Category: Look Inside

Link Biblical Themes—Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible

Posted by on 07/05/2017 in: ,

Commentaries and study notes are great tools for understanding what the Bible has to say to us today. However, sometimes we forget that scripture itself can help us understand other parts of scripture. God’s inspired Word is a complex tapestry of themes all woven together, and the development of those themes can provide us with insight into the relevant message of the Bible.

Finding the pattern in this tapestry isn’t an easy task, though. I like to use the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible, which links various themes together as they are touched upon and developed throughout Scripture. It quickly reveals thousands of thematic chains within my Olive Tree Bible App at the touch of my finger. Not only that, but this resource also contains a great study Bible, offering cross references, book outlines, book introductions, maps, and more.

Instead of simply telling you, I’ll show you how easy this tool is to use in five easy steps on my iPad.

1. PICK A PASSAGE

Pull up 1 Samuel chapter 17 up in your Bible, or any other passage you want to study. Your screen may look a bit different than ours depending on what device you’re using and the number of resources you have.

2. OPEN THE RESOURCE

Tap “Thompson Chain Reference” from the resource guide. Your split-window view will change to a list of verses directly related to your location in the Bible.

3. CHOOSE A VERSE

Select the verse you want by tapping on it in the split window. In this example we’ll choose 17:4.

4. PICK A THEME

You can now choose the theme you want to explore in the list under the verse. For example, choosing “1409 Giants” results in the following:

5. READ!

Now it’s as easy as tapping on each verse reference to get a pop-up window. There you can read verses that touch on the same topic. Now you’ve just learned more about giants in the Bible!

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How I Learned to Love Church History

Posted by on 06/20/2017 in: ,

If you asked me to list my favorite subjects when I was in school, history would not even make the list. While I believe those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, I still found the subject boring. Memorizing dates and seemingly random events never resonated with me. That said, I enjoy studying the Bible and all things related to it. A part of that involves studying history, the subject I loathe. What was I to do? Let me tell you how I learned to love Church history.

When it comes to learning Church history, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Starting with the Apostles, we’re looking at almost 2,000 years of history to explore. I can barely keep up with all the world events that have taken place in my 35 years of life, so how was I going to tackle learning Church history? Easy. I found a resource that gives an overview of the entirety of Church history from early Christianity to the present day, and does it in a way that’s easy to digest. The Atlas of Christian History is that resource!

Instead of tackling a thick history book that would give me far more detail than I want as a newbie, I opted for a book that would give me quick summaries of the major events and people throughout the centuries. In a matter of a few short paragraphs per section, the Atlas of Christian History gives me the high level view I need to get a broad understanding of Christian history. And, for a more abbreviated view of history, the first paragraph to begin a new section is bold and gives you a couple sentence summary of the date or event in view. As an example, here is the first paragraph under “The Arian Challenge”:

Around 318 a particularly divisive dispute flared between Arius (c. 250–c. 336), a presbyter in Alexandria, and the Patriarch Alexander (r. 313–26). Arius was teaching that, if the Son of God had been crucified, he suffered – as the supreme deity cannot do. He argued that Jesus Christ was therefore not eternal, but made by the Father to do his creative work. By dividing off the Son from God the Father, Arius undermined Christ’s status as God’s revelation and as the saviour of humankind.

The thing that sets this resource apart from other history titles is that it’s also an atlas! If there’s anything that makes studying history fun it’s lots of maps and pictures. The Atlas of Christian History does not disappoint in this department. This book has some of the best maps I’ve ever seen in a Christian resource. Quite literally, the maps are the reason to buy this book! The beautifully designed maps are what made learning Christian history fun. I’d often find myself enthralled with the maps, only to begin reading the preceding text to get the context for the data being presented to me. And guess what?! Without even trying, I was learning and loving history!

