Category: Educational

Soil, Seed & Sower – A SOAP Bible Study on Matthew 13:3–8

Posted by on 05/15/2017 in: ,

Originally posted at Bible Connection.

Scripture
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places…Other seed fell among thorns…Still other seed fell on good soil.”
—Matthew 13:3–8, NIV

Observation
Although this is often known as the parable of the sower and the seed, it can also be said this is a parable about the soil. All four types of soil are essentially the same dirt but are in different conditions and respond in different ways to cultivation.

What made one soil more responsive and the other less?

When the New Testament was written, communities were agriculturally based. A family would be appointed a section of land to farm. Every farmer’s plot was adjacent to their neighbor’s. In order to get to the fields, the farmers would walk along the boundaries bordering each field to avoid stepping on the growing plants. The “path” was held in common by all the farmers. Over time, the soil on the path would compact. It was never plowed and never fertilized. In the parable, the seed that is sown on the path is not able to penetrate the ground because of the constant use. The condition of the first soil is hard and impermeable.

The second type of soil mentioned in the parable is the “rocky places” or the shallow soil where the plow didn’t cut deeply enough to break up the shale or hard ground just below the surface. This soil produced only plants with weak, shallow roots.

The third type of soil mentioned is the thorny soil, most likely found in the corners of the field where the plow couldn’t reach; here, weeds overtook what was planted.

All the types of soils mentioned here are actually in the same plot of ground with one major difference: Only one area was fully yielded to cultivation, to being changed and prepared for planting. That area was called the good soil.

The greatest amount of fruit produced was not determined by how rich the soil was, but how yielded to the plow it was. The soil in each condition received seed, but not all produced quality fruit.

Everyone receives seed, the Word of God. Everyone has potential for the harvest, living a fruitful life, but the ones who will produce the most fruit will be the ones most yielded to cultivation.

Application
How I apply this passage is by asking questions: Can I be “cultivated” in my life? How correctable am I? How quickly do I repent? Can I self–correct? The greater my yielding to God’s cultivation the greater the capacity of my fruitfulness in life.

Prayer
Father, create in me a soft heart, an open heart that is readily yielded to your Word and your commands. Make me fruitful, I pray. Amen.

Drawn from a “SOAP” article in the LifeConnect Study Bible Notes.

How has God “cultivated” your life or someone you know? Do you see how that caused a more fruitful life? Post a comment below!

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Introducing Touch Bar Support!

Posted by on 05/01/2017 in: , , ,

This past fall, Apple announced an overhaul of their MacBook Pro line of laptop computers. The overhaul included the usual faster-thinner-lighter mantra that we have all grown accustomed to with new hardware upgrades. They even dumped the glowing Apple logo on the back of the clam-shell lid and replaced it with a shiny version similar to what Apple puts on their iPads and iPhones.

The highlight from the list of improvements was the introduction of what Apple is calling the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar is a long and thin digital screen that runs along the top of the keyboard and replaces the traditional row of F keys (function keys) that typically use this space on a keyboard. The genius of this screen is that it is touch sensitive and operates like the F keys.

Even more exciting are the infinite tasks this glowing strip of glass is ready to take on. For example, when playing a video, the Touch Bar can jump to any position in the video without needing to toggle the controls on the screen, move the mouse to the tracking bar, seek the new location and toggle the controls back off. With the Touch Bar, just drag the control to any position to instantly change the position in your video.

One of the strengths of the new Touch Bar is that Apple leaves it up to the app developer to decide what shows on this mini touch screen. Unleashing the power of the Touch Bar requires app updates to make use of the functionality with this new feature. We are excited to announce that the latest version of the Mac Olive Tree Bible App now has support for the Touch Bar. We thoughtfully considered what functionality on the Touch Bar would increase productivity and added it.

Touch Bar support for the Mac Olive Tree Bible App!

Bible Study Touch Bar controls

The main Touch Bar controls for the Olive Tree Bible App

The figure above shows the buttons we added to the top level Touch Bar. From left to right on the Touch bar, we added this functionality: history back, history forward, Go To, Search, increase font size, decrease font size and margin control.

There are other areas of the app that use the Touch Bar as well. For example, you can use this bar to add a note or highlight to selected text. When editing a note, you will find some useful actions on the Touch Bar such as changing the note’s category or adding a tag.

