Olive Tree recently released an update to The Bible Study App on Windows 8. I sat down with Adam, our lead Windows 8 developer, to talk about the update.
Monty: How is the Windows 8 app different from the Windows 7 desktop version?
Adam: The Windows Store app targets a fast and fluid experience across a wide range of devices, where the Desktop app has an eye for much more advanced Bible Study that can require more processing.
Thus far the Windows Store app has worked well as a basic Bible reader, but that is only the beginning. We recently updated the app to add popups for footnotes and Bible references, and will be continuing to build it into an incredible experience for even more advanced users.
Monty: Why use the Windows 8 app?
Adam: My favorite reason is the speed, even on my tablet. I’m not an advanced user, so having a Bible app that I can easily snap to the side of the screen during church while I take notes in OneNote makes for a great experience for me.
Monty: What are the top features of the Windows 8 app?
Adam: Right now, I get really excited when using the Search screens, both for the view of results in all my books, but also to easily navigate the results within a specific book. We have also leveraged common Windows 8 features like Semantic Zoom and the app bar to filter and navigate through the results quickly.would say the top features are the search and reading experience.
With reading, I’ve already mentioned the performance. The responsiveness when scrolling is, I believe, unparalleled by any of our other apps. It makes it a real joy to use, especially because the text just plain looks great!
Monty: What’s new in the Windows 8 app?
Adam: We recently updated the app to include popups on footnotes and verse references. This is particularly important to me because it’s the first step beyond a “simple” Bible reader. This past Sunday in church I was able to jump ahead of the pastor as he called out a cross reference because I saw the footnote and could open the location in the popup.
Monty: Anything else you would like to add?
Adam: We are working hard to enable the rest of our available titles in the Windows Store app. I’m excited to see the continued interest in what we’re doing on Windows, and for the opportunity to keep working at making it better!
Thanks Adam! Go here to find our newest Windows 8 release for the Bible Study App, or search “Bible+” in the Windows Store.
Jude 5 in the NA28
By Olive Tree Staff: Matt Jonas
Olive Tree recently released the NA28 for the Bible Study App and some of you may be wondering “why all the fuss”? I wrote a blog post covering some of the major differences between the NA28 and the previous edition. However, there was one very specific change that I didn’t mention in that article that is of great significance to me and all other Bible-believing Christians. It is a change in Jude 5 that has great implications for the current discussion regarding the “historical Jesus” and the early church’s views on the divinity of Christ.
The Greek text of Jude 5 in the NA27 reads as follows:
“ Ὑπομνῆσαι δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, εἰδότας [ὑμᾶς] πάντα ὅτι [ὁ] κύριος ἅπαξ λαὸν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου σώσας τὸ δεύτερον τοὺς μὴ πιστεύσαντας ἀπώλεσεν,”
Here’s how the NRSV translates this verse into English:
“Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”
The NA28, however, has Ἰησοῦς (Jesus) in place of κύριος (Lord). Here’s the same passage from the NA28:
“ Ὑπομνῆσαι δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, εἰδότας [ὑμᾶς] ἅπαξ πάντα ὅτι Ἰησοῦς λαὸν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου σώσας τὸ δεύτερον τοὺς μὴ πιστεύσαντας ἀπώλεσεν,”
Interestingly, the ESV already translated the passage this way on the basis of the better manuscript evidence for the reading used by the NA28. I believe this is the only place where the ESV translators departed from the main text of the NA27 and used a “variant” reading instead. It is a little ironic, in my opinion, that the “variant” reading they chose is now in the main text of the NA28.
Here’s how the ESV translates Jude 5:
“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”
In the book of Exodus, it was the Lord (YHWH) who led the Israelites out of Egypt. If Jude is claiming that it was Jesus who led the Israelites out of captivity, then he is apparently identifying Jesus with the Lord.
It is interesting to note that this change was made because it is the” best attested reading” for this passage. Bruce Metzger even said as much in his Textual Commentary, but regardless, the editors of the NA27 still chose the reading “Lord” rather than “Jesus”.
Here are Metzger’s own words:
“Critical principles seem to require the adoption of Ἰησοῦς, which admittedly is the best attested reading among Greek and versional witnesses…” (Metzger, 657).
At the beginning of the same note, Metzger explained the reading used in the main text of the NA27 in this way:
“Despite the weighty attestation supporting Ἰησοῦς … a majority of the Committee was of the opinion that this reading was difficult to the point of impossibility, and explained its origin in terms of transcriptional oversight…”(Metzger, 657).
The NA28 has reversed this decision, going with the “best attested reading” even though it might be theologically objectionable to those who wish to claim that Christ’s divinity was not a belief held by the early church and was instead a later invention.