Take a look at these maps to get an idea of what I’m talking about. The first shows the spread of Christianity by AD 300. The second depicts the distribution of major denominations in the United States as of the year 2000. And along with the maps, you’ll also find stunning photographs of important Christian sites throughout history.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think I could ever love studying history. The Atlas of Christian History changed that for me. If you’re like me, this resource is a great primer for getting a broad overview of 2,000 years of Christian history. The maps alone are worth their weight in gold. If this resource doesn’t get you excited about learning history, nothing will. No matter your level of expertise, the Atlas of Christian History will help you better understand our history as the Christian Church.

Click here to add this amazing title to your Olive Tree library today!

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How does the Expositor’s Bible Commentary Approach Scripture?

Posted by on 06/07/2017 in: ,

Expositor's Bible Commentary

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary series set the gold standard for expositors—for understanding the biblical authors and teaching their message today.

Save 50% on this 12-volume commentary set right now. Don’t wait.

ABOUT THE EXPOSITOR’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

The Gold Medallion Award–winning Expositor’s Bible Commentary offers pastors, teachers and students a comprehensive tool for the exposition of the Scriptures and the teaching and proclamation of their message.

How does this commentary approach Scripture?

Hear from the General Editor, the late Frank E. Gaebelein:

The chief principle of interpretation followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical onenamely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing.

This endeavor to understand what in the first instance the inspired writers actually said must not be confused with an inflexible literalism. Scripture makes lavish use of symbols and figures of speech; great portions of it are poetical. Yet when it speaks in this way, it speaks no less truly than it does in its historical and doctrinal portions.

To understand [Scripture’s] message requires attention to matters of grammar and syntax, word meanings, idioms, and literary formsall in relation to the historical and cultural setting of the text.

About the contributors:

  • 78 international contributors from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand are included
  • Many evangelical denominations are represented including Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and Reformed
  • Contributors include Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Leon Morris, D. A. Carson, general editor Frank E. Gaebelein, and many others

The contributors represent the best in evangelical scholarship committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible.

Learn more and see the sale today.

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Look Inside: Reformation Study Bible Notes (NKJV)

Posted by on 05/22/2017 in: ,

Just released for Olive Tree’s Bible Study App is the new edition of the Reformation Study Bible Notes. We are excited to be able to partner with Ligonier Ministries to be one of the first to offer this outstanding Bible study resource. The Reformation Study Bible Notes (2015) have been thoroughly revised and carefully crafted under the editorial leadership of R.C. Sproul. Over 1.1 million words of new, expanded, or revised commentary from 75 distinguished theologians, pastors, and scholars from around the world contribute to make this an unparalleled discipleship resource. Includes new award-winning maps, topical articles, concordance, and historical creeds, confessions, and catechisms, and more.  It is a fantastic resource and we want to give you a look inside this new edition of the Reformation Study Bible Notes.

In the screenshot below (taken from an iPad 2) I have my Bible text open in the main window to Acts 19. As I scroll through the Resource Guide in the Split Window I can see all of my enhanced resources that have an entry pertaining to the current text that I’m reading. I notice that the Reformation Study Bible Notes has entries for commentaries, maps, outlines, and introductions. The numbers indicate how many entries are available for each enhanced resource.

The Reformation Study Bible Notes – in the resource guide – shows six entries under the Commentary section for Acts 19:1-10. When I click on the the Reformation Study Bible Notes it then shows me a preview of those six entries.

I can then click on any of those previews to read the full commentary. As I read on in the text, those entries will stay in sync with my passage no matter what translation I have open in the main window.  Any Scripture reference I see becomes a hyperlink that I can tap and read without having to leave my current Bible passage.

Maps in the The Reformation Study Bible Notes can be found in two places in the Resource Guide.  First, under “Place” tap a location you are interested in.  I chose Ephesus in this case. After tapping Ephesus, all of the maps in the The Reformation Study Bible Notes tagged with that location will appear. You can then pinch and zoom the map for a larger view.

The second place is under the “Maps” Section.  Tap the one you want, Tap the “two arrows” button, pinch and zoom for a larger view.

The Reformation Study Bible Notes also includes many theological articles also linked to the Bible text you are reading.  Under Topics, tap a subject you want to learn more about. I choose “Baptism” in this case.

