Bible for Women, we are sure you can find one that will help deepen your spiritual walk. Because study Bibles are uniquely enhanced for the resource guide they will work with any version of the Bible that is open in the main window.

niv notes

#2: NIV Application Commentaries

After you’ve studied the Bible for yourself, it is often helpful to read trusted Bible scholars to see how they explain the text you are reading.  Bible Commentaries can be an extremely valuable study tool. The NIV Application Commentaries merge the original, ancient context with right now, showing us both how ancient readers would have read the Bible and how we can connect to this living word of God from a modern context. Most importantly, however, it helps us begin the life-changing process of true application, showing how God’s word can continue to have a powerful voice in our lives today. The resource guide of The Bible Study App makes using the NIV Application Commentaries a seamless part of your study.

resource guide

#3: NIV Bible Study Bundles

Olive Tree has bundled collections of resources to help you dig deeper into God’s word.  These bundles give you the basic tools that you need like the study tools mentioned above. All of these wonderful resources are designed to be integrated into the Resource Guide within The Bible Study App for a seamless and easy-to-use Bible study experience.

NIV Bible Study Bundles come in the following Collections:

  • Bible Study Essentials (NIV Bible, Dictionary, Cross-Reference and Maps)
  • Bible Study Standard (Essentials bundle, plus Strong’s Tagged Bible, Essential Bible Companion, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery and Expanded Maps)
  • Bible Study Expanded (Standard bundle, plus Key Word Commentary, Expository Dictionary, Concordance, and even more Maps)
  • Bible Study Premier (Expanded bundle, plus more Commentaries, Bible Encyclopedia, more Cross-references and a Bible Atlas)

Bible Study Bundles are also available in the following Bible translations: HCSB, NKJV, and NRSV.

As you can see, these titles will enhance your NIV Bible Study experience to help you go deeper in the Word of God.  All of these NIV enhancements are on sale now through January 27.

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