Zondervan has just released the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D.A. Carson as the general editor. Built from the ground up to reflect the most current 21st century scholarship, Dr. Carson and a team of over 60 contributors have crafted all-new study notes, book and section introductions, theological articles, and other study tools that specifically focus on biblical theology, which is the progressive unfolding of theological concepts through the Bible.
As you read and study with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, you’ll learn more about the biblical writers, the times in which they wrote, and the larger purpose of their writings in God’s story.
Let’s walk through the features of this terrific new study Bible so you can see just how comprehensive it is.
NIV Bible Text
When we release new study Bibles for use in the Bible Study App, we typically don’t include the Bible text. The text is usually the same as the Bibles we already offer, so there’s no need. However, this time we include the Bible text that comes with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. When we started working on this resource we realized that many of the cross references were different from the NIV Bible we offer. Since we wanted to offer our users a complete experience with this resource, we opted to include the NIV text with its custom cross references. All the cross references you find in the print version of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible will be in our digital version. This may seem like a minor feature to some, but it’s worth noting because cross references make finding related passages easy.
You can also easily access these cross references through the Related Verses section of the Resource Guide. This is yet another way Olive Tree makes this study Bible work for you.
Book and Section Introductions
The NIV Zondervan Study Bible offers section introductions to the Bible’s literary genres, such as the Pentateuch and the Historical Books. In the book introductions, you will find everything from the author’s purpose in writing, the book’s theme, a full outline, and relevant photos. This study Bible leaves no stone unturned. These introductions cover everything you need to know before studying any book of the Bible.
After reading through the book and section introductions, you’re ready to dive into the study notes. The notes will help you zero in on the unique and essential voice of each biblical book and writer and the contribution each one makes to the overall plot of the Bible. The NIV Zondervan Study Bible has nearly 20,000 verse-by-verse notes offering insight on every passage of Scripture.
You can access the study notes in conjunction with your Bible by opening them in a split window or through the Commentaries section of the Resource Guide.
One particularly valuable feature of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is its library of concise theological articles that unpack God’s story by tracking the development of biblical themes as they are progressively unfolded throughout the Scripture. Notable scholars and leaders such as Timothy Keller, Kevin DeYoung, and Douglas Moo address theological topics such as “sin,” “creation,” “shalom,” and many more. These short articles provide the perspective that the book-by-book notes cannot: an overarching view of the Bible’s message and teaching and how the gospel of Jesus Christ relates to each topic.
The simplest way to find the articles is by changing the Verse Chooser to list view and navigating to “Articles Table of Contents”. This will display a list of all the articles for quick access. Depending on the passage you’re in, these articles may also appear in the Resource Guide under their respective topics.
Photos, Maps, & Charts
The NIV Zondervan Study Bible includes hundreds of full-color photos, maps, and charts to help you understand the biblical narrative. You’ll find incredible photos of biblical artifacts and locations placed within the study notes. The study Bible includes over 90 maps with explanatory notes located near their relevant Scripture passages so you know where key Bible events happened. There are also over 60 charts that summarize information and concepts encountered throughout the Bible. Many of these images will also appear in the Resource Guide under their respective sections.
Most Bibles include a concordance of some kind. The purpose of a concordance is to help you find passages that refer to a name, place, or word. You can already do this with the Search feature in the Bible Study App, but we took things further and included the NIV Zondervan Study Bible‘s concordance. Not only did we include it, but we tagged it in such a way that it works with the Lookup feature and also appears in the People, Places, and Topics sections of the Resource Guide.
Buy in Print, Get Digital for Free
We have partnered with Zondervan to do something special with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. All print copies of the study Bible contain a redemption code that can be used to download a free copy of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible for the Bible Study App from Olive Tree. You can’t beat that 2-for-1 deal!
If you’re not interested in owning it in print, you can buy the NIV Zondervan Study Bible directly from us for use in the Bible Study App. Be sure to check out the other titles we have on sale this week.
