Category: What’s New?

Look Inside: The Moody Bible Commentary

Posted by on 06/15/2015 in: , ,

Moody Bible Commentary

Commentaries are a dime a dozen these days. Bible students have no shortage of commentaries to choose from, especially when it comes to commentary sets. Yet, finding a good single volume Bible commentary can still prove difficult. Outside of the few titles that everyone knows, you have to look hard for one. So when a respected name in scholarship throws their hat in the ring it’s worth taking notice. This is exactly what Moody Publishers and Moody Bible Institute have done in releasing The Moody Bible Commentary. We are excited to partner with Moody to release this great resource for the Bible Study App.

Seven years in the making, the Moody Bible Commentary is a one-volume commentary on the whole Bible written by the faculty of Moody Bible Institute. More than anything, the fact that this commentary is entirely written by MBI staff is its biggest selling point. Similar commentaries are written by multiple authors who span the range of evangelicalism, hoping to provide a balanced view. The advantage here is that you are provided a consistent theological approach to the Bible that is still conservative and evangelical in its perspective. With that, this resource seeks to help both laypeople and pastors grow in their knowledge of the Bible and understand how it applies to life today. Moody accomplishes this goal by offering a simple approach and commenting on the text in a clear and insightful way.

Here’s a brief look inside the Moody Bible Commentary and how it works in the Bible Study App.

In the screenshot below (taken from a Nexus 10) I have my Bible open to Ephesians 1 in the main window. With the Resource Guide open on the right I can scroll through all the enhanced resources in my library that pertain to the Bible text I’m studying. As I scan through the list I can immediately see I have entries for the Moody Bible Commentary in commentaries, outlines, and introductions.

Moody Bible Commentary - Resource Guide

Introductions

The Moody Bible Commentary offers introductions on each book of the Bible, giving you information about the authors, audience, and historical background. This resource keeps in mind the logic behind the biblical books, not neglecting their literary context or structure. The introductions offer strategies for how to read and understand each book based on its genre and inherent structure. In addition, key details regarding theme and purpose are discussed to provide a well rounded overview of each Bible book.

Moody Bible Commentary - Introductions

Outlines

At a glance, the Moody Bible Commentary shows the organization and structure of all the book you’re studying. Use the outline to quickly get an overview of the key themes and subjects before diving into the Bible text and commentary. An added advantage to having this commentary in the Bible Study App is that you can tap on any section of the outline and immediately go to its corresponding commentary.

Moody Bible Commentary - Outlines

Commentary

With the Moody Bible Commentary being written for laypeople and pastors alike, the commentary text is where this resource truly shines.

First, the commentary is understandable. The authors worked meticulously to explain the Scriptures simply and clearly. Theological terms are defined and difficult biblical words are explained to keep the text approachable. Comments on the text are concise but remain insightful.

Unlike some single volume commentaries, the authors and editors did not shy away from dealing with difficult Bible passages. Instead, they offer clear interpretations of these passages, while also making the reader aware of alternative views without over complicating the matter. Moody realizes that those studying the Bible come to commentaries because they want answers, particularly for those harder passages, so their aim is to give those answers. They also provide in-text citations directing readers to resources for deeper study.

The Moody Bible Commentary is based on the original languages of the Bible. The authors relied on the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts for their research and study. For the English translation used in the commentary Moody has chosen the New American Standard Bible (NASB), which they find to be among the more literal and readable translations available. When you see bold text in the commentary you can know that it is a quotation from the NASB. When other translations or wordings are preferable the author will note it in the commentary with an explanation.

Most importantly, you are getting an entire commentary on the Bible with this resource. This can easily be your go to resource to help you understand the Bible.

Moody Bible Commentary - Commentary Text

Maps and Charts

The Moody Bible Commentary includes several maps and charts. The maps can be helpful in orienting you geographically to the biblical landscape. What were the possible routes for the Exodus? Where were the cities Paul traveled to during his missionary journeys? The maps can help you visually answer these questions. Charts do much the same, such as providing a quick glance of all of Israel & Judah’s kings and whether they were good or bad. All of these features provide you with the tools you need to understand what you’re reading in the Bible.

Moody Bible Commentary - Maps

Endorsements

For generations Moody Publishers has been a name you could trust in biblical scholarship. The Moody Bible Commentary proves that this continues to be true. Check out these endorsements from some big names in evangelicalism.

