Category: Look Inside

Spurgeon Study Bible

Posted by on 11/03/2017 in: ,

“Spurgeon had a phenomenal grasp of theology, and his reading had afforded him a breadth of insight matched by few, but when it came to opening up the Scriptures, he was a master of clarity and simplicity. He warned his students about going down among miners with technical theological terms and high-sounding phraseology. To do so, he said, was to act like an idiot.” – Alistair Begg

SPURGEON’S STUDY BIBLE

The day has finally come! The Spurgeon Study Bible is designed, formatted, and available for download. We’ve been waiting to tell you about it all month long.

Why are we so excited about this study Bible? What makes it worth the read, different than the rest, and helpful in your study of God’s Word? Here’s three reasons.

1) IT’S SPURGEON

If you don’t know much about Charles Spurgeon, you’re missing out. For nearly two centuries his nickname has been “The Prince of Preachers,” and for good reason.

Spurgeon was born in Kelvedon, Essex, England in 1834. Growing up, he was influenced by both his father and grandfather who were nonconformist ministers. He loved to read Pilgrim’s Progress and learn about theology, although he never attended seminary. Spurgeon was one of a kind—insistent on the Bible’s power, continuously doing ministry, and an incredibly humble man. In his lifetime, he wrote over 135 books, founded an orphanage, and pastored a church that could hold 5,600 people. Without a doubt, Spurgeon was the most popular preacher in England.

Like the quote states at the beginning of this blog, Spurgeon’s fame didn’t encourage him to flaunt his wisdom. Instead, he always made sure to speak humbly and clearly. With this study Bible, you’ll get to soak up all of Spurgeon’s wisdom—with ease.

If you’re interested in learning more about Charles Spurgeon, Alistair Begg wrote a short biography as the introduction to the Spurgeon Study Bible. That’s where I found some of the details I shared above.

2) THE EXTRAS

SPURGEON QUOTES – Nestled inside Spurgeon’s commentary are thought-provoking quotes. This way, you get some of his most famous sayings, even if they aren’t directly related to a section of Scripture. (Click on the images below to enlarge them!)

SPURGEON ILLUSTRATIONS – Along with quotes, you’ll also find full illustrations that Spurgeon used while preaching. This is yet another way that Spurgeon will get you to think more deeply about Scripture and your relationship with God.

SPURGEON’S LOST SERMONS – There are twenty of Charles Spurgeon’s earliest sermon manuscripts from The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon: His Earliest Outlines and Sermons Between 1851 and 1854. Also, you’ll find hand-written notes by Spurgeon!

3) USE WITH ANY BIBLE, ANY TIME

Now, this is only true with our digital version of this study Bible. There are paper versions out there, and in order to use them, you have to open multiple books if you want to see any other study Bible notes or translations.

But, when we sell study Bibles, we only sell the notes because they can be opened alongside ANY translation that you have in our app. So, if you’re doing a little reading while you wait at the bus stop or the doctor’s office, and Spurgeon had something to say about the passage you’re reading… the Resource Guide will show it to you. Just tap, and then you’re immediately reading the notes—without wifi.

You can take the wise words of the Prince of Preachers with you anywhere and read them at any time.

LEARN MORE

Excited to learn from Charles Spurgeon and the Spurgeon Study Bible? You can read more about the resource by visiting our website. Feel free to ask us any questions you have below or at support@olivetree.com.

See this video by the publisher of the Spurgeon Study Bible to learn more:

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ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible

Posted by on 11/01/2017 in: ,

This week is the week for new titles. Our second release of the week is the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible! Some very well-seasoned. and well-respected, theologians put together this study Bible: J.I. Packer, Michael Horton, Kelly Kapic, Michael Reeves, David Wells, and more. We have the full list of contributors on our website.

Since this is a brand-new release, we figured you might want to take a peek inside. In this blog you’ll learn about systematic theology, how this study Bible is put together, and how it works inside our app.

WHAT IS SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY?

Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief. There are two popular ways to study and write about theology, though: biblical and systematic. What’s the difference?

Biblical Theology is a ground-level approach. Scholars who write biblical theologies go verse-by-verse looking for themes and characteristics. When these findings are documented, authors will spend a lot of time explaining a passage and then make theological statements.

Systematic Theology is an eagle’s-eye approach. Imagine yourself up-high, looking across the whole landscape of the Bible, discovering theological connections across the entire book. When these findings are documented, authors write extensively about one theological tenet. Then, they use several verse references as their proof.

The ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible applies thoughts on core, theological topics to specific passages—making it a great resource for getting both a ground-level and eagle’s-eye perspective on Scripture.

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY + STUDY BIBLE

Study Bible notes fall into one of ten categories: the attributes of God, revelation, mankind, sin, Jesus Christ, salvation, the Holy Spirit, church life, the Christian life, and the end times. The information will emphasize the historic doctrines of the Christian faith, while also respecting different views on secondary issues such as baptism, spiritual gifts, and details concerning last things.

In these notes, there are cross-references. These will point you to other study notes that address similar themes. This is done so that you learn to see a holistic account of the Christian faith, drawn from the entirety of Scripture. Additionally, there are 28 separate articles that succinctly explain the main tenets of the faith, expanding on the content of these study notes.

Lastly, this resource comes with two indexes. You can look through a canonical list which outlines every study note in the order it appears in the Bible. Within the app, you’ll be able to simply tap on this reference, and you’ll be taken straight to the entry. The second index is topical. If there is a theological topic you would like more information on, search through this alphabetical list. You’ll be shown the verse reference where Scripture and the study notes address this topic.

SEE FOR YOURSELF

If you’d like to read the above snippet, just tap or click on the image and it will be enlarged for you.

In Titus 3:4-6, all three persons of the Trinity are mentioned, and I underlined them in my reading. The ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible notes not only explain the relationship between the three, but gave me an understanding of how they are working together in this passage. If I tap the references there on the side, the split-window immediately takes me other entries on God’s triune nature.

I also found more information on this topic by going to the articles and choosing the one titled “God.” Here there is a lot of helpful information about God’s attributes with links to Scripture references.

LEARN MORE

What makes this study Bible useful? It gives you clarity on the attributes of God and Christian faith that are echoed across the pages of the Bible—without flipping a page. As always, this resource works in our Resource Guide, letting you know when a passage you are reading (in any translation!) is discussed in this title. It’s all right there, ready for you to read, no matter where you are.

If you’re interested in growing in your understanding of God’s characteristics and the theological themes of the Bible, check out the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible.

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A Reformed, Christ-Centered Commentary

Posted by on 10/27/2017 in: ,

With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next week, we’ve been looking for helpful resources for our Reformed folk—and we found one that we think some of you will enjoy greatly. The Reformed Expository Commentary Series is edited by Richard Phillips and and Phillip Ryken: two Reformed pastors dedicated to Christ-centered preaching paired with a vigorously Reformed doctrinal stance.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Phillips and Ryken were both proteges of James Montogomery Boice. Sound familiar? Not too long ago we had the Boice Expositional Commentary Series on sale. Boice’s commentary set contains 27 volumes—that man knew how to write!

So, when Phillips and Ryken decided to produce their own commentary set, it was very important to them that they didn’t simply copy Boice. They wanted to make sure that their resource would be fulfilling a need.

A COMMENTARY THAT ANSWERS A NEED (OR 3)

Here are three needs that Phillips and Ryken want to fill:

1. There a few commentaries that extend from exegesis into exposition (answering technical questions while also applying the passage)
  • But this commentary set proclaims, explains, and applies the whole text within each set—perfect for sermons and Bible lessons
  • It also includes information on exegesis, text criticism, theology, and historical studies, but it shares the information in a way that can be used directly in a sermon
2. There are even fewer commentaries that teach a Christ-centered message that reflects Reformed doctrinal stances
  • But this commentary is consistently using a Christ-centered message is every passage of Scripture
  • And it is also staunchly Reformed, relying on the Westminster Confessions heavily
3. And lastly, barely any commentaries give real examples of their teaching being used in the pulpit
  • But this commentary organized as transcripts of sermons used by the authors—they were required to preach anything they included in this set!
  • And the information is so applicable, that even the editors continue to use this resource for their daily devotions

Most of this information was gathered from an interview conducted by Tim Challies, which can be viewed here.

