Category: Look Inside

3 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Study Bible Notes

Posted by on 03/29/2016 in: ,

Study Bible Notes are a great resource for those wanting to go deeper in their study of the Bible. Here are three ways to use them in the Bible Study App that will help you unpack God’s word.

1. Resource Guide

In your Main Window, open the Bible translation of your choice. (I have the NIV translation open in this example).  Then tap the arrow to open the split window on the right side of the screen (bottom if you are in portrait). Tap the more button (3 dots) and then choose Resource Guide.

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You’ll now see relevant “hits” in the resource guide from all of the resources you have downloaded to your device.The Bible Study App also keeps up with the scripture passage you’re reading in the main window with sync scrolling.  This means that as you move along in the Bible text, the Bible notes sync to exactly where you are in your reading.  You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.

As I scroll through the Resource Guide I can see all of my enhanced resources that have an entry pertaining to the current text that I’m reading. I notice that my NIV Study Bible Notes has entries for commentaries, outlines, introductions, and maps. The numbers indicate how many entries are available for each enhanced resource.

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The NIV Study Bible Notes in the resource guide shows two entries under the Commentary section for Romans 1:1-10. When you tap on the NIV Study Bible Notes it then shows me a preview of those entries and I can click again to read the full commentary. As you read on in the text, those entries will stay in sync with your passage no matter what translation I have open in the main window.

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2. Split Window – Specific Resource

Go to the main Split Window, Tap Open and you will see the navigation menu again.  Here you can choose Recently Opened, Library Favorites, My Notes, My Highlights, and My Bookmarks. At the bottom of that screen tap Open Full Library. This will open your Library navigation. Scroll down the list and find the NIV Study Bible Notes (or the study notes of your choice). Tap to open it.

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As with the resource guide, The Bible Study App’s sync scrolling will keep track of where you are in the Bible text regardless of what translation you have open.  This is a great way to study if you just want to focus on one resource in your library.

3. Resource Guide on a Verse

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap 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, Bookmark, Share, Guide, and More.

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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 your study notes in the main or split window.

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This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the study notes when you want to see what it says about a specific verse.

As you can see, study Bibles notes in The Bible Study App can save you a lot of time and will help you get more of of your quiet time.

Check out the NIV Study Bible Notes or other Study Bible notes here.

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Look Inside: Calvin’s Institutes

Posted by on 03/17/2016 in:

Our content formatting team at Olive Tree has put a lot of work into a new edition of Calvin’s Institutes for Bible+. In this post, I want to show off some of the things we’ve done to make the Institutes more accessible and perhaps convince you that it’s worth having a copy in your library.

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Regardless of your opinions about Calvinism, it might interest you to know that Jacobus Arminius (yes, the fellow after whom Arminianism is named) once said that Calvin’s works are some of the most valuable books written in church history. Many today who are strongly opposed to Calvinism still find Calvin’s Institutes and commentaries to be extremely helpful in their studies.

Calvin was clear and passionate about much of what is important to evangelical Christians today: including justification by faith alone and the supremacy of the Scriptures. For this reason and many others, I personally believe it would be beneficial for every Christian to read and reference Calvin’s Institutes.

Of course, one of the problems with old books is that they are often not easy to read. What Christian authors of old writeth, modern Christians wot not. We have a hard time with the King James-style English that we see in many of the reformers and Puritans. This edition of the Institutes should help with that.

Calvin’s Institutes were originally not written in English, and some of the translations that have been made are so old, they barely look like they’re in English. A more recent version, translated by Ford Lewis Battles and edited by John T. McNeill makes Calvin’s Institutes readable to just about anyone. In comparison to other translations I had used, I personally found that I was able to read this translations almost twice as fast, enjoy it more, and feel like I understood it better.

If you’re new to theology and just looking to read through the Institutes, you might find a Theological Guide helpful, too.

Features in the Olive Tree Edition

Although I’ve read through the Institutes once (and many parts twice or more), I still find it very helpful to use as a reference. Using this resource as a reference gets pretty cumbersome in most eBook apps and requires a lot of flipping around in the print version.

When you open our version, the first thing you’ll notice is that even though the Institutes were written in four books (and is often spread across 2–3 volumes when printed), Olive Tree combines everything into one resource. This makes it easier to use the search feature.

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In these screenshots, I have the Institutes open on my iPad Pro right next to a Bible (the way, I’m sure, Calvin would have wanted his writings to be read).

The next thing you’ll notice is how easy the Institutes are to navigate in our app. Everything is arranged hierarchically and you can drill down to go straight to the section you want.

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Of course, if you highlight something on your tablet, the highlight will be there waiting for you if you open the book on your phone later.

