Category: Look Inside

Look Inside: Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible

Posted by on 07/21/2016 in: ,

By Olive Tree Employee: Genny Gager

Bible commentaries and study notes are great tools for understanding what the Bible has to say to us today. Often overlooked, however, is the value that using scripture to understand scripture can bring. 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 for today’s readers.

Finding our way around these themes can be a daunting task, especially given the variety of subjects covered in the Bible. A word search can be helpful, but it can give an incomplete picture due to the complexity of language and the context in which words are used. The great news is that Olive Tree offers the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible, which links various themes together as they are touched upon and developed throughout Scripture. The very heart of this product is the thematic chains that number in the thousands, and people at all stages of learning about the Bible have used it in the 100 years since its initial release. The Thompson Chain resource is also a great study Bible, offering cross references, book outlines, book introductions, maps, and harmonies to aid us in our study.

We’ve put quite a bit of attention into converting the rich topical content so it can be used in the Bible Study app. Our goal was to make navigating the famous topical chains easy and intuitive and to allow quick access to the additional materials as well.

We’re going to walk through a quick example of how the Bible Study App can make navigating the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible enjoyable and easy. The example uses and refers to the iPad version of our software. We’ve designed this resource to work seamlessly with the built-in resource guide.  Although we’ll be relying on the iPad version in our example, other versions of our app will have similar functionality.

If you want to follow along with the example, bring 1 Samuel chapter 17 up in your Bible. With everything set up, the screen will look similar to this (your screen may look a little different depending on what resources you have and how you have your resource guide set up):

To activate the chains, tap the name of the Thompson Chain under the commentaries section of your resource guide. Your split-window view will change to a listing of verses directly related to your location:

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

You can now choose the theme you want to explore in the list under that verse, for instance choosing 1409, Giants, results in the following:

Now it’s as easy as tapping on each verse reference to get a popup where you can read the appropriate Bible text.

When you are done with this chain, you can tap the back arrow at the upper left corner of the split screen to return to the verse menu.

The wealth of other information in the Thompson Chain resource is easily available as well. Return to the base screen of the resource guide by tapping the back arrow until your screen looks similar to this:

Notice the entries for the Thompson Chain located in the Introductions and Outlines sections. Just tap on an entry to quickly access the information.
Finally, some other gems are available but a little less obvious. For this example, tap the David entry under the People section. After you’ve tapped on it, the screen will look like this:

The Resource Guide automatically shows you that there is an article on David available in the Thompson Chain resource. Tap on the article to read it.

There is also an image on the Journeys and Life of David under the Images section that you can open.

Tap the “double arrows” to make the image full screen, and pinch and zoom to make the image larger:

We hope that this quick example will help you explore and learn about the Bible with the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible, a trusted resource that has been used by generations of Bible enthusiasts. When used in combination with the Bible Study App, you are just a few taps away from unlocking the themes of the Bible as they weave in and out of the entire text.

Right now you can get the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible for 40% off the regular price.

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Works of William Perkins

Posted by on 07/19/2016 in: ,

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By Olive Tree Employee: Harold Coleman

Who is William Perkins and why are his writings relevant to us today? These are fair questions to ask about a man who wrote over 400 years ago. His life and writings spanned the early decades of English Protestantism during the Elizabethan period. He is thought by many to be the father of Puritanism, not as its founder but as its defender and as a developer of its theological positions. As a moderate Puritan, he worked from within the Church of England, slowly influencing the church towards Protestantism. His writings were so popular that the numbers of copies sold often outnumbered many contemporary Reformed writers combined.

Perkins held to the doctrine of Solus Christus (Christ alone) and Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) as the twin foundations of biblical preaching. He was an advocate of unclear Scriptures being interpreted by clearer portions of Scripture, rather than by tradition or speculation. He was a strong proponent of double predestination, which was criticized by his contemporary, Jacobus Arminius. As a reformer, he speaks to our use of Scripture today. Is understanding Christ the focus of our study in the Old as well as the New Testament? Do we rely on traditional understandings of tough passages or do we dig into Scripture in light of other Scriptures that are clearer?

Volume one of his works contains three sections: “A Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament”, “The Combat between Christ and the Devil”, and “A Godly and Learned Exposition of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount”.

A Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament lays out how biblical history intersects with the history of the world during biblical times. Perkins believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and that the Holy Spirit accurately represented God’s intent through Scripture’s human authors. This section begins with an unbroken progression of years from Adam to Solomon. At that point, he could tie in secular historical facts as they were known in his time in order to date the Bible from Solomon through the New Testament book of Revelation. With updated archaeological information, modern readers may have different understandings of those dates, but seeing Perkins’ dates is informative.

