Category: Look Inside

5 Biblical Words for Love

Posted by on 09/14/2017 in: ,

MATTHEW 22:36-40 KJV

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 

WHAT IS LOVE?

We are called to love God and love others, but how do we understand what love really is?

Studies of 5 Hebrew and Greek words for love help us understand what loving someone really means.

1. AHAB

Hebrew word for love. Describes a variety of intensely close emotional bonds. So Abraham loved his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2), Isaac loved his son Esau (Gen. 25:28), and “Israel loved Joseph more than all his children” (Gen. 37:3).

In a more romantic manner, Isaac loved his wife Rebekah (Gen. 24:67), and Jacob loved Rachel (Gen. 29:18), but Delilah manipulated Samson by challenging his love for her (Judg. 14:16). We are all called to love the Lord, by expressing obedience to His commandments (Deut. 6:5), and to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Lev. 19:18). Moreover, “he that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul” (Prov. 19:8).

2. AGAPAO

God’s love is described as the Greek word agapao, which means unconditional love, preferential love that is chosen and acted out by the will. It is not love based on the goodness of the beloved, or upon natural affinity or emotion. Rather this is benevolent love that always seeks the good of the beloved.

This type of love is exclusive to the Christian community because it flows directly from God’s love: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7,8).

3. AGAPE

Although common in both the Septuagint and the New Testament, the word rarely occurs in existing secular Greek manuscripts of the period. Like its synonym philia, it designates love between persons (John 13:35), or people for God (1 John 2:15), of God for humanity (Rom. 5:8), and of God for Christ (John 17:26).

Whereas phila emphasizes the idea of love arising from personal relationships, agape is founded upon deep appreciation and high regard. It is perhaps for this reason that agape is the love which God commands.

4. PHILEO

One of four greek words for love, this one signifies friendship, fondness, affection, delight, and personal attachment. This word is on of feeling – a heart of love – whereas agape is a matter of benevolence, duty, and commitment. We are commanded to have agape love (Matt. 5:44) but not phileolove because feelings cannot be commanded.

Phileo is also the word for “kiss.” Jesus asked peter if he had unconditional, sacrificial agape love, but Peter responded that he had phileo, or brotherly love. Peter’s love deepened, and he wrote of agape love in his later books.

5. PHILADELPHIA

With the roots words phileo, “to love,” and adelphos “brother,” this word signifies loving someone like a brother or sister. We might think of it as fraternal affection.

This is not the love God has for us, but rather love between brothers and sisters in Christ. It implies that a familial bond between people who would not otherwise share affection is possible through Christ.

LEARN MORE

This blog was adapted from the KJV Word Study Bible! We just released this title, bundled with KJV Strong’s. This week it is available for $19.99. Learn more here.

What does “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” mean to you?

Continue Reading

Look Inside: MacArthur New Testament Commentary

Posted by on 09/11/2017 in:

When it comes to expositing and faithfully teaching the Bible, John MacArthur is a name respected by many. He has been preaching at Grace Community Church and heading Grace to You since 1969. In that time he has written nearly 400 books and study guides that have been published throughout the world. The reach of his ministry has allowed his ever popular MacArthur Study Bible to be translated into at least 8 different languages. It’s an understatement to say that MacArthur is a household name in evangelicalism.

Aside from his study Bible, Dr. MacArthur is best known for his MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary series began 32 years ago (1983) when he published his commentary on Hebrews. Since that time he has meticulously preached through the New Testament at his church and written detailed verse-by-verse commentary on each New Testament book. Today I want to show you how you can glean from MacArthur’s insight on any New Testament passage while studying in the Olive Tree Bible App.

Why This Commentary?

One of the questions that’s often asked when discussing commentaries is, “Why should I buy commentary ABC instead of commentary XYZ?” Here are a couple reasons why the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is a valuable resource to have in your library.

First, when you look at most modern commentary sets, each volume is typically written by a different author. While there may be a singular general editor, there may be differences of theology and understanding among the authors, making for a lack of consistency across volumes. What’s more, sometimes the same author will write a commentary on a book of the Bible for different commentary series. For example, Douglas Moo has written a commentary on Romans for both the New International Commentary and NIV Application Commentary series, and a commentary on James for the Pillar New Testament and Tyndale New Testament Commentary series. The advantage of the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is its singular voice. You’re not going to encounter the issues you may find in other series. Having one author write the entire series provides a level of consistency in thought and teaching that isn’t necessarily possible in the other commentary sets. Whether or not you agree with what is taught, at least you know it will be consistent throughout the entirety of the series.

