Category: Look Inside

New Title: Astonished by Mike Erre

Posted by on 05/01/2014 in: ,

We’re trilled to announce the release of a new title to The Bible Study App: Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God by Mike Erre.  In Astonished, Pastor Mike Erre calls Christians away from simplistic formulas to honest and rugged faith in the mysterious and unpredictable God.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 8 of this brand new title:

The disciples give me a great deal of hope. They weren’t particularly bright or faith-filled or quick to learn; they were, in the words of Luke, “unschooled, ordinary men” who were consistently rebuked for missing the point of Jesus’s teaching and ministry. At one point in His ministry, however, they got it. Jesus had just asked them who they thought He was. Peter, responding for the group, said that Jesus was the promised Christ, the one the Jews had been waiting for. Jesus affirmed His words and pointed out that Peter didn’t come to this conclusion on his own but that this had been revealed to him from heaven. But then Jesus did something quite interesting—He commanded them to tell no one who He was. Why? You’d think it was at that point in His ministry he’d want people to know.

The reason Jesus commanded silence was that though they had figured out He was the Messiah, they had no idea what His messiah-ship entailed:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and

take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matt. 16:21–26)

The minute the disciples understood Jesus to be the Messiah, He revealed to them that He must suffer. But this violated the number- one rule in the Messiah playbook—messiahs don’t suffer and die. Crucifixion is what happened to failed messiahs. In the Jewish con- ception of God’s rescuer, the Messiah was to restore Israel’s fortunes through the defeat of Rome and the gentile nations. This was so offensive to Jewish sensibilities that Peter took it upon himself to rebuke Jesus.

On at least three separate occasions, Jesus told His followers to be prepared for His suffering at the hands of gentiles. It was impossible for them to grasp what He had in mind, so He used the image of His impending crucifixion as picture of what was expected of those who will follow Him. “Taking up [one’s] cross” was a renunciation of one’s rights in the first century. Only criminals would take up a cross in Jewish society. Your friends and family would be dead to you. Your life as you had known it was over. Jesus calls His followers to carry their crosses as he carried His. For some of His earliest followers, that meant a literal martyr’s death. For most of us, that death won’t be so literal, but it is true regardless. To follow Jesus is to prepare yourself to die.  Your self, your privileges, your entitlements—all are surrendered in order to follow Christ. We think the cross is the place where Jesus died. But is a place where we die too. The self must die. That doesn’t mean you lose your personality or cannot enjoy anything. It means your desires don’t rule you any more. They are submitted to something bigger.

But we are consumers at heart; our lives are built on the foundation of self-indulgence and gratification. “What do I want?” and “What do I need?” are the twin questions that drive us. Jesus summons us to abandon the project of finding life through what Jesus calls the “self ”—the way of living characterized by exalting self, glorifying self, promoting self, all in the strength of self—that project must be put to death in order to follow Jesus. What has to die is every impulse to assume authority and control over our own lives.

Jesus wants us to surrender our lives to Him and follow Him into the unknown. And if it means a life of suffering, hardship, and disappointment, it will be worth it, because following Him is better than living with everything in the world minus Him. That is what it means to say that He is the treasure. Have we become so refined and civilized that the benefits of our faith have become more precious and more valuable than Jesus Himself?

Faith in Jesus demands surrender. There is no other way around it. The path to the life Jesus offers is cross-shaped. To receive His gift, we must release our grip on everything else. The gift is free, but it costs us everything.

Mike Erre is the lead pastor of the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton (evfreefullerton.com).

Get Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God by Mike Erre HERE.

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Look Inside: Anchor Yale Bible Commentary Series

Posted by on 04/30/2014 in: ,

We just released the Anchor Yale Bible Full 86 Volume Commentary Series! Watch the video below to see how these great resources look and work within The Bible Study App:

Get the Anchor Yale Bible Full 86 Volume Commentary Set at 40% Off now through May 5th!

Also Available:

Anchor Yale Bible Commentary New Testament Set (26 volumes) 42% Off Now through May 5th!.

Anchor Yale Commentary Old Testament & Apocrypha Set (60 volumes) 40% Off Now through May 5th!.

Individual Volumes 25% Off Now through May 5th!.

Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 volumes) 40% Off Now through May 5th!.