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What I find most important in this section is the extensive timeline of events through biblical history that correspond to chapters about these events. These chapters are particularly helpful in putting together the bigger picture of 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles. These scriptural links can be accessed through the commentary notes in the Resource Guide as you study passages of the Bible in your main window. By adding a note to the dating of an event with a calculation to the Julian calendar, I can add my own estimated B.C. or A.D. dating of the event according to Perkins. This gives me a point of comparison with date estimates that have come since Perkins’ time. While this timeline doesn’t serve as an outline of any book, particularly in subject or doctrinal matters, it helps to put any biblical event in perspective with other events.

The Combat between Christ and the Devil considers the battle waged in heaven and on earth through the end of Revelation. It is an extensive commentary on Matthew 4:1-11, with implications for individual believers and the church as they too are assaulted by the schemes of the Devil. In reading this section, modern believers will see that we experience similar temptations and assaults but also have a high priest who knows our troubles from his own experience.

A Godly and Learned Exposition of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount is crucial to Perkins’ understanding of the Gospel. He saw the Sermon on the Mount as the cornerstone to the Gospel because it is authored by Jesus himself after a whole night in prayer. He breaks the sermon into twelve branches. In this commentary, he has a style of making points, arguments, answering objections, and then expounding on ‘The Use’ (application) of the section covered. His style offers a model for preaching or teaching directly from Scripture. His commentary is lengthy in its analysis and explanations of points and objections but is very readable. Although Perkins taught at Cambridge, he doesn’t lose the reader in deep discussion of Greek or theological fine points. His intention is to instruct the pastor or devoted student of God’s Word thoroughly and practically, as he saw modeled by Jesus. In sermon preparation, you can find years of material in this single commentary on the Sermon on the Mount that will provide insights for returning to this most famous sermon many times.

Volume Two of Perkins’ works is a commentary on Galatians. It is the compilation of three years of sermons by Perkins on Galatians 1-5. After his death, Ralph Cudworth edited the sermon notes into this commentary and added his own commentary of chapter six to complete it. Much like Luther and Calvin, Perkins saw the importance of this letter as differentiating between the old Law of Moses and the new law of grace as given through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Writing at the early stages of Protestantism, he draws out the importance of a biblical view of law and grace and argues against traditions that may be as relevant today as they were in his time. He believed that as Christ taught in plain speech, his sermons should also be plain to understand.

You can now add this classic resource to your Olive Tree library!

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Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK)

Posted by on 07/15/2016 in: ,

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) is the best known and most widely used collection of 500,000 Scripture references and parallel passages. By using The TSK in Olive Tree Bible App you’ll save tons of time and effort.  No longer do you have to leave your original text to search for a reference.

I’ll demonstrate how to use it with the Bible App running on an iPad.

First, select your preferred Bible translation in the main window. Then tap and drag the split window to access the Resource Guide in the App. The Resource Guide takes your downloaded material and connects it with the text you have open in the main window.

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Under the ‘Related Verses’ section you’ll see resources listed along with a number badge. The number indicates how many entries there are in that resource for the text that is open in the main window. Since I have the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) installed, the Bible App has found cross references relevant to the Titus passage I’m reading. I can then tap on the TSK to see all 19 entries that are indicated.

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The TSK organizes these cross references by topic and by verse making it easy to do further study on the particular themes found in Titus.

I can then tap the reference in the TSK and view it as a popup, or even split it out into a new window without leaving my original text.  This feature alone saves me valuable time that I’d otherwise spend flipping back and forth between references.

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As you can see, having the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) cross references in the Bible App will help you broaden your biblical understanding of specific themes and enable you to quickly study large portions of scripture.

What are some ways that you’ve utilized the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) to deepen your Bible Study?

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Look Inside: NIV Word Study Bible

Posted by on 06/21/2016 in:

The NIV Word Study Bible provides a complete index of every appearance of every word in the NIV Bible; it’s a must-own for every reader of the NIV Bible. More accurate and comprehensive than online searches and offering complete access to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek from which the NIV was translated, this resource promises to make your Bible study the very best.

Olive Tree’s Bible Study App makes Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers powerful AND easy to use. Tap on a word in the text and open the related dictionary information in a new screen, split screen, or pop-up window, depending on your device and settings.

Here’s quick look inside the NIV Word Study Bible that will show you how it can help your word studies (Screenshots are taken from an Android tablet).

G/K & Strong’s Number Pop-Ups

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Open the NIV Word Study Bible you’ll see that some words are a slightly different color. Tapping or clicking on those words will pop-up the information for that word. These pop-ups contain a wealth of information, including:

  1. The Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers for that word.
  2. A short definition for that word.
  3. An outlined list of the different meanings for that word in the original language.
  4. Often you will also find that another number is included as a link. These can be similar words that you can compare or other words from which your current word selection derives its meaning.

