Category: Look Inside

Look Inside: Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical & Post-Biblical Antiquity

Posted by on 10/15/2018 in: ,

Dictionary of Daily Life


Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical & Post-Biblical Antiquity has quite a long, exact, title—just like its dictionary entries. We were seriously impressed with the depth of information provided in this resource. So much so, we want to give you a look inside. Keep reading to find out the inspiration behind this dictionary, its contents, and how it conveniently works in the app.


In the introduction of the Dictionary of Daily Life, Edwin Yamauchi gives an insightful explanation of why he put together this resource. Instead of summarizing it, we put it here for you to read:

Edwin M. Yamauchi

“While there are many excellent Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, and popular books on biblical backgrounds available, I had noticed a serious deficiency. I noted that while every one of these had an entry on “Abomination,” none (with the exception of the six-volume Anchor Bible Dictionary) had an entry on “Abortion.” Why was this the case? It was because these references were keyed to the words which occurred in the Bible.

From my 40 years of teaching the history of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, early Judaism, and early Christianity, I was well aware of the widespread practice of abortion, contraception, and infanticide in these societies and epochs. I therefore proposed a new framework for the DDL, one based on the Human Relations Area Files, an anthropological grid of human society, which would systematically and comparatively survey different aspects of culture, whether they were highlighted in the Bible or not.

The biblical texts were not intended to give us a complete representation of their worlds. In fact, they take for granted what was well known to both the writers and readers, but of which we are not aware. It is as though we hear the vocalization of an operatic libretto, but do not see the scenery and the costumes of the singers. Thanks, however, to extra-biblical texts and archaeology, we are able to recreate much of the background for the Bible.”


Inside, you’ll find four volumes. However, by tapping the Browse Dictionary tab, you can easily search and scroll through the entire resource.



But what kind of topics are covered? There are 120 different subjects, some mentioned in the Bible and some that are not, but key features of the ancient world. Here is the author’s perspective:

“Rather than attempting to cover all possible topics, we have chosen to concentrate on 120 subjects, not because of their prominence in the biblical text but because of their significant roles in the ancient world. For example, ASTROLOGY, DREAMS, MAGIC, and DIVINATION & SORTITION (i.e., the casting of lots) are mentioned sparingly in the biblical texts themselves but they were dominant facets of life in antiquity.” — Edwin M. Yamauchi

Each subject is then covered in six sections:

(1) the Old Testament and

(2) the New Testament; followed by

(3) the Near Eastern world, primarily Mesopotamia and Egypt, with some references to Anatolia and Persia;

(4) the Greco-Roman world, from the Minoans and Mycenaeans, Homer, through the Hellenistic era, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire;

(5) the Jewish world, including the Old Testament Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mishnah, and the Talmuds (Babylonian and Jerusalem); and

(6) the Christian world, including the church fathers up to Chrysostom and Augustine, as well as the early Byzantine empire to Justinian.


There several ways that you can use this resource in the app. The first is by looking up a word. Simple select a word and tap “look up.” If you have a resource that talks about that word, we’ll show it to you. It’s that easy.


Another option is to open up the Resource Guide. We’ll show you topics that are mentioned in the passage you are reading. Tap on one to see if you have any resources that give you additional information.


We learned in the introduction that some of the topics in this dictionary aren’t necessarily listed in the Bible, though. So, this is a dictionary worth opening on its own. Take time to do some research a learn more about the ancient world with the Dictionary of Daily Life.


You can learn more about this resource and buy it today by visiting our website.

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Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series

Posted by on 10/05/2018 in: ,

Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series

Reading Bible passages in the original languages is a great way to enhance personal study and lesson preparation. But if you’re like me, and it’s been a while since you studied Greek or Hebrew, your vocabulary isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Or maybe you’re just beginning the adventure of learning the biblical languages, and you’d appreciate a vocabulary-building resource that’s a little flashier than flash cards. I’d like to introduce you to a new series designed specifically to help you build (or rebuild) your language skills: The Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series.


The Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series offers five volumes, two for biblical Greek, two for biblical Hebrew, and even one for biblical Aramaic. Depending on your needs and interests, you can purchase a single volume, a two volume set (Greek or Hebrew), or the five-volume collection.

For Greek and Hebrew, the first volumes review the 365 most frequently occurring words; the second volumes have the next 365 most frequently occurring words. For Aramaic (found mostly in parts of Daniel and Ezra), there are 365 entries, but some days introduce more than one vocabulary word. If you finish the Aramaic volume, you will actually encounter every single Aramaic word used in the Bible.


