Category: Product Reviews

How does the Expositor’s Bible Commentary Approach Scripture?

Posted by on 06/07/2017 in: ,

Expositor's Bible Commentary

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary series set the gold standard for expositors—for understanding the biblical authors and teaching their message today.

Save 50% on this 12-volume commentary set right now. Don’t wait.

ABOUT THE EXPOSITOR’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

The Gold Medallion Award–winning Expositor’s Bible Commentary offers pastors, teachers and students a comprehensive tool for the exposition of the Scriptures and the teaching and proclamation of their message.

How does this commentary approach Scripture?

Hear from the General Editor, the late Frank E. Gaebelein:

The chief principle of interpretation followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical onenamely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing.

This endeavor to understand what in the first instance the inspired writers actually said must not be confused with an inflexible literalism. Scripture makes lavish use of symbols and figures of speech; great portions of it are poetical. Yet when it speaks in this way, it speaks no less truly than it does in its historical and doctrinal portions.

To understand [Scripture’s] message requires attention to matters of grammar and syntax, word meanings, idioms, and literary formsall in relation to the historical and cultural setting of the text.

About the contributors:

  • 78 international contributors from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand are included
  • Many evangelical denominations are represented including Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and Reformed
  • Contributors include Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Leon Morris, D. A. Carson, general editor Frank E. Gaebelein, and many others

The contributors represent the best in evangelical scholarship committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible.

Learn more and see the sale today.

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Look Inside: Reformation Study Bible Notes (NKJV)

Posted by on 05/22/2017 in: ,

Just released for Olive Tree’s Bible Study App is the new edition of the Reformation Study Bible Notes. We are excited to be able to partner with Ligonier Ministries to be one of the first to offer this outstanding Bible study resource. The Reformation Study Bible Notes (2015) have been thoroughly revised and carefully crafted under the editorial leadership of R.C. Sproul. Over 1.1 million words of new, expanded, or revised commentary from 75 distinguished theologians, pastors, and scholars from around the world contribute to make this an unparalleled discipleship resource. Includes new award-winning maps, topical articles, concordance, and historical creeds, confessions, and catechisms, and more.  It is a fantastic resource and we want to give you a look inside this new edition of the Reformation Study Bible Notes.

In the screenshot below (taken from an iPad 2) I have my Bible text open in the main window to Acts 19. As I scroll through the Resource Guide in the Split Window I can see all of my enhanced resources that have an entry pertaining to the current text that I’m reading. I notice that the Reformation Study Bible Notes has entries for commentaries, maps, outlines, and introductions. The numbers indicate how many entries are available for each enhanced resource.

The Reformation Study Bible Notes – in the resource guide – shows six entries under the Commentary section for Acts 19:1-10. When I click on the the Reformation Study Bible Notes it then shows me a preview of those six entries.

I can then click on any of those previews to read the full commentary. As I read on in the text, those entries will stay in sync with my passage no matter what translation I have open in the main window.  Any Scripture reference I see becomes a hyperlink that I can tap and read without having to leave my current Bible passage.

Maps in the The Reformation Study Bible Notes can be found in two places in the Resource Guide.  First, under “Place” tap a location you are interested in.  I chose Ephesus in this case. After tapping Ephesus, all of the maps in the The Reformation Study Bible Notes tagged with that location will appear. You can then pinch and zoom the map for a larger view.

The second place is under the “Maps” Section.  Tap the one you want, Tap the “two arrows” button, pinch and zoom for a larger view.

The Reformation Study Bible Notes also includes many theological articles also linked to the Bible text you are reading.  Under Topics, tap a subject you want to learn more about. I choose “Baptism” in this case.

The Reformation Study Bible Notes also gives you book outlines, and book introductions. These are easy to access from the Resource Guide which pulls in entries based on where you’re reading in the main window.

The Reformation Study Bible Notes also includes 10 historical creeds, confessions, and catechisms.  To access them, open The Reformation Study Bible Notes in the Main Window > Tap Go To > Tap the “3 dots/3 lines” icon to Change from Grid View to List View > Tap Back Matter > Tap Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms > Tap the Creed or Confession you want to read.

You can also access all of enhanced content by navigating to the “end matter” in this way.

As you can see, the Reformation Study Bible Notes contain a ton of content that will help you go deeper in your Bible study.

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Look Inside: Reformation Commentary on Scripture Series

Posted by on 04/28/2017 in: , , ,

The Reformation Commentary on Scripture (RCS) provides a crucial link between the contemporary church and the great cloud of witnesses that is the historical church. The biblical insights and rhetorical power of the tradition of the Reformation are here made available as a powerful tool for the church of the twenty-first century. Like never before, believers can feel they are a part of a genuine tradition of renewal as they faithfully approach the Scriptures.

