Read company news as well information about new products and new Bible Study App releases.
During Thanksgiving week we gather with friends & family to eat a festive meal and express gratitude for the many blessings we have been given. After those festivities our thoughts quickly turn to Christmas and celebrating Christ’s incarnation. It’s very easy to get distracted this time of year with all the cards to mail, decorations to put up, and gifts to buy. It can get to the point that we forget the true meaning of the season. For this reason many churches don’t just celebrate Christmas, but they have their congregations focus on Christ throughout the entire Advent season. Today I want to show you how Bible+ can aide your devotions and study time during this special time of year.
What is Advent?
While advent may be a familiar term within Christendom, there are many who do not know what it means. I won’t bore you with a long explanation, but will quickly summarize what advent is. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming” or “arrival.” For Christians it is the time of year when we specifically look to the comings of Jesus Christ, first in his coming to bring our salvation and his subsequent return to reign in glory. The advent season begins four Sundays before December 25, so the start date varies from year to year. This year Advent begins November 29. For four weeks the idea is to meditate on Christ’s coming, much like God’s people waited the thousands of years for him to arrive.
Whether you’re new to Advent or have been doing it for years, Bible+ has the tools you need to make it happen.
Of particular interest this year is a new Advent devotional from BroadStreet Publishing called Come and Behold Him. Unlike many Advent resources that have a reading for every day of the week, this devotional is organized into four weeks with readings for Monday through Friday. Each week centers on a different Advent theme, those being: hope, peace, joy, and love. The week’s reading begins with a reading from the Psalms, as well as a portion of the Christmas narrative from either Matthew or Luke. All the readings coincide with the Advent readings from the liturgical calendar. The devotional’s format gives you the option of reading the full selection of passages at the beginning of the week, or reading only the relevant passage for that day along with the short devotional based on that day’s reading. There is also one final reading for Christmas Eve/Day, depending on how your family celebrates the day.
Come and Behold Him is a great Advent devotional and can be used for either personal or family devotions. The combination of readings and short devotionals will be sure to prepare your heart for Christ’s coming.
Advent Reading Plan
If all you want for Advent is a list of passages to read each day, we also have that for you. In Bible+ you can search for our 2015 Advent reading plan. Here’s how to find and install it:
- Open your reading plans (iOS: Menu -> Reading Plans, Android: My Stuff Icon (briefcase) -> Reading Plans)
- Tap “Get More Reading Plans”
- Search for “advent”
- Tap the 2015 Advent Reading Plan
- Select “Install Free Reading Plan”
- Go back to your list of installed reading plans (step 1), then select your 2015 Advent Reading Plan
Once you have it setup, you’re ready to go!
We at Olive Tree hope these tools help you make the most of this holiday season as you anticipate & celebrate the coming of our Lord. Jesus is the reason why we celebrate, so let’s all make sure we take ample time to meditate on him during this time.
One of Bible+’s key features over the years has been its ability to store your notes and sync them across devices. Creating notes in Bible+ is so easy a caveman could do it. Yet, when it comes to getting those notes into another app or sharing them with someone else, that wasn’t nearly as easy. Before, if you wanted to get your notes out of our app you had one of two choices: 1) use our buggy Evernote sync solution or 2) manually select the text, then copy & paste it into another app, such as Pages. Neither of those solutions were very user friendly.
Bible+ 6 for iOS resolves this pain point and makes sharing a lot easier. In place of the previous methods, now Bible+ 6 implements the native iOS share functionality, both for notes and when you select text in a Bible or resource. You can use the share feature to share or export a note to Evernote, your social media accounts, email, or any other app that appears in the share menu.
For those who used the old Evernote sync, the export of notes no longer happens automatically, but we believe this functionality gives you more control and doesn’t limit you to just using Evernote.
Here are the steps to share a note to Evernote or any other app (screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4):
1. Create a note by tapping on a verse number or selecting text
2. After you’ve added content to the note, tap the Settings icon in the upper right corner of the “Edit Note” box
3. Tap “Share” from the bottom of the list and choose Evernote (or the app you want to share to)
Please note that you must have the Evernote app installed on your device for this option to work. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to sync your notes from Evernote back to Bible+. These same steps work for sharing Bible verses and any other text you can select within Bible+.