Each daily entry introduces a new vocabulary word along with two review words from previous days.

First you see the English text of a Bible verse, with your new and review vocabulary words in parentheses right after the corresponding English word.

Next, the new vocabulary word is presented with its transliteration and meanings, the number of occurrences in the Bible, and its Strong’s word. If you want more details, you can tap on the Strong’s word to see a popup window with that word’s Strong’s dictionary definition.

The next line features the day’s two review words. You can tap on the day to go back and review that entry. Or if you need just a quick reminder, tap on the review word to see its Strong’s definition.

After the review words, the day’s Bible verse is shown in its original language, once in full and once broken out phrase by phrase, with the corresponding English translation. The new and review words are highlighted, so it’s easy to spot them.

Reading the verse, even if you don’t yet understand some (or most) of the words, helps you recognize other familiar words and phrases, and helps review what you know about syntax and word forms.


Each volume in the Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series can be used in the Olive Tree Bible App as a Reading Plan. That can help keep you on schedule, not only for your daily vocabulary lesson, but for the devotional value you will get from reading and meditating on the day’s Bible verse. Or, if you prefer, you can work at your own pace, starting at any time, and going back over previous lessons until you recognize and remember the words.


Check out the Two Minutes a Day Biblical Language Series here. Let us know what you think about this new resource in the comments!

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Look Inside: Works of Jonathan Edwards

Posted by on 08/27/2018 in:

Works of Jonathan EdwardsAre you a fan of Jonathan Edwards? The Works of Jonathan Edwards (26 Vols) is filled with nothing but his writing—and you’re going to love it. Let’s learn a bit more about this fantastic collection. Then, we can take a look inside.


“Jonathan Edwards (1703-58), noted theologian and religious leader of 18th-century New England, left his impression on theological thinking not only in this country but throughout the entire Protestant world. Not since 1874, however, has a collected edition of his works been printed.

This edition, undertaken with the generous support of the Bollingen Foundation, has been launched with the purpose not only of republishing all of the printed works of Edwards but also of publishing the massive manuscript materials in which much of Edwards’ most profound thinking and finest prose have been concealed.”

— from the publisher

Previously, the attempts to publish Edwards works in print proved daunting. “While the previously released letterpress edition of Yale’s Works of Jonathan Edwards is a significant achievement, it includes less than half of what Edwards wrote,” said Dr. Kenneth Minkema, Executive Editor and Director at the Jonathan Edwards Center and Online Archive at Yale University.

But now, with the ability to digitize old writings like Edward’s, we can make his entire works available with just a few taps. Here are the works included in our 26-volume collection.



  • A massive collection of content equal to over 16,000 pages in printed text.
  • Over 1,000 sermons, manuscripts & discourses enhanced for the Olive Tree Bible App.
  • Notes on Scripture – the first complete edition of the private biblical notebook that Jonathan Edwards compiled over a period of nearly thirty-five years.
  • The “Blank Bible” – a manuscript more than five thousand notes and entries relating to biblical texts.
  • Multiple volumes of previously unpublished works.
  • Many of Edwards’ famous writing including commentary from leading scholars & theologians
  • and so much more!


First, let me repeat that there are TWENTY-SIX volumes in this set. You can easily access all of them from your library and read Edward’s to your heart’s content.


Works of Jonathan Edwards 1

Next, I’ll show you how the applicable volumes can show up in the Resource Guide. If you have volumes of sermons or commentary from Edwards, them we’ve set them up to show up in this space. We will let you know if anything Edward’s wrote is applicable to what you’re reading in the Bible.


Works of Jonathan Edwards 2


Works of Jonathan Edwards 3

One of our favorite volumes in this collection is “The Blank Bible.” In this volume, you can read Jonathan Edward’s thoughts on passages throughout the Bible.


Works of Jonathan Edwards 4

THE ARCHIVE: Easily read Bible passages and Jonathan Edward’s comments

Works of Jonathan Edwards 5


If you love the Works of Jonathan Edwards, then reading them inside the Olive Tree Bible App will be your favorite experience. Add a volume or the whole set to your library today. Visit our website to learn more.