If you have one of the new MacBook Pros, be sure to try the new features, and let us know what you think. We are always open to suggestions and feedback.

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The Geneva Bible, A Bible of Firsts

Posted by on 02/27/2017 in: ,

An Interview with Dr. David A Bennett:

When it was first printed, the Geneva Bible was the most reader-friendly version of the Bible ever translated, with numerous innovations making it ideal for the common reader. What sets the Geneva Bible apart? I recently sat down with Dr. David A. Bennett, a local antique Bible collector and amateur historian of Bible history, to find out.

Q: Can you give us a brief history of the Geneva Bible?

During Queen Mary’s reign, from 1555 and 1558, she burned 288 Protestant ministers at the stake for their denial of one tenet or another of the Roman religion. During the 1550s, when the Protestants of England were under such fierce persecution, many of their minsters fled to Geneva, Switzerland, to a theocracy maintained by Calvin and his contemporaries. Such a blessed company of Protestant theologians and scholars produced a Bible in 1560 aptly called the Geneva Bible. John Calvin, John Knox, Myles Coverdale, John Foxe, and several other Reformers may have collaborated on the Bible, but most of the work was done by William Whittingham, the pastor of the Geneva Church and a dear friend of John Calvin. The Geneva New Testament of 1558 was barely off the press when work began on a revision of the entire Bible, a process that took two more years. The new translation was checked with Theodore Beza’s earlier work and with the Greek text. In 1560, a complete revised Bible was published, “translated according to the Hebrew and Greek, and conferred with the best translations in divers languages”. Not only was the Geneva Bible innovative and influential, it has a remarkable history. The Geneva Bible was a product of vicious persecution endured by the English reformers. Its marginal notes edified the people and infuriated a King. While previous English translations failed to capture the hearts of the reading public, the Geneva Bible was instantly popular. Between 1560 and 1644 at least 144 editions appeared. Even forty years after the publication of the King James Bible, the Geneva Bible continued to be the Bible of the home. Two of the prime attractions of the Geneva Bible were its cost – the average cost of this printed Bible was less than a week’s wages for a working man – and the commentary amply interspersed throughout the Bible. The Geneva Bible was the first study Bible ever printed, a fact which both endeared it to the laity and irritated the clergy and monarchy, as neither archbishop nor king was allotted the god-like status each sought. The Bible brought to the American colonies by the Pilgrims in 1620 was their much-beloved 1599 Geneva Bible. During the decades following the publication of the King James Bible in 1611, both political and commercial meddling by monarch and bishop was implemented to finally subvert the influence of the Geneva Bible.

Q: What sets the Geneva Bible apart from other translations?

The Geneva Bible was a Bible of firsts:

  • First entire Bible in English translated from the original languages, not depending upon the Latin Vulgate at all
  • First English Bible translation intended for use by lay Christians, following on the heels of Martin Luther’s 1534 German Bible for the German laity
  • First Bible in English to use contemporary verse divisions
  • First to use italicized words where English required more than a literal Greek rendering
  • First Bible in the English language with commentary, so it’s the first study Bible
  • First English Bible translated by a committee and not an individual

Q: Besides the study notes, are there any substantial ways in which the Geneva text differs from that of the KJV?

Using the verbiage of types and antitypes, the Geneva Bible was the antitype or fulfillment of Tyndale’s pioneering work, as well as the type or prototype of the King James Bible to come 50 years later. Fully 80% of the books Tyndale translated into English are present in the Geneva Bible, as also 80% of the King James Bible is attributed to the Geneva Bible – minus the marginal commentary! Quite frankly, its marginal notes both fanned the flames of the Geneva Bible’s success, but also resulted in its eventual demise and the succession of the King James Bible as the de facto English Bible for centuries to come. Had not the marginal commentary been so polarizing, there is good reason to suspect that neither the Bishop’s Bible nor even the King James Bible would ever have been conceived.

Q: How does the Tolle Lege edition that Olive Tree is releasing differ from the original 1599 Geneva Bible?

Today’s readers will find it difficult to read the original print edition due to its archaic typography and outdated spellings and word usage. For example, it is quite interesting to notice the progression of the English language, during which English acquired the use of the letter “j” to use in appropriate places where only “i” had been used before, and the consistent delineation of “v” and “u” as we know today.