Second, John MacArthur is not just a Bible scholar, he is also a pastor. This may not seem like something that would be important, but it means this commentary has a different tone and approach than other series. There is a difference between writing a commentary academia and writing for the general Christian population. MacArthur’s commentary certainly falls in the latter. His tone is pastoral and stays away from being unnecessarily complex. Every passage is explained clearly so that you have little to no questions afterward. His exegesis of the text also makes applying the text to your life easy. This makes it an easy commentary to read, whether you’re in the pew or pulpit.

Using the Commentary

Like many resources in the Olive Tree Bible App, the best way to get the most out of your library is by using the Resource Guide; the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is no exception. To illustrate, let’s assume we’re starting to read Mark’s gospel and are using MacArthur’s commentary to aide our study.

Introductions

When beginning a study on a new book of the Bible, one of the first things you want to do is get some background information. Resource Guide makes this easy. Simply scroll down to the “Introductions” section, where we find 5 hits for our commentary.

IMG_0022

IMG_0023

Here we find information about the gospel, it’s author, date, audience, purpose, and other issues worth keeping in mind.

Outlines

Next, you’ll want to get a feel for how the book is laid out, so let’s find an outline. Again, the Resource Guide shows us that MacArthur has an outline for our book, and we see that it is quite extensive. One thing worth noting is that the book’s outline also serves as the layout for the commentary. This helps in seeing how a handful of verses relate to their larger context. Personally, I refer to the outline often throughout the course of studying a book of the Bible, as it keeps the big picture in view.

IMG_0025

Commentary Text

Finally, when it’s time to dive into the commentary text, the Resource Guide is again our friend. Instead of hunting down the commentary on your passage, let Resource Guide do the heavy lifting. Find the MacArthur New Testament Commentary in the commentaries section, find your passage, and commence reading. This saves you both time and effort while studying, which is useful with our busy lives.

IMG_0027

IMG_0029

Alternatively, you can leave the MacArthur New Testament Commentary open in your split window and it’ll always be at the right location when you need it. This will save you even more time if you don’t plan on consulting other resources.

LEARN MORE

No matter who you are, the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is an excellent go to resource for New Testament studies. MacArthur’s knack for explaining the text is second to none and easy to follow. Even if you don’t completely agree with him theologically, you can still appreciate his clear exegesis and application.

Add the MacArthur New Testament Commentary to your Olive Tree library today. Whether you’re buying the full set, upgrading, or buying an individual volume, we have a deal that will fit any budget.

Continue Reading

Is Faith Enough?

Posted by on 09/11/2017 in: ,

JAMES 2:14-21

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.”

IS FAITH ENOUGH?

Are we saved by grace through faith alone (Eph. 2:8–9) or do we also need good works?

James does not argue that good works are required for salvation. Nor does he say that deeds are more important than beliefs. Rather, he insists that there are two kinds of faith—one legitimate and the other illegitimate; faith … made complete (v. 22) and faith without deeds (v. 20). Both are “belief” in one sense of the word. But legitimate faith goes deeper than “right thinking” to “right living.”

Confusion may arise, however, when we recall that Paul writes that we cannot earn salvation. He uses Abraham as an example of one who received God’s promise, not through human effort, but through faith (Gal. 3:6–12).

James also uses Abraham as an example, but his focus and emphasis are different than Paul’s. He skips over the futility of human effort to discuss the futility of deficient faith—faith that stops at the intellectual level. Even demons have that kind of “faith,” James exclaims (v. 19)!
James’s point, then, is that Abraham exercised authentic faith—demonstrated by his actions. Abraham’s deeds earned him nothing, but they proved his faith was genuine: Right faith led to right actions. If he had not trusted God, Abraham could never have offered his son—the fulfillment of God’s promise—on the altar (vv. 21–22). Paul uses Abraham to show that people are justified on the basis of real faith; James shows that Abraham’s faith was proven to be real because it worked (compare Gal. 5:6).