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Romans 8 – Teaching the Bible

Posted by on 08/13/2018 in: ,

Romans 8: Teaching the Bible

Romans 8 is a complex chapter (along with the rest of the book!). It can be difficult to understand on our own… and even more difficult to teach to others! We found this gem of a commentary set: Teaching the Bible Series. In this blog, we are giving you an excerpt of their work on Romans 8. You’ll even find application points and possible sermon ideas. Dig in!


How safe do you feel living under grace? How sure of the future? To entrust ourselves to the free grace of God in Jesus can feel like falling backwards into the arms of a friend who may or may not be there, and may or may not catch us even if he is. Is it safe to entrust ourselves entirely to the God of grace?

We feel this acutely when two things happen: when we fail anwid fall in the struggle with sin from within, and when we are afflicted by suffering from without. Both of these experiences threaten our confidence that grace works. Just as the person falling backwards is tempted to move a foot back to save themselves, so we are tempted to add a proportion of self-reliance to our Christian lives.


Context and Structure: Romans 8 and Romans 5

Romans 8 concludes the second main section of the body of the letter, ‘Living under grace’. We have seen that chapters 5–8 have a kind of sandwich structure.

5:1-11 Suffering with assurance of future glory

5:12-21 The basis for assurance in the work of Christ

6:1-23 Slavery to sin

7:1-25 The weakness of law

8:1-17 The basis for assurance in the ministry of the Spirit

8:18-39 Suffering with assurance of future glory

So in reading chapter 8, we will notice a number of themes picked up again from chapter 5.

The Structure of Romans 8

Romans 8 begins with ‘no condemnation’ by the wrath of God (v. 1) and ends with ‘no separation’ from the love of God in Christ (v. 39). The overarching theme is assurance. Between these end markers two other themes dominate: first (and mostly in vv. 1-17) there is life in the Spirit, who is named 15 times in verses 1-17 and then 4 more times later in the chapter; second (vv. 17-39) there is suffering. Verse 17 is the hinge between these two (‘… children … heirs … if indeed we share in his sufferings …’). Verse 31 (‘What, then, shall we say …?’) signals Paul’s great conclusion.

It is probably best to divide the chapter in three, including verse 17 in both first and second sections.

  1. (vv. 1-17) Life in the Spirit (continued from 7:14-25)
  2. (vv. 17-30) Suffering and glory
  3. (vv. 31-39) Unbreakable ties to Christ

Romans 8: Teaching the Bible (2)


Life in the Spirit (Romans 8:1-17, continued from 7:6 and 7:14-25)

Paul begins with a statement (v. 1), which he explains (v. 2) and expands (v. 3) before going on to God’s purpose (vv. 4-11).

The statement (Romans 8:1)

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

This is a summary of the letter so far. ‘Now’ refers not to individual conversion or some supposed change of gear into the higher Christian life, but to the gospel events which have brought into the open (1:17 ‘revealed’; 3:21 ‘made known’) the justification by faith by which believers of every age have been rescued from condemnation.

‘Therefore’ refers back generally to the argument so far, but very specifically to 5:12-21. Paul uses this word ‘condemnation’ only here and in 5:16, 18 in all his letters. It is the opposite of ‘justification’ (5:16). The words ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (7:25) and ‘in Christ Jesus’ (8:1) tie us back to Paul’s exposition of life in union with Christ in 5:12-21 (developed in 6:1-11).

The explanation (Romans 8:2)

2…because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
[…because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set you/me free from the law of sin and death.]

(We are not certain whether Paul wrote ‘me’ or ‘you’, but it doesn’t matter.)

This very compressed verse needs unpacking.

  1. The phrase ‘in Christ Jesus’ is repeated from verse 1 (disguised in niv). The word ‘in’ carries the senses both of ‘in union with’ and ‘through the work of’. What has happened to us, has happened because of what Jesus did (niv‘through Christ Jesus’) and because we have been united by faith with him (‘in Christ Jesus’), and therefore we benefit from what he did.
  2. It is most natural to take ‘the law’ to refer to ‘the Law of Moses’ in both phrases.
  3. The ‘law of sin and death’ is a compressed way of summing up what the Law of Moses does to the unregenerate sinner (7:7-12).The law when it comes from the outside into contact with sin, exposes sin, condemns sin, and results in the death of the sinner (7:7-10). This terrible ‘marriage’ was always heading for the rocks (7:1-5). This is what someone has called ‘the law on the wall’, like the Ten Commandments written on a church wall, true and good but outside of our sinful hearts.
  4. ‘The law of the Spirit of life’ is a shorthand for what happens when the Spirit of Christ takes the obedience of Christ (5:19), imputes the righteousness of Christ to us, and writes the fundamental demand of the good law on the cleansed heart of the believer, changing us from the inside, and so leading to eternal life (6:23). The ‘law on the wall’ becomes the ‘law in the heart’.

