Category: Educational

Read & Research Bible Study Method

Posted by on 02/26/2016 in: ,

laptop with tablet and smart phone on tableMy early attempts at Bible study were sporadic and didn’t go that smoothly. I soon learned that I needed a more formalized approach to my Bible study. Here are a few tips & resources that I’ve found that will help you keep your Bible Study on track.

Prepare yourself through Prayer
“All our study is futile without the work of God overcoming our blindness and hardheartedness.” – John Piper, Martin Luther Lessons from His Life and Labor p. 33

There is no substitute for prayer when reading and studying the Bible.  Prayer takes the attention off of what we can do and puts the attention instead on what God can do in and through us.  Bible study is a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1) in which we present our best to God.  We have to remember that this is not just a book we’re reading.  We need prepare our hearts and minds for Bible study.

Read the Scripture for yourself
Read and re-read the passage you’re studying.  Get familiar with the flow of the passage.  If there are terms that you don’t know, look them up in a simple dictionary.

Ask yourself these Questions

  1. Observe – What does the text say?
  2. Interpret – What does the text mean?
  3. Apply – How does it apply to me today?

Asking these questions will keep you focused on the study at hand.  These questions are also helpful when preparing, guiding, and leading discussions for small group and Sunday school Bible studies.

Read and Research

1.Bible Study Notes
There are multiple Bibles that have study notes written by scholars and trusted authors that will assist you in better understanding the Bible.  I recommend choosing one that corresponds to your preferred translation (KJV, ESV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, etc.)

2. Bible Concordances
Concordances are great tools that give you a list of verses that contain that root word in the Bible.  However, be careful that you do not JUST use a concordance in your preparation.  Concordances are a great place to BEGIN, but are never the END of your Bible Study.

With that “don’t try this at home” disclaimer, I do suggest using a digital Bible with Strong’s numbers integrated into the text for your Bible study.

Recommendations:

3. Bible Dictionaries
Dictionaries give you more explanation and meaning for specific words.  They also help us to keep our Bible Study on track.
Recommendations:

4. Bible 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.

Recommendations:

I would also suggest checking BestCommentaries.com. It’s a great site with recommendations for commentaries on each book of the Bible.

Other Resources
Lastly, here are some useful resources to further your Bible Study methods:

Using these simple methods and tools will deepen your Bible Study and further prepare you to present God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).

What are your favorite Bible Study titles and tools?

Be sure to check out this week’s highlighted offers on titles that will help your Bible Study this year.

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Start a Lent Reading Plan

Posted by on 02/09/2016 in: ,

Lent begins this Ash Wednesday—February 10 this year—and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. For many people, it is a 40-day period—not including the six Sundays—devoted to reflection, repentance, fasting, and preparation prior to Easter.

Unlike Christmas, Easter is not a fixed date on the calendar; it is sometimes described as a “moveable feast.” The Western church decided long ago to set Easter as the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). Since the date of Easter varies widely (from March 22 to April 25), the dates of every other holiday related to Easter vary as well. The week before Easter is referred to as Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Thursday of that week is known in some traditions as Maundy Thursday because it memorializes Jesus’ final instructions and last meal with His disciples. The term “Maundy” is related to the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” which is the first word in the Latin version of John 13:34 that records Jesus’ new commandment to His disciples that they love one another. Since Jesus washed his disciples’ feet that fateful evening, Christians often do as Jesus did and wash one another’s feet. Good Friday follows. It is the day that commemorates the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Calling the day “good” seems ironic since Jesus died such a horrid death that day. However, what Jesus’ death accomplished for the redemption of the world is the greatest good the world has ever seen. The Sunday following Good Friday ends the season of Lent and is designated Easter. It may be the most celebrated day on the Christian calendar, for it commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the beginning of the new Kingdom. – Adapted from The Voice Bible.

startyourreadingplaninapp
Lent is a great time to think about starting a new reading plan.

Checkout our free reading plan especially for Lent.  Adapted from The Voice Bible, this plan starts on Ash Wednesday, February 10 and continues until Easter Sunday. This is a great way to prepare your heart for Easter.

  • Go to the Reading Plans section of the BIble+ App
  • At the bottom of the list of reading plans tap the ‘Get More Reading Plans’ button
  • The Lent Reading plan will be listed first

Once you tap the install button, the reading plan will be available to start.

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5 Benefits of NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study App

Posted by on 02/01/2016 in: , , ,

The New International Commentary Series on the Old Testament (NICOT) and New Testament (NICNT) are highly regarded scholarly resources that are always ranked at the top by scholars, pastors, students, and professors.

Here are Five benefits of the NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study App.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4.  Click on Images for a larger view)

1. Resource Guide

Open your preferred Bible Translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window.  You’ll see relevant NICOT/NICNT commentary “hits” in the split window.