I’m thrilled that The Moody Bible Commentary is available. What a tremendous resource for everyone who loves studying the Bible and values teaching the “whole counsel of God.” This remarkable work provides verse by verse exposition of both the Old and New Testaments by solid, trusted evangelical scholars who believe deeply in the inerrancy of the Scriptures and power of the Word to transform lives. It is quickly becoming an invaluable part of my reference library. I highly recommend that you add it to yours.

Joel C. Rosenberg
New York Times best-selling author and Bible teacher

The Moody Bible Commentary is a very readable resource, helpful to the layman, Bible study teacher, and serious student alike. The introductory material to each book provides excellent information, and the actual commentary offers a verse-by-verse explanation of the text and deals with the important words. The Moody Bible Commentary enables the reader  to come to a clear understanding of Scripture that will be helpful for personal knowledge, spiritual growth, and ministry.

Paul Enns, ThD
Professor and Director, Tampa Extension
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Once again, Moody Publishers, the name you can trust, has provided  Bible students and teachers  alike a comprehensive biblical resource that will help them to understand and communicate biblical truths effectively. It is a must-read tool for every Christian’s library.

Tony Evans
President, The Urban Alternative
Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dallas

Continue Reading

Improved Highlighting Now on Android

Posted by on 06/08/2015 in: ,

When it comes to feature parity in the Bible Study App, it’s no secret that Android has lagged behind in some key functionality when compared to its iOS counterpart. One area that stood out more than others was highlighting. In the iOS app highlights look like you took a highlighter to the text, plus you could highlight just about anything in any resource. Android, on the other hand, only allowed you to highlight whole Bible verses, and the highlights appeared as a boring block of color behind the text. There was no way to highlight an individual word in a verse, nor could you highlight anything other than a Bible. This was a frustration for many of our Android users, myself included. That all changes with our Bible+ 6.0 update for Android!

Along with a new look, our highlighting functionality is vastly improved in the our Android app. Highlighting has improved in a few key ways: 1) its look & feel, 2) word based annotations, and 3) easier organization.

Look & Feel

Take a look at the image below. On the left is what our Android app used to look like before the update. Pretty boring and drab, right? The image on the right is what highlighting looks like in the new app. Highlights are softer and textured so that they look like you took a highlighter to the words on your screen. This may be a minor change to some, but it’s one we feel dramatically improves how text appears on the screen, which makes for a better reading experience.

NTE Android: Highlighter Comparison

Word Based Annotations

Not being able to select individual words to highlight was the biggest complaint we received from Android users. Due to technical limitations, that was impossible in our old app. That is no longer the case. Just like on iOS, you can now select individual words in your Bible and resources to highlight. What does that mean? It means the possibilities are now endless! Want to highlight all the pronouns that mention the Trinity in your Bible? Now you can. Want to highlight text in a commentary or dictionary? You can do that too! As you can see in the screenshot below, highlighting in a textbook is now a reality on Android.

NTE Android: Word Based Annotation

Easier Organization

Giving you the ability to highlight all the things is nice, but we realize that organizing them can quickly become a nightmare. If you’re like me, anything you highlight in the Bible has meaning, and you want to be able to quickly reference it in the future. In the old app this was a pain point because it meant remembering to manually move your highlights to its appropriate category after you were done reading. If you make a lot of highlights, this makes for a lot of extra work afterward. With our Bible+ 6.0 update you can now choose your tags & categories as you create your highlight. Simply select your text, tap “Highlight,” choose your tags & categories, then pick your highlighter color. That’s it! Now your highlights will be where you expect them.

NTE Android - Highlight Categories

We hope you enjoy all these new highlighting features in the Bible+ 6.0 update for Android and use them to take your Bible study even deeper!

Continue Reading

5 Ways Bible+ 6.0 Android Titles are Different

Posted by on 06/05/2015 in: , , ,

We are so excited about the newest Bible+ 6.0 Android update. We have completely rewritten our core software that displays the text you see on screen. This means you will need to re-download all your titles. Why? Besides having a cleaner text layout we want to bring you brand new tools for studying the Bible. Many of these were not possible with our older technology, but are now a reality!  Because of the new text display layout, we’ve re-designed the text layout of several favorite Bible study resources and added several NEW Bible study resources.

How are books different in the Bible+ 6.0 Android update? Here’s just 5 ways that we’ve improved and enhanced resources in the Bible+ 6.0 Android release.

1. Beautiful New Layouts

One of the great things about this upcoming release is how The Bible Study App will be better able to layout text in ways that we could not before.