So then, we don’t need anything but faith—the right kind of faith—to be saved by God. And our behavior will show what our faith is made of, whether or not it is legitimate.

LEARN MORE

This blog post was adapted from The Quest Study Bible, which you can get this week for only $8. Verse-by-verse, this study Bible asks questions that most Christians ask, and then provides a biblical answer. This tool is priceless as you begin to study God’s Word.

Learn more about The Quest Study Bible.

Continue Reading

Look Inside: Courson’s
Application Commentary

Posted by on 09/05/2017 in:

Commentaries may seem as if they are only for pastors, theologians, and seminary students. That’s not true! Any Christian who is looking for reliable information on the Bible can pick up a commentary and start reading.

Those who write commentaries know that not all Christians are the same. So, they make different types of commentaries! For example, the Courson’s Application Commentary is all about life application. You can learn more about the history and context of the Bible in a way that will directly influence your life.

So, if you’re wanting to go more in-depth, but are much more interested in devotional-style reading (instead of heavy, academic literature), then this might be the resource for you. Let’s look inside.

RESOURCE GUIDE

Like any enhanced resource you purchase for our app, Courson’s Application Commentary is built to work with the Resource Guide. As you’re reading the Bible, the Resource Guide follows along! It gives an overview of resources in your library that have content related to your passage. In the screenshot below you can see we have a hit in our commentary section for Courson’s commentary. After reading other commentaries or Study Bibles that explain the text, I can then turn to this commentary to help with applying God’s Word to my life.

THE COMMENTARY

One characteristic of this commentary that I enjoy is its ability to speak on my level. Courson doesn’t use heave Greek or Hebrew lingo or bore you with information on how papyrus of the original manuscripts were created. Instead, he takes a devotional approach to explaining the text. It comes alive and is easily applicable to life—here and now. He gets right to the point. This means you don’t have to waste time skimming through pages of endless commentary trying to find one or two sentences of practical application. You come to this commentary looking for application, and it is given to you.

TOPICAL ARTICLES (or little sermons)

Scattered throughout the commentary are what Courson likes to call “Topical Articles.” Think of them as sermonettes, or little,-itty-bitty sermons. Here, Courson takes a passage and deals with it topically, incorporating other passages as needed, to completely bring the big idea of a passage to life. A perfect example is the article titled, “He Didn’t Say That!” which is a study on Genesis 3:3. In this article, Courson does a wonderful job explaining Adam’s sin and how easy it would have been for us to commit the exact same sin.

The easiest way to access these articles is through the table of contents. If you open the Verse Chooser (and look at the list view!),  then you’ll see a section called “Topical Table of Contents” for each of the three volumes. Here, you will find a list of all the topical articles in that volume organized by topic. Use this to easily find what the Bible says on anxiety, how you can improve your Christian walk, or any other topic.

LEARN MORE

Courson’s Application Commentary is a perfect companion to your daily Bible reading. Additionally, it’s useful to the Bible teacher or pastor who needs inspiration in apply the Bible to their hearers lives.

This week, Courson’s is discounted 58% — from $119.99 to $49.99. Learn more by checking out our website!

Continue Reading

Life Lessons: Hebrews 8

Posted by on 09/01/2017 in: ,

SITUATION

Hebrews 8: Jewish Christians struggled to understand the relationship between God’s free salvation and the Mosaic Law. The author explained that Jesus Christ was superior to the Law of Moses.

OBSERVATIONS of HEBREWS 8

God does not keep a record of our sins in order to use them against us. Rather, He forgives and loves us even as we suffer through the consequences of our sins.

INSPIRATION

I was thanking the Father today for His mercy. I began listing the sins He’d forgiven. One by one I thanked God for forgiving my stumbles and tumbles. My motives were pure and my heart was thankful, but my understanding of God was wrong. It was when I used the word “remember” that it hit me. . .

God doesn’t just forgive, He forgets. He erases the board. He destroys the evidence. He burns the microfilm. He clears the computer. . .

No, He doesn’t remember. But I do, you do. You still remember. You’re like me. You still remember what you did before you changed. In the cellar of your heart lurk the ghosts of yesterday’s sins. Sins you’ve confessed; errors of which you’ve repented; damage you’ve done your best to repair.

And though you’re a different person, the ghosts still linger. Though you’ve locked the basement door, they still haunt you. They float to meet you, spooking your soul and robbing your joy. With wordless whispers they remind you of moments when you forgot whose child you were. .