Hear from landmark figures such as Luther and Calvin, as well as lesser-known commentators such as Peter Martyr Vermigli, Johannes Oecolampadius, Martin Bucer, Johannes Brenz, Caspar Cruciger, Giovanni Diodati, and Kaspar Olevianus. The series introduces you to the great diversity that constituted the Reformation, with commentary from Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Anabaptist and even reform-minded Catholic thinkers, who all shared a commitment to the faithful exposition of Scripture.

Many of these texts are being published in English for the first time, and volumes also contain biographies of figures from the Reformation era, adding an essential reference for students of church history.

Several features have been incorporated into the design of this commentary and we wanted to show you just a few.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Pro.  Click on images for a larger view)

Pericopes of Scripture

The scriptural text has been divided into pericopes, or passages, usually several verses in length. Each of these pericopes is given a heading, which appears at the beginning of the pericope. For example, the first pericope in the commentary on Galatians is “1:1-5 Greetings and Blessings.”

Overviews

Following each pericope of text is an overview of the Reformation authors’ comments on that pericope. The format of this overview varies among the volumes of this series, depending on the requirements of the specific book of Scripture.

(see screenshot above)

Topical Headings

An abundance of varied Reformation-era comment is available for each pericope. For this reason we have broken the pericopes into two levels. First is the verse with its topical heading. The reformers’ comments are then focused on aspects of each verse, with topical headings summarizing the essence of the individual comment by evoking a key phrase, metaphor or idea. This feature provides a bridge by which modern readers can enter into the heart of the Reformation-era comment.

Identifying the Reformation-era Texts

Following the topical heading of each section of comment, the name of the Reformation commentator is given. An English translation (where needed) of the reformer’s comment is then provided. This is immediately followed by the title of the original work rendered in English. Tap on the name to read a brief biographical sketch of the Reformation commentator.

The Footnotes

Readers who wish to pursue a deeper investigation of the Reformation works cited in this commentary will find the footnotes especially valuable. Tapping on a footnote number will cause a box to pop up on the screen, where in addition to other notations (clarifications or biblical cross references) one will find information on English translations (where available) and standard original language editions of the work cited.

The Bible Study App makes the Reformation Commentary on Scripture even more powerful!

Here’s how.

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 commentary “hits” from the Reformation Commentary on Scripture  in the split window.

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 commentary syncs to exactly where you are in your study.  No more flipping pages back and forth.  No more holding the commentary text open on your desk in one spot, reading through your Bible text, and having to go back and find your place in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture. You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.

Linked Reference Pop ups

One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary. 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 the Bible Study App, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text.  All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

Copy/Paste into Notes

Commentaries are full of great content.  I often find myself reading a passage, going deeper with the commentary and finding that “perfect quote” that sums up what I was thinking but didn’t know how to express it in written form.  However, in the world of hard copy commentaries, I have to re-type it into my personal study notes.  With the Bible Study App, all I have to do is highlight the text I want, copy it and paste it into my notes.  This feature saves me a ton of time, not to mention the wear and tear on my fingers!

Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)

In the iOS app, you have additional options.  Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options to Copy, Highlight, Note, Bookmark, Share, Define, Lookup and More.

If you tap “Define” you will get the integrated iOS dictionary pop-up.  This is extremely helpful when you run across a word in the commentaries or even the Bible text that you do not know.

Resource Guide on One Verse (iOS Extra)

Another iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap 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 commentary in the main or split window.

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

As you can see, the within the Olive Tree Bible App give you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Click here to learn more about The Reformation Commentary on Scripture.

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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.

The 1599 Geneva Bible is available for use within the Olive Tree Bible App!

You can find the 1599 Geneva Bible available on the Olive Tree store here.

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A Commentary You Can Apply to Your Life

Posted by on 01/22/2017 in: ,

There’s a reason students call seminary, “cemetery.” When I think of my Bible college experience, I remember the thick, dry textbooks. The information usually felt distant: arguments about authorship, textual criticism, definitions of the Greek and Hebrew. Although I learned a lot about the Bible (it was a priceless experience, believe me), I often finished my reading assignments wondering what any of it had to do with my personal life. This is why academic Bible study can feel like a graveyard; the Bible can quickly become only an ancient text to study, instead of the life-transforming book that it is.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF COMMENTARY

Not all commentaries neglect this important aspect. Recently, I was reading through Mark and thought it would be nice to have some extra input in my Bible study. I remembered that this week we have the NIV Application Commentary on sale, and I’ve never opened it before. So, I tried it out!