BUT HOW DOES IT WORK?

First, we have to let you know that this resource works with the Resource Guide. If you’re in a passage of the Bible that this commentary references, our app will let you know. Just tap on “Reformed Expository Commentary” to access the information in the split-window.

Here’s what I found! The beginning of this sermon starts with an attention-getter, referencing The Lord of the Rings (automatic bonus points!). Then, it transitions into explaining how we can believe the miracles presented in the Bible and an explanation of the passage. Click on the images to see them enlarged.

LEARN MORE

Interested in Reformed theology, sermons, and Christ-centered teaching? Learn more about the The Reformed Expository Commentary Series by visiting our website.

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What’s a Topical Bible?

Posted by on 10/25/2017 in: ,

When you don’t know a word, your first inclination is to find a dictionary definition of it. Although that information is helpful, you can learn so much more by hearing the word used in a sentence. When you experience the word being used, you learn how to use it for yourself. So, in this blog, I’ll tell you what a topical Bible is, but we won’t stop there. I’ll show you how to use one and how it can change the way you study the Bible.

WHAT’S A TOPICAL BIBLE?

Simply put, a topical Bible takes passages of Scripture and organizes them by topic. Our most recently acquired topical Bible looks like this in the app:

You can search through the resource like a dictionary, finding important Biblical themes, people, and places. When you pull one up, you’ll see a long list Scripture references. These are all linked. Just tap on it to open a pop-up window showing you the verse in context.

A TOPICAL BIBLE IN ACTION

I was asking myself this question not too long ago. I knew what a topical Bible was, and how I might use it… but I wondered how the authors of this resource envisioned others using it. Lucky enough, John MacArthur provides that information in the foreword of his MacArthur Topical Bible.

1. WHY USE A TOPICAL BIBLE?

When reading the Bible, we may first ask ourselves, “What does this mean to me?” But we should probably first ask, “What does the Bible mean by what it says?” MacArthur shares us the typical four steps for interpretation and which step he envisions his tool being used:

  • LITERAL: The Bible often speaks in literal terms. Let it speak for itself! What plain observations can you make?
  • HISTORICAL: The Bible talks about history. Learn about the historical context of the passage.
  • GRAMMATICAL: The Bible was written in a different language. Is there anything you might interpret differently after looking at a definition of a word in the original language?
  • SYNTHESIS: The Bible can interpret the Bible—it never contradicts itself! So, other passages of Scripture can help us understand the current passage we are reading… and this is where a topical Bible is handy!

When you’re doing your daily Bible reading, you can pick out the main themes and ideas you see presented. Then, look those up in a topical Bible. Then you can quickly read about the theme in other parts of the Bible by opening those pop-up windows we talked about earlier.

How does this help us? It keeps us from interpreting the Bible our way. Instead, we are looking to God’s Word for clarification.

1. HOW DO I USE A TOPICAL BIBLE?

We’ve already covered this a little bit, but I thought I could give you a real-life example!

Perhaps you’re reading Micah 6 and come across that well-know verse: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

God requires you to walk humbly. But what does “humbly” mean? Well, let’s see how God uses that word in other places in the Bible!

One example I pulled up is in Isaiah 57. This verse talks about God reviving or instilling joy in those who are low in spirit. Does being humble mean being sad or having poor self-image? Let’s check out another verse:

James 4 shows that when we are humble, God exalts us. What theme do we see between these passages?

  1. Micah 6: walk humbly with God
  2. Isaiah 57: when we are low, God will revive us
  3. James 4: when we are humble, God exalts us

Being humble appears to be more about our relationship with God. Do we try to exalt ourselves? Are we trying to please ourselves, puffing up with pride and acting like we have it all together? Are we doing things our own way?