Bible+ 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, the NICOT/NICNT syncs 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.


2. Search & Look Up Feature

Search the NICOT/NICNT for words or passages.  Take “love” as an example.  You can search the entire NICOT/NICNT series for where “love” is mentioned in the commentary series.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

3. Linked Reference Pop ups

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One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary. 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 Bible+, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text.  All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

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Related to this is footnotes/endnotes.  Since the NICOT/NICNT is a highly scholarly work, there are a lot of references to other materials.  In the past I would have to stop where I was in the reading, look at the footnote, then go back to where I was in the writing.  This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought.  With Bible+, all of the footnotes are linked.  Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.

4. Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)

In iPhone/iPad app, you also have an additional option.  Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options to Copy, Highlight, Note, Save, Share, Define, Lookup and More.

If you tap “Define” you will get the integrated iOS dictionary pop-up.  This is extremely helpful when you run across a word in the NICOT/NICNT or even the Bible text that you do not readily know.

5. Look at One Verse (iOS Extra)

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options to Tap and hold on a verse number and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Save, Share, Guide, and More..

If you tap the “Guide” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific verse. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above.  You can even choose to open the NICOT/NICNT in the main or split window.

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This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the NICOT/NICNT when you want to see what it says about a particular verse.

As you can see, the NICOT/NICNT within Bible+ gives you the best in scholarly work, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

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Improve Your Word Studies with Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures

Posted by on 11/20/2015 in: , , ,

When I first learned how to do word studies I found them to be quite daunting. There was always a wealth of information and I never knew where to start. Of all the challenges I faced, the problem I had most often was picking the “right” word(s) to study from the passage I was reading. Not to mention, would the lexicons I had help me or even mention my verse? If that’s you or you’ve been there before, I want to show you how Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures can make your word studies even easier than they already are in Bible+.

Before We Get Started

Before we get started, I want to address the big question that most have about this resource: If I already have Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary do I still need Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures? The honest answer is maybe, but I strongly believe both are worth owning. While there is a lot of overlap between the two resources, the way you use each is completely different, and they are built to complement one another. The best way to think about them is like this: Vine’s Dictionary is a dictionary, whereas Vine’s Word Pictures is a commentary. So, let’s dive in and see how the two work in harmony. (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4).

Using Vine’s Word Pictures

To illustrate how Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures works we’re going to use the ESV Bible and 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 as our passage. As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this passage about comfort, suffering, and affliction. Where do we even begin?! This was one of the problems I had when learning to do word studies. This time, instead of getting overwhelmed, we’ll let Vine’s help us out. With the split window open, you can open Vine’s Word Pictures in the second pane. Since this resource functions as a commentary it will follow wherever your Bible goes.

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One thing you’ll quickly notice about this resource is that it’s not like a normal commentary. There are no textual notes explaining the meaning of the passage. That’s what your other commentaries & study Bibles are for. Instead, what you get are the key words contained in each passage with definitions, theological significance, and clear cross references. You no longer have to guess which words to study because they are put in front of you. In this screenshot you can see a few key words include: mercies, comfort, and tribulation/trouble. Given the emphasis of this passage, these are words I’ll certainly want to study further.

I love cross references and Vine’s Word Pictures is not shy about providing them. Bible+ makes it easy to tap on the reference so you can read it without losing your place. Another bonus is that cross references within the same book of the Bible are boldfaced so you can take particular note of them.

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Where this resource really shines is its Strong’s linking. Most words that are discussed also contain a transliteration of the corresponding Greek word and its relevant Strong’s number. These are tagged in Bible+ so you can tap on them and get more information about the word you’re studying. Within the pop-up you get the definition from the Strong’s dictionary, which is where Vine’s Dictionary comes into play.

Switching to Vine’s Dictionary

Let’s say the word “comfort” has caught our attention in this passage. We’ve read the entry in Vine’s Word Pictures, looked at the cross references, and perused the Strong’s pop-up. What next? Simple, let’s go to Vine’s Dictionary. The quickest way to get there is to tap the Strong’s number and then select the “Lookup” button at the bottom of the pop-up. From there, we can find the dictionary.

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Unlike most lexicons and dictionaries, the nice thing about Vine’s is that it groups the original language words together based on their English translation. For us, this means that in our study on “comfort” we can go to the dictionary and not only find out information about our word’s usage as a noun, but we can easily get more information. Here we see additional material such as Greek synonyms we may want to include in our word study, as well as the verb form of the word. Not to mention, if there are other ways it is translated into English, we can get to those as well.

