Read company news as well information about new products and new Bible Study App releases.
It’s been a long time since we updated the Bible Study App for Kindle Fire. Many thought we’d forgotten about this platform. Well, we haven’t forgotten about our Kindle users. No, we have been working hard and literally rewrote our app from the ground up to bring you a better Bible study experience for your Kindle Fire device.
As you’ll see below, the app has a new look. But we didn’t just give the Bible Study App a fresh coat of paint. This update brings with it many improvements that we’re sure you’ll love. The app is faster, offers new features, and enables new titles.
Do you remember the Gingerbread update (Android 2.3) that Google released in February 2010? For its time, the update looked alright, but it’s five years later and design has moved on considerably. In 2010, grays and gradients were in, but app design has moved on to a flatter and more sleek design scheme. Our app? Not so much. The Bible Study App got caught in a design time capsule. That all changes with our Bible+ 6.0 Update for Kindle Fire.
We didn’t just change everything under the hood; the app itself got a much-needed visual refresh. We brought over the beautiful look and feel that we created for Android and are making it available on Kindle Fire. Say goodbye to the gradient toolbars and say hello to the new vibrant green toolbar & flattened icons. Welcome crisper and more readable fonts. Get ready for better looking and more informative Strong’s pop-ups and faster text scrolling. Nearly everything about the Bible Study App has been updated, but still operates just the same. We went to great lengths to make sure you don’t have to learn how to use our app all over again with this update. It’ll just look and feel better.
One of the biggest advantages of the Bible+ 6.0 Update is all the new titles you can now add to your library. Our old app had significant limitations in its ability to display text, which kept us from creating resources with complex layouts. We now have the ability to display interlinear Bibles, text-wrapped images, and properly-formatted tables. The update also gives us the ability to make our resources more closely resemble what you would find in print.
With this update, you can now enjoy all the same resources that our iOS, Android, and Windows Desktop users have been enjoying, including interlinear Bibles, Gospel harmonies, the BHS with Critical Apparatus, the Reformation Study Bible, and Tyndale Commentaries to name a few.
You will also be able to purchase hundreds of new eBooks that were not available on our old platform. So not only do our books look nicer, but you can build a more robust Bible study library, too.
Highlighting has always been a pain point for our Kindle Fire users. Unlike our iOS app, the only thing you could highlight was a Bible verse. Did you want to highlight something in your study Bible or commentary? What about a single word in your Bible? Sorry, you were out of luck. With the Bible+ 6.0 Update, that is no longer a problem. We have enabled word-based highlighting across all resources in the Bible Study App. For example, you can highlight every noun that mentions Jesus in one color and those that refer to God the Father in another (see below). The possibilities are endless!
Along with word-based highlighting, this update brings with it a few other notable items. Highlights are now more visually appealing; instead of a block of colored text, it’s now textured to look like a real highlighter. We’ve also made it easier to organize your highlights by giving you the ability to tag and categorize them as they are created.
Zondervan has just released the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D.A. Carson as the general editor. Built from the ground up to reflect the most current 21st century scholarship, Dr. Carson and a team of over 60 contributors have crafted all-new study notes, book and section introductions, theological articles, and other study tools that specifically focus on biblical theology, which is the progressive unfolding of theological concepts through the Bible.
As you read and study with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, you’ll learn more about the biblical writers, the times in which they wrote, and the larger purpose of their writings in God’s story.
Let’s walk through the features of this terrific new study Bible so you can see just how comprehensive it is.
Book and Section Introductions
The NIV Zondervan Study Bible offers section introductions to the Bible’s literary genres, such as the Pentateuch and the Historical Books. In the book introductions, you will find everything from the author’s purpose in writing, the book’s theme, a full outline, and relevant photos. This study Bible leaves no stone unturned. These introductions cover everything you need to know before studying any book of the Bible.
After reading through the book and section introductions, you’re ready to dive into the study notes. The notes will help you zero in on the unique and essential voice of each biblical book and writer and the contribution each one makes to the overall plot of the Bible. The NIV Zondervan Study Bible has nearly 20,000 verse-by-verse notes offering insight on every passage of Scripture.