Paul has ‘trailed’ the ministry of the Spirit in 2:15 (probably); 2:29; 5:5; and 7:6. Now he begins to expound this theme.

The explanation expanded (Romans 8:3)

what the law was powerless to do [the weakness of the law]
in that it was weakened by the sinful nature [the flesh],

God did
by sending his own Son
in the likeness of sinful man [sinful flesh]
to be a sin offering [and for sin].
And so he condemned sin in sinful man, [in the flesh]

How were we ‘set free’ (v. 2)? Paul takes each part in turn. Negatively, he speaks of ‘the weakness of the law, in that it was weakened by the flesh’. He has shown in 7:7-12 (and 3:20; 4:15; 7:5) that law is powerless to save. When the law remains outside of us, it is just a dead ‘letter’ (2:29; 7:6).

The law cannot save. But God can! ‘the weakness of the law … God did …’ (i.e. God did what the law was too weak to do). How did God do it?

‘By sending his own Son …’:

  1. ‘…in the likeness of sinful flesh’ taking our human nature upon him with all its weakness, being really tempted and fully identified with sinners, and yet without sin (the word ‘likeness’ guards this difference).
  2. ‘… for sin’ an expression which usually refers in the Greek Old Testament to a sacrifice for sin.

As an old hymn puts it, ‘Because the sinless Saviour died … the wrath of God is satisfied’, and that terrible slave-master sin has been ‘condemned … in the flesh’, that is, in the flesh of Jesus on the cross. This is why we may be sure ‘there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’.

Notice that the basis of our rescue is the death of the Son on the cross, and the application of that rescue to our lifestyle is by the ministry of the Spirit. Both are necessary. No one benefits from the Cross without receiving the Spirit, and no one receives the Spirit who is not justified by the blood of the Son.

God’s purpose: why did God set us free? (Romans 8:4-6)

3b… he condemned sin in sinful man, [in the flesh] 4in order that
the righteous requirements [requirement (singular)]
of the law
might be fully met[fulfilled] in us,
who do not live according to the sinful nature [flesh]
but according to the Spirit.

5Those who live according to the sinful nature
[Those who are according to the flesh]
have their minds set on what that nature [the flesh]
but those who live in accordance with the Spirit
have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

6The mind of sinful man [the flesh] is death,
but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

Why did God ‘condemn sin in the flesh’ of Jesus? Why the cross, and why the gift of the Spirit to apply the benefits of the cross to the believer? Answer: ‘in order that’ something might happen that could not happen through the law: ‘the righteous requirement (singular) of the law’ is now ‘fulfilled in us …’.

What does this mean? We need to hold together two parts of the answer.

  1. By his death Jesus fulfills the law for us. This links back to verse 3b, about the cross.
  2. By the Spirit we fulfill the law in union with Jesus. This links forward to verses 4b-6, which speak of how we actually ‘live’ (lit. ‘walk’).

The word translated ‘righteous requirement’ is used in the singular only four times by Paul in his letters, all in Romans (1:32; 5:16, 18; 8:4). (He also uses the plural in 2:26). In the singular, the word means something like ‘what the law says is the right thing’. So in 1:32 it is the ‘righteous decree’ of God that sinners deserve to die. In 5:16 it is translated ‘justification’ with the sense of ‘fulfilled law’, ‘what the law says is the right thing has been done’. In 5:18 it is ‘the one act of righteousness’ of Jesus, his one ‘fulfillment of the law’, which is also called his ‘obedience’ (v. 19).

The key is to hold together the doctrines of the work of Christ for us and the person of Christ in us. Although these are distinct they are inseparable.

We can’t include ALL the teaching from this commentary on Romans 8. It would definitely be too much! So, let’s move onto some application.

Romans 8: Teaching the Bible (4)


Getting the Message Clear: The Theme

The grand theme is assurance, from ‘no condemnation’ at the start to ‘no separation’ at the end of the chapter. In between, the argument progresses in two main stages with a conclusion. The first stage is verses 1-17, whose focus is the ministry of the Spirit. Because Christians walk by the Spirit now, they may be certain that they are heading for glory later. We must hold together the present ministry of the Spirit with his role to point us securely towards a promised future.