The Reformation Study Bible Notes also gives you book outlines, and book introductions. These are easy to access from the Resource Guide which pulls in entries based on where you’re reading in the main window.

The Reformation Study Bible Notes also includes 10 historical creeds, confessions, and catechisms.  To access them, open The Reformation Study Bible Notes in the Main Window > Tap Go To > Tap the “3 dots/3 lines” icon to Change from Grid View to List View > Tap Back Matter > Tap Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms > Tap the Creed or Confession you want to read.

You can also access all of enhanced content by navigating to the “end matter” in this way.

As you can see, the Reformation Study Bible Notes contain a ton of content that will help you go deeper in your Bible study.

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Look Inside: Understanding the Bible Commentary Series

Posted by on 05/05/2017 in:

The Understanding The Bible Commentary Series is a 36 volume commentary spanning the entire Old Testament and New Testament.

Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books. To make the commentary easier to use key terms and phrases are highlighted, and all Greek & Hebrew has been transliterated. (Screenshots are from an 9.7″ iPad Pro)

Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper. A bibliography as well as Scripture and subject indexes are also included. Pastors, students, and Bible teachers will find in this series a commitment to accessibility without sacrificing serious scholarship.

Get the entire Understanding The Bible Commentary Series here!

Watch the video below to hear more about The Understanding The Bible Commentary series.

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Look Inside: Reformation Commentary on Scripture Series

Posted by on 04/28/2017 in: , , ,

The Reformation Commentary on Scripture (RCS) provides a crucial link between the contemporary church and the great cloud of witnesses that is the historical church. The biblical insights and rhetorical power of the tradition of the Reformation are here made available as a powerful tool for the church of the twenty-first century. Like never before, believers can feel they are a part of a genuine tradition of renewal as they faithfully approach the Scriptures.

Hear from landmark figures such as Luther and Calvin, as well as lesser-known commentators such as Peter Martyr Vermigli, Johannes Oecolampadius, Martin Bucer, Johannes Brenz, Caspar Cruciger, Giovanni Diodati, and Kaspar Olevianus. The series introduces you to the great diversity that constituted the Reformation, with commentary from Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Anabaptist and even reform-minded Catholic thinkers, who all shared a commitment to the faithful exposition of Scripture.

Many of these texts are being published in English for the first time, and volumes also contain biographies of figures from the Reformation era, adding an essential reference for students of church history.

Several features have been incorporated into the design of this commentary and we wanted to show you just a few.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Pro.  Click on images for a larger view)

Pericopes of Scripture

The scriptural text has been divided into pericopes, or passages, usually several verses in length. Each of these pericopes is given a heading, which appears at the beginning of the pericope. For example, the first pericope in the commentary on Galatians is “1:1-5 Greetings and Blessings.”

Overviews

Following each pericope of text is an overview of the Reformation authors’ comments on that pericope. The format of this overview varies among the volumes of this series, depending on the requirements of the specific book of Scripture.

(see screenshot above)

Topical Headings

An abundance of varied Reformation-era comment is available for each pericope. For this reason we have broken the pericopes into two levels. First is the verse with its topical heading. The reformers’ comments are then focused on aspects of each verse, with topical headings summarizing the essence of the individual comment by evoking a key phrase, metaphor or idea. This feature provides a bridge by which modern readers can enter into the heart of the Reformation-era comment.

Identifying the Reformation-era Texts

Following the topical heading of each section of comment, the name of the Reformation commentator is given. An English translation (where needed) of the reformer’s comment is then provided. This is immediately followed by the title of the original work rendered in English. Tap on the name to read a brief biographical sketch of the Reformation commentator.

The Footnotes

Readers who wish to pursue a deeper investigation of the Reformation works cited in this commentary will find the footnotes especially valuable. Tapping on a footnote number will cause a box to pop up on the screen, where in addition to other notations (clarifications or biblical cross references) one will find information on English translations (where available) and standard original language editions of the work cited.

The Bible Study App makes the Reformation Commentary on Scripture even more powerful!

Here’s how.

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 commentary “hits” from the Reformation Commentary on Scripture  in the split window.