You might have heard that we’ve been working on a big update for Bible+ on iOS. The rumors are true and it’s our biggest release to date. With this update we’ve completely redesigned the look and feel of the app so you can study the Bible better. We took a lot of your feedback into consideration and are confident this app is much easier to use and better looking than anything we’ve done before. But, with a new look and feel come changes. Today we want to tell you about some of the more important changes and new features in Bible+ 6.0 for iOS.
Remember that icon in Bible+ 5 that looked like a briefcase? Do you know what it was for? If not, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, a lot of our users didn’t know what it was for either. After listening to your feedback, we finally got the message that we needed to rethink that icon’s functionality. In it’s place we implemented a centralized menu where most of the app’s features now reside. Looking for your notes, highlights or book ribbons? Now all you have to do is tap the “hamburger menu” icon at the top left. The same is true with reading plans, or anything else you’re looking for. Everything is organized according to its function in the app, so you can find what you’re looking for at a glance. This change alone makes Bible+ much easier to use.
In changing the look and feel of the app, we thought it was time to give the verse chooser a much needed face lift. Gone are the tan and gray boxes. Welcome a more streamlined design that is easy on the eyes. And, if you want a more colorful verse chooser (see below), you can tap the gear icon & turn on the shading effect. Another change is in how you access the verse chooser. Instead of having a separate “Go To” button cluttering the screen, you now tap on the book title or passage to bring up the verse chooser. Alternatively, you can access it from the main menu, but that makes it a two-step process. The new verse navigation helps Bible+ get out of the way so you can study without distraction.
Night Reading Mode
We know that a lot of you like to study your Bible or read a devotional before the sun comes up or late at night. That proved difficult in the Bible study app because it felt like the bright screen was blinding you when in a dimly lit room. Even lowering the brightness of the device didn’t do much to help with the problem. Well, we’ve finally done something about that. With Bible+ 6.0 we are introducing a dark theme that is conducive to reading in low light situations. Toggling the feature only requires two taps: 1) tap the menu icon, 2) tap on the dark theme & you’re done.
This is a relatively minor change, but it is another that comes as a direct result of your feedback. Book ribbons and bookmarks, what’s the difference between the two? Honestly, most Olive Tree employees couldn’t clearly articulate the difference either. Therefore we thought it was time to change the terminology to better reflect what each does. Book ribbons remain unchanged, and should be used like you use the book ribbon in your Bible. You use it to mark your place in a book or Bible for future reading. Book ribbons are meant to serve as temporary placeholders.
Bookmarks, on the other hand, are now called “Saved Passages.” Saved passages are better used as long term markers for verses you would like to navigate to again in the future. This change in terminology better reflects how the feature is to meant to be used in the app. You’ll see this change in two places. First, when you tap on a verse to save a passage, the popup menu now says “Save” instead of “Bookmark.” And the main menu says “Saved Passages” instead of “Bookmarks.”
Changing Font Size
Changing the font size was another feature that got a minor update. Again, thanks to your feedback and expressing the confusion of not knowing whether to tap the briefcase or the “A with the gear,” we made this change with you in mind. Now all you have to do is tap the new menu icon and then increase or decrease the font size. No more having to remember where the setting is. And, if you need to change more settings, those are now found near the bottom of the menu.
Leave Your Feedback
If you enjoy what we’ve done with the Bible+ 6.0 update please do a couple things for us: 1) rate and/or review the app in the App Store, and 2) share the app with your friends. Those 4 & 5 star ratings help us have greater visibility in the App Store, and word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Thanks for your years of support, it means a lot! We wouldn’t be here without you & we did this update for you!
Note: Bible+ 6.0 will only work on iOS 8 or later.
Click here to get answers to some of the more frequently asked questions concerning the new app.
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. This year the final two volumes (Mark 1-8 & Mark 9-16) were released, completing the series. Today I want to show you how you can glean from MacArthur’s insight on any New Testament passage while studying in Bible+.
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 Bible+, 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.
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.
Here we find information about the gospel, it’s author, date, audience, purpose, and other issues worth keeping in mind.
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.
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.
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.
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 while it’s on sale. Whether you’re buying the full set, upgrading, or buying an individual volume, we have a deal that will fit any budget.