The Tolle Lege Press edition removes the major obstacles for the contemporary reader, returning this historic Bible to its rightful place of influence and importance. The original 1599 Geneva Bible gave God’s Word back to the people, and Tolle Lege Press desires that the tradition continue.

Thanks to Dr. Bennett for his time and insights into the 1599 Geneva Bible. You can find the 1599 Geneva Bible available on the Olive Tree store here.

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Using a Bible Commentary in the Olive Tree Bible App

Posted by on 01/06/2017 in: , ,

One of the key components to any digital Bible study library is a commentary. Study Bibles are great for getting quick information about a passage but when you want to investigate a passage further you’ll turn to a commentary. In this blog we’ll do a walk through on how to use a Bible commentary in the Olive Tree Bible App.

Using a Commentary

Like many resources in the Bible App, the best way to get the most out of your library is by using the Resource Guide; commentaries are no exception. To illustrate, let’s use the Moody Bible Commentary as if we’re starting to read Mark’s gospel.

Introductions

When beginning a study on a new book of the Bible, one of the first things you want to do is get some background information. Resource Guide makes this easy. Simply scroll down to the “Introductions” section, where we find a hit for our commentary.

Here we find information about the gospel, it’s author, date, audience, purpose, and other issues worth keeping in mind.

Outlines

Next, you’ll want to get a feel for how the book is laid out, so let’s find an outline. Again, the Resource Guide shows us that Moody Bible Commentary has an outline for our book, and we see that it is quite extensive. One thing worth noting is a commentary’s outline often serves as its layout. This helps you see how a handful of verses relate to their larger context.

Commentary Text

Finally, when it’s time to dive into the commentary text, the Resource Guide is again our friend. Instead of hunting down the commentary on your passage, let Resource Guide do the heavy lifting. Find the Moody Bible Commentary in the commentaries section, find your passage, and commence reading. This saves you both time and effort while studying, which is useful with our busy lives.

Alternatively, you can leave your commentary open in your split window and it’ll always be at the right location when you need it. This will save you even more time if you don’t plan on consulting other resources.

Finally, there are some people who like to read through commentaries like a book. This is possible in the Olive Tree Bible App as well. Just open the commentary in the main window and commence reading.

Upgrade Your Library Today

No matter who you are we have a commentary that will suit your needs. Check out all available commentaries here!

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What is Advent?

Posted by on 11/17/2016 in: ,

Three Advent Candles Lit In Snow

If you would have said the word ‘Advent’ to me when I was a kid my first thought would have been some sort of calendar with doors that a few of my friends families had hanging in their house during the Christmas season. Advent – in any form – was not a part of my family tradition. When my wife and I got married however we were a part of a church that did Advent readings and candle lighting in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I began to explore the tradition more fully and grew to really appreciate the Biblical context it brought to the Christmas season. Now, years later with several kids, we have made Advent one of the ways that our family seeks to keep the focus on Jesus during the Christmas season. In a culture that has made it all about other things (presents, parties, decorations, etc.) we have found Advent readings and times of reflection as a family to be a beautiful centerpiece of the way we celebrate.

What is Advent?

Maybe like me your understanding of Advent was limited or non-existent and you’re just wondering what it is.  Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming” or “arrival.” For Christians it is the time of year when we specifically look to the coming of Jesus Christ, first in his coming to bring our salvation and then his subsequent return to reign in glory. The advent season begins four Sundays before December 25, so the start date varies from year to year. This year Advent begins November 27. For four weeks the idea is to meditate on Christ’s coming, much like God’s people waited the thousands of years for him to arrive.

Advent Reading

If you are looking for a way to personally observe Advent we have created an Advent reading plan that is available in the Olive Tree Bible App. Starting on November 27 this plan will guide you through 28 days of select scripture that will end on Christmas Eve.

To find this plan tap on the Reading Plans section of the app then tap ‘Get More Reading Plans’ and you’ll see Advent Reading Plan 2016 available for download at the top of the list.

(Please note: on some devices you may see a preinstalled Advent Reading Plan. To get the most up to date one you’ll need to tap the ‘Get More Reading Plans’ button.)