You can access the study notes in conjunction with your Bible by opening them in a split window or through the Commentaries section of the Resource Guide.
One particularly valuable feature of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is its library of concise theological articles that unpack God’s story by tracking the development of biblical themes as they are progressively unfolded throughout the Scripture. Notable scholars and leaders such as Timothy Keller, Kevin DeYoung, and Douglas Moo address theological topics such as “sin,” “creation,” “shalom,” and many more. These short articles provide the perspective that the book-by-book notes cannot: an overarching view of the Bible’s message and teaching and how the gospel of Jesus Christ relates to each topic.
The simplest way to find the articles is by changing the Verse Chooser to list view and navigating to “Articles Table of Contents”. This will display a list of all the articles for quick access. Depending on the passage you’re in, these articles may also appear in the Resource Guide under their respective topics.
Photos, Maps, & Charts
The NIV Zondervan Study Bible includes hundreds of full-color photos, maps, and charts to help you understand the biblical narrative. You’ll find incredible photos of biblical artifacts and locations placed within the study notes. The study Bible includes over 90 maps with explanatory notes located near their relevant Scripture passages so you know where key Bible events happened. There are also over 60 charts that summarize information and concepts encountered throughout the Bible. Many of these images will also appear in the Resource Guide under their respective sections.
Most Bibles include a concordance of some kind. The purpose of a concordance is to help you find passages that refer to a name, place, or word. You can already do this with the Search feature in the Bible Study App, but we took things further and included the NIV Zondervan Study Bible‘s concordance. Not only did we include it, but we tagged it in such a way that it works with the Lookup feature and also appears in the People, Places, and Topics sections of the Resource Guide.
Buy in Print, Get Digital for Free
We have partnered with Zondervan to do something special with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. All print copies of the study Bible contain a redemption code that can be used to download a free copy of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible for the Bible Study App from Olive Tree. You can’t beat that 2-for-1 deal!
If you’re not interested in owning it in print, you can buy the NIV Zondervan Study Bible directly from us for use in the Bible Study App. Be sure to check out the other titles we have on sale this week.
The difficulties of maintaining a daily Bible study routine are many. Where do you start? How do you make adequate time for more than a cursory reading of the Text? How do you find the right balance of study and devotion? And the list goes on. The truth is there are no easy answers to any of these questions. But we shouldn’t throw in the towel and give up. Every Christian struggles with their Bible reading at some point in their life. Today I want to share a new Olive Tree resource whose aim is to help your daily Bible study. Let me introduce you to the Open Your Bible Commentary.
The Open Your Bible Commentary was written to encourage daily Bible study. The content of this two volume commentary began as a series of Bible Study books originally published by Scripture Union. The series’ intent was to create a resource that encouraged a greater depth of Bible study in a way that wasn’t possible with study notes alone. This format allowed the authors to give fuller discussions on introductory, textual, and background material that might otherwise be overlooked in something like a study Bible. The principal aim of the studies was to stimulate daily Bible reading as a means of personal devotion and life application.
These sensitively edited studies have been reworked into what we now have as the Open Your Bible Commentary. With this commentary you get short readings rich in content. Each passage is carefully explained, devotionally warm, and practically relevant. In its introduction, the commentary boasts four great strengths that set it apart from others:
- Accessible: The studies address the average, thoughtful Christian without assuming they have a prior background with the text.
- Digestible: No section is overly long. It is designed so that you can read one or two sections each day without feeling overwhelmed.
- Dependable: The commentary is authored by renowned theologians, scholars, and experienced pastors including: F.F. Bruce, Leon Morris, William L. Lane, and others
- Practical: The studies offer a diversity of everyday application. Sometimes you are given clear application, while other times you are left to ponder the truths for yourself.
All in all, the Open Your Bible Commentary is built for Christians who desire to engage with the Bible daily. After each section you are sure to walk away with a greater understanding of the Bible and application to apply.
Open Your Bible in the Bible Study App
There are a few ways you can use the Open Your Bible Commentary in the Bible Study App, but let me show you my favorite way to use it.
Since the commentary is conveniently broken into manageable sections for study, I prefer to use it as my daily reading plan. In the morning I read a section from the New Testament volume along with its accompanying Bible passage. For my evening reading I do the same, but with the Old Testament volume.
