Category: Product Reviews

The Geneva Bible, A Bible of Firsts

Posted by on 02/27/2017 in: ,

An Interview with Dr. David A Bennett:

When it was first printed, the Geneva Bible was the most reader-friendly version of the Bible ever translated, with numerous innovations making it ideal for the common reader. What sets the Geneva Bible apart? I recently sat down with Dr. David A. Bennett, a local antique Bible collector and amateur historian of Bible history, to find out.

Q: Can you give us a brief history of the Geneva Bible?

During Queen Mary’s reign, from 1555 and 1558, she burned 288 Protestant ministers at the stake for their denial of one tenet or another of the Roman religion. During the 1550s, when the Protestants of England were under such fierce persecution, many of their minsters fled to Geneva, Switzerland, to a theocracy maintained by Calvin and his contemporaries. Such a blessed company of Protestant theologians and scholars produced a Bible in 1560 aptly called the Geneva Bible. John Calvin, John Knox, Myles Coverdale, John Foxe, and several other Reformers may have collaborated on the Bible, but most of the work was done by William Whittingham, the pastor of the Geneva Church and a dear friend of John Calvin. The Geneva New Testament of 1558 was barely off the press when work began on a revision of the entire Bible, a process that took two more years. The new translation was checked with Theodore Beza’s earlier work and with the Greek text. In 1560, a complete revised Bible was published, “translated according to the Hebrew and Greek, and conferred with the best translations in divers languages”. Not only was the Geneva Bible innovative and influential, it has a remarkable history. The Geneva Bible was a product of vicious persecution endured by the English reformers. Its marginal notes edified the people and infuriated a King. While previous English translations failed to capture the hearts of the reading public, the Geneva Bible was instantly popular. Between 1560 and 1644 at least 144 editions appeared. Even forty years after the publication of the King James Bible, the Geneva Bible continued to be the Bible of the home. Two of the prime attractions of the Geneva Bible were its cost – the average cost of this printed Bible was less than a week’s wages for a working man – and the commentary amply interspersed throughout the Bible. The Geneva Bible was the first study Bible ever printed, a fact which both endeared it to the laity and irritated the clergy and monarchy, as neither archbishop nor king was allotted the god-like status each sought. The Bible brought to the American colonies by the Pilgrims in 1620 was their much-beloved 1599 Geneva Bible. During the decades following the publication of the King James Bible in 1611, both political and commercial meddling by monarch and bishop was implemented to finally subvert the influence of the Geneva Bible.

Q: What sets the Geneva Bible apart from other translations?

The Geneva Bible was a Bible of firsts:

  • First entire Bible in English translated from the original languages, not depending upon the Latin Vulgate at all
  • First English Bible translation intended for use by lay Christians, following on the heels of Martin Luther’s 1534 German Bible for the German laity
  • First Bible in English to use contemporary verse divisions
  • First to use italicized words where English required more than a literal Greek rendering
  • First Bible in the English language with commentary, so it’s the first study Bible
  • First English Bible translated by a committee and not an individual

Q: Besides the study notes, are there any substantial ways in which the Geneva text differs from that of the KJV?

Using the verbiage of types and antitypes, the Geneva Bible was the antitype or fulfillment of Tyndale’s pioneering work, as well as the type or prototype of the King James Bible to come 50 years later. Fully 80% of the books Tyndale translated into English are present in the Geneva Bible, as also 80% of the King James Bible is attributed to the Geneva Bible – minus the marginal commentary! Quite frankly, its marginal notes both fanned the flames of the Geneva Bible’s success, but also resulted in its eventual demise and the succession of the King James Bible as the de facto English Bible for centuries to come. Had not the marginal commentary been so polarizing, there is good reason to suspect that neither the Bishop’s Bible nor even the King James Bible would ever have been conceived.

Q: How does the Tolle Lege edition that Olive Tree is releasing differ from the original 1599 Geneva Bible?

Today’s readers will find it difficult to read the original print edition due to its archaic typography and outdated spellings and word usage. For example, it is quite interesting to notice the progression of the English language, during which English acquired the use of the letter “j” to use in appropriate places where only “i” had been used before, and the consistent delineation of “v” and “u” as we know today.

The Tolle Lege Press edition removes the major obstacles for the contemporary reader, returning this historic Bible to its rightful place of influence and importance. The original 1599 Geneva Bible gave God’s Word back to the people, and Tolle Lege Press desires that the tradition continue.

Thanks to Dr. Bennett for his time and insights into the 1599 Geneva Bible. You can find the 1599 Geneva Bible available on the Olive Tree store here.

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What is a Bible Dictionary?