Additional Christmas Season Resources

If you’re looking for further Advent resources such as devotionals, study guides, or eBooks here are few that can be used in the Olive Tree Bible App.

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Study Bible vs. Commentary

Posted by on 09/23/2016 in: ,

Let’s be honest, it can be intimidating to ask what something is when it seems like we should already know. A theological term or Bible study method may sound familiar, but that doesn’t mean you know what it actually is. We are here to help! In this blog, we’ll talk about the difference between a study Bible and a Bible commentary and how each can help you in your own Bible study.

Study Bible

A study Bible is the Bible text along with additional notes and resources that are meant to help you understand what you’re reading. A non-digital study Bible is often formatted with the study Bible notes below the Bible text, which allows for quick reference without having to leave the passage you’re reading. Depending on the study Bible, the study helps can include historical and contextual background information, cross references to other verses, maps, charts, and more. Much of this will be underneath the text and some will be organized in sections in the back of the book.

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Study Bibles in the Olive Tree Bible App work much the same way. While you’re reading the Bible text, the resource guide will pull in the content from any study Bible you have in your library to give you quick access to helpful information. The video below shows how this works.


Bible Commentary

For starters a Bible Commentary is not usually bundled with the text like a Study Bible is but they are typically based on a specific Bible translation such as the KJV, NIV, ESV, etc. Some Bible commentaries may have a separate volume for each book of the Bible. For example the print version of  the 62 Vol. Word Biblical Commentary series would take up about 7 feet on your bookshelf. Other more concise Bible Commentaries may only be a single volume yet even these will usually offer more content than a typical Study Bible.

While most Study Bible’s take a similar approach to providing study helps, commentaries can be broadly put into three different types; devotional, homiletical, and exegetical. Before I lose you, let me define those three so you know the difference.

  • Devotional commentaries are primarily focused on the application of the text to daily life and are often written by one individual. They don’t typically cover the the Bible verse by verse or give as much information about specific background or context focus a lot on the individual application
  • Homiletical or preaching commentaries are written with the purpose of helping people to both interpret and apply the word. Many such commentary sets are written by preachers themselves and often even based on messages that have previously been preached.
  • Exegetical commentaries are based on a set of practices and procedures focused on discovering the author’s intended meaning. These types of commentaries will often explain passages from the original language the Bible was written in (Hebrew and Greek), the context of the culture, and other technical aspects having to do with specific text in the Bible.

With both Study Bibles and Bible Commentaries it’s important to realize that whether they have a single author or a team of contributors there are always theological and doctrinal influences on scriptural interpretation. Just as you would prayerfully evaluate a sermon you hear on Sunday it’s important to do the same thing as it relates to any sort of commentary. With that said though the scholarship and insight that you’ll find in a Study Bible or Bible Commentary can be an amazing wealth of knowledge that really helps you to unpack the Bible and see scripture  in new and exciting ways.

What’s right for you?

If you are looking for quick reference material a Study Bible or a one volume commentary like the Zondervan Bible Commentary is a good place to start.

If you’re wanting to go deeper you may want to pick an exegetical commentary set like the MacArthur New Testament Commentary or something similar.

The great thing about using study Bible notes or a commentary is that either one is just as easy to use in the Olive Tree Bible App.

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In the screenshot above (taken from Bible App on a Mac) all study Bible notes and commentary notes appear in the same section of the Resource Guide under ‘Commentaries’. A simply tap/click and you can access a wealth of knowledge to help you grow in your understanding of God’s word.

 

Want to see available Study Bibles and Bible Commentaries?

Go here for Study Bibles and here for Commentaries.

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Inductive Bible Study

Posted by on 09/14/2016 in: ,

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As a teacher of the Inductive Bible Study Method I am often asked, “What is Inductive Bible Study?”. Unfortunately, there is really no short answer to that question.  Inductive Bible Study is more of an approach to the Bible than it is any particular technique. In fact the “Inductive Method” that we teach in the School of Biblical Studies is really a collection of Bible study techniques combined in such a way as to help the student maintain an “inductive posture” toward the text. The shortest description I can give of this approach is this, “Inductive study is an approach to the Bible that helps the student build their conclusions from observations of the text.” In other words – observation first, conclusions second.  Sounds simple, but there are complications. To illustrate let me tell a very old folk tale.