All charts are now actual text, and as with other verse references in the App, verse references now become hyperlinks that you can tap and see the verse without having to leave your place in the Bible text.  Here’s an example of this from the NIV Study Bible Notes:

Text wraps around images, charts, and tables eliminating all the blank space around them.  Another example from the NIV Study Bible Notes:

You’ll notice that as you scroll through many sections Study Bibles and Illustrated titles you will find articles and sidebars, some of which are floating or using some nice formatting to make them stand out. These new layouts are FREE when you download your new titles with the Bible+ 6.0 Update for Android. There’s no additional cost or purchase necessary for you to get these new text layouts.

2. NEW! Interlinear Bibles

With this new technology, we can now offer Interlinear Bibles.  What’s an interlinear Bible you ask?  An interlinear Bible typically the Hebrew or Greek text of the Old or New Testament with a literal English translation between the lines of the original-language text.  This is an extremely helpful Bible Study tool, especially for those wanting to dig deeper into original Bible language studies.

Here’s what the ESV Greek-English Interlinear looks like:

Our Greek-English Interlinears are available in ESV, NKJV and KJV translations.

3. NEW! Harmony of the Gospels

A Gospel Harmony seeks to take the Four Gospels and put them in a Chronological order so that you can compare how the Gospel writers address events in Jesus’ life.  Without our new technology update, the layout needed to make this title was virtually impossible.

Here’s what our Harmony of the Gospel in the KJV translation looks like:

androidkjvharmonywithnav

Our Harmony of the Gospel titles are available in KJV, ESV, NIV, NKJV, NASB, and Byzantine Greek translations.

4. NEW! Newly Released Bible Study Titles

Under the hood of the Bible+ 6.0 for Android and Bible+ 5.9 for iOS, we began the switch from Palm Database Files (PDBs) to utilize modern Electronic Publication File technology. Not only does this change in file format makes it possible to display text in unique and exciting ways, it also allows us to convert new Bible Study Titles very quickly. What would have taken us months now only takes us weeks. Here’s just a few of the new & best Bible Study Titles we’ve released in the past year:

And several more. Many of these are 50% off this week to celebrate the launch of Bible+ 6.0 Update for Android.

5. Over 1,200 New eBooks

rainingbooks

Not only did the transition from PDB to EPUB take the conversion time down for your favorite Bible Study titles, it drastically reduced the conversion time for literally thousands of your favorite Christian eBooks. What would have taken us weeks can now be converted in a matter of minutes. In fact, since March of this year we’ve released hundreds of eBooks. Over 1,200 titles are now available and our catalog will only continue to grow in the coming months.

What about Windows Desktop & Mac?

Our developers are hard at work to bring the same update to our other platforms that we have done with our iOS, Android and Windows Store Apps. We hope to see this technology on Windows Desktop PC, and Mac very soon!

Continue Reading

Look Inside: NIV Word Study Bible

Posted by on 06/04/2015 in: , ,

We’re thrilled to release the brand new NIV Word Study Bible with Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers. This resource includes everything you need to start doing basic word studies in the NIV.

The NIV Word Study Bible provides a complete index of every appearance of every word in the NIV Bible; it’s a must-own for every reader of the NIV Bible. More accurate and comprehensive than online searches and offering complete access to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek from which the NIV was translated, this resource promises to make your Bible study the very best.

Olive Tree’s Bible Study App makes Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers easy and powerful. Tap on a word in the text and open the related dictionary information in a new screen, split screen, or pop-up window, depending on your device and settings.

Here’s quick look inside on how the NIV Word Study Bible can help you in your word studies. (Screenshots are taken from an iPad, but the NIV Word Study Bible is available for all customer running Bible+ 5.9 apps and above, including Android 6.0.)

G/K & Strong’s Number Pop-Ups

IMG_1633

Open the NIV Word Study Bible you’ll see that some words are a slightly different color. Tapping or clicking on those words will pop-up the information for that word. These pop-ups contain a wealth of information, including:

  1. The Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers for that word.
  2. A short definition for that word.
  3. An outlined list of the different meanings for that word in the original language.
  4. Often you will also find that another number is included as a link. These can be similar words that you can compare or other words from which your current word selection derives its meaning.

Look-Up Options

At the bottom of the pop-up, there are two buttons that perform “look-ups” or searches based on the Strong’s number or the word in its original language.

Look-up by Keyed Number

The first button contains the keyed number for your word. Clicking or tapping on this button will perform a search in your library for articles containing this number.

IMG_1634

Look-up by Original Language

The second button contains the word in its original language. Clicking or tapping on this word will perform a search in your library for articles about the word in its original language.  For example, I see that Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary has an article on this word.