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This is all information we would not have found if we had used Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures alone. And, if we had only used the dictionary we may not have even known this was a word worth looking at. But together we can get the big picture and walk away with a full understanding of the Greek word behind “comfort.”

Get Them Today

Add both Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures and Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary today and improve your word studies. Not only will you save yourself time, but you can rest assured that you’ll never miss an important word again. Get these titles and others in our current sale.

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Word Studies in Bible+

Posted by on 11/16/2015 in: ,

While many have lamented the thought of having to learn the original languages in Bible college or seminary, I relished the idea. I saw it as an opportunity to unlock a new world of Bible study that would give me greater insight for Bible interpretation. After several years of study I learned something very important: my English Bible was often enough. Yes, there were times when knowing Greek and Hebrew proved useful; but, for the most part, I found Bible translators had done a great job in conveying the thoughts of the Bible’s authors. If true, that begs the question. How do I use the original languages in my Bible study? Usually I’m doing word studies, which I want to show you how to do in Bible+.

Find a Word to Study

A few years ago I taught through 1 Thessalonians at my church. In 1 Thessalonians 2:4 I came across a phrase that made me want to dig deeper. In the Complete Word Study Bible the phrase reads as “we were allowed of God.” The word “allowed” felt a bit awkward to me, so I decided to investigate.

With the CWSB open, I tapped on “allowed” in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, which gave me some quick information from the CWSB Dictionary. I see that I’m dealing with the Greek word δοκιμάζω (dokimazō), which is Strong’s number G1381. Here I get the parsing, and as I scroll down the pop-up I get a definition. This information is useful, but that doesn’t satisfy my curiosity.

Finding All Occurrences

The next step in the process is to check all the occurrences of this word in the New Testament. This provides a wider grasp for how dokimazō is translated and its meaning(s). Bible+ makes this step really easy. All I have to do is tap the “Search for g1381” button and it’ll search the CWSB for every occurrence of dokimazō based on its Strong’s number.

What I found is that dokimazō has a lot to do with the idea of examining or testing something. The majority of the usage comes from Paul and refers to examining one’s self. That’s an interesting observation. And, in the case of 1 Thessalonians 2:4 it’s interesting to see how God is the one approving or examining Paul and his co-laborers for the work of ministry.

It’s also worth noting that dokimazō occurs twice in this verse, which I wouldn’t have noticed from the English alone, since the second instance is translated as “trieth.” This data further improves my understanding of the original phrase in question.

Digging Deeper with Lexicons and Dictionaries

At this point, I have a good grasp on the lexical range of dokimazō, at least how it’s used in the New Testament. But, I don’t want to leave my study at that because I may be missing something. What can I do to go further? Simple, I’ll go back and tap the “Lookup δοκιμάζω” button from my Strong’s popup & search my dictionaries. Of the ones where I have hits, of particular interest to me is Vine’s Dictionary. There are two things I like about this dictionary: 1) the entry is based on the English word, so I can get a quick glance at any related original language words, and 2) it links to other ways the word is translated into English and provides some theological discussion on the word’s use.

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After some reading, I find my understanding of dokimazō to be on par with what the dictionaries say. As it relates to our verse, not only does God test, like on the day of judgment (1 Cor. 3:13), but he is currently testing our hearts, specifically as it relates to our usefulness in ministry.

Get the Resources You Need

While it takes some time to read through all the material, a word study is really that easy with Bible+. Everything you need to do a word study is at your fingertips! Many of the resources you need to perform a word study, such as the two used above, are currently discounted in our current sale! Pick them up today while they’re at these low prices!

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What’s in the Archaeological Study Bible?

Posted by on 11/13/2015 in: , , , ,

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 Mini 4, 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.

You can get the Archaeological Study Bible for 50% off this week.

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6 Reasons to use Preaching the Word in Bible+

Posted by on 11/02/2015 in: , , ,

The Preaching the Word Commentary Series offers unique insights into Biblical texts from the heart of a pastor. It is noted for its unqualified commitment to biblical authority and clear exposition of Scripture. Its emphasis on application and shepherding makes it a valuable asset for sermon and class preparation, as well as personal study.

Here are Six Reasons to use The Preaching the Word Commentary Series in Bible+.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4.  Click on Images for a larger view)

1. Resource Guide

Open your preferred Bible Translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window.  You’ll see relevant “hits” from Preaching the Word in the split window.

Bible+ 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, the commentary syncs 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.

2. Search & Look Up Feature

Search The Preaching the Word Commentary Series for words or passages.  Take “Vine” as an example.  You can search the entire commentary  series for where “Vine” is mentioned in the commentary series.  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.

3. 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 John 15 where Jesus is talking about the Vine and the Branches. In the Preaching the Word Commentary there’s a reference to Isaiah 5:7. 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.