Those actions and motives are the opposite of humility. You don’t have to be dreary and think poorly of yourself to be humble. But you do need to recognize your flaws and God’s perfection.

LEARN MORE

Start interpreting Scripture with Scripture in your Bible study time. We’ve got the MacArthur Topical Bible on sale right now, and you can learn more about it on our website.

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Learn to Preach Christ-Centered Sermons

Posted by on 10/16/2017 in: ,

There are SO many Biblical resources out there—but how do you know which ones will be helpful to you?  Especially if you’re a pastor, you don’t have a lot of time or money to waste!

The Christ-Centered Exposition Series makes its purpose clear just from the title. This commentary series is made for pastors. Pastors who want to preach Christ at the center of their message.

WHAT MAKES THIS DIFFERENT OR BETTER?

But wouldn’t every Biblical resource mention Jesus where it’s applicable? Nope! The authors of this commentary noticed that there are two ways to study the Bible: with a magnifying glass or a wide-angle lens. For years, Bible study resources have been focused on the tiny details that can be uncovered in each verse.

There’s two issues with this for pastors:

  1. It takes a lot of time to turn those tiny details into a message that your audience can resonate with
  2. The tiny details address individual Bible stories—not the whole story of the Bible with Christ at the center

Pastors need resources to help them prepare heart-transformative messages, making Jesus known to their congregants—no matter what book of the Bible they are studying. David Platt, Tony Merida, and Daniel Akin have provided a solid, Biblical resource that accomplishes this by using up-close detail and big-picture thinking to make Jesus the hero of every chapter.

You, too, can preach with Christ at the center. Watch this 60-second video to learn more:

IS THIS COMMENTARY RELIABLE?

It’s important to research the authors/editors of any book you read! All three of these men have great credentials that make them perfect for writing Biblical resources for pastors.

DAVID PLATT

Platt is currently the president of the International Mission Board and the founder of Radical, a resource ministry that seeks to serve the missional church. He is well-known for his best-selling book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. He holds a Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

DANIEL AKIN

Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is the author and editor of many popular books and Bible commentaries such as Theology for the Church and the New American Commentary on 1, 2, and 3 John. His gained his Ph.D. in Humanities from the University of Texas at Arlington.

TONY MERIDA

Merida is the lead pastor at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina and is an Associate Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written two books entitled Faithful Preaching and Orphanology. He earned a Ph.D. in preaching from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

CAN I USE THIS PRACTICALLY?

Yes! Inside our app, you’ll be able to pull up this commentary alongside any Bible translation of your choice, take notes, create an outline, and prepare your sermon. This series also comes with “Reflect & Discuss” sections, perfect for furthering personal devotions and small group studies.

We know many pastors who even use a tablet with our app open when they are preaching. You’ll have all the information you need at a tap of your finger.

LEARN MORE

With this resource, you’ll be able to

  1. Quickly find the content and research you need to write a well-prepared sermon
  2. Preach Christ-centered, heart-transforming messages to your listeners
  3. Grow spiritually as the Holy Spirit leads

Visit our website to learn more about the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary Set (24 Vols.). Have questions about anything? Email support@olivetree.com. We’ll help you!

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Thoughts on Meekness

Posted by on 10/12/2017 in: ,

A LUTHERAN’S PERSPECTIVE

Have you ever heard of Lenski’s Commentary on the New Testament? R.H.C. Lenski was a German-born American and conservative Lutheran. He lived from 1864 to 1936 and loved to write. For our blog today, I’ve pulled out Lenski’s commentary on Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (NKJV). I found a great reminder in his writing; While we wait for Jesus’ return, we ought to remain meek, trusting that God will cut down the wicked.