IMG_1635

I also love using the NIV Word Study Bible on my iPhone.  It’s a fantastic resource when I’m at church, small group, or on the go.

IMG_0471

The NIV Word Study Bible with Goodrick-Kohlenberger (G/K) Key numbers & Strong’s numbers is an excellent resource for diving deeper into the biblical text. It offers insight into the original languages of Scripture without requiring you to have any formal training in Greek or Hebrew.  Be sure to check out the NIV Word Study Bible & More Great New Titles that are 50% Off this week!

Continue Reading

ESV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament on Bible+ 6.0 for Android

Posted by on 06/03/2015 in: , ,

With our newest App update to iOS 5.9 and Bible+ 6.0 for Android we can now offer Interlinear Bibles!  What’s an interlinear Bible you ask?  An interlinear Bible typically is the Hebrew or Greek text of the Old or New Testament with a literal English translation between the lines of the original-language text.  This is an extremely helpful Bible Study tool, especially for those wanting to dig deeper into original Bible language studies.

Here’s a brief look inside the ESV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. (Screenshots are taken from an Nexus 7, click for a larger view)

Screenshot_2015-06-02-14-30-53

Not only can The Bible Study 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.

Screenshot_2015-06-02-14-30-34

We’ve also tagged the English Word:

Screenshot_2015-06-02-14-31-12

And the Strong’s Number:

Screenshot_2015-06-02-14-31-43

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

Screenshot_2015-06-02-14-32-10

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

Screenshot_2015-06-02-14-33-46

You can also search the Greek word in the same form as the word you’ve tapped,

Screenshot_2015-06-02-14-34-26

Or, you can search for all Greek words in the same form as the word you’ve tapped:

Screenshot_2015-06-02-14-35-21

We’re really excited about the release of the Greek-Interlinears!  To celebrate their release, we’re offering great discounts on the ESV, NKJV, and KJV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament Bibles!

Continue Reading

NIV Study Bible Notes on Bible+ 6.0 for Android

Posted by on 06/02/2015 in: , ,

One of the great things about our new Bible+ 6.0 for Android release is how The Bible Study App will be better able to layout text in ways that we could not before. Here are some examples from the NIV Study Bible Notes. (Screenshots taken from an Nexus 7 2nd Edition.  Click images for a larger view.)

With Bible+ 6.0 for Android all charts are now actual text, and as with other verse references in the App, verse references now become hyperlinks that you can tap and see the verse without having to leave your place in the Bible text and the NIV Study Bible notes.

androidntetable

Secondly, the NIV Study Bible Notes used to require the entire width to display the images, and that the text cannot flow around the images. In the new Bible+ 6.0 for Android App, note how text flows around the images as intended.

androidinlineimage

These are just two examples of how the Bible+ 6.0 for Android update dramatically improves the layout of the NIV Study Bible notes.

Check out the NIV Study Bible notes and other titles that demonstrate the beautiful new layout with the latest update.

Learn more about the Bible+ 6.0 for Android update here.

If you haven’t already done so, you can update to the latest Bible+ 6.0 for Android version by clicking the link Google Play Store graphic below:

googleplaystore

Continue Reading

Designing Bible+ 6.0 for Android

Posted by on 06/01/2015 in: ,

The most important thing we do at Olive Tree is give people access to Scripture.

We want to make it easy for you to read, study, understand, and share Scripture. We believe that a great way to do that is through technology. It gives you the ability to always carry things like multiple translations, study notes, maps, commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and more (phew)! You’d need a truck to carry around all the books that you can keep in your pocket with Olive Tree.

sak210Computers and apps can be hard to use, though. More features and tools inherently make apps (and other things) more complicated. A butter knife is easy enough to figure out, but a 50+ function multi-tool has a steeper learning curve. What do I do if I just want to open a box?

As we add features and tools to The Bible Study App, we want to make sure that the app is helping you to read and study the Bible, not hindering you. We want to make sure that the features are there when you need them, but also ensure that they don’t get in the way when you don’t need them. This is why design is a very important part of what we do at Olive Tree.

We’re always working to improve the design of our apps to provide an easy-to-use and engaging experience. You can expect to see updates in the future with more design changes to make it easier for you to study the Bible on all our platforms. Let’s take a look at some of the work we’ve done in Bible+ version 6.0 for Android.