The Bible Study App also keeps up with the scripture passage you’re reading in the main window with sync scrolling.  This means that as you move along in the Bible text, 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 Reformation Commentary on Scripture. You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.

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. 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.

Copy/Paste into Notes

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 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 fingers!

Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)

In the iOS app, you have additional options.  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.

Resource Guide on One Verse (iOS Extra)

Another iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap 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 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 within the Olive Tree Bible App give you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Click here to learn more about The Reformation Commentary on Scripture.

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Look Inside: The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible

Posted by on 03/29/2017 in:

The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible includes more than 7,500 articles, hundreds of full-color and black-and-white illustrations, charts, graphs and maps from 238 contributors from around the world.

With this much content, how can you sort it all out to see what’s relevant for your Bible study?

Here are three ways the Olive Tree Bible App makes the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible even more powerful:

ONE:

Open your favorite Bible in the main window. (I’ve got the NIV open in this example.)  Tap the split window and drag it to a width or height you like.  As I scroll through the Bible text, the resource guide keeps up with me and searches through all the books in my library for content related to the Scripture passage in the main window.

If you scroll down the resource guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”

Tap or click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about.  I chose “Altar” in this example.  The Bible Study App then brings you results from within the resources you have on your device.  This is where you will find results from the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible.

You’ll see that the resource has the words “Article on ALTAR” underneath the book cover.  Tap/Click on the book cover and the App will take you directly to the article within the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible.  After you’ve tapped on the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, you can scroll down and read the entire article without having to leave your Bible text.

If there are scripture references in the article, just tap the verse and it will appear in a pop-up window.

TWO:

You can also utilize the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible as a traditional encyclopedia in the Bible App.  Just Tap/Click the “Go-To” button and scroll through just as you would a hard-copy encyclopedia.

THREE:

The Bible Study App Search feature takes the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible to another level. Tap/Click the “Search” icon (magnifying glass icon) and type the word you’re looking for to find all the references of that word in the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible.

The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible is on sale now!

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How to use the NIDNTTE in the Olive Tree Bible App

Posted by on 03/27/2017 in: ,

NIDNTTE picA standard and widely-used reference work for nearly 40 years, the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE) has been thoroughly revised and updated to aid today’s pastors, students, scholars, and teachers in their study of the New Testament.

The NIDNTTE offers a wealth of background and information on the meaning of Greek words in the New Testament—as well as related usage in classical Greek sources, the Septuagint, Jewish literature, and more

Here are Five ways to use the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE) in the Olive Tree Bible App.

ONE – Traditional Dictionary

Open the NIDNTTE in the main window. Tap the GO TO button. From here you can search for the word you are looking for as you would another other dictionary through the Table of Contents.

TWO – Traditional Dictionary Search

Similarly, with the NIDNTTE in the main window. Tap GO TO > Browse Dictionary > Enter the Greek Word you are looking for.  The Bible App searches the NIDNTTE for the Greek word. Tap the word and read the article.

These first two options require a working knowledge of Biblical Greek.  I’m sorry to say that my Greek is a bit rusty. Okay, it’s a LOT rusty. (Apologies to Dr. Walls, my Greek professor)  This is where the Bible App’s functionality and integration with original language resources really shines.

THREE – Strong’s Tagged Bible Integration

If you have a Strong’s Tagged Bible, using the NIDNTTE is a snap.  Open your Strong’s Tagged Bible in the Main Window (I’m using the ESV Strong’s Tagged Bible in this example). Tap the word you want to learn more about.  I’ve chosen the word “worship” from Romans 12:1 latreia. From the Strong’s Popup, tap “Lookup latreia”.

There you will find an article in the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis.  Tap the NIDNTTE book cover and you can read the article on the Greek word in the popup window.

You even have the option to open the article in the Main Window or Split Window.

FOUR – Original Language Integration 

Along the same lines is the integration with Greek Parsed texts like the NA28 with Parsings.

FIVE – Greek New Testament Interlinear Integration

Lastly, the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis integrates well with our Greek New Testament Interlinear titles.