Unlike most times when I read the Bible, this time I have the commentary open in the main window. I then use the Book Ribbon to mark my current location so I can easily pick up where I left off next time.
Next, I tap the verse reference and open it in the split window. Now I can read the passage and the commentary text. I can also tap on any of the cross references and read them in a pop-up.
Even with the Bible open in the split window I can still take notes on what I’m studying. And, if by chance I want to do further study, I can quickly switch to the Resource Guide to explore my other resources.
What I love about this setup is it allows me to have a different kind of reading plan that still lets me easily study the Bible. I recommend giving it a try!
We at Olive Tree are excited to share a new study Bible with you!
Next week Zondervan will release the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D.A. Carson as general editor. Built from the ground up to reflect the most current 21st century scholarship Dr. Carson, along with a team of over 60 contributors, crafted all-new study notes, book and section introductions, a library of articles, and other study tools that specifically focus on biblical theology, or the progressive unfolding of theological concepts through the Bible.
As you read and study with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the biblical writers, the times in which they wrote, and the larger purpose of their writing in God’s story.
What Makes It Different?
When a new study Bible hits the market, everyone immediately wants to know how it’s different from the study Bibles that are currently available. Here’s a quick list of some of the features that set the NIV Zondervan Study Bible apart from the rest.
- Nearly 20,000 Verse-by-Verse Notes by today’s leading biblical scholars offer insight on every passage of scripture.
- Section Introductions to the Bible’s literary genres such as the Pentateuch and the Historical Books and Comprehensive Book Introductions including purpose, theme, outlines, and photos.
- 28 Articles by biblical experts on theological topics such as, “The Covenant,” “The Glory of God,” and “Love and Grace.”
- Hundreds of Color Photos such as biblical artifacts are placed within the study notes.
- Over 90 Color Maps with explanatory notes are placed near relevant passages.
- Over 60 Color Charts help summarize information and concepts.
- Thousands of Cross-References and an NIV Concordance with over 35,000 Scripture references help you see the connectedness of Scripture.
- Content from respected names like: D.A. Carson, Douglas Moo, Richard Hess, Kevin DeYoung, Tremper Longman III, Bruce Waltke, and Tim Keller, to name only a few.
Olive Tree has also optimized the NIV Zondervan Study Bible for use in the Bible Study App, which makes this great resource even better! Use the study Bible in conjunction with the Resource Guide and look up cross references that are only a tap away.
Preview the Olive Tree Version
Here are a few screenshots of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible running on our new Windows Desktop app.
Buy in Print, Get Digital for Free
Yes, you read that right. We have partnered with Zondervan to do something special with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. All print copies of the study Bible contain a redemption code that can be used to download a free copy of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible for the Bible Study App from Olive Tree. You can’t really beat that 2-for-1 deal!
If you’re not the kind of person who buys print, that’s fine too. We’ll have the NIV Zondervan Study Bible on sale next week at special introductory pricing.
Any Bible study library worth its weight must contain good Bible dictionaries. Inevitably you will come across something you don’t completely understand and you’ll want more information than your study Bible or commentary has to offer. Bible dictionaries fill this void with their wealth of knowledge on a myriad of biblical subjects. Today I’d like to introduce you to the IVP Dictionary Series, a new top notch set that you’ll want to own as a part of your Olive Tree library.
The IVP Dictionary Series, known to many as the “Black Dictionaries” because of their covers, is a unique set of reference works that bridges the gap between scholars and those pastors, teachers, students and lay people desiring in-depth treatment of select topics in an accessible format.
When you look at many Bible dictionaries published today, they are typically a single volume and may or may not contain information on your desired topic of study. Given their single volume nature, publishers have to decide what to cover and what gets trimmed down or eliminated for the sake of page count. This is not the case with the IVP Dictionary Series. Instead, you get eight (8) individual dictionaries that target specific areas of Scripture, whether it be the Old Testament prophets or Paul and his epistles. The articles cover traditional and contemporary topics, including cross-sectional themes, methods of interpretation, significant historical or cultural background, and each Old and New Testament book as a whole.