Poltergeists from yesterday’s pitfalls. Spiteful specters that slyly suggest, “Are you really forgiven? Sure God forgets most of our mistakes, but do you think he could actually forget the time you . . . ”

. . . Was [God] exaggerating when He said He would cast our sins as far as the east is from the west? Do you actually believe He would make a statement like “I will not hold their iniquities against them” and then rub our noses in them whenever we ask for help? . . .

You see, God is either the God of perfect grace . . . or He is not God. Grace forgets. Period. He who is perfect love cannot hold grudges. If He does, then He isn’t perfect love. And if He isn’t perfect love, you might as well put this book down and go fishing, because both of us are chasing fairy tales.

But I believe in his loving forgetfulness. And I believe He has a graciously terrible memory. (From God Came Near by Max Lucado)

APPLICATION

Because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, God forgets our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for sins. We must no longer feel guilty for sins that God forgave.

EXPLORATION

Promised Pardon of God—Isaiah 43:25; 44:22; 55:7; Micah 7:18; 1 John 1:9.

LEARN MORE

This blog post was taken directly from Max Lucado’s Life Lessons Study Bible Notes. For Labor Day weekend, this title has been discounted from $49.99 to $9.99. Check it out here! [Deal ends September 5!]

Continue Reading

Boice: By a Pastor, For a Pastor

Posted by on 08/31/2017 in:

Pastors have a hard job. They get in front of their congregations every week and preach a word from the Lord. They do this with the hope of impacting lives and saving 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 the Olive Tree Bible App.

Resource Guide

Like any enhanced resource you purchase for the Bible App, 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 shows you resources with relevant content. 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 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.

IMG_0225

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.

IMG_0226

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!

Continue Reading

Look Inside: Reading the New Testament Commentary Series

Posted by on 08/21/2017 in:

KEEPING THE BIG PICTURE

Anyone who teaches the Bible for any length of time knows how easy it is to lose the forest for the trees. It doesn’t take long before you’re caught up in the details of a verse that you’ve forgotten the bigger picture. But, not all commentaries address this problem.

Most commentaries deal with the biblical text on a verse-by-verse or phrase-by-phrase level, making it easy to get lost in the details. While this information is essential for a proper understanding of a passage, it doesn’t keep the big picture in mind. So, along comes the Reading the New Testament CommentarySeries, a commentary that addresses this problem head-on.

Here’s a brief look at the Reading the New Testament Commentary Series and how it works in the Olive Tree Bible App.

WHAT SETS IT APART?

I appreciate when a commentary is upfront about its intended audience because it lets me know what to expect. Christians with some level of formal training will find Reading the New Testament Commentary to be right in their wheelhouse. This means it’s the perfect commentary for both pastors and seminary students.

A focus on larger passages of Scripture sets this commentary apart from others, helping the reader understand the text as a whole. Additionally, it captures the big picture without getting caught in the details. Pastors preaching through the New Testament will find this resource incredibly helpful.

Alongside insightful commentary, Reading the New Testament Commentary also includes extensive introductions to each New Testament book. Here you will find everything you need to know about the book’s author and purpose for writing.

READY FOR THE BIG PICTURE?

Add Reading the New Testament Commentary Series to your Olive Tree library today!

Continue Reading

Look Inside: Mounce’s Expository Dictionary

Posted by on 08/14/2017 in: ,

It’s time for another Look Inside blog! Today we are looking at Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (MED), which is a word study dictionary covering the entire Bible.

Here are three tips for using MED in our app to enrich your personal Bible study!

ONE: RESOURCE GUIDE

We talk about the Resource Guide all the time because it is incredibly helpful when studying the Bible in our app. Have you ever been reading a passage of scripture and had a question about a person, place, or topic? Now you can get answers without even leaving the passage.

Open your favorite Bible translation in the main window. I’ve picked out the ESV! Then, tap the split window handle and drag it to a width or height that you prefer.  As you scroll through the Bible text, the Resource Guide keeps up with you and searches through all the books in your library for related content.  If you scroll down through the Resource Guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”

Tap on the person, place, or topic that you want to learn more about.  I chose the topic “Fellowship” because my church is currently working through Acts. Scripture tells us that the early church what devoted to fellowship… but what does that mean?