The Two Travelers and the Farmer

A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment. “What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”

“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.

Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.

“They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”

“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”
-North American Folk Tail (Source uncertain)

This story illustrates many points but the one I think is the most relevant to Biblical study is that people tend to see what they expect to see. Or to put it another way, what people bring to the Bible greatly influences what they take away from the Bible. How do we prevent this? By doing all we can to set aside our preconceived ideas about the text and focus on two things – reading and observation -forgoing judgment until we have thoroughly analyzed the text. We need to learn to let the text speak.  We need to let our observations drive our conclusions. Rather than simply taking our conclusions to the text for testing, or worse yet, merely looking for validation of what we already believe or have been told. The text is always right and proper interpretation is defined as what the author meant and what the original readers would have understood.  To understand the author and original readers of the text we must first identify them and their issues. This is historical context and it is critical to our understanding of what the text is really saying. Our situation should not even be considered until we understand what was meant when it was written. To sum up, understand what the text says, who wrote it, and as much about the original readers as you can. Careful reading of the text in its proper historical context is the key to proper interpretation.

After we have discovered the meaning in the original historical context we are finally ready to take that giant leap forward in time and culture to our present time and circumstances. By identifying the timeless truths at work under the specifics of the text, we can then begin to ask questions about why these truths are significant today. The timeless truths driving the ancient solutions then become the truths directing our modern applications. By building these disciplines in students it is possible to train them to truly listen to the text each time they read it, rather than simply seeing what they expect to see.

The three main steps of inductive study to remember are these:

Observation – What the text actually says.

Interpretation – What the text meant to those to whom it was originally written.

Application – How do we respond to the timeless truths of the text today?

Text first, original audience second, our perspective last.  The Bible was written for us – not to us. Use the clear passages to understand the obscure passages, and most of all pray. And may God enlighten you as you continue to explore his word.

Tom Possin is the director of the School of Biblical Studies in Lakeside, Montana

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Four Steps To Your Ultimate
Study Bible!

Posted by on 09/06/2016 in: ,

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If you’re ready to take the next step in your study of the Bible than this blog is for you. Read on to find out how to build your own custom study Bible!

Step 0: Use the Olive Tree Bible App

We don’t want to assume anything here but the foundation is important and the building blocks of your ultimate study Bible start with our Bible App.  You can search resources in a matter of seconds, quickly look up cross references, and study anywhere. You don’t have to worry about flipping pages or having a large desk so that you can open all your books at once. Instead, carry your entire library on your phone, tablet, or laptop. There is no steep learning curve required to use the app and all the features are intuitive. So, download the app & let’s move to Step 1.

Step 1: Add a Bible Translation

A lot of people don’t think about Bible translations and how they can help their Bible study. For many, they use whatever Bible translation they were given when they became a Christian and never give it a second thought. Yes, the thee’s and thou’s of the KJV may be quite poetic, but what good is it if you cannot understand what you’re reading? In many respects, the Bible is already a difficult book to study, so why make it harder with a difficult to read translation? There is nothing wrong with owning a Bible written in a modern translation.

When choosing a Bible translation, you should find one that works for you. One helpful idea is to get a translation that is word-for-word in its translation of the original languages and also a second that is more thought-for-thought or a balance between the two.

Once you have your Bible translations, you’re ready to build the rest of your ultimate study Bible library.

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Step 2: Add Study Notes

Next to the Bible, if you had to spend money on one resource, hands down it would have to be a study Bible. These are great tools because they are an all-in-one resource. You get commentary, introductions, and a wealth of other useful features. With so many study Bibles on the market, wisdom is needed when making a purchase. You want to make sure you’re buying something that will help you understand what you’re reading and keep things in their proper context.

A good study Bible should contain: thorough study notes, book introductions, maps, charts & illustrations, and Bible chronologies. A few worth checking out include: the ESV Study Bible, NLT Study Bible, NKJV Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, and the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible.

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Step 3: Add Key Reference Tools

As you expand your library beyond Bibles and study Bibles, you should start by adding key reference tools. This is a broad category that ranges from single volume commentaries to Bible dictionaries and atlases.