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Get the Most out of your ESV with Strong’s

Posted by on 04/10/2014 in: , , ,

By Olive Tree Employee: David Mikucki

If you haven’t already downloaded it, we’re giving away the ESV with Strong’s for free through April 21st! All you have to do is share the link and you’ll get a free download.

The great part about this resource is that anyone can use it. You don’t need to be seminary trained or have years of experience. You can just tap and read. The tool is powerful and practical enough to be useful even for personal study.

As with many powerful tools, this resource can do more if you know how to use it. It can also be somewhat dangerous if you don’t know how to use it. We don’t just want to provide you with the resource; we want to help you get the most out of it and avoid the dangers of misinterpretation. In this post, we’ll talk about the basic features of the ESV with Strong’s and about how to get the most out of each of them.

Tap to See Greek/Hebrew Word

The first feature is the most obvious. As soon as you tap, you can see what Greek or Hebrew word is behind it. This is the first thing you’ll see when you tap on a word. It’s probably most helpful for people who know Greek or Hebrew.

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Now, if you tap on a darker word and it doesn’t open to do anything, that means that the word isn’t explicitly in the Greek or Hebrew text. The word was added by the translators in order to help the sentence make sense. We do this all the time in English, leaving out words because they’re assumed. Of course, the words left out in Greek aren’t necessarily the words we can leave out in English. Different languages have different rules for what’s important and what can be left out.

The takeaway here is that, while a word might not be in the original Greek or Hebrew, that doesn’t mean the word isn’t implied by other words. Sometimes the translators of the ESV add those words so that we English readers won’t be left scratching our heads.

Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary

The Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary is what appears when you tap a word that does have a Greek or Hebrew word behind it. This is a really handy tool because it will show you all the ways that the word gets translated throughout the Bible and give you an idea of how common each translation is. This can give you a fuller idea of what the word meant in the original language.

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The thing to keep in mind here is something that all languages share in common: just because a word can mean something in one place, doesn’t mean it means that thing everywhere else. How and where a word is used in a sentence, paragraph, chapter, and book is a critical part of understanding what the word means.

Many words in English have several diverse meanings. For example, the word “dodge” can mean to get out of the way of something. It can also mean to lighten part of an image or photo (like the “dodge brush” in image editing programs). If you were to simply look up the dictionary definition and pick the first one, you could find yourself very confused. Another example is the English word “love.” When someone says “I love ice cream,” he means something very different from when he says “I love my wife” (or at least he ought to).

The point here is that we want to let the dictionary help us get an idea of what the word can mean, then let the context of the passage determine what the word does mean. If we’re in a class on photography, “dodge” probably doesn’t mean “get out of the way.” It probably means “lighten.” But we wouldn’t want to make that assumption in gym class.

View All Occurrences

This is probably my favorite feature in The Bible Study App for word studies. It’s the button that says “Search for g5457” (or some other number). This feature allows you to search for everywhere in the Bible where that particular Greek or Hebrew word is used. Since a translation might translate one word twelve different ways, it’s hard to know when that word is being used. But this feature can help.

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The best way to use this feature is to start with where the word is used closest to the verse you’re studying, then work outward from there. Look in the verse, then the chapter, then the book, then other books the author has written, then in the whole Bible.

In this way you can get a sense for how a certain author used a particular word in its context, in all his writings, and how the word gets used throughout the whole Bible. While this doesn’t necessarily result in the same mastery of the word that a scholar might have, it certainly does help us to better understand the word and the passage we found it in.

Generally speaking, this isn’t going to completely change the way you read a passage of Scripture. The translators know the languages a lot better than most of us, so most often we’ll end up agreeing. But doing a word study can help us discover a richness to the word that we otherwise might not have seen. It can also help us to connect things in Scripture that we otherwise might not have thought to connect.

Look Up Word in Dictionaries

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The Look Up feature allows you to look up a word in any Greek/Hebrew dictionaries that you might have. There are a lot of really helpful dictionaries out there by scholars who have already done the work of a detailed word study. They may also include information about where the word came from and how it was used in books outside the Bible. These can be extremely helpful to supplement the word studies that you’re already doing with the ESV with Strong’s. Here are a few you might find helpful:

Conclusion

Tools like the ESV with Strong’s and Bible dictionaries can be really helpful in understanding what God has to say. We should pray that, in our study, we will allow God to correct us with what we learn about the words of Scripture. This is very different from using the tools to bend God’s words to mean what we want them to. Humility and openness to correction are important here.