You’ll see that Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary has the words “Article to Fellowship” underneath the book cover.  Tap on the book cover and the app will take you directly to the article. You can scroll and read the entire article without having to leave your Bible text! I was able to follow along as we read this passage in church, while also gaining deeper insights. It’s honestly so convenient.

If there are scripture references in the article that you would like to read, tap the verse and it will appear in a pop-up window.  You can also tap the top right hand corner of the pop-up window to change which window you read the scripture in—main or split! It looks like this:

TWO: LOOKUP FEATURES

Maybe you aren’t sure where to find a certain topic in God’s Word, but you want to know more! You can search any topic in our Lookup Feature and resources like MED will show up, ready to give you the information you’re looking for. Here’s how:

For iPhone or iPad users, open the Resource Guide in the split window. Then tap the gear icon, followed by the “lookup” option in iOS. You can type “Fellowship” and tap “search”.  This will bring up Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary article on Fellowship as we’ve seen before.

If you like reading your Bible “full screen”, try the integrated look-up feature. Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get an array of option—one of them being Lookup!

If you tap the “Lookup” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific word.  Like before, just tap the book cover and you can read the article in the pop-up window, or choose to open it in the Main or Split window.

IMG_0190

THREE: INTEGRATES WITH STRONG’S TAGGED BIBLES

If you have a Bible Tagged with Strong’sMounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary is a great addition to your library.  Since I have the English Standard Version (ESV) with Strong’s, I pulled it up in my main window and tapped “fellowship”. This brings up the Strong’s article and definition for κοινωνία (koinōnia).

From there I tapped “look up κοινωνία (koinōnia).”  This brought up Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary that I can tap and read the article on κοινωνία (koinōnia) in a window of my choosing.

  

This is how Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary has been enhanced for our app! You can get it this week for 50% off. Visit our website to learn more.

How do you use the Mounce Expository Dictionary in your personal Bible Study? What are some insights you have learned by using Mounce’s Expository Dictionary?

Continue Reading

Look Inside: Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Posted by on 08/08/2017 in: ,

Brimming with lavish, full-color photos and graphics (over 2000!), the Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary goes above and beyond to enhance your learning experience. It will walk you through the entire Bible verse-by-verse, providing you with archaeological findings, historical explanations, geographic insights, and more.

Per usual, we have incorporated this resource into our resource guide! This way, you can read the commentary alongside a Bible of your choice. Check out the screenshots below to see just how easy it is to do in-depth Bible study without flipping a page!

LOOK INSIDE

1) 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.

ibc1

2) The Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary appeared, indicating that there are five entries related to this small bit of scripture! So, I’ll tap on it to bring up the information.

ibc2

3) This chapter talks about Daniel and his friends being relocated to a Babylonian learning environment. This was a major transition for David, but I’m not quite sure what the implications would have been. So, I can click on the third entry that explains more in-depth about the Babylonian culture–its language and literature.

ibc3

The Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary is a phenomenal tool for any teacher or preacher, providing rich insights into every passage of scripture. For a limited time, we are able to offer this Old and New Testament commentary for only $99.99 (originally $359.98!). Learn more about this title on our website.

Continue Reading

Look Inside: Tyndale Commentaries

Posted by on 08/04/2017 in:

The Tyndale Commentary Series is a 49 volume commentary set spanning the entirety of both the Old and New Testaments. Long known for being a trusted resource for Bible study, this commentary is written by some of the most distinguished evangelical scholars from across the globe.

Here’s a brief look at the Tyndale Commentaries and how they look in the Olive Tree Bible App on an iPad.

You can access all of the Tyndale Commentaries‘ study helps from within the Resource Guide in the split window. As with all our commentaries, they are uniquely enhanced to follow along with what you’re reading in the main window. Introductions, outlines, and commentary notes are all easily accessible, no matter where you are in the Bible. Not only does this save you time, but you get the information you need with minimal effort!

The introduction to each volume in the series is a concise yet thorough description of the authorship, date, and historical background of the book under consideration. The commentary itself examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning of the Bible and to make its message plain to readers today.

Verses in the commentary notes are hyperlinked so you can quickly view cross references.

Add the Tyndale Commentaries to your Olive Tree library today!

Continue Reading