Bible commentaries come in many flavors and vary in their target audience, which is often reflected in the price. Because of their depth, commentaries can quickly become the most expensive tool in your library. A good place to start is with a single volume commentary since they cover the entire Bible. While single volume commentaries may not be as thorough as their single-book counterparts, they do take time to cover all passages in general and are sure to explain the more difficult ones, making them useful additions to your library.

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While study Bibles and commentaries are good at explaining the text of the Bible, they don’t always give enough detail about some of the Bible’s concepts and words. This is where a good Bible dictionary comes into play, which is, in effect, an encyclopedia for the Bible. To illustrate it’s usefulness, let’s say you’re reading the gospels and you encounter the Pharisees and Sadducees. Who are these guys and where did they get their authority? A Bible dictionary will explain who they are so you’re not left clueless about their role and purpose in the Bible.

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Atlases are a fantastic tool to have in your library. If we’re honest, most of us aren’t familiar with the geography of the lands from Bible times. Not to mention, it’s difficult to find many places mentioned in the Bible on a modern map. Atlases provide you with extensive maps that help you get a lay of the land so that you can make better sense of the Bible’s narrative. Many atlases also provide relevant commentary on the Bible that corresponds to the map or picture.

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Many of these tools you can add to your Olive Tree library at minimal cost and they will go a long way in helping you study the Bible.

Step 4: Add Advanced Reference Tools

Most people could stop at Step 3, but if you’re the person who wants to dive deeper into God’s Word you can buy more advanced reference tools. Resources that fall into this category would include: single book commentary sets, Greek & Hebrew lexicons, and more extensive versions of the tools found in Step 3. These are the tools often used by pastors, seminary students and others. This is an area where you can spend a lot of money, but each resource is well worth the cost.

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Build Your Ultimate Study Bible Today

By following the above steps, you will have built your own Ultimate Study Bible and have all the essential tools needed to study the Bible. Start building yours today with our Build Your Ultimate Study Bible sale!

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Works of William Perkins

Posted by on 07/19/2016 in: ,

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By Olive Tree Employee: Harold Coleman

Who is William Perkins and why are his writings relevant to us today? These are fair questions to ask about a man who wrote over 400 years ago. His life and writings spanned the early decades of English Protestantism during the Elizabethan period. He is thought by many to be the father of Puritanism, not as its founder but as its defender and as a developer of its theological positions. As a moderate Puritan, he worked from within the Church of England, slowly influencing the church towards Protestantism. His writings were so popular that the numbers of copies sold often outnumbered many contemporary Reformed writers combined.

Perkins held to the doctrine of Solus Christus (Christ alone) and Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) as the twin foundations of biblical preaching. He was an advocate of unclear Scriptures being interpreted by clearer portions of Scripture, rather than by tradition or speculation. He was a strong proponent of double predestination, which was criticized by his contemporary, Jacobus Arminius. As a reformer, he speaks to our use of Scripture today. Is understanding Christ the focus of our study in the Old as well as the New Testament? Do we rely on traditional understandings of tough passages or do we dig into Scripture in light of other Scriptures that are clearer?

Volume one of his works contains three sections: “A Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament”, “The Combat between Christ and the Devil”, and “A Godly and Learned Exposition of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount”.

A Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament lays out how biblical history intersects with the history of the world during biblical times. Perkins believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and that the Holy Spirit accurately represented God’s intent through Scripture’s human authors. This section begins with an unbroken progression of years from Adam to Solomon. At that point, he could tie in secular historical facts as they were known in his time in order to date the Bible from Solomon through the New Testament book of Revelation. With updated archaeological information, modern readers may have different understandings of those dates, but seeing Perkins’ dates is informative.

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What I find most important in this section is the extensive timeline of events through biblical history that correspond to chapters about these events. These chapters are particularly helpful in putting together the bigger picture of 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles. These scriptural links can be accessed through the commentary notes in the Resource Guide as you study passages of the Bible in your main window. By adding a note to the dating of an event with a calculation to the Julian calendar, I can add my own estimated B.C. or A.D. dating of the event according to Perkins. This gives me a point of comparison with date estimates that have come since Perkins’ time. While this timeline doesn’t serve as an outline of any book, particularly in subject or doctrinal matters, it helps to put any biblical event in perspective with other events.