This view even became a part of our popular culture recently due to Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code.” Among other things, the novel claims that Emperor Constantine I suppressed Gnosticism and promoted the deity of Christ for political reasons. Brown’s view is presented as fiction (which it clearly is due to the numerous historical inaccuracies), but there have been other more scholarly attempts to support similar claims.
Thomas Jefferson famously cut-and-pasted pieces from his collection of Bibles to create “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazereth,” better known as the Jefferson Bible. In this harmony of the gospels, he complete eliminated all references to Christ’s divinity and his miracles (including, of course, his resurrection).
More recently, the Jesus Seminar did something similar, voting on whether they believed that the words attributed to Jesus by the Gospels were authentic. Not surprisingly, passages in which Jesus claims divinity (such as John 14), didn’t make the cut.
In his recent book Misquoting Jesus, Bart Ehrman even claims that early Christian scribes altered the text of the New Testament to support their views, such as the deity of Christ. Ironically, Jude 5 (in the NA27) may be an example of the opposite phenomenon, in which modern “scribes” altered the text in a way that deemphasized this doctrine. It’s refreshing to see that the editors of the NA28 have corrected this bias and have ruled simply in favor of the textual evidence, even though the resulting reading may be troubling to some.
Hopefully, the choice to include this reading marks the beginning of a trend against the bias that I mentioned above. In his talk on the NA28 at the 2012 SBL national conference in Chicago, Klaus Wachtel noted that the NA27 showed bias against the Byzantine tradition. He also claimed that NA28 by contrast recognizes the reliability of the mainstream tradition. This respect for the mainstream tradition is evident in how the editors of the NA28 chose to handle Jude 5. The textual evidence has always been on the side of the reading that was chosen, and yet previous editions used a less well attested variant instead because of the theological implications. How the NA28 handles Jude 5 may not “disprove” the claims of Dan Brown, or Thomas Jefferson, the Jesus Seminar, or Bart Ehrman, but it is still a step in the right direction.
By Olive Tree Staff: Matthew Jonas
Some of you may have noticed that the parsed version of the NA28 text that Olive Tree is now offering uses a different parsing database than the parsed NA27 text that we offer. The parsing database that Olive Tree offers with the NA27 is the Mounce-Koivisto parsing database. It is based on the work of both Dr. William Mounce and Dr. Rex Koivisto. The new parsing system is based entirely on the work of Dr. Mounce.
Both systems provide the sort of basic parsing information that students and pastors would typically expect: tense, voice, mood, person, and number for verbs; case, number, and gender for nouns, and so forth. The Mounce-Koivisto also includes some additional data at times that the new system does not contain, such as types for pronouns (demonstrative, personal, etc.) and syntactical information about the uses of conjunctions (coordinating vs. subordinating, temporal, causal, etc.) However, since the new Mounce system is simpler, it is also more straightforward and easier to understand in some cases.
If the basic parsing data is very similar between the two systems, you may wonder what the advantage of the new one is. The answer has to do not so much with the parsings themselves as it does with the accompanying set of glosses. The parsings that Olive Tree has made available with the NA28 contain much fuller glosses than the parsings that are offered with the NA27. The glosses are an important distinctive feature of the Mounce-Koivisto parsings as compared to AGNT, which uses an excellent parsing system, but has no glosses. The addition of fuller and more accurate glosses in the new Mounce parsings make this even more of an advantage.
For example, the difference between the older glosses and the newer glosses is very apparent when looking at a preposition such as ἐν. The Mounce-Koivisto (NA27) gloss is “(+dat) in, with, by, to.” The Mounce (NA28) gloss is “Spatially: in, inside, at, among, with; logically: by means of, with, because of; of time: during, while.” Not every gloss is as long as this, but fuller and more accurate glosses are given for certain words such as in this example.
My experience has been that once a student has learned the basic forms of nouns and verbs that the main barrier to reading the New Testament is unfamiliar vocabulary rather than unfamiliar forms. The fuller set of glosses that are part of the new Mounce parsing system will hopefully make it easier to bridge the gap between the shorter glosses that students learn when starting out and the fuller definitions found in lexicons. These coupled with Dr. Mounce’s straightforward parsing system and the text of the NA28 make this a valuable resource for anyone interested in the Greek New Testament.
By Olive Tree Staff: Matthew Jonas
I have to admit that when I heard that a new edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece was being published, it wasn’t a big deal for me. I liked the NA27 just fine and while realized that the NA28 would reflect the latest advances in New Testament textual criticism, I wasn’t sure how important it was to me to be on the cutting edge of textual criticism. Before working for Olive Tree, I was an educator and taught classes mainly on Greek and Latin. I used the NA27 in my classes, and we did consult the textual apparatus from time to time. Since the main text was the focus in my classes, I might not need the most recent edition if the changes were limited to the apparatus. When I finally had a chance to look through the NA28 though, my attitude changed.
