Read company news as well information about new products and new Bible Study App releases.
It was 200 years ago today that Karl Friedrich Adolf Steinkopf founded a society to distribute the Luther Bible to the poor of Germany. Help us celebrate the German Bible Society’s 200th birthday!
The Beginnings of the German Bible Society
Steinkopf’s Bible Society, founded with help from the British and Foreign Bible Society, was active in the area of Württemberg, and received support from King Frederick I, as well as special privileges such as free postage. The Württemberg Bible Society, as it came to be called, became the basis of the German Bible Society, which came to exist in its present form in 1981. The German Bible Society today is still known for its work in providing a variety of Bible translations to the German-speaking world, as well as its editions of original language biblical texts such as the Nestle-Aland edition of the Greek New Testament, the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the Biblical Hebraica Quinta, and Rahlf’s Septuaginta. These texts have become the de facto scholarly standards and have made the German Bible Society known and loved worldwide.
Olive Tree and the German Bible Society
In 1999, Drew Haninger, President of Olive Tree, met with a representative of the German Bible Society over a couple of cokes. Since then, Olive Tree and the German Bible Society have had a great partnership, allowing Olive Tree to offer many great original language texts through our Bible study apps. Today we are celebrating the German Bible Society’s 200th anniversary with a huge, 24-hour sale on our website.
Last week we announced that Stephen Johnson, formerly the CTO of Olive Tree, had been promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer. We are very excited about this transition and the ways in which Stephen’s enthusiasm and experience will impact Olive Tree for the better. Around here we know Stephen to be a driven and skilled developer and committed family man. We thought you should get to know him, too.
Here are ten things you should know about the new CEO of Olive Tree Bible Software:
1. He likes to build things.
Stephen: When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Two things changed my mind: the first was realizing that I hated the sight of blood, and the second was knowing I wanted to build and create new things. In college, I saw my future in building and crafting amazing products. I love the problem solving and design side of software engineering, but what really excites me is creating a product that has an impact on our world and that people love.
2. He has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science.
Stephen: I studied two and a half years at Arizona State University and then transferred to a small Catholic school, the University of Portland. I got a BS in computer science from UP. The small classes and professors like Dr. Vegdahl really helped accelerate and deepen my understanding of software engineering. After I graduated from UP, I worked at Tektronix for a year. I had a great job, but I was itching to go back to school and continue learning, so I went to Portland State University and got a master’s degree in computer science. My master’s thesis was on debugging functional logic languages. I had a blast diving into functional logic research languages.
3. He loves his family.
Stephen: I have been married for just over four years. We have two kids, a two-and-a-half-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.
4. He is outdoorsy.
Stephen: I love being in the outdoors. I mostly go hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking. We have a ton of fun taking our family out on short hikes. It is awesome seeing my son enjoying running through the woods. My daughter has a great time watching it all from my back.
5. He bikes to work.
Stephen: I usually ride my bike to work. The amount I ride my bike varies by season, but I managed to ride my bike to work at least once each month over the last 12 months. I think the coldest morning was around 15˚ F.
6. He is a member at a local church.
Stephen: I attend Grace Christian Fellowship. There is a lot I love about GCF. I love that it is radically gospel centered and focuses on how the gospel applies to my life, my marriage, my family, etc. I deserve eternal hell and judgment and yet God in his infinite and amazing mercy chose to save me! Amazing!
7. He loves to read.
Stephen: There are a number of books that I’ve really enjoyed reading. I love reading fiction. The Chiveis Trilogy from Crossway is a great trilogy (I haven’t had a chance to read the last of the trilogy that just came out a few weeks ago, but I’m planning on it). Probably my favorite fiction series is the Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers published by Tyndale. For non-fiction, I like reading business books like Good to Great by Jim Collins. I am currently reading The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni (this book is amazing!).