The Combat between Christ and the Devil considers the battle waged in heaven and on earth through the end of Revelation. It is an extensive commentary on Matthew 4:1-11, with implications for individual believers and the church as they too are assaulted by the schemes of the Devil. In reading this section, modern believers will see that we experience similar temptations and assaults but also have a high priest who knows our troubles from his own experience.

A Godly and Learned Exposition of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount is crucial to Perkins’ understanding of the Gospel. He saw the Sermon on the Mount as the cornerstone to the Gospel because it is authored by Jesus himself after a whole night in prayer. He breaks the sermon into twelve branches. In this commentary, he has a style of making points, arguments, answering objections, and then expounding on ‘The Use’ (application) of the section covered. His style offers a model for preaching or teaching directly from Scripture. His commentary is lengthy in its analysis and explanations of points and objections but is very readable. Although Perkins taught at Cambridge, he doesn’t lose the reader in deep discussion of Greek or theological fine points. His intention is to instruct the pastor or devoted student of God’s Word thoroughly and practically, as he saw modeled by Jesus. In sermon preparation, you can find years of material in this single commentary on the Sermon on the Mount that will provide insights for returning to this most famous sermon many times.

Volume Two of Perkins’ works is a commentary on Galatians. It is the compilation of three years of sermons by Perkins on Galatians 1-5. After his death, Ralph Cudworth edited the sermon notes into this commentary and added his own commentary of chapter six to complete it. Much like Luther and Calvin, Perkins saw the importance of this letter as differentiating between the old Law of Moses and the new law of grace as given through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Writing at the early stages of Protestantism, he draws out the importance of a biblical view of law and grace and argues against traditions that may be as relevant today as they were in his time. He believed that as Christ taught in plain speech, his sermons should also be plain to understand.

You can now add this classic resource to your Olive Tree library!

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What’s the difference between a Concordance and a Cross Reference ?

Posted by on 07/18/2016 in: ,

Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s intimidating to ask what something is when it seems like we should already know. Maybe you’ve heard of the theological term or Bible study method before, but that doesn’t mean you know what it actually is and it can be embarrassing to ask.  Well, we’re here to help. In this blog we’ll talk about the difference between a Concordance and a Cross-Reference and how they can help you in your own Bible study.

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Cross References

A cross reference is a verse that has a similar theme or topic as the verse that you are reading. In the Olive Tree Bible App these are most easily found in the Resource Guide under Related Verses.

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In the above screenshot I’m reading Ephesians 4 in the NIV. Under related verses I see nine cross reference entries that are already a part of the NIV translation. I can tap the resource of my choice to bring up the specific cross references related to the text open in my main window.

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I chose the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and now see a list of topics and words sorted by verse. The great thing about the Bible App is that I can tap any of these verses for a quick look without having to leave my primary reading.

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Cross references are a great tool when you are trying to study themes or topics found in all of scripture. But if you are wanting to do a specific word study then you’ll want to use a concordance.

Concordance

A concordance offers more precise lookups on specific words than a cross reference and shows you where those words appear throughout scripture. Like cross references, many Bible translations include a brief concordance section with the text but in order to do comprehensive word study a dedicated resource is the way to go. In the Bible App the easiest way to use a concordance is via the Lookup feature.

In this screenshot I’ve tapped on the word patience in Ephesians 4:2. I then tap on Lookup.

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Then I’ll select the Olive Tree NIV Concordance.

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Now I get a list of where the word patient appears throughout the Bible and I can easily access those verses in the popup window for easy reading.

You’ll notice that Olive Tree Concordance’s actually have three options.

  1. The verse references are a list of where the English word patient shows up throughout the Bible.
  2. The Strong’s numbers are where the Hebrew and Greek words that are translated as patient appear throughout the text.
  3. And the dictionary takes me to an explanation of the Hebrew or Greek word.

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Recap

As you can see there are differences between a Cross Reference resource and a Concordance.

If you are looking for related themes and topics to the scripture passage you are reading, a Cross Reference is a great tool.

If you want to do specific word study across Greek, Hebrew, and English then a Concordance will be a tremendous help.

Go here to see what Concordance and Cross Reference resources are available for the Olive Tree Bible App.

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