Posted by on 12/05/2016 in: ,

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The term Bible Dictionary probably makes you think of a fairly boring and dry reference book.  However, a Bible Dictionary is truly invaluable in helping you unpack God’s word. Unlike a normal word dictionary a good Bible dictionary will not only give you the definition of a word,  person or a place but you can often read a short article, access verse cross references, or see things like images and maps. The insight it gives can help you explore the world of the Bible like never before!

If you don’t yet have a Bible Dictionary the Essential Bible Dictionary would be a great place to start. In addition to defining words, places, people, and the many themes of the Bible, the Essential Bible Dictionary has full color images, maps and illustrations and is ideal for us in personal devotion and Bible study. It’s truly a storehouse of information that provides essential information regarding the original times of the Bible.

You can get the Essential Bible Dictionary by tapping HERE!

To view other Bible Dictionaries tap HERE!

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Use Study Bible Notes With Any Translation!

Posted by on 11/30/2016 in: ,

The great thing about using a study Bible in the Olive Tree Bible App is that they can be used with any Bible translation!

Because of the way our Resource Guide connects Bible study resources with the text you’re reading in the main window, study notes can be used with any Bible translation. In the screenshot below (taken from an iPad) I have the King James Version of the Bible opened in the main window and under the Commentaries section of the resource guide I see a number next to my study Bible notes. This number indicates available entries based on John 3:1-7. You’ll also notice that the study notes I have installed are not based on the King James Version of the Bible yet they still work the same.

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Again, any Bible opened in the main screen will work with any study Bible notes that you have installed. In the screenshot below I have the English Standard Version opened in the main window and I’ve got the NIV Study Bible Notes opened in the split window. The notes will stay in sync with what I’m reading regardless of the translation difference.

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We have 90 different study Bibles to choose from, all with a variety of insight and tools. See them all here!

Watch the video below for more on how study Bibles work in the app.

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Look Inside: New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary

Posted by on 11/09/2016 in: ,

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The 10 Vol. New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary is now available for the Olive Tree Bible App. This commentary set covers both the Old and New Testament and includes content such as:

  • A detailed, critical commentary providing an exegetical “close-reading” of the biblical text
  • Reflections that present a detailed exposition of issues raised in the biblical text
  • Introductions to each book that cover essential historical, sociocultural, literary, and theological issues
  • Comprehensive, concise articles
  • Numerous visual aids (illustrations, maps, charts, timelines)

Here’s a brief look at the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary and how it looks in the Olive Tree Bible App on an iPad.

You can access all of the study helps from the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary from the Resource Guide in the split window. As with all of our commentaries they are uniquely enhanced to track with what you’re reading in the main window so overviews, commentary notes, charts, more all easily accessible.

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

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The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary is available now at a discounted price. See it here!

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Look Inside: New Testament Interlinear Bible

Posted by on 10/24/2016 in: ,

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Learning Greek can be a difficult task. It takes years of study and countless hours of practice before you reach the point of reading the Greek New Testament without the help of additional resources. Unless your aim is to be a New Testament scholar, most will not achieve that level of comfort with the Greek text. But that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from using the Greek New Testament in your studies. Whether you’re someone who can read Greek proficiently or have only ever used a Strong’s Bible, Olive Tree’s Interlinear Bibles are here to meet your needs.

Here’s a look at some of the top features of an Interlinear Bible in the Olive Tree Bible App.

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Not only can Bible App display the text in an Interlinear format, we’ve tagged the Greek word with the Greek Parsing and Strong’s Definition: Simply tap a word to get more details on that Greek word.

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We’ve also tagged the English Word:

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And the Strong’s Number:

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Searching for this Greek word in the text? No problem. Tap search and Bible App will bring you a list of results for that Greek Word:

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You can also tap “lookup” and the Bible App will find dictionaries already downloaded to your device that contain more information on this Greek word:

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You can also search the Greek word itself:

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Go here to see the available Interlinear Bibles based on top English translations!

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Enhanced Sermons

Posted by on 10/05/2016 in: ,

Of the many Bible study tools that Olive Tree offers, sermon collections are another great resource that are specifically enhanced to work in the Resource Guide of the Olive Tree Bible App.

Sermons work much the same as a commentary in the resource guide. In the screenshot below (from an Android tablet) the resource guide recognizes that I’m in Romans chapter ten and so when I look at the sermon section of the resource guide I see that in my installed sermon collections Charles SpurgeonD.L. Moody and John Piper have preached on this particular section of scripture.

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A simple tap/click then takes me to the text of their sermon for easy reading and also to help me in my understanding of the passage.