The great thing about having individual volumes that focus on specific areas of Scripture is it allows you to get an in-depth look at the subject as it pertains to the passage you’re studying. As opposed to getting a broad overview that covers the subject over the entirety of the Bible, you can narrow down your study to only see how it relates to your passage. Allow me to illustrate, while showing you how to use them in the Bible Study app.
Let’s say I’m in the gospels studying one of Jesus’ miracles, such as his cleansing of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19. As I study this passage, I’m going to want to do more study on the subject of miracles and faith, since it is clearly an emphasis in this passage. The Resource Guide makes it easy to study these topics and suggests them to me. So, I click on faith.
As I peruse my list of hits I find many dictionaries in my library that discuss the subject of faith. Notice that the IVP Dictionary Series is in my list, and, of the 8 volumes, 6 have entries for faith. Since I’m currently in the gospels I will take a look at the entry in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.
Looking through the article, I immediately find out just how important faith is in the gospels, and the New Testament in general. I can then see a quick outline of the entry, before drilling down into the subject. When I’m done, I walk away with a greater understanding of how faith relates to the gospels and Jesus’ ministry. Now, if I want to expand my study beyond the gospels, I can read the other IVP dictionaries and see how it is understood in other areas of Scripture, such as the Pentateuch or the later New Testament writings.
There are many ways you can utilize these dictionaries in your studies. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, just open up the dictionary and navigate to your subject. Alternatively, if you’re reading the Bible and find a word you want to study, tap it and use the Lookup feature to find hits in these dictionaries. How you use them is really up to you.
Purchase the IVP Dictionary Series today at it’s introductory sale price and start using these dictionaries in your own studies. This is one set of dictionaries you will not regret owning!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re someone who feels you can never have enough commentaries or the person who believes that one or two solid commentaries are enough, commentaries are an indispensable part of good Bible study. They help you double check your interpretation and understanding of the Bible, and even help with those difficult passages you just cannot make sense of. The great thing about the Bible Study App is the convenience of carrying around all these commentaries in your pocket.
On this blog we’ve talked a lot lately about all the new titles available with the latest version of our app, and it’s with good reason. As someone who works in Olive Tree’s book formatting department, let me share some inside information with you. These app updates, starting with the release of iOS last summer, have been several years in the making (even before I started working here in the beginning of 2013). A good part of that preparation meant converting our existing titles to work with our new format. With the apps still being in development, it also meant we were pulling double duty on any new titles we released, creating them in both the old and new formats. This was our process until last December when we made the decision to stop creating new titles for our old platform. The decision meant that any new titles released after that point would only work for those users running the latest version of our iOS app (the only app update to be released at that time). This was the case until our Android release last month and Windows Desktop last week. Great titles like the Reformation Study Bible, Tyndale Commentaries, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, and so many others simply weren’t available on these platforms. So, finally having these titles available on these platforms is a big deal.
Now let me share how these new titles have become useful for me. The ability to take the Bible Study App with me wherever I go means I can get a jump start on preparing lessons for the youth group I help lead. This process usually involves checking a few commentaries for anything I might have missed in my own study. It’s great that these new titles are now available on Android, but the commentaries are most valuable to me on Windows Desktop because most of my in-depth studying happens on my laptop. Instead of trying to multitask and thumb out long form notes on my phone, I have more space to work with. I can have my Bible, commentary, and notes open at once, which makes my preparation more efficient. One commentary that I’ve really enjoyed using in Bible+ 6.0 for Windows Desktop is the Tyndale Commentaries. This is a commentary set that I find has a nice balance in what it covers without being overly technical. It’s also one I’ve wanted in Olive Tree for some time, but when we finally released it it was iOS only. As an Android & Windows guy I was left out, unable to use the resources I wanted to use most. Now that they’re available I can study the way I want to, with the resources I prefer.
I’ll admit, there’s nothing spectacular about having a commentary available on your desktop, that’s nothing different from what we’ve already done. What makes it noteworthy is knowing the titles I want to use are now available on all the platforms I use. Not only can I carry them around with me in my pocket, but I can also have them where it’s most valuable to me: on my desktop.