In the second stage, verses 17-30, the focus shifts from the Spirit to suffering, but we are still being pointed to future glory. The central point is stated in verse 18 that, for the Christian, certain glory later outweighs present suffering. The conclusion in verses 31-38 needs to hold together the objective and the subjective: the objective truth of the cross guarantees that God loves us for ever in Christ.

Getting the Message Clear: The Aim

How do the aims of Romans 5-8 relate to the aims of the letter as a whole?

This is a good point to look back on the whole section ‘Living under grace’ to ask how this section contributes to Paul’s overarching aims in the letter, to promote harmony within the church and a zeal for missionary partnership beyond the church. Why do we need to understand our unbreakable relationship with God (5:1-12; 8:17-39), our reliance upon the work of Christ and the ministry of the Spirit (5:12-21 with 8:1-17), our freedom from slavery to sin and condemnation by the law (chapters 6 and 7), the struggle with indwelling sin (7:14-25) and so on? Of course it is a good thing to understand these things, but how will it make us a harmonious and outward-looking church?

The key is to grasp the connection between works and assurance. We go back to our imaginary (but not unrealistic) Mr X (pp. 153-155), who begins to rest his standing before God and in the church partly on his own moral uprightness, Bible knowledge or religious privileges. Not only does this make him boast (and so destroy harmony); it also undermines his assurance. And an insecure Christian is a dangerous Christian (and an insecure pastor is an especially dangerous one!). If I am insecure, I always feel I have something to prove. So my attitude to my fellow Christians will have an element of competitiveness (however discreet). And my evangelistic involvement (if any) will never be the humility of one forgiven sinner telling other sinners where to find grace.


  • The message ‘no condemnation’ (v. 1) only makes sense to those who have grasped that without Christ we are and must be condemned. It may therefore be necessary to recap some of the argument of the letter so far (especially 1:18–3:20). We need to feel the wonder of ‘no condemnation’ and never take it for granted.
  • We may also need to recap ‘the law of sin and death’ (v. 2). We need to understand and feel our helplessness, and the inability of moral guidance (‘the law on the wall’) to help us (v. 3).
  • Show how vital it is that the ‘law on the wall’ should become the ‘law in the heart’. Previously the law bid me fly, but left me on the ground. Now the law bids me fly and the Spirit gives me wings.


Sermon 1: Romans 8:1-17

We might lead in by asking, ‘How safe do you feel?’ and explore the kinds of regrets about past failures, and anxieties about future pressures, which make us feel insecure.

Our teaching points might be as follows:

To be a real Christian means …

  1. To be under new management (vv. 1-8);
  2. … who gives us new hope for our bodies (vv. 9-11);
  3. … and guarantees us a great inheritance (vv. 12-17).

Alternatively, we might divide the passage as follows:

To be a real Christian means…

  1. No condemnation, because of the sacrifice of God the Son (vv. 1-4);
  2. Resurrection hope, because of the indwelling of God the Spirit (vv. 5-11);
  3. Present assurance in the security of God the Father (vv. 12-17).

Our tone is not so much exhortation (‘Now be good and walk by the Spirit’) as encouragement to see the connection between the Spirit’s ministry in us in the present, and future resurrection.

There are TWO other sermons ideas, along with 22 questions to ask while leading a Bible study!

Romans 8: Teaching the Bible (3)


Did you enjoy the excerpt? The Teaching the Bible Series is full of insight and practicality. If you often find yourself teaching or preaching God’s Word, then this resource could save you lots of time in preparation! Visit our website to learn more about it.

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The Two Best Tools for Word Study

Posted by on 08/08/2018 in: ,

The Two Best Tools for Word Study

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 easier.


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. 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.


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, inside the Olive Tree Bible App.

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.

Word Study Tools 1


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. The Olive Tree Bible App 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.

Word Study Tools 2


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 the app 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.


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.

Word Study Tools 3

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 get more than just information about our word’s usage as a noun. 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.

Word Study Tools 4

Word Study Tools 5

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! We’ll walk away with a full understanding of the Greek word behind “comfort.”


Get both Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures and Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary today and improve your word study. Not only will you save yourself time, but you can rest assured that you’ll never miss an important word again.