THOUGHTS FROM LENKSI

Blessed the meek; for just they shall inherit the earth. The best commentary is Ps. 37; note v. 11. “The meek” are the mild, gentle, patient. The word refers to an inward virtue exercised toward persons. When they are wronged or abused they show no resentment and do not threaten or avenge themselves. The opposite are the vehement, bitter, wild, and violent. Jesus is the greatest example of meekness.

The paradox is again startling, the fact that people of this kind “shall inherit the earth.” Jesus does not say, “the new earth,” yet many regard his word as a reference to the millennial earth or to Rev. 21:1. And Jesus says “shall inherit,” namely with Christ, the heir of all the earth. This lot is theirs in accordance with their Lord’s will and testament. Read Ps. 37: the wicked shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb-evildoers shall be cut off-yet a little while and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be-and so the story of the wicked goes on. There is not much inheriting of this earth according to the Psalm. But look at the ‘anavim (also in Isa. 61:1), “the meek.” Jesus is merely repeating Ps. 37:11, 22.

They are cautioned not to vex themselves when the wicked grow haughty and appear mighty and great. They may suffer, but the divine blessing constantly follows them also in this life and on this earth. It will not do to say that the temporal blessings promised to Israel in the old covenant are not to be regarded as being promised also to those living in the new covenant. The Christian Church has fared even better than Israel fared. The idea that in the Psalm “earth” signifies Canaan and thus the heavenly Canaan in Jesus’ beatitude, is specious; for Jesus indicates no difference of this kind. It will always be true (v. 16): “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked,” for his little has God’s blessing, and their much God’s curse.

Our meekness, however, often shines by its absence; our covetousness, pride, and other faults necessitate God’s discipline, who always follows higher aims that reach beyond temporalities. Chemnitz writes that God lets his children find a little nest on the house that is intended entirely for them. Luther agrees that this beatitude adds the promise of “temporal life and goods on earth.”

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Lenski’s commentary isn’t for everyone. He is very meticulous about his work with the Greek language! But if you are a lover of original languages, you should definitely look into this resource more. Just follow this link to our website.

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The John Phillips Commentary Series

Posted by on 10/07/2017 in: ,

1) WHO WAS JOHN PHILLIPS?

Phillips was born in South Wales on February 11, 1927. He didn’t stay put there, however. He served in the British Army in Palestine, then moved to Canada, married the love of his life, and then found himself in the United States. For years he worked at Moody Bible Institute, serving as the Assistant Director of their Evening Extension School. Additionally, he directed the Emmaus Correspondence School, which was, at the time, the largest school of its kind in the world.

With this Doctor of Ministry, Phillips not only taught and organized academic study of God’s Word, but he wrote more than 50 books about the Bible, including complete sets of New Testament Commentaries, the Exploring the Bible Series and his Introducing People of the Bible Series

This man was a dedicated, hard worker who strived to teach others about God and His Word.

2) WHAT IS HIS COMMENTARY LIKE?

Currently, Olive Tree offers Phillips commentary collection that contains 27 volumes: 19 New Testament volumes and 8 Old Testament volumes. You can see the entire list by visiting our website.

Phillips uses the KJV translation of the Bible for all of his work, and speaks from an evangelical framework. He provides many illustrations and quotes, often applying the Bible to everyday life.

But what’s the best part of this resource?

The OUTLINES! Phillips made sure to make extensive outlines before he wrote content for his commentary. Here’s an example:

Not only does he break down large pieces of Scripture into shorter, easier-to-understand sections, but he works out of this structure through the entire commentary set. You’ll find Phillips thoughts and comments recorded in conversational sentences that make you feel as if you’re studying the Bible alongside him.

LEARN MORE

Wondering how commentaries work in the app, what books of the Bible are included in this set, or just want more information? Visit the the John Phillips Commentary Set’s product page for all that and more.

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God’s Will: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Posted by on 09/25/2017 in: ,

Every time I read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, I’m deeply encouraged. Here, Paul gives his final instructions to the Church at Thessaloniki, calling them to love, act justly, and do the will of God. Not only that, but he tells them how they can accomplish all this. He says, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).