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I’ve saved the best feature for last. With Bible+, we’ve made the indexes at the end of the resource link to actual sections in the book so that you can quickly find what Calvin had to say about various Scripture passages, subjects, and where he quoted other authors.

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All of these features, plus the readability of the translation, make this a really great deal—whether you want to read through the Institutes, or just use them as a reference.

Get The Institutes

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Look Inside: Feasting on the Word Commentary

Posted by on 02/15/2016 in:

Let’s face it, pastors have a hard job. They’re on call 24/7, counsel and minister to the needs of their congregation & the community, and often oversee the day-to-day operations of the church. On top of that, pastors are expected to spend hours mining through the truths of God’s Word and preach a weekly sermon. With only 168 hours in a week, that is a difficult task for even the most organized person. Something that can make this task more difficult is when you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to teach every week. This is one of the many reasons why expositional preaching through books of the Bible is so popular. But that’s not the only way to preach with a plan; another method is to preach using a lectionary.

When most people hear the term lectionary their mind often goes to the Roman Catholic church. But, they are not the only church that uses a lectionary. It is also popular among Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and some Presbyterians. What exactly is a lectionary? A lectionary is nothing more than a collection of Scriptures readings that are appointed for a given day or occasion of worship. One of the more common lectionaries today is the Revised Common Lectionary, released in 1994. Today we want to introduce you to the Feasting on the Word commentary series, a commentary based on this lectionary.

What is Feasting on the Word?

Most commentaries today don’t have much that set them apart from the rest. So when a commentary set like Feasting on the Word comes on the scene it is sure to turn some heads. Feasting on the Word is a 12-volume commentary set that includes four volumes for each of the three years of the Revised Common Lectionary. It covers all the Sundays in the lectionary cycle, along with movable occasions, such as Christmas Day, Epiphany, Holy Week, and All Saint’s Day. This is the first thing that sets the commentary apart. Instead of having a commentary that covers an individual book of the Bible or goes in canonical order, the passages are discussed as they appear in the lectionary calendar.

The second thing that sets Feasting on the Word apart is how the commentary text is organized. For each lectionary text you will find four brief essays, one each that covers the theological, pastoral, exegetical, and homiletical challenges of the text. Since each date in the RCL provides a reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm, a Gospel, and Epistle, this combination gives you sixteen (16) different approaches for the preaching of God’s Word on any given occasion. In the print edition of Feasting on the Word the Bible passage is given and the commentary is placed in four columns, so as to not give preference to any one approach to the text. For ease of use in the digital version the columns have been removed and each essay is followed one after another.

How to Use It

Like many resources in Bible+, there are several ways to make use of them within the app. Let me show you the many ways you can use Feasting on the Word in your studies or sermon prep.

Table of Contents

If you’re already familiar with the lectionary calendar and how to use it, the easiest way to navigate Feasting on the Word is through the table of contents. To access the table of contents tap the verse chooser, then the gear, and select “List Layout” (if not already in that view). Now you can quickly navigate to the current week and drill down to your passage of choice. If you know what week it is in the lectionary calendar, this is the fastest way to navigate. Please note that each lectionary year is its own volume, so you will need to know which year you’re currently in to make sure you’re in the correct volume.

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Verse Chooser

Conversely, if you already know your passage for the week, you can use the verse chooser as normal (grid view) and navigate directly to your passage. For example, since this week is the first Sunday in Lent and we know we want to preach from the Old Testament, we can open the Year C volume (for our current year) & navigate to Deuteronomy 26:1-11. This method is useful for those who would like to use this commentary but are not lectionary preachers or simply want to access the content of this resource on any given passage.

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Scripture Index

Each volume of Feasting on the Word includes a full scripture index that allows you to see where a passage falls in the lectionary calendar. You can access this index via the table of contents, and then navigate to your passage in the canonically ordered list. Once you find your passage you can then tap on the reference to be taken to its location in the commentary. Again, this method is useful for those using this resource in a nonlectionary manner or if you want to see if a particular passage is discussed in a given volume.

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Resource Guide

The last way to make use of Feasting on the Word in Bible+ is through the Resource Guide. You can either have your Bible passage open or Feasting on the Word in the main window and the Resource Guide in the split window.

If you have the Bible open, you can navigate to the commentaries section and find the Feasting on the Word volume that contains your passage and quickly navigate to the type of commentary you want to read.

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Conversely, if you have Feasting on the Word open in the main window, you can use Resource Guide to quickly access other library resources, such as checking other translations, comparing commentary text, or pulling up maps & images from other resources.