Look-Up Options

At the bottom of the pop-up, there are two buttons that perform “look-ups” or searches based on the Strong’s number or the word in its original language.

Look-up by Keyed Number

The first button contains the keyed number for your word. Clicking or tapping on this button will perform a search in your library for articles containing this number.

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Look-up by Original Language

The second button contains the word in its original language. Clicking or tapping on this word will perform a search in your library for articles about the word in its original language.  For example, I see that Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary has an article on this word.

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The NIV Word Study Bible is also a fantastic on your phone for when you’re at church, small group, or on the go.

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The NIV Word Study Bible with Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers is an excellent resource for diving deeper into the biblical text. It offers insight into the original languages of Scripture without requiring you to have any formal training in Greek or Hebrew.

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Look Inside: The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible

Posted by on 06/06/2016 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.

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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 (screenshots are from an Android tablet):

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.”

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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.

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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.

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

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TWO:

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

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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.

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The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible is on sale now thru June 13!

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Look Inside: Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Posted by on 05/16/2016 in:

This week we’re able to offer some outstanding illustrated commentaries that are an amazing resource for use within the 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 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.

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

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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.

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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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Look Inside: Visual Theology

Posted by on 05/16/2016 in:

Visual Theology is a newly released title by writer Tim Challies and artist Josh Byers.  It apply’s a unique blend of writing and infographics, creating a new kind of presentation of the Bible’s deepest truths.  On it’s print release it quickly hit Amazon’s Top 20 Bestselling Books.

We’re pleased to give you a peek inside the first available digital version of Visual Theology.

Like most eBooks in the Bible App you can easily navigate to to specific chapters and sections with a tap/click from the contents page.

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You can also navigate by using the verse chooser in the menu bar.

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As the title indicates, Visual Theology has a lot of great graphics and charts. You can view the images inline with the text or tap them to view a larger image like the two images below.

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As you’re reading scripture references also become hyperlinked for easy access to that particular passage.

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As you can see Visual Theology in the Bible App is a great resource. Go HERE to get it now!

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Look Inside: Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes

Posted by on 05/10/2016 in:

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John Maxwell is a nationally respected expert in leadership and a follower of Christ. The Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes provides an in-depth look at God’s laws for leaders and leadership.

Here is a look inside the Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes and how it works in the Olive Tree Bible App running on an Android tablet.

Like any study Bible notes in the app they can be used with your favorite translation in the main window and accessed easily in the Resource Guide found in the split window. Entries for the passage opened in your main window are indicated by a number.

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Simply tap/click on the Maxwell Leadership Notes in the Resource Guide to access the content. Any text that is colored blue means you can tap/click it to jump to other notes or sections.

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When I tap/click on the ‘Go to the Index of Leadership Articles’ hyperlink it quickly takes me to another section of the Maxwell Leadership Bible notes for easy reference.

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In addition to the Resource Guide the Maxwell Leadership Bible can be used independently when selected from the Library. Once selected tap the settings icon in the verse chooser to select ‘Alphabetical List View’. Now you can quickly navigate to any section for leadership notes on particular books of the Bible or great articles and insight.

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The Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes are on sale for a special introductory price this week only!

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6 Reasons to use Commentaries in Olive Tree’s Bible+ Apps

Posted by on 04/25/2016 in: ,

Bible Commentaries are extremely valuable study tools. Many commentaries include historical and cultural context, theological interpretation, and other resources like timelines and charts. Here are Six Reasons to use Commentaries in Bible+.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4.  Click on Images for a larger view)

1. 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 “hits” from Preaching the Word in the split window.

Bible+ 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 commentary. You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.

2. Search & Look Up Feature

Search commentaries for words or passages.  Take “Vine” as an example.  You can search the entire commentary  series for where “Vine” is mentioned in the commentary series.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

When your search hits are displayed, you can tap on the result to go directly to that passage. You can also copy the text to add to an existing note or add a note right from the search results.

3. 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.  For example, when I’m reading in John 15 where Jesus is talking about the Vine and the Branches. In the Preaching the Word Commentary there’s a reference to Isaiah 5:7. 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 Bible+, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text.  All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

Related to this is footnotes/endnotes. Some commentaries have a lot of references to other materials.  In the past I would have to stop where I was in the reading, look at the footnote, then go back to where I was in the book.  This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought.  With Bible+ footnotes are linked.  Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.

4. 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 Bible+, all I have to do is highlight the text that 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 typing fingers!

 

5. Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)

In iPhone/iPad app, you also have an additional option.  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.

6. Resource Guide on One Verse (iOS Extra)

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap on a verse number in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Save Passage, 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 The Preaching the Word 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 commentaries within Bible+ give you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Click here to see all commentaries available for Bible+.

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