First of all, there are changes to the main text in the NA28 (unlike the NA27, which reprints the same main text used in the NA26). Most of these changes are orthographic, but there are a dozen or so changes in the Catholic Epistles that affect the meaning of the passage. These changes are limited to the Catholic Epistles currently, but my understanding is that the editors of the NA28 plan on releasing further revisions to other sections of the New Testament in the future.
While the changes to the main text are significant, the most substantial differences between the NA28 and the NA27 are in the apparatus. The entire apparatus has been revised, but the sections covering the Catholic Epistles also have some additional changes that have not yet been applied to the other sections. The overall purpose of the apparatus has changed in the NA28. In some ways it reminds me a little more of the apparatus included with the UBS4. It serves as an introduction to the sources rather than just a collection of variants. This distinction may seem a little vague, but the resulting apparatus is clearer and easier to use than the previous one.
Beyond the general shift in philosophy, here are some more specific changes that were made to the apparatus:
- The distinction between consistently cited witnesses of the first order and of the second order has been eliminated. Now there are just consistently cited witnesses.
- The use of sed and et to combine variants has been eliminated.
- “Archaic Mark” (i.e. ms 2427) is no longer cited since it has been proven to be a forgery.
- Conjectural readings have been completely eliminated.
- Citations of the various versions and the Church Fathers have all been “double-checked”
- The apparatus for the Catholic Epistles uses “Byz” instead of a Fraktur letter M to represent the Byzantine tradition.
- Readings from the newly discovered Papyri 117-121 are included.
The net result of all of these changes is a fresh and exciting new edition of the Greek New Testament. This is the first edition of the Nestle-Aland text that was not edited by Kurt Aland, and the new editor, Holger Strutwolf, made some compelling changes in this edition.
For more information on the NA28, check out the following links:
- The German Bible Society Page on the NA28
- Nestle-Aland 28: The New Standard in Critical Texts of the Greek New Testament
- NA28: What the Front Matter Says about the Edition
By Olive Tree Staff: David Mikucki
Jesus’ followers were convinced that He was the coming King—the Messiah of Israel who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. All His disciples were severely disappointed when the unthinkable happened. Jesus was crucified. The coming conquering King had come and didn’t seem to have conquered. Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Messiah? If He wasn’t, then… now what?
That’s the backdrop for Luke 24. With Jesus dead, His followers were distraught. They were on a seven mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, talking about everything that had just happened, trying to sort through it all—still unaware that Jesus had been raised. Jesus met them on this road, but He kept them from recognizing Him (Luke 24:17). To them He was a stranger passing on the road. They told this ‘stranger’ that they thought Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel and that some of their friends were telling what they thought were just fairytales about Him rising from the dead.
At this point, Jesus says something that shocks everyone! He tells his followers that the prophets said all of this was going to happen: the Messiah would suffer and then enter into His glory. No one expected the Messiah to suffer! Who expects a King to suffer? Jesus says the prophets expected it. Then in Luke 24:27, He explains the things concerning Himself from Moses and all the prophets. Jesus went to each book of the Bible and explained all the things about Himself (see also Luke 24:44).
People these days have a lot of different ideas concerning what the Bible is about. Jesus has His own idea. The Bible isn’t about all the good things we have to do in order to go to heaven (John 5:39). It’s not just a bunch of do’s and don’t’s. It’s not just a bunch of fun stories. Jesus said the Bible is about Himself. Humanity’s biggest problem is that we sin our whole lives and then we die. The Bible teaches us all we need to know about our Savior—the King who suffered and died in our place and rose from the dead three days later to make us right before God and give us a new life like His.
One of the last things Jesus did before He ascended into heaven was to tell us that the Bible is about Him! Jesus is our Savior—the only Savior—and He says that all of Scripture points us to Him: the One we really need. When we study the Bible, let’s remember that it’s all about Jesus.
Olive Tree’s got some great resources that explain Jesus in parts of the Bible we might not have expected to find Him in. Here are some of my favorites…
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary (Free!)
- Christ in the Old Testament by Charles Spurgeon
- Christ in the Passover by Rose Publishing
- Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament edited by D.A. Carson and G.K. Beale
Guest Blogger: Ken Daughters, Former President of Emmaus Bible College
I preach two or three times a week and often travel to preach. I used to carry my big Ryrie Study Bible in my carry-on suitcase, but the x-ray image looked sinister to airport security. They asked me to take it out and put it on the belt separately, just as I do my laptop. I thought of carrying a smaller Bible instead, but I enjoyed the outlines and notes in my study Bible. It was at this point I considered just carrying my iPad. The college had purchased an iPad for me to demonstrate our courses on iTunes. I naturally tried every Bible program available for the iPad and picked Olive Tree’s Bible Study App as my favorite.