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We’ve just released a 63 Volume updated version of C.H. Spurgeon’s sermons. Spurgeon wrote his sermons out fully before he preached, but what he carried up to the pulpit was a note card with an outline sketch. Stenographers would take down the sermon as it was delivered and Spurgeon would then have opportunity to make revisions to the transcripts the following day for immediate publication. His weekly sermons, which sold for a penny each, were widely circulated and still remain one of the all-time best selling series of writings published in history.

You can read more about one of the most prolific sermon writers HERE.

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Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK)

Posted by on 07/15/2016 in: ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Three Ways Bible Dictionaries Improve Your Study Time

Posted by on 04/18/2016 in: , ,

A good Bible dictionary is an invaluable resource for your personal Bible study and can go a long way in illuminating God’s word. Here are three ways you can easily use a dictionary in the Olive Tree Bible App.

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The first way is through the Split Window and Resource Guide.

Open your favorite Bible translation in the main window and the Resource Guide in the Split Window.  As you read through your Bible text, the Resource Guide searches through all the downloaded resources in your library to find related Bible study content.

You’ll notice that the Resource Guide pulls related content from all of your downloaded resources.  If you scroll down the Resource Guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”  These headings give you the results of articles based on your downloaded resources.

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Tap or click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about. I chose “Canaan” in this example.  The Bible App then brings you results from within the resources you have on your device.  This is where you will find the Baker Compact Dictionary within the Resource Guide.

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You’ll notice that the resource has the words “Article on Canaan” underneath the book cover.  Tap/Click on the book cover and the Bible App will take you directly to the article within the Baker Compact Dictionary. As you are reading the article, any Scripture references become hyperlinks that you can tap/click to view as a pop-out window.

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The second way you can utilize a Bible dictionary is as a traditional dictionary in the Olive Tree Bible App.

Select the dictionary from your library and  simply Tap/Click the book title and look through the resource as you would a hard-copy dictionary.

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The third way is to use the Bible App’s Lookup Feature.

Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  If you tap the “Lookup” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific word. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above.

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Bonus Feature

With a Strong’s tagged Bible you can also easily access your favorite Bible dictionary by searching on the Hebrew or Greek word that you’ve just tapped. In the screen shot below I’ve just tapped the word Lebanon and with one more tap can look up the Hebrew word in my other dictionaries for deeper study.

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For this example I’ll choose the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. I can read the article in the popup window or tap the arrow in the upper left to send it to the split screen or main window to read further.

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As you can see, Bible dictionaries are extremely helpful resources for studying the Bible.  Check out our list of great Bible dictionaries here.

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Expositor’s Commentary Comparison

Posted by on 04/11/2016 in:

If you’re looking for a great Bible commentary you may have noticed three resources in the Olive Tree store that have similar names:

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While price may often be the biggest influence on whether you’d like to add them to your study library, the most important question is, ‘What’s the difference between them?’

Here are few things that may help you in your decision.

Authorship

All three commentary sets have a strong evangelical influence while at the same time drawing from a broad diversity of churches, including Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and Reformed.

The original Expositor’s Bible Commentary was compiled between the years of 1976-1992 with 50 different authors contributing.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Revised Series is a 2012 update to the original that includes the work of 56 different authors – 30 of whom are new.

The Expositor’s commentary: Abridged was published in 1994 and draws all of it’s content from 52 different authors.

Content

Both the original and the revised editions include the following content:

  • Comprehensive introductions
  • Short and precise bibliographies
  • Detailed outlines
  • Insightful expositions of passages and verses
  • Overviews of sections of Scripture to illuminate the big picture
  • Occasional reflections to give more detail on important issues
  • Notes on textual questions and special problems, placed close to the texts in question
  • Transliterations and translations of Hebrew and Greek words, enabling readers to understand even the more technical notes

The abridged edition – as expected – is more concise and leaves out much of the technical information of the larger sets but still includes the following:

  • Verse-by-verse exposition of the entire Bible
  • 250 charts, maps, tables, and pictures

All three sets use the New International Version for its English text, but also refer freely to other translations and to the original languages. Each book of the Bible has, in addition to its exposition, an introduction, outline, and bibliography. They also include a balanced and respectful approach toward marked differences of opinion.

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In Bible+ all of this content is easily accessed in the Resource Guide found in the split window. No matter which commentary you are using they follow along with the scripture in your main window to give you easy access to expositional commentary, charts, outlines and more.

Each number indicates relevant entries for the passage

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Notes are just a tap away

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Charts and outlines are easy to use

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All three of these great commentary series on sale right now. Click the links below to see them.

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