The difficulties of maintaining a daily Bible study routine are many. Where do you start? How do you make adequate time for more than a cursory reading of the Text? How do you find the right balance of study and devotion? And the list goes on. The truth is there are no easy answers to any of these questions. But we shouldn’t throw in the towel and give up. Every Christian struggles with their Bible reading at some point in their life. Today I want to share a new Olive Tree resource whose aim is to help your daily Bible study. Let me introduce you to the Open Your Bible Commentary.
The Open Your Bible Commentary was written to encourage daily Bible study. The content of this two volume commentary began as a series of Bible Study books originally published by Scripture Union. The series’ intent was to create a resource that encouraged a greater depth of Bible study in a way that wasn’t possible with study notes alone. This format allowed the authors to give fuller discussions on introductory, textual, and background material that might otherwise be overlooked in something like a study Bible. The principal aim of the studies was to stimulate daily Bible reading as a means of personal devotion and life application.
These sensitively edited studies have been reworked into what we now have as the Open Your Bible Commentary. With this commentary you get short readings rich in content. Each passage is carefully explained, devotionally warm, and practically relevant. In its introduction, the commentary boasts four great strengths that set it apart from others:
- Accessible: The studies address the average, thoughtful Christian without assuming they have a prior background with the text.
- Digestible: No section is overly long. It is designed so that you can read one or two sections each day without feeling overwhelmed.
- Dependable: The commentary is authored by renowned theologians, scholars, and experienced pastors including: F.F. Bruce, Leon Morris, William L. Lane, and others
- Practical: The studies offer a diversity of everyday application. Sometimes you are given clear application, while other times you are left to ponder the truths for yourself.
All in all, the Open Your Bible Commentary is built for Christians who desire to engage with the Bible daily. After each section you are sure to walk away with a greater understanding of the Bible and application to apply.
Open Your Bible in the Bible Study App
There are a few ways you can use the Open Your Bible Commentary in the Bible Study App, but let me show you my favorite way to use it.
Since the commentary is conveniently broken into manageable sections for study, I prefer to use it as my daily reading plan. In the morning I read a section from the New Testament volume along with its accompanying Bible passage. For my evening reading I do the same, but with the Old Testament volume.
Unlike most times when I read the Bible, this time I have the commentary open in the main window. I then use the Book Ribbon to mark my current location so I can easily pick up where I left off next time.
Next, I tap the verse reference and open it in the split window. Now I can read the passage and the commentary text. I can also tap on any of the cross references and read them in a pop-up.
Even with the Bible open in the split window I can still take notes on what I’m studying. And, if by chance I want to do further study, I can quickly switch to the Resource Guide to explore my other resources.
What I love about this setup is it allows me to have a different kind of reading plan that still lets me easily study the Bible. I recommend giving it a try!
Let’s face it, studying the Old Testament can be hard work. This is doubly true once you dive into the original languages, and Hebrew in particular. There are a plethora of useful resources to choose from when studying Biblical Greek, such as BDAG, EDNT, TDNT, NIDNTTE, Louw & Nida, to name a few. Yet when it comes to studying Hebrew the pickings are slim. In Olive Tree, outside of the Strong’s Dictionary, you’re limited to a few titles including: NIDOTTE, HALOT, and TWOT. Even though there’s not a lot to choose from when it comes to studying Hebrew, the available resources are extremely useful.
Today I will show you how to use the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) in the Bible Study App.
Studying with TWOT
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament is essentially a Hebrew lexicon and can be used like any other Hebrew lexicon. However, it has certain special features which are designed to facilitate its use, especially for those less at home in the Hebrew language. It is primarily intended to be a ready tool for the pastor and the serious student, who want to study carefully and understand more fully the sacred text.
I recommend using the TWOT in conjunction with a Strong’s Bible, such as the ESV, to get the most out of it. To illustrate how TWOT works, we will take a look at 1 Samuel 16, a passage I recently read in my Olive Tree daily reading plan. In this passage we find Samuel anointing David as the new king of Israel, since Saul, the current king, had chosen to stop obeying the Lord.