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The Life Application Study Bible

Posted by on 07/31/2018 in: ,

The Life Application Study Bible Review

Knowledge and understanding are great, but mean nothing if they aren’t applied! The Life Application Study Bible recognizes this. It doesn’t only contain informative notes on Bible life and times, helping you understand difficult Bible passages. Instead, it goes a step further, showing you how to apply the Bible personally. The Life Application Study Bible gives you the best of both worlds: top scholarship that answers your real-life questions.


Here is a list of the study Bible’s features:

  • 240 full-color maps
  • Over 160,000 embedded links, getting you the information you want, where you want it
  • Over 9,000 Life Application notes
  • 324 Charts
  • 161 Personality Profiles
  • Comprehensive Master Index, Dictionary/Concordance, and Feature Indexes
  • Christian Worker’s Resource, a special supplement to enhance the reader’s ministry effectiveness, includes: How to Become a Believer, How to Follow Up with a New Believer, Mining the Treasures of the Life Application Study Bible, So You’ve Been Asked to Speak, and Taking the Step to Application.


If you’ve bought study Bibles from us before, you know that they usually come with just the notes. This is because you can use any translation you want by putting a Bible in the main window and study Bible in the Study Center.

But, the Life Application Study Bible comes with both the Bible text and the study notes.


Because the Bible text is also filled with links, embedded maps, and even the study Bible notes. If you want to keep the Study Center tucked away, you can still access the notes from the main window.


If you want more information on how study Bibles work in our app, here is an overview video!


Get help applying the Bible to your life today. Visit our website to learn more about the Life Application Study Bible and add it to your Olive Tree account.

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Look Inside: New Anchor Yale Volumes

Posted by on 06/18/2018 in:

Look Inside New Anchor Yale Volumes

We’ve added 5 new volumes to our Anchor Yale collection:

  • Revelation: Anchor Yale Bible Commentary – by Koester
  • Joshua 1-12: Anchor Yale Bible Commentary – by Dozeman
  • Judges 1-12: Anchor Yale Bible Commentary – by Sasson
  • Ruth: Anchor Yale Bible Commentary – by Schipper
  • Amos: Anchor Yale Bible Commentary – by Eidevall

We thought this would be a perfect time to give you a look inside this classic resource.


As always, you can find content inside the Anchor Yale series that relates to the passage you have open. Just look in the Resource Guide!

Then, you’ll be able to quickly navigate to which part of the commentary you want to read. The Anchor Yale series comes with its own translation, textual notes, dictionary entries, and commentary.


Here are some examples of the different kinds of content you’ll find inside the Anchor Yale Commentary Series.


The Anchor Yale Commentary Series also has maps sprinkled throughout it. These will also appear in the Resource Guide when a map in this series is applicable to the passage of Scripture you are reading.

There are in-depth introductions for every volume.

Outlines will appear in the Resource Guide for quick access. Here’s one from the new Revelation volume. All of those green verse references are hyperlinked. If you tap on them, a pop-up window will appear, showing you the Scripture immediately and conveniently.

And, of course, there are plenty of indexes!


Now that you’ve looked inside the Anchor Yale series, head on over to our website! You can read a description provided by the publisher, see all the volumes that we have available, and watch a video on how commentaries work in our app.

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Look Inside: Cornerstone Biblical Commentary

Posted by on 06/05/2018 in:

Look Inside Cornerstone Biblical Commentary


One of the best ways to decide if a commentary is right for you is to read the general editor’s preface. This gives you an overview of why and how they created the commentary. Here’s what the general editor, Philip W. Comfort, has to say about the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary:

The Cornerstone Biblical Commentary is based on the second edition of the New Living Translation (2015).

Nearly 100 scholars from various church backgrounds and from several countries (United States, Canada, England, and Australia) participated in the creation of the NLT. Many of these same scholars are contributors to this commentary series. All the commentators, whether participants in the NLT or not, believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word and have a desire to make God’s word clear and accessible to his people.

This Bible commentary is the natural extension of our vision for the New Living Translation, which we believe is both exegetically accurate and idiomatically powerful.

The NLT attempts to communicate God’s inspired word in a lucid English translation of the original languages so that English readers can understand and appreciate the thought of the original writers. In the same way, the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary aims at helping teachers, pastors, students, and laypeople understand every thought contained in the Bible. As such, the commentary focuses first on the words of Scripture, then on the theological truths of Scripture—inasmuch as the words express the truths.

The commentary itself has been structured in such a way as to help readers get at the meaning of Scripture, passage by passage, through the entire Bible.

