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One of the first things I was taught when learning to study the Bible is that Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture. In my daily study and sermon preparation this is a truth I live by. Before turning to the notes in my study Bible or my vast assortment of commentaries I first turn to my cross reference resources. Even though these resources involve some manual curation of references, they point me back to the Bible and I can decide for myself if the verse is related to the passage I’m reading. With that in mind, I’m excited to introduce two brand new cross reference titles from Olive Tree: Olive Tree Cross References: Expanded Set and Olive Tree Cross References: Concise Set. Let’s take a look at these resources and see how they work in Bible+.
What Do You Get?
The Olive Tree Cross References: Expanded Set is a unique cross reference system derived from numerous traditional sources using computer-aided statistical analysis. The resulting cross reference set contains over 100,000 of the most pertinent references.
Using statistical analysis, verses are ranked according to importance and relevance. Highly relevant cross-references are printed in bold. Those of average importance and relevance are printed in normal text. More obscure references are printed in italics.
The Concise Set contains only the bolded references from the Expanded Set, which are the most important and relevant cross references. While abridged, the Concise Set still includes nearly 20,000 cross references.
How Do You Use It?
The Olive Tree Cross References Sets are not complicated resources. Out of all the resources you can have in your digital study library, these are two of the most straightforward titles to use. That being said, let me show you the two ways to use them. Screenshots are from the Expanded Set using an iPad Mini 4 (click images for a larger view).
The simplest and best way to use the Olive Tree Cross References is in a split window. In the main window you can have your favorite Bible translation open and the Olive Tree Cross References open in the split window.
As you read and navigate through your Bible the cross references follow along, keeping them at your fingertips. After you read your Bible text you can then look over and quickly get to all the related passages, which are a tap away. Tap on the verse to read it without losing your place in your Bible. Unlike a physical Bible, you don’t need a second copy or risk losing your place. This saves you both time and effort in your studies.
Alternatively, you can use the Olive Tree Cross Reference Sets in the Resource Guide via the Related Verses section. While we often say the Resource Guide is the most helpful way to use resources in the app, I’ll be honest and say that this isn’t the best way to make use of the Expanded Set. This is because you lose the visual distinction that differentiates between the different levels & types of references. On the other hand, the Concise Set is perfect for Resource Guide. The Resource Guide works in much the same way as the resource itself, presenting the verses, but in a different format. Either way, the references are only a tap away.
Add Them to Your Library
Add the Olive Tree Cross Reference Sets to your digital library today and let them help you understand the Bible. Add both the Expanded and Concise Sets or just one of them. Get them today at their introductory price & check out our other titles currently on sale.
Most major Bible commentaries today are written by scholars who have dedicated their lives to the study of specific books of the Bible. These commentaries can be extremely helpful, but they aren’t necessarily the best resource for a layman or a pastor trying to make the passage relevant to his congregants. This is where a series like the Reformed Expository Commentary from P&R can prove beneficial.
The Reformed Expository Commentary is a commentary written by pastor-scholars for pastors and laymen alike. As pastors, they recognize the need to provide faithful exposition of the text while also providing clear and relevant application. The contributors to the series aim to be scholarly in their writing, while not being academic. The idea is to be faithful and clear in teaching the text to Christians who possess various levels of biblical and theological training. The series achieves this by focusing on four fundamental commitments. First they aim to be biblical, by giving comprehensive exposition of each passage. Instead of going word by word or verse by verse, the passage is explained as an entire section. Second, the commentaries are doctrinal in their adherence to the Westminister Confessions and Catechisms, making them solidly reformed. Third, the commentaries possess a redemptive-historical orientation, focusing on the work of Christ throughout the entire narrative of Scripture. Finally, they are practical, applying the text to contemporary life, both public and private, through appropriate illustrations.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at this commentary in Bible+. Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4, click the image 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 1 Peter is “Strangers in a Strange Land – 1 Peter 1:1-2.” To see the Scripture passage, tap on the highlighted reference, in this case “1 Peter 1:1-2.” A pop-up window will open the Scripture passage to your default Bible translation.
Each pericope can be further broken down into smaller sections. For this reason the commentary is divided into topical headings that relate to the passage. The topics focus on various aspects of each passage and help to relate them to the present day. This feature alone makes the Reformed Expository Commentary a valuable resource.
Readers who wish to pursue a deeper investigation of their passage 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 citations, one will find information on textual issues and other notes of significance.
Bible+ makes the Reformed Expository Commentary even more powerful! Here’s how.
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 Reformed Expository Commentary in the split window.
Bible+ 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 commentary. 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 is 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 Bible+, 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 Bible+, all I have to do is highlight the text I want, copy and paste it into my notes. This feature saves me a ton of time, not to mention the wear and tear on my typing fingers!
Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)
In the iPhone/iPad version of our app you have an additional option. 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, Save, 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)
An additional 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 Reformed Expository Commentary within Bible+ gives you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.
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.