With the emphasis of anointing in this passage, I wanted to find out more about the Hebrew word behind it, since I knew it is used in several contexts in Scripture. To do this, I tap on the word “anoint” in 1 Samuel 16:3 to bring up a Strong’s popup.
The definition from the Strong’s dictionary is rather sparse, so I want to find out more. This is where the TWOT comes into play. I tap the “Lookup” button and then select the TWOT article.
The TWOT is now in view and I can read more about the Hebrew root word. If I want to keep the window open or have more space to read, I can then open it in the split window.
As I read I can see there is some theological significance to this word, including the divine enablement that accompanied someone being anointed king over Israel. This is information I wouldn’t have gotten from Bible reading alone or from my Study Bible notes. Thanks to TWOT I have a richer understanding of the importance of Samuel anointing David as king.
Because the TWOT is an enhanced Olive Tree product, it is extremely easy to use. Anywhere you find a tagged Hebrew word you’ll be able to quickly get to its TWOT entry. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading your Hebrew and Strong’s Bibles or looking at another Hebrew lexicon. TWOT is always right at your fingertips to expand your understanding of the Hebrew text.
Add TWOT to Your Library
Any Bible study library worth its weight must contain good Bible dictionaries. Inevitably you will come across something you don’t completely understand and you’ll want more information than your study Bible or commentary has to offer. Bible dictionaries fill this void with their wealth of knowledge on a myriad of biblical subjects. Today I’d like to introduce you to the IVP Dictionary Series, a new top notch set that you’ll want to own as a part of your Olive Tree library.
The IVP Dictionary Series, known to many as the “Black Dictionaries” because of their covers, is a unique set of reference works that bridges the gap between scholars and those pastors, teachers, students and lay people desiring in-depth treatment of select topics in an accessible format.
When you look at many Bible dictionaries published today, they are typically a single volume and may or may not contain information on your desired topic of study. Given their single volume nature, publishers have to decide what to cover and what gets trimmed down or eliminated for the sake of page count. This is not the case with the IVP Dictionary Series. Instead, you get eight (8) individual dictionaries that target specific areas of Scripture, whether it be the Old Testament prophets or Paul and his epistles. The articles cover traditional and contemporary topics, including cross-sectional themes, methods of interpretation, significant historical or cultural background, and each Old and New Testament book as a whole.
The great thing about having individual volumes that focus on specific areas of Scripture is it allows you to get an in-depth look at the subject as it pertains to the passage you’re studying. As opposed to getting a broad overview that covers the subject over the entirety of the Bible, you can narrow down your study to only see how it relates to your passage. Allow me to illustrate, while showing you how to use them in the Bible Study app.
Let’s say I’m in the gospels studying one of Jesus’ miracles, such as his cleansing of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19. As I study this passage, I’m going to want to do more study on the subject of miracles and faith, since it is clearly an emphasis in this passage. The Resource Guide makes it easy to study these topics and suggests them to me. So, I click on faith.
As I peruse my list of hits I find many dictionaries in my library that discuss the subject of faith. Notice that the IVP Dictionary Series is in my list, and, of the 8 volumes, 6 have entries for faith. Since I’m currently in the gospels I will take a look at the entry in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.
Looking through the article, I immediately find out just how important faith is in the gospels, and the New Testament in general. I can then see a quick outline of the entry, before drilling down into the subject. When I’m done, I walk away with a greater understanding of how faith relates to the gospels and Jesus’ ministry. Now, if I want to expand my study beyond the gospels, I can read the other IVP dictionaries and see how it is understood in other areas of Scripture, such as the Pentateuch or the later New Testament writings.
There are many ways you can utilize these dictionaries in your studies. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, just open up the dictionary and navigate to your subject. Alternatively, if you’re reading the Bible and find a word you want to study, tap it and use the Lookup feature to find hits in these dictionaries. How you use them is really up to you.
Purchase the IVP Dictionary Series today at it’s introductory sale price and start using these dictionaries in your own studies. This is one set of dictionaries you will not regret owning!