Each Bible book is prefaced by a substantial book introduction that gives general historical background important for understanding. Then the reader is taken through the Bible text, passage by passage, starting with the New Living Translation text printed in full. This is followed by a section called “Notes,” wherein the commentator helps the reader understand the Hebrew or Greek behind the English of the NLT, interacts with other scholars on important interpretive issues, and points the reader to significant textual and contextual matters. The “Notes” are followed by the “Commentary,” wherein each scholar presents a lucid interpretation of the passage, giving special attention to context and major theological themes.

The commentators represent a wide spectrum of theological positions within the evangelical community.

We believe this is good because it reflects the rich variety in Christ’s church. All the commentators uphold the authority of God’s word and believe it is essential to heed the old adage: “Wholly apply yourself to the Scriptures and apply them wholly to you.” May this commentary help you know the truths of Scripture, and may this knowledge help you “grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord” (2 Pet 1:2, NLT).


Inside the Olive Tree Bible App, you can easily navigate between the 20 different volumes found in this set.

In this first image, there are a few important details you should note.

  1. Each volume prepares you with a section on abbreviations, and transliteration & numbering system, and information about the author. This is great information to have when using an in-depth commentary.
  2. There are introductions for each book, giving you plenty of necessary background on Scripture before you dive deep.
  3. The Cornerstone Biblical Commentary is structured around an in-depth outline. You’ll receive the whole outline at once in the book introduction. But you will see it again as you make your way through the commentary text!


Per usual, this commentary works with the Resource Guide! If you’re reading a passage of Scripture, and the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary has something to say about it—we will be sure to let you know. Just look in the Resource Guide for a number to appear next to the commentary. Tap on it, and we will show you the applicable sections!


Visit our website to watch a video on how commentaries work in the app, see which volumes are included in this set, and learn more about the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary. It’s a fantastic resource!

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Fellowship That Produces Joy

Posted by on 06/01/2018 in: , ,

Fellowship That Produces Joy

“How about coming over to the house for some fellowship?”
“What a golf game! Man, did we have great fellowship!”
“The fellowship at the retreat was just terrific!”

That word fellowship seems to mean many things to many different people. Perhaps, like a worn coin, it may be losing its true impression. If so, we had better take some steps to rescue it. After all, a good Bible word like fellowship needs to stay in circulation as long as possible.

True Christian fellowship is really much deeper than sharing coffee and pie, or even enjoying a golf game together. It is possible to be close to people physically and miles away from them spiritually. One of the sources of Christian joy is this fellowship that believers have in Jesus Christ. Paul was in Rome, his friends were miles away in Philippi, but their spiritual fellowship was real and satisfying. In Philippians 1:1-11, Paul used three thoughts that describe true Christian fellowship: I have you in my mind (Phil. 1:3-6), I have you in my heart (Phil. 1:7-8), and I have you in my prayers (Phil. 1:9-11).


 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy” (Philippians 1:3-4)

Isn’t it remarkable that Paul was thinking of others and not of himself? As he awaited his trial in Rome, Paul’s mind went back to the believers in Philippi, and every recollection he had brought him joy.

Am I the kind of Christian who brings joy to my fellow Christians when they think of me?


“It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart” (Philippians 1:7)

Now we move a bit deeper, for it is possible to have others in our minds without really having them in our hearts. (Someone has observed that many people today would have to confess, “I have you on my nerves!”) Paul’s sincere love for his friends was something that could not be disguised or hidden.

How did Paul evidence his love for them? For one thing, he was suffering on their behalf. His bonds were proof of his love.

Paul’s love was not something he merely talked about; it was something he practiced.

He considered his difficult circumstances an opportunity for defending and confirming the gospel, and this would help his brethren everywhere.


“And it is my prayer…” (Philippians 1:9)

And what did Paul pray for the Philippine believers?

He prayed that they might experience abounding love and discerning love. Christian love is not blind! The heart and mind work together so that we have discerning love and loving discernment. Paul wanted his friends to grow in discernment, in being able to “distinguish the things that differ.”

Paul also prayed that they might have mature Christian character, “sincere and without offense.

This means that our lives do not cause others to stumble, and that they are ready for the judgment seat of Christ when He returns.

Paul also prayed that they might have mature Christian service. He wanted them filled and fruitful (Phil. 1:11).