If we come to the Scriptures with our tools, ready to be taught by the Scriptures, then we will be in the right place to see God’s love for us in Christ and how we are to live in light of that love. We hope these tools prove helpful in your studies.

Psalm 119:130 (ESV)

The unfolding of your words gives light;

it imparts understanding to the simple

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Look Inside: NICOT/NICNT

Posted by on 04/09/2014 in: ,

The New International Commentary on the Old Testament and The New International Commentary on the New Testament are both great resources that help you unpack the scripture.

With the tools of The Bible Study App these expansive commentary sets have never been easier to use and access. Watch the video below to see them in action.

These commentary sets and others are a part of our special commentary sale happening right now!

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One Volume Commentaries

Posted by on 04/02/2014 in: ,

If you’ve ever wrestled with a difficult passage, wondered about the culture that the Bible was written in, or just wanted a broader picture of the history and geography of the times – this is where a Bible commentary can be extremely helpful.

In contrast to large and often very technical commentary sets a one volume commentary in The Bible Study App provides you with easy to understand insight on the entire Bible.

Watch the video below to see how the one volume Zondervan Bible Commentary looks and interacts in The Bible Study App.

The Zondervan Bible Commentary and other one volume commentaries on special now!

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What is a Strong’s Tagged Bible?

Posted by on 03/27/2014 in: , ,

The well-known Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance lists all the significant words in the Bible and references each word to the original Hebrew and Greek languages. The concordance was first published in 1890 by Dr. James Strong, whose life’s work was to provide students of the Bible with an accurate and functional tool to understand the Bible’s original languages. He and others worked on the list for 35 years!

Dr. Strong’s work is still universally recognized as one of the essential aids for studying the Bible and thanks to The Bible Study App it’s easier than ever to access for deeper study of the Bible. Here’s a brief demonstration of how it works. All screenshots are from The Bible Study App on an Android tablet.

To find out the Hebrew or Greek word behind the English translation simply tap a word on any Strong’s tagged Bible.
(Click here for a list of available Bible’s with Strong’s tagging).

Strongs1

In the above screen shot I’ve tapped the word ‘nations’ found in Matthew 28:18 and I see that the Greek word is ‘ethnos’. I can then look up that Greek word in my other library resources like a concordance or dictionary by tapping the Lookup button in the popup window.

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With a concordance I can see all of the different place that word is listed and how it is translated. In this case ‘ethnos’ is often translated as Gentiles in other places in Matthew.

strongs-dictionaryI can also look the word up in a dictionary like Vine’s or Mounce’s Expository Dictionary to see further explanation.

strongs-mounce

Lastly, if you would like to see or hide the actual Strong’s numbers associated with the words, you can turn this feature on or off by tapping Settings>Advanced Settings> Other Settings (Text Layout/Display for iOS)>Strong’s Numbers.

This is how the text would look with Strong’s numbers viewable compared with the first image in this post which hides the numbers.

Show Strong's Numbers

You can see how powerful and easy it is to use a Strong’s tagged Bible for The Bible Study App.

Right now you can get the ESV Bible with Strong’s for free! Click HERE.
Here are the current Bible translations available with Strong’s tagging:

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The Gospel Transformation Study Bible

Posted by on 03/26/2014 in: ,

The Gospel Transformation Bible Notes are designed to help you encounter the gospel in all of Scripture. The Bible Study App with the power of the resource guide give you instant access to the illuminating notes of this great study resource

Here’s what the Gospel Transformation Study Bible looks like in The Bible Study App running on PC.

You can get the Gospel Transformation Study Bible on special this week!

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Look Inside: Case for Christ Study Bible

Posted by on 03/21/2014 in: ,

Based on the NIV translation, The Case for Christ Study Bible Notes is an engaging, informative resource that motivates seekers, skeptics, and long-time Christians to investigate for themselves the Bible’s most compelling claims: the existence of a compassionate God and the promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus.

Watch the video below to see how this title looks in The Bible Study App.

 
Get the Case for Christ Study Bible Notes here!

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