How will we become the kind of people that Paul depicts in this passage? God will work it out. He is faithful in sanctifying us completely.

THE WILL OF GOD

As I was looking to learn more about this passage, I was drawn to delve deeper into verses 16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Ever wondered what God’s will is!? It’s this! That we rejoice, that we pray, and that we give thanks—and that we do all of these things all the time. Even though I was just reminded that God will complete this work in me, I felt overwhelmed. I’m certainly not doing those three things continuously! So, I looked to a resource for some help and encouragement.

This is from the New Bible Commentary:

“A series of brief, staccato commands indicates the basis for Christian living. They are quite general and would apply to any group of believers. Christians have grounds for joy in both their experience of salvation and their hope of what God will do in the future, but they need to express that joy; there is a right and proper place for the expression of joyful emotion.

Christians must also pray—here probably in the sense of making requests to God, since the next command is about the need to be thankful. Common to the three commands is the stress on fulfilling them all the time and in all circumstances; this does not mean, for example, that one prays uninterruptedly but that one prays regularly and frequently. Such a life is made possible, Paul adds, because God intends it to be so; he wants his people to be joyful, prayerful and thankful, and he makes it possible for them to be so.”

{Insert sigh of relief here} I think D.A. Carson probably has the right idea. God doesn’t expect us to rejoice, pray, and express gratitude uninterruptedly, but often. I can picture myself living a life where I rejoice often and a life where I’m thankful often. But I wonder, what exactly did a life of frequent prayer look like for Paul?

The New Bible Dictionary (which comes bundled with the New Bible Commentary) has a lot of content around prayer. It explains what prayer looked like in the Old Testament (and it’s different periods: patristic, pre-exile, exile, post exile… ect.), the Gospels, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles. There’s a TON of information on Paul alone, but I took away this one tidbit:

“Prayer was thanksgiving, intercession, the realization of God’s presence (cf. 1 Thes. 1:2f.; Eph. 1:16ff.). He found that the Holy Spirit assisted him in prayer as he sought to know and do God’s will (Rom. 8:14, 26).”

To Paul, prayer was even the realization of God’s presence! Not that this is something I am perfect at, but it seems much more attainable than needing to always sit down and have a very deep conversation with God. Don’t get me wrong—that’s important, too! But prayer in the believer’s life is more than confession, thanksgiving, and intercession. It’s seeing God, recognizing Him in our circumstances, and acknowledging Him. All in all, when we realize God’s presence, it’ll be nearly impossible for us to act outside of God’s will. That should be a comfort.

LEARN MORE

Did you find this information just as helpful as I did? We offer the New Bible Commentary and New Bible Dictionary as a bundled product, usually for $79.98. But this week, we are able to drop the price to only $29.99. So, if you’re interested in learning more about these great resources, visit our website!

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Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines: Learning for a Lifetime

Posted by on 09/18/2017 in:

There are lots of ways to learn the Bible, but one of the better ways is to start is by getting an overview of the Bible’s big picture. Warren Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old and New Testament is a fantastic tool for achieving this.

HISTORY

The content in this book grew out of Bible studies Wiersbe prepared during his time at Calvary Baptist Church in Covington, Kentucky. Taking the course his predecessor, Dr. D. B. Easter, had devised, Wiersbe taught it to his congregation and distributed lessons week by week to his students. Eventually other churches heard about it and wanted to do the same, so the material was compiled into a notebook and published by the church. Now, in a more permanent form, an updated and revised version is available for all to partake.

The structure of Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines is straightforward. Each book of the Bible gives you three things: 1) a simple suggested outline for each book of the Bible, 2) some essential introductory material, and 3) summaries for key passages & chapters.

Let’s look at how these work in the Olive Tree Bible Study app, using James as our launching point.

OUTLINES

When you start studying a new book of the Bible, you want to first get a feel for its layout. Wiersbe makes this easy by putting it front and center. It’s the first thing you see when you open the book to James. But, instead of finding it ourselves, we’ll use the Resource Guide to make our job easier. Scroll down to Outlines and tap on Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines to drill down to the outline for James.