My favorite book of the Bible is Romans. It is such a clear presentation of the gospel and how it applies to my life. My favorite Scripture passages are 2 Corinthians 4:18 and Philippians 2:12-13. We are responsible to “behold the Lord” and “work out [our] own salvation” yet it is only God who “transforms” and “works in us.” This is such an awesome tension. I am not called to just sit back and wait for God to change me, I have a responsibility. And yet there is no way I have any hope of changing myself. It is only God who can change my life. He deserves all of the glory!
8. He drinks coffee and tea.
Stephen: I mostly drink tea, but I love both. I got hooked on coffee in college when I would stay up late studying. I then started frequently getting headaches and I found that they went away when I didn’t drink coffee. So I started drinking tea instead. I love a good cup of black coffee (I am actually drinking one as I write this), but I have to be careful not to drink too much. I also love black tea, and I drink a lot of that. There are two things I need to get me in the mental frame of mind to build software, get work done, and let the creative energies flow: the first is a good cup of coffee or tea and the second is classical music. I am currently listening to Sibelius. Classical music and tea have an amazing way of keeping me at a high level of creativity for a long period of time.
9. He is ready to be the CEO of Olive Tree.
Stephen: I did an internship at Olive Tree 11 years ago and have been working at Olive Tree full time for just about 8 years. When I started at Olive Tree, we were a very small company and right from the start I jumped into the business. My preparation for being CEO is hands-on knowledge and experience. I have spent time learning the theoretical side of business from books, podcasts and trainings, but I think what prepares me most for this job is my day-to-day involvement in Olive Tree over the last decade.
10. He believes it is a privilege to work at Olive Tree.
Stephen: I love working on something that has an eternal impact. What we do at Olive Tree matters. It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to create tools that God uses in people’s lives. Just this morning a dad contacted me on Twitter to let me know how he was using our software with his son for their journaling time. It is an amazing privilege and so humbling to play even a small part in that father leading his family spiritually.
Monday, July 9th marked the beginning of a new and exciting future for Olive Tree Bible Software. Stephen Johnson, Olive Tree’s Chief Technology Officer, was promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Drew Haninger, who had been carrying both the President and CEO roles, will now focus his energy on the president’s role.
As CEO, Stephen will take care of the day-to-day operations of Olive Tree allowing Drew to focus his energy on setting the vision and strategy of the company, including developing his many creative projects and ideas. Stephen and Drew will work closely together to drive the technological innovation for which Olive Tree apps are known.
From the beginning, Stephen was involved with both the business and engineering sides of Olive Tree, from meeting with publishers to developing BibleReader for early platforms like Palm OS to making marketing decisions.
“When I started at Olive Tree in 2004, it was a small company, so you did a little of everything,” Stephen said. “We worked out of Drew’s basement and had company meetings in Drew’s living room or at Olive Garden.”
With the release of the iPhone in 2008, Stephen became the engineering department manager, and in 2009, Stephen took on the role of Chief Technology Officer. In order for Drew to focus on the core message of Olive Tree, someone needed to take over the daily responsibility of running the company. To Drew, Stephen was the obvious choice.
“For years, I watched Stephen grow into many areas of the company and knew Stephen could eventually take over this company,” Drew said. “He’s a young, committed Christian, experienced and knowledgeable about Bible software technology, and full of energy.”
Harnessing Stephen’s excitement in technology and business and Drew’s experience in Bible software, this new teamwork places Olive Tree in a position for immense growth and development. Olive Tree has experienced steady growth since its early days and continues to build apps that God uses to change lives. This transition positions the company to build on its momentum, and Stephen is excited to lead the amazing team at Olive Tree.
In a presentation on Monday, Stephen reminded Olive Tree employees that God uses their work to change lives. When they sync a user’s notes and highlights, they sync a pastor’s sermon on marriage from his desktop to his iPad that God uses to save a marriage or they sync a young woman’s highlights that she uses to share the gospel with a coworker.
“It is exciting and humbling to be involved in this awesome and eternal work,” said Stephen. ”I have the privilege of coming to work every day to collaborate with an amazing and passionate team.”
This leadership transition will continue to build momentum on a history of vibrant growth for Olive Tree and a commitment to a core message: that God uses Bible software to transform lives for the glory of His Kingdom.