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A Commentary for Everyone

With all the different ways you can utilize Feasting on the Word in Bible+, it can be a truly versatile tool in your Bible study library. This commentary is not just for those who preach through a lectionary calendar. It is a solid commentary that helps you look at the text in four different ways. Whether you’re a lectionary preacher, someone who struggles to find a passage each week, or simply a student of the Bible, this commentary has something for you. Add Feasting on the Word to your library today & start gleaning from its insights on Scripture.

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Look Inside: Love Languages Devotional Bible

Posted by on 02/08/2016 in:

With Valentine’s Day a few days away, love seems to be on everyone’s mind. While dates, fancy dinners, flowers, candy, and romance are nice, there is also the need to connect on a spiritual level. Christian couples ought to be investing in each other’s spiritual well-being just as much as they focus on the other areas of a relationship. Reading the Bible together is one way to cultivate this kind of intimacy & a resource like the Love Languages Devotional Bible is a great tool for making it happen. Today we want to show you how this devotional Bible can help you connect with and grow spiritually alongside your spouse.

Bible and Devotional in One

One of the great things about the Love Languages Devotional Bible is that it truly is an all-in-one resource. Unlike some of our resources where we split the Bible text and notes into separate resources in your library, this time we kept everything together to create a seamless experience. This Bible is to be used daily with your spouse as you walk through the pages of Scripture together. As you read from Genesis to Revelation you will encounter 312 devotions and studies that help you engage the Bible and apply it to your lives as a married couple. There is a devotion for each weekday that includes a Bible reference and biblical insights, as well as prayer and reflection prompts. Each weekend contains a short Bible study that can be completed individually or as a couple.

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There are a few ways to access the devotional material in this Bible. The first way is to encounter it as you’re reading through the Bible. Throughout the Bible text are links to the day’s corresponding devotion.

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The second way is to use the menu (switch to List View) and navigate to the list of devotional readings and choose your current day.

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Additional Readings and Articles

Because God made men and women differently, there are no one-size-fits-all answers to questions about topics like communication, sex, friendship, and free time. That is why the Love Languages Devotional Bible also includes articles that help you understand each other a little better while also providing some context to talk about those differences together.

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There are also a couple sets of 30 Bible readings that will help you in your understanding of who God is or grow in your faith. If you’re not quite ready to dive in deep with the devotions and longer Bible reading, these are a good way to get started studying the Scriptures with your spouse.

Topical Index

Finally, the Love Languages Devotional Bible also includes a topical index. This section is designed to help you find information about more than 100 relationship-oriented themes. It’s a great resource that will link you to both Bible verses and articles related to whatever topic you’re exploring. If you want to study what the Bible says on a specific subject, this is the place to start.

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Enhance Your Marriage

There is no one “right way” to use this Bible. You can read it individually or set aside a time to read it together. If you can’t always find the time to read as a couple, that’s okay! The important thing is that the two of you are reading the Bible, talking about your relationship, and learning to love one another more deeply—following the example of Christ.

Whether your relationship is healthy or struggling, spending time with God, reading His Word, and communicating meaningfully will greatly enhance your marriage. Prayerfully, God will use the Love Languages Devotional Bible as a helpful tool to draw you closer to Him and closer to each other.

Add this resource to your library today and check out our other titles that are currently on sale!

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5 Benefits of NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study App

Posted by on 02/01/2016 in: , , ,

The New International Commentary Series on the Old Testament (NICOT) and New Testament (NICNT) are highly regarded scholarly resources that are always ranked at the top by scholars, pastors, students, and professors.

Here are Five benefits of the NICOT/NICNT in The Bible Study App.  (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 NICOT/NICNT commentary “hits” 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 NICOT/NICNT 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 the NICOT/NICNT for words or passages.  Take “love” as an example.  You can search the entire NICOT/NICNT series for where “love” is mentioned in the commentary series.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

3. Linked Reference Pop ups

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One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary. With a hard copy, I have to open a different Bible and find each and every reference to read how the verse relates to what I am currently studying.  This is time consuming, slows down my study momentum, and requires me to keep all of my study materials out and open, spread out over a large desk space. With Bible+, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text.  All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

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Related to this is footnotes/endnotes.  Since the NICOT/NICNT is a highly scholarly work, there are 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 writing.  This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought.  With Bible+, all of the footnotes are linked.  Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.

4. 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, Save, 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 NICOT/NICNT or even the Bible text that you do not readily know.

5. Look at One Verse (iOS Extra)

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options to Tap and hold on a verse number and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Save, Share, Guide, and More..

If you tap the “Guide” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific verse. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above.  You can even choose to open the NICOT/NICNT in the main or split window.