The big question was whether I could preach from an iPad. Would it be safe? Would the program crash? Would I become confused as I fumbled with the interface? I tested it first in our college’s chapel service. My students are tech-savvy, so I doubted they would be offended. In fact, a number of them followed along on their smart phones. No one blinked an eye. So I started carrying my iPad to our church services. I enjoyed following along with the sermon using the translation the preacher chose and consulting my imbedded commentary if I wanted additional information. I decided to take my iPad preaching on the road. At first I was nervous that the older folks in the meetings would take offense. “How can he preach without a real Bible?” I imagined them asking. In reality, no one took offense, and a number of shy iPad users came out of the woodwork and used them in church meetings as well. It was as if my use of my iPad in public made it culturally acceptable. We would compare which programs we were using and tips in their use.
Which features caused me to pick up The Bible Study App? First, the app was intuitive and easy to use. I have more resources available in some of my other programs, but their interfaces are more difficult to use. With Olive Tree I picked the typeface and font that fit my preaching needs and chose the softer book image background. I use a vertical scroll so I can move the verses from which I’m preaching to the top of the page. All of my resources are downloaded onto my iPad so I am not dependent on Wi-Fi access. I greatly appreciate the cross-references imbedded into the Scripture text as superscripts that lead to pop-up windows. I can still see my original text and the read the cross-reference from the pop-up at the same time.
Using the notes feature, I began to imbed my own cross-references into the text. All I needed was the reference. The Bible Study App recognizes any biblical reference as a hypertext link to jump to the verse immediately in a window. If I planned to spend a lengthy amount of time in another passage, I bookmarked it to I could turn to it quickly. Both techniques are faster and more efficient than using a printed Bible. The “Go To” feature of the verse chooser is also faster than a printed Bible. I can win most Sword Drills. There is a history feature if I want to return to a passage I recently read.
Perhaps the most important feature of using a computer-based Bible text is the ability to search on key words or phrases, turning the program into a computer concordance. The interface of the search feature for Bible+ is the fastest and most straight-forward I have seen!
If all I am packing for research in my suitcase is my iPad, I want to be able to access commentaries and dictionaries. The split screen feature of Bible+ serves me very well. I usually have the Bible Knowledge Commentary in my split window for quick reference I have even experimented with sermon notes as the second window! A number of sources from OliveTree are free, but my first purchase was the NASB that has Strong’s Numbers imbedded in the text. I have seen programs that place the actual numbers interspaced in the text, which is nearly unreadable. I like that I can touch a colored word and the Strong’s number, the original Greek or Hebrew word, and the dictionary definition appear. The greatest advantage of this resource is the ability to search on a Strong’s number, not the word in the English translation. For non-Greek readers, this allows one to get behind the translation and conduct more accurate searches. When I don’t need Strong’s numbers, I use the ordinary NASB text so I can touch the screen without concern. My next purchase will be the Analytical Greek New Testament (AGNT) with Morphology, Lexicon, and UBS4 Critical Apparatus.
I like to mark up my paper Bibles with color coding and write notes in the margins, but I hesitate to do so because of the permanence of the markings. I even printed out passages or photocopied pages so that I could mark them up to my heart’s content without regret. Now with the ease of the color coding available to me with The Bible Study App, I mark up the text constantly, and if I change my mind, I just redo it. I even created my own custom color. I have begun to copy and paste specific sermon or interpretive notes into the text, so I am ready to preach or teach on a moment’s notice. The notes are always there. I use Evernote to back them up or import long sets of notes. One of the best features of OliveTree is that my purchases and notes are available across all of my mobile platforms. I need to buy a resource only once. I keep each device updated by syncing. When I upgrade my iPhone, I download the resources I have in the cloud to be available wherever I am 24/7, even better than the old vest pocket New Testament! My Bible is always with me! (And so is a commentary!) OliveTree gives me the software upgrades for free, instead of trying to sell me an entire new program.
It may seem strange, but I have my devotions on my iPad using The Bible Study App. My daughter does as well. We like to share the verses that were especially meaningful to us. The copy and paste feature is particularly useful for this. I find myself sending verses not just to her, but to a number of family members and friends.
I recently stepped down from my role as president of the college. The iPad belonged to them. The device had become more than just a hyper-portable computer. It had become my Bible. I asked if I could keep it. I told them it was my Bible. Thankfully, they graciously said “Yes!”