Related to this is footnotes/endnotes. The Preaching the Word Commentary Series has a lot of references to other materials.  In the past I would have to stop where I was in the reading, look at the footnote, then go back to where I was in the book.  This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought.  With Bible+ footnotes are linked.  Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.

4. Copy/Paste into Notes

The Preaching the Word Commentaries are full of great content.  I often find myself reading a passage, going deeper with the commentary and finding that “perfect quote” that sums up what I was thinking but didn’t know how to express it in written form.  However, in the world of hard copy commentaries, I have to re-type it into my personal study notes.  With The Bible Study App, all I have to do is highlight the text that i want, copy it and paste it into my notes.  This feature saves me a ton of time, not to mention the wear and tear on my typing fingers!

 

5. Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)

In iPhone/iPad app, you also have an additional option.  Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options to Copy, Highlight, Note, Bookmark, Share, Define, Lookup and More.

If you tap “Define” you will get the integrated iOS dictionary pop-up.  This is extremely helpful when you run across a word in the commentaries or even the Bible text that you do not know.

6. Resource Guide on One Verse (iOS Extra)

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap on a verse number in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Save Passage, Share, Guide, and More..

If you tap the “Guide” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific verse. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above.  You can even choose to open the The Preaching the Word Commentary in the main or split window.

This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the commentary when you want to see what it says about a particular verse.

As you can see, The Preaching the Word Commentaries within Bible+ give you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Right now you can the Preaching the Word Commentary 29 volume set for only $199.99!

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How to do a Word Study

Posted by on 09/16/2015 in: ,

While many have lamented the thought of having to learn the original languages in Bible college or seminary, I relished the idea. I saw it as an opportunity to unlock a new world of Bible study that would give me greater insight for Bible interpretation. After several years of study I learned something very important: my English Bible was often enough. Yes, there were times when knowing Greek and Hebrew proved useful; but, for the most part, I found Bible translators had done a great job in conveying the thoughts of the Bible’s authors. If true, that begs the question. How do I use the original languages in my Bible study? Usually I’m doing word studies, which I want to show you how to do in the Olive Tree Bible App.

Find a Word to Study

A few years ago I was teaching through 1 Thessalonians at my church. As I was reading through the second chapter I encountered a phrase in verse 4 that made me pause, “we have been approved by God.” The word “approved” felt a bit awkward to me, so I decided to investigate. To get started, I switched from my standard ESV Bible to the ESV with Strong’s tagging.

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I then tapped on “approved” in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, which gave me some quick information from the Strong’s dictionary. I see that I’m dealing with the Greek word δοκιμάζω (dokimazō), which is Strong’s number G1381. The glosses are helpful in showing me how the word is translated, but that doesn’t satisfy my curiosity.

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Finding All Occurrences

The next step in the process is to check all the occurrences of this word in the New Testament. This provides a wider grasp for how dokimazō is translated and its meaning(s). The Olive Tree Bible App makes this step really easy. All I have to do is tap the “Search for g1381” button and it’ll search my ESV Strong’s Bible for every occurrence of dokimazō based on its Strong’s number.

What I found is that dokimazō has a lot to do with the idea of examining or testing something. The majority of the usage comes from Paul and refers to examining one’s self. That’s an interesting observation. And, in the case of 1 Thessalonians 2:4 it’s interesting to see how God is the one approving or examining Paul and his co-laborers for the work of ministry.

It’s also worth noting that dokimazō occurs twice in this verse, which I wouldn’t have noticed from the English alone, since the second instance is translated as “tests.” This data further improves my understanding of the original phrase in question.

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Digging Deeper with Lexicons and Dictionaries

At this point, I have a good grasp on the lexical range of dokimazō, at least how it’s used in the New Testament. But, I don’t want to leave my study at that because I may be missing something. What can I do to go further? Simple, I’ll go back and tap the “Lookup δοκιμάζω” button from my Strong’s popup & search my dictionaries. Of the ones where I have hits, of particular interest to me is the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. There are two things I like about this dictionary: 1) the entry provides a list of related words that I may want to study further, and 2) it looks at the word’s usage and how it is theologically relevant, instead of just giving me a list of ways it can be translated into English.

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After some reading, I find my understanding of dokimazō to be on par with what the dictionaries say. As it relates to our verse, not only does God test, like on the day of judgment (1 Cor. 3:13), but he is currently testing our hearts, specifically as it relates to our usefulness in ministry.

Get the Resources You Need

While it takes some time to read through all the material, a word study is really that easy with the Olive Tree Bible app. Everything you need to do a word study is at your fingertips! Many of the resources you need to perform a word study are currently discounted in our Bible Study tools sale! Pick them up today while they’re at these low prices!

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