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis is a great resource for going further in your understanding of biblical Greek.  Thanks to our partners at Zondervan, we’re able to offer a special price for the fully updated and revised 5 volume set, and the 10 volume bundle that includes it’s sister title the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDOTTE).  Hurry, because this is a limited time offer and we don’t know when we’ll be able to offer these discounts on these resources again.

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Making the Most of NIVAC

Posted by on 03/22/2017 in:

No matter your level of expertise with the Bible, there are certain things we all do when we come to a time of studying God’s Word. After reading the text, there are two things we always hope to walk away with from the text: 1) what does this passage mean, and 2) how does it apply to me? There are any number of good tools we can use to find these answers. The problem is that the majority of the tools available only do half the job. You either get really good commentary explaining the text, but little to no application; or, you get lots of anecdotes & application, but find it lacking when it comes to helping you understand what the passage says. The NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC) is a study tool that gives you everything you need to both understand and apply the text. Let’s take a look at how NIVAC can help you get the most out of any Bible passage.

Original Meaning

Before you can attempt to make any sort of application from Scripture you first have to understand it. This involves figuring out the author’s intent and how the original recipients would have understood what was said. Here you will find all the elements of traditional exegesis in concise form. NIVAC makes this incredibly simple with its easy to read commentary. Reading through this section brings forward all the historical & cultural background details needed to make sense of the text. Even when presented with original language or extrabiblical material, the commentary is still easy to follow and is never overly technical. Without a doubt, once you’re done with this section you’ll know what your passage means and how the original audience understood it.

Bridging Contexts

When you have a grasp on the passage & how the original recipients would have understood it, you must bring the text forward to the present day. NIVAC helps you do this with the “Bridging Contexts” section of their commentary. While God’s Word is timeless, it presents unique challenges in figuring out how passages relate to us. This section answers how the Bible fits into our world today. It helps you figure out what is timeless in a passage and what is not. Does a particular issue the recipients faced still hold true for us today? Was the instruction contained in a passage for that audience alone or does it apply for all time? These are the types of questions you’ll find answers to.

Contemporary Significance

One of the more difficult things about studying a passage is making application. How do you take what you’ve learned in the process of exegesis and speak to today’s problems? NIVAC has the solution. After you’ve identified what relates to the original audience & explored the contexts in which the text can be applied, you can then craft your application. The commentary does this in such a way that their applications don’t easily become dated. They don’t skimp on depth from the text at the expense of application. NIVAC’s goal is to put the tools in your hands so you can successfully make your own application for preaching, teaching, or personal edification.

It Helped Me & It Can Help You

The NIV Application Commentary series is a unique Bible study tool. It is a reference work in its truest sense, but helps you think through the process of making application, instead of giving handing you examples that will age with time. From beginning to end, NIVAC will help you get the most out of the biblical text. I’ve personally been blessed by this commentary. Whether I’m preparing a sermon or digging into the text for personal edification, NIVAC always has something for me. It has quickly become one of my go to resources for any type of study. Add it to your library and reap its benefits today!

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Look Inside: Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Posted by on 03/20/2017 in:

This week we’re able to offer some outstanding illustrated commentaries that are an amazing resource for use within the Olive Tree Bible App. The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on both the New and Old Testament brings to life the ancient world in informative entries and full-color photos and graphics.

The resource guide of the Olive Tree Bible App makes using Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary a seamless part of your study.

In the screenshot below (taken from an iPad) I have my Bible opened to Daniel chapter 1. The commentary section of the resource guide then shows me which of my commentaries have related entries to this text.

ibc1

The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary indicates five entries so I’ll click on that commentary to see a preview of the those entries.

ibc2

Since this chapter talks about Daniel and his friends being placed in a Babylonian learning environment, I’m interested in learning more about what that may have looked like. I then click on the third entry that talks about the language and literature of the Babylonians.

ibc3

I can then read a fascinating article about historical Babylonian education that Daniel and his friends would have been exposed to. Thanks to enhanced commentaries like the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary I can easily gain some amazing insight that helps me view the Biblical text in new ways.

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