Elizabeth B: What is exciting about this version of Bible+?
Adam H: With Windows 8, Microsoft is looking for a very fast and fluid experience. Our goal with this version of Bible+ is to leverage that design and have the whole experience of the app be fast, smooth, and engaging.
EB: What are your thoughts on the Windows 8 experience?
AH: I love it. Microsoft has done an incredible job of providing a cohesive experience through Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox. On top of that, they’ve added features that make things work well and are fun to use.
AH: Sure! The Share Charm, which debuts with Windows 8, enables apps to connect not only to the Windows operating system but also to each other. For example, when I’m reading a Bible passage in Bible+, I can bring up the Share Charm and am presented with a list of other apps that interact with that verse, such as Facebook and Twitter. This Share Charm feature is entirely dependent on the apps that the individual user has installed on Windows 8, giving users a lot of flexibility in customizing their experience.
EB: What would you say are the top highlights of the app, Adam?
AH: A major highlight to me is the fast experience of the app. Reading, searching, the verse chooser…they’re all incredible. Searching is still unbelievably cool to me. It’s accessible from anywhere through the Search Charm, and provides an amazing scope of search results, from a broad view of your whole library to a detailed look at individual books. Within a Bible, results are grouped by each book, and can easily be filtered by section, like the Gospels or Prophets. On top of that, searching is fast.
AH: The experience around our Windows 8 app is about beauty and simplicity with a focus on the reading experience and speed. We’re excited for the future features and development that we will add to the Bible+ Windows 8 app.
EB: What was the most enjoyable part for you of creating this new app for Windows 8?
AH: I think the most enjoyable part was seeing how Microsoft made it easy for developers to do what they wanted in order to provide the experience our users want. I’m really looking forward to seeing how all apps can leverage Windows 8 features to create an awesome user experience.
AH: I’m sure I have a tendency toward a starry-eyed view of this app, and not just because of my part in creating it. I genuinely feel that it’s a joy to use. My prayer is that it can help someone connect with God’s Word in a way they never have before.
Download the Windows 8 Release Preview here to check out the Windows 8 Bible app for yourself!
If you are like me, when you get something new you just want it to work: a camera, a coffee maker, a DVD player. However, as technology advances, simple tools have become more complicated and instruction manuals end up looking more like novels or complex origami to try to fit all the information.
We’ve designed the Olive Tree Bible app to be easy to use, but we understand that sometimes you just need to see it in action to understand how it works. This is why we’ve added an instructional video center and developed interactive webinars for our Bible app. Learn how to use the Olive Tree Bible app on your device whenever you want with our helpful videos or get your questions answered by one of our customer support reps in a live webinar.
See a schedule of webinar times and topics here: Interactive Webinars
Visit our video center here: Instructional Videos
We’re a week into the Olive Tree Summer Bible Reading Plan, and we’ve been reading the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and the striking account of the power of God in the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.
These stories remind us that our individual stories fit into God’s overarching plan of redemption. Our intention with the Reading Plan is to throw you headlong into the full biblical narrative. The authors of the Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook also want to bring your story in line with God’s story.
An excellent companion to the Olive Tree Bible Reading Plan, the Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook is split into three sections:
- The first section explores the Bible’s organization, explains the basics of each book of the Bible, and gives a cultural and historical framework for the Old and New Testaments.
- The second section deals with the inspiration of Scripture and the steps taken to bring Scripture into the form we know it today. Topics explored in this section include the New Testament canon, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Bible translation, and more.
- The third section of the Handbook addresses how we use and understand the Bible, including information about literary features in the Bible, archeology in the Bible, and issues of authorship.
There is something new for every student of Scripture. This invaluable resource will give you a broader and deeper understanding of the historical and cultural roots of God’s Word. At the same time, the Word of God transcends time and space in its message. Yesterday, today and forever, the Good News is that God in Christ “proclaim(s) good news to the poor…, liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).
Download the Olive Tree Summer Bible Reading Plan today for free here by logging into your Olive Tree account. After today, the Reading Plan will be sold for 99 cents.