With this outline we get a good feel for the structure of James’ epistle. We quickly find that this letter has five chapters that can be broken down into four main sections, with each having two or three major sub-points.

INTRODUCTIONS

We can follow the same steps to access the introductory material for James’ letter. This time, we drill down into the Introductions section of the Resource Guide to find our information. In the introduction for each book, Wiersbe covers key material such as: the author, the basic theme, an overview, and any other pertinent details. The introductions give you just enough to get you familiar with the book without giving you anything you don’t need.

SUMMARIES

Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines is functionally a mini commentary on the Bible. The commentary comes in the form of short summaries for both chapters and key passages. Again, we can access this information through the Resource Guide by navigating to the Commentaries section and tapping into it. Once inside, you are presented with a compact summary of the entire chapter. If you’re looking to get a broad overview of the entire Bible, I’d stop here the first time through. Then, you can read the section summaries on your next time around to get more depth. Or, dive in and soak it all up!

PERFECT FOR EVERYONE

The great thing about Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines is that it’s truly for everyone. The title is a bit deceiving because you get a lot more than just outlines. If you add this resource to your Olive Tree library you’ll walk away with a solid overview of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Warren Wiersbe taught this to his students over the course of 7 years, but you get to glean from it for a lifetime! Add it to your Olive Tree library today!

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Why Does God Allow Trials?

Posted by on 09/16/2017 in: ,

JAMES 1:2-3

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Have you ever wondered why God allows us to experience trials? Here are eight purposes for trials in the life of the Christian:

1. TO TEST THE STRENGTH OF OUR FAITH

Trials help us take inventory of our faith and see how strong or weak it truly is. God tested the children of Israel (Ex. 16:4), Hezekiah (2 Chron. 32:31), and many others in Scripture.

2. TO HUMBLE US

As we grow spiritually, sometimes we can become proud and puffed up because of what we know. Thus, trials are meant to humble us and prevent such spiritual pride. Paul was humbled because of the things God had shown him (2 Cor. 12:7).

3. TO WEAN US FROM OUR DEPENDENCE ON WORLDLY THINGS

Too often we trust in ourselves and our own means. Trials remind us that we need to depend on God alone for spiritual strength and satisfaction. This is why Jesus challenged the disciples when it came time to feed five thousand followers (John 6:5-6).

4. TO CALL US TO ETERNAL AND HEAVENLY HOPE

The more we experience trials and the longer they become, they cause us to yearn for heaven. Paul understood this truth well in his own life & ministry (Rom. 8:18-25; Phil. 1:23-24).

5. TO REVEAL WHAT WE REALLY LOVE

God commands us to love him first and foremost. Trials come to both prove and reveal whether this is true. Abraham was tested when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22). Jesus uses hyperbole to express the devotion we’re to have for God (Luke 14:26).

6. TO TEACH US TO VALUE GOD’S BLESSINGS

Trials are difficult and often result in loss. These losses help us see the blessings that God does provide for his children. Truly our greatest blessings are spiritual. The heroes in Hebrews 11 knew this well as they looked to the goodness of God’s gifts.

7. TO DEVELOP ENDURING STRENGTH FOR GREATER USEFULNESS

Faith is like a muscle, unless it is put to use and exercised, it will not get stronger. Trials strengthen our faith so that it is strong at the times when we need it most. By faith God’s children have endured trials & done great deeds (Heb. 11:33-34). Paul also understood that trials are what made his faith strong (2 Cor. 12:10).

8. TO ENABLE US TO BETTER HELP OTHERS IN THEIR TRIALS

Sometimes the trials we experience are not for us, but for others. God allows trials to happen to us so we can help others through their own trials and seasons of difficulty. Peter experienced trials, which he later used to encourage other believers (Luke 22:31-32). Even Jesus suffered so that he could intercede on our behalf (Heb. 2:18).

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This content is adapted from the MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Learn more by visiting our website, where this entire set is discounted 50%.

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