Pastors have a hard job. They get in front of their congregations every week and preach a word from the Lord with the intent of impacting their lives and souls. To accomplish this goal the preacher must do two things: 1) explain the text, and 2) relate the text. Many of the Puritans believed a preacher had to saturate himself with Scripture and apply it to himself before he could preach it with power to others. With such sound advice, what can a preacher do to aide in the application of Scripture both to himself and others? This is where a resource like the Preacher’s Commentary Series is handy; it helps preachers and teachers understand their passage while providing applicable truths & illustrations.
Let’s look inside The Preacher’s Commentary Series and see how it works in the Bible Study App.
Like any enhanced resource you purchase for the Bible Study App, the Preacher’s Commentary Series is built to work hand-in-hand with the Resource Guide. As you read the Bible the Resource Guide follows along and gives an overview of resources in your library that have content related to your passage. In the screenshot below you can see we have a hit in the commentary section for the Preacher’s Commentary Series. Since I’m currently studying the armor of God in Ephesians 6, I can quickly see what this commentary says without having to go find the commentary in my library and manually open it to my desired location. Not only do I save time, but I get the information I need with minimal effort.
One thing I appreciate about the Preacher’s Commentary is it reads like a devotional. Instead of getting caught in the nuances of the text that may not help you teach a passage, the commentary keeps an eye on explaining the things that matter. This means you don’t waste time skimming through pages of endless commentary to find the nuggets you came for. For example, in the commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20 the text is explained while intertwining a great illustration that bring immediate application. You then get descriptions for each piece of armor and their relevance to the Christian life.
Use it Today
The Preacher’s Commentary Series is a perfect companion for the teacher or pastor looking to relate the passage to their students or congregation.
Commentaries are an essential part of any Christian’s library. Yet how do you decide which ones to buy? A lot of people gravitate toward commentaries that focus on explaining the meaning of the text. Personally, those are the kind I prefer and what I lean on most when studying the Bible. But a good part of Bible study also involves applying the text to your life. For many, myself included, this isn’t always the easiest thing to do. This is where resources like Courson’s Application Commentary are useful. It is a commentary whose primary focus is explaining the text devotionally and how it applies to our lives.
Let’s take a look inside Jon Courson’s commentary and see how it works in the Bible Study App. Screenshots are from a Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
Like any enhanced resource you purchase for the Bible Study App, Courson’s Application Commentary is built to work hand-in-hand with the Resource Guide. As you’re reading the Bible the Resource Guide follows along and gives an overview of resources in your library that have content related to your passage. In the screenshot below you can see we have a hit in our commentary section for Courson’s commentary. After reading other commentaries or Study Bibles that explain the text, I can then turn to this commentary to help with applying God’s Word to my life.
One thing I like about this commentary is it doesn’t try to do too much. Courson doesn’t attempt to explain the nuances of a Greek or Hebrew word or bore you with information only a scholar would appreciate. Instead, he takes a devotional approach to explaining the text so that it comes alive and is easily applicable to life in the here & now. He gets right to the point. This means you don’t have to waste time skimming through pages of endless commentary trying to find an author’s one or two sentences of practical application. You come to this commentary looking for application & he gives it to you.
Scattered throughout the commentary are what Courson likes to call “Topical Articles.” The best way to summarize these articles is to call them sermonettes. Here Courson takes a passage and deals with it topically, incorporating other passages as needed, to completely bring the big idea of a passage to life. A perfect example is the article titled “He Didn’t Say That!,” a study on Genesis 3:3. Here Courson does a wonderful job explaining Adam’s sin and how easy it would’ve been for us to commit the same sin by using illustrations that anyone can relate to.
The easiest way to access these articles is through the table of contents. If you change your Verse Chooser from grid to list view, you’ll see a section called “Topical Table of Contents” for each of the three volumes. Here you will find a list of all the topical articles in that volume organized by topic. Use this to easily find out what the Bible says on anxiety or how you can improve your Christian walk or any other topic.
Courson’s Application Commentary is a perfect companion to your daily Bible reading. It is even useful to the Bible teacher or pastor looking for the perfect way to relate the passage to their students or congregation.