A More Engaging Interface

The first thing you’ll notice is that the interface is a bit more colorful. This was done to bring the app up-to-date with Google’s material design initiative, to make the app feel more like a true Olive Tree app, and to provide a more positive and less gray experience.

Screenshot_2015-05-19-15-33-49

Something else you’ll notice is that if you double tap the screen, the toolbar will appear or disappear. We found that users had a hard time with the toolbar appearing and disappearing when they didn’t mean it to, which is why we made this change. Once you toggle the toolbar off, you’ll find that the whole screen is dedicated to showing text; the app gets completely out of your way so that you can read God’s Word without distractions.

One other change we made was to eliminate the use of the hardware-menu button found only on older Android devices. We’ve now moved the menu button into the interface to follow Android standards and to make the app easier to use for users whose phones don’t have a menu button. This change should also make it quicker and easier to make changes to settings when needed.

A Better Reading Experience

Something we’ve started working hard on at Olive Tree is the reading experience. We’ve dedicated some special attention to something called typography, basically the layout of text on the screen. We want you to be able to read Scripture and other books easily, without experiencing eye-strain, fatigue, or “bumps” in the layout that slow you down when reading.Screenshot_2015-05-21-14-45-55

To that end, we’ve replaced the default font with one that will be more readable on devices of all shapes, sizes, and display-types. We’ve also changed how text is laid out on the screen so that there is a more consistent rhythm, which makes for a seamless reading experience.

The fonts we’re using now also allow us to better support bold and italics (especially in Greek), which is important since bold and italics are often used to denote specific things in our resources. For example, the King James Bible uses italics to denote words that weren’t explicitly in the original languages but were added by the translators for clarity.

We’ve also been able to better bring over the formatting elements like tables, headers, and charts from Study Bibles and other resources. This makes the resources look a lot more like their print counterparts and thus provides a richer, more engaging reading experience.

Faster Performance

Often, when an app updates to make big changes like these, the app gets slower. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Bible+. The changes we’ve made have actually increased performance, especially on newer devices. You should find that you can scroll much faster than you ever could, and you’ll notice that the app feels all around snappier.

This is especially useful when doing your devotions in the morning, because it gives you more time reading and less time waiting to get to a passage. It’s also useful when trying to keep up in church while listening to a sermon, or in a small group studying a passage.

Still the Same Olive Tree

We’ve made a lot of changes to make the app better, but if you’ve used the app in the past, you should still feel right at home. We’re trying our best to bring improvements to the app while keeping the familiar functionality and overall experience that you expect from Olive Tree.

A lot of our employees have been using and enjoying these updates for a while, so we’re really excited to release it for everyone to enjoy. You can get the update by going to the updates section of the Google Play Store, or by tapping here on your device.

Continue Reading

Bible+ 6.0 Update for Android

Posted by on 05/26/2015 in:

Android NTE

It’s been a long time since we updated the Bible Study App for Android. Our last update came nearly 14 months ago, on March 5, 2014 to be precise. Have we forgotten about Android? Did we give up on it? No, not at all. Our silence has been for good reason. In that time we’ve literally rewritten the app from the ground up to bring you a better Bible study experience.

As you can see in the image above, 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.

New Look

Do you remember the Gingerbread update (Android 2.3) that Google released in February 2010? For its time, the update looked all right, but it’s five years later and Android design has moved on considerably. In 2010, grays and gradients were in, but Android has moved on to a flatter design scheme (material design). 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 Android.

android-altar results

We didn’t just change everything under the hood; the app itself got a much-needed visual refresh. 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.

NTE Android: Highlighter Comparison

New Titles

One of the biggest advantages of the Bible+ 6.0 Update for Android is all the new titles you will be able to 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 users have been enjoying for the past year, 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.

Android 6 - New Titles

New Highlighting

Highlighting has always been a pain point for our Android 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 for Android, that will no longer be 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.

Android 6 - Annotations

June 1, 2015 on the Google Play Store

Continue Reading

Introducing the Biblical Imagination Series

Posted by on 03/23/2015 in: , ,

For years Michael Card’s music has imaginatively explored the narrative power of the Word of God. Now in the Biblical Imagination Series, Card invites readers to enter into Scripture as he has learned to do, at the level of the informed imagination.

These volumes will help you discover the biblical text for yourself, ask your own questions and uncover deeper truths. Taking seriously the individual life and voice of each biblical writer, the Biblical Imagination Series will help you reintegrate your mind with your heart to recapture your imagination with the beauty and power of Christ.

Right now the Biblical Imagination Series 4 Volume set is only $24.99 for a limited time!

Continue Reading