Every section of Scripture is explained in three ways: Original Meaning, Bridging Contexts, and Contemporary Significance. I’ll give you an example from my own study:

ORIGINAL CONTEXT: MARK 9:30-50

This passage is outlined in four sections: The Second Prediction of Jesus Suffering and Resurrection (9:30-37), The Unfamiliar Exorcist (9:38-40), Warning About Causing Others to Stumble (9:42-48), and Salt (9:49-50). For the sake of trying to keep this blog short, we’ll look at The Unfamiliar Exorcist.

John proudly announces to Jesus that they saw someone casting out demons in his name and they obstructed him. Their reason for intervening? “Because he was not one of us.” The complaint drips with irony. The disciples only recently bungled an exorcism, yet they do not hesitate to obstruct someone who is successful but who is not a member of their team. Jesus catches them by surprise when he does not commend them for their vigilance but instead reproves them: “Do not stop him” (9:39).

This response recalls Moses’ reply to Joshua. Joshua implored Israel’s leader to do something about unauthorized prophets, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” Moses answered, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (Num. 11:26-29). Are the disciples jealous for Jesus or for themselves? Do they want to corner the exorcism market, which would make them indispensable and revered, whereas Jesus wishes that all were exorcists casting out Satan in his name?

In the ancient world, exorcists used whatever name of deities they thought would work. Jesus’ explanation for condoning the exorcist’s success in Mark’s account is practical, not theological. He argues that they cannot use his name to do mighty works and speak ill of him later. Anyone who recognizes the power of Jesus’ name will not accuse him of working by Beelzebub, as the teachers of the law from Jerusalem had done (3:22).

There’s more information on this passage, but we’ll stop here for now. When reading this, I was thankful for the cross-reference to Moses. I don’t think I would have put that together on my own! And this also helped me understand why the disciples said what they did about the exorcist. But how does this relate to who God is?

BUILDING CONTEXT

First, let’s talk about the section headings. The paragraphs above come from the “Original Meaning” section of the commentary. This section is meant to help you understand the meaning of the biblical text in its original context. After reading these paragraphs, you should be able to understand the problems, concerns, and questions of the original audience.

The next heading is called “Building Context.” The commentary editors include this section to build a bridge between the world of the Bible and the world of today—helping you to understand the parts of Scripture that are timely and timeless.

Here’s how the NIV Application Commentary builds context to this passage (again, this is trimmed!):

A deep sense of lowliness understands that God can use anyone and applauds others who are successful for God, even though they may not be on our team. Jesus’ reaction implies that disciples who go along with him must get along with others. He not only opens admission to the reign of God to all and accepts any who come in his name, he sanctions anyone using the power of his name. The barrier between insider and outsider in this episode becomes nebulous. Augustine said: “Many whom God has, the Church does not have; and many whom the Church has, God does not have.”

CONTEMPORARY SIGNIFICANCE

Now, here comes the punch to the heart. How are we, today, making the same mistakes as the disciples? In what ways are we, too, separating and putting ourselves over our brothers and sisters in Christ?

Jesus has consistently avoided self-acclamation, but his disciples are all too ready to exalt themselves over others. If Jesus directed the same question to contemporary followers that he asked his first disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?” the answer will be no less embarrassing. Christians still jockey for prominence. The unbridled will to power still surfaces in local churches and in denominational politics, destroying fellowship and eviscerating Christian love.

Little has changed. Seminary students who begin their studies with high ideals frequently grow disillusioned by the political gamesmanship that infests churches and denominations. Some ministers become so disillusioned by such machinations that they leave the ministry; others quickly learn to play the game; still others correctly recognize that Jesus does not reject ambition, but they sublimate it by aspiring to become the greatest servant in the church rather than the greatest overlord.

This section, “Contemporary Significance” was created by the editors to “allow the biblical message to speak with as much power today as it did when it was first written.” It is this section that makes the NIV Application Commentary applicable to your life.

LEARN MORE

The information I pulled from the NIV Application Commentary is only covering two verses of Scripture and I had to trim it down! This is truly an in-depth resource that will also help you apply the Bible to your personal life. If you’re wanting to improve your Bible study, or struggling to make Scripture applicable in your teaching, this is definitely a commentary set worth looking into.

Currently, the NIV Application Commentary is on sale, and you can learn more about it here.

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What is a Bible Dictionary?

Posted by on 12/05/2016 in: ,

bibledictionary

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 over 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: ,

Apple Ipad Air 2

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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