He was not interested simply in church activities, but in the kind of spiritual fruit that is produced when we are in fellowship with Christ.

The difference between spiritual fruit and human religious activity is that the fruit brings glory to Jesus Christ.

“I have you in my mind … in my heart …  in my prayers.”

This is the kind of fellowship that produces joy, and it is the single mind that produces this kind of fellowship.

Adapted from BE Series Commentary by Wiersbe. Like this content? Learn more about this series here.

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What’s Inside an Archaeology Study Bible?

Posted by on 05/30/2018 in:

What's Inside an Archaeology Study Bible

If you’re like me, you hear the word “archaeology” and you primarily think of Indiana Jones. Then, if you toss the word “study” next to it, you know it will be nothing like Indiana Jones. Instead, you get a mental image of a lot of dirt being pushed around with tiny brushes. How riveting… but actually, it really can be riveting! But We are here to tell you what is inside an archaeology study Bible, and just how influential it can be on your study of God’s Word.


But the truth is that history and archaeology are essential to Christianity.

  • God created time and history
  • The universe has a beginning and end
  • The historical event of Christ’s death and resurrection is key to your salvation
  • Your hope is grounded in a real place, at a real time… in history

Archaeology is an area of study that helps us uncover more truths about history. It teaches us important details on the setting and background in which the story of the Bible occurs. A plethora of authors wrote the Bible over at least a thousand-year period, so this information is crucial to our understanding of the text.


The ESV Archaeology Study Bible encourages any and all types of Christians to experience the relevancy of archaeology. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction of this study Bible, explaining its 3 primary functions:

Three foundational pillars define our approach to this task. The first pillar is biblical orthodoxy.

All of the contributors hold to classical evangelical orthodoxy in the historic stream of the Reformation and affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness, and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written Word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They also affirm that God’s Word clearly teaches that the only means of salvation is through the Lord Jesus Christ. The message of the Bible is addressed to all men and women, and God’s revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through the Bible the Holy Spirit speaks yet today. He illumines the minds and hearts of God’s people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes, thus disclosing to the church the very wisdom of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21).

The second pillar of the work is academic integrity.

The contributors to this project are highly trained scholars who are well versed in archaeology and related fields as they pertain to the Bible. The reader ought to peruse the List of Contributors included in this work, which demonstrates the excellent academic training and in-field experience shared by each of the contributors. The ESV Archaeology Study Bible steers clear of “pop-archaeology” that sensationalizes but is unreliable.

The third pillar of the work is accessibility.

Our hope is that this work will be broadly used throughout the church. It should be a helpful resource for all Christians. Pastors ought to find the material helpful as they seek to build up their congregations in the historicity and truthfulness of the Scriptures. Students—undergraduates and seminarians—should find it useful in their studies and in apologetics. In addition, we desire that laypeople, as they study this Bible, would be encouraged to dig deeper into the Scriptures and to grow in grace, knowledge, and truth.



First, all of the historical and archaeological information is based on the English Standard Version. This translation is very reliable and used through the world.


Have you heard of the ESV Study Bible and the ESV Bible Atlas? These two resources are meant to be paired with the ESV Archaeology Study Bible! Together, they cover a range of topics and areas of study. With all three, you will have a collection that provides a strong and well-rounded introduction to the Bible.


All of the contributors to this project are trained archaeologists and epigraphers. More specifically, main contributors are professionals who have actually used their hands to dig in the biblical lands. This adds a very unique perspective to this study Bible—and it’s one you can count on!


Here’s a list of everything that comes inside this study Bible:

  • Thousands of notes illuminate the biblical text by providing archaeological, historical, and geographical background on various events, places, people, and everyday items mentioned in Scripture.
  • Hundreds of sidebars provide more in-depth information on topics of interest from an archaeological perspective.
  • Hundreds of full-color photos, maps, and diagrams invite the reader into the visual world of the Bible.
  • Book introductions describe the ways in which archaeological fieldwork has allowed us to understand each book of the Bible better.
  • Fifteen articles written specifically for this project explore key topics of interest in biblical archaeology.
  • Specially crafted charts provide an easy thumbnail guide to such matters as the Hebrew calendar and important texts of the ancient world.
  • An all-new glossary defines key words used throughout the ESV Archaeology Study Bible.








Now that you know what is inside the ESV Archaeology Study Bible (and that it most certainly isn’t a snooze-fest!), go get it! Visit our website to add this resource to your library.

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