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This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the NICOT/NICNT when you want to see what it says about a particular verse.

As you can see, the NICOT/NICNT within Bible+ gives you the best in scholarly work, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

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Look Inside: The Preacher’s Commentary Series

Posted by on 01/28/2016 in:

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.

Resource Guide

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.

The Commentary

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.

Add the Preacher’s Commentary Series to your Olive Tree library today. Also be sure to check out the other titles we have on sale!

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Look Inside: Boice Expositional Commentary Series

Posted by on 01/18/2016 in:

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. What can a preacher do to aide in the application of Scripture both to himself and others? The same question can also be asked of those engaged in personal Bible study. This is where a resource like the Boice Expositional Commentary Series is handy; it helps preachers, teachers & students of the Bible understand their passage while providing applicable truths & illustrations.

Let’s look inside the Boice Expositional Commentary Series and see how it works in Bible+.

Resource Guide

Like any enhanced resource you purchase for Bible+, the Boice Expositional 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 Boice’s Commentary. Since I’m currently studying Jesus’ prayer in John 17, 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.

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The Commentary

One thing I appreciate about the Boice Expositional Commentary Series is it reads like a devotional or sermon. Instead of getting caught in the nuances of the text that may not help you teach or better understand a passage, the commentary keeps an eye on explaining the things that matter. The series combines careful scholarship and clear communication in a verse-by-verse and section by section reading of the books of the Bible it covers. Combining thoughtful interpretation with contemporary insight for daily living, Boice explains the meaning of the text and relates the text’s concerns to the church, Christianity, and the world in which we live. Whether used for devotions, preaching, or teaching, this authoritative and thought-provoking series appeals to a wide range of readers, from serious Bible students to the interested everyday Christian.

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Add it Today

The Boice Expositional Commentary Series is a perfect companion for the pastor or Bible student who wants to dig into the Bible and apply it. Add this commentary series to your Olive Tree library today. Also be sure to check out the other titles we have on sale!

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Look Inside: NIV Application Commentaries (NIVAC)

Posted by on 01/07/2016 in:

The NIV Application Commentaries (NIVAC) merge the original, ancient context with right now, showing us both how ancient readers would have read the Bible and how we can connect to this living word of God from a modern context. Most importantly, however, it helps us begin the life-changing process of true application, showing how God’s word can continue to have a powerful voice in our lives today.

The NIV Application Commentaries use a highly accessible, three-tiered method of bringing readers to a fuller understanding of each Biblical book.

Original Meaning will explore a book’s meaning in light of its historical and cultural context.
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Bridging Contexts, as its name implies, will help the reader link the text’s original meaning to its Contemporary Significance

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Contemporary Significance—the final tier that helps you apply the Bible to everyday life.

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The Bible Study App makes the NIV Application Commentaries even more powerful and accessible.  Verse references become hyperlinks, the split window allows you to read the Bible side-by-side with the commentary, and you can easily take notes and highlights within the text. Enhanced for use in the Resource Guide, read YOUR CHOICE of Bible translations while the commentaries keep track of where you are in the scriptures

If you don’t have the NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC) Series, we’re offering all NIVAC individual volumes at only $7.99! Save on the Sets too! Hurry, this offer ends January 14, 2016!

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Enhanced Maps: ESV Bible Atlas

Posted by on 01/03/2016 in: , ,

Capitalizing on recent advances in satellite imaging and geographic information systems, the Crossway ESV Bible Atlas offers Bible readers a comprehensive, up-to-date resource that blends technical sophistication with readability, visual appeal, and historical and biblical accuracy.

All the key methods of presenting Bible geography and history are here, including more than 175 full-color maps, 70 photographs, 3-D re-creations of biblical objects and sites, indexes, timelines, and 65,000 words of narrative description.  With The Bible Study App, all Scripture references become hyperlinks that you can tap and read the Bible text without having to leave the ESV Bible Atlas.

Here are a two examples: (screenshots are taken from an iPad Mini 4, click for a larger view)

 

Using The Bible Study App’s powerful resource guide, the ESV Bible Atlas detects where you are in the text that you’re reading and pull up maps pertaining to that particular passage. You can then tap on a map for a bigger view and even zoom in and out on the map for more details.

You can then tap the “Go” button and read the content applicable to the map you are viewing.

Or, you can view the map full screen on your mobile device.

Enhance your Bible study with the ESV Bible Atlas!  See all Maps & Atlases available for The Bible Study App!

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Look Inside: Thompson Chain Reference System

Posted by on 01/01/2016 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 System, 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 System 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, so if you don’t already know how to open it, read this article to open it in the split window, and have your Bible of choice open in the main window of your app.  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: (more…)

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