Bible+ Quick Tip: History

Posted by on 04/27/2016 in:

Whether you are in church or your personal study or devotion time, the ability to easily jump to another scripture passage reference and then back to the main passage you are reading is invaluable. Here’s how to easily do that in both Android and iOS.

For Android simply tap the history button in the top right hand corner and you’ll get a list of previous passages you’ve been reading. In the left screen the passage is open to 1 John 3 but if I want to quickly jump back to a previous passage it’s only two taps away.

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For iOS devices the History button is in the menu. Tap the three bars in the upper left and then the ‘Reading History’ button.

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Thanks to iOS gestures there is another, even quicker way to jump back and forth in your history.
With a two swinger swipe left or right on the screen you can easily jump back and forth between your history.

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Looking for more tips?
Checkout our help section!

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6 Reasons to use Commentaries in Olive Tree’s Bible+ Apps

Posted by on 04/25/2016 in: ,

Bible Commentaries are extremely valuable study tools. Many commentaries include historical and cultural context, theological interpretation, and other resources like timelines and charts. Here are Six Reasons to use Commentaries in Bible+.  (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4.  Click on Images for a larger view)

1. Resource Guide

Open your preferred Bible Translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window.  You’ll see relevant “hits” from Preaching the Word 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.

2. Search & Look Up Feature

Search commentaries for words or passages.  Take “Vine” as an example.  You can search the entire commentary  series for where “Vine” is mentioned in the commentary series.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

When your search hits are displayed, you can tap on the result to go directly to that passage. You can also copy the text to add to an existing note or add a note right from the search results.

3. Linked Reference Pop ups

One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary.  For example, when I’m reading in John 15 where Jesus is talking about the Vine and the Branches. In the Preaching the Word Commentary there’s a reference to Isaiah 5:7. 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.

Related to this is footnotes/endnotes. Some commentaries have a lot of references to other materials.  In the past I would have to stop where I was in the reading, look at the footnote, then go back to where I was in the book.  This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought.  With Bible+ footnotes are linked.  Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.

4. 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 that i want, copy it 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!

 

5. Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)

In iPhone/iPad app, you also 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, Bookmark, 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.

6. 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 in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Save Passage, 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 The Preaching the Word 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 commentaries within Bible+ give you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Click here to see all commentaries available for Bible+.

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eBooks in Bible+

Posted by on 04/21/2016 in:

Over the years I’ve read some great books by various Christian authors on a wide range of topics. One thing that many of the different devotional and theological books have in common is that they all quote Scripture – a lot of Scripture. That’s a good thing, but in cases where the Scripture isn’t copied into the main text of the book it can be distracting. You either have to look in the appendix or have your Bible nearby to look up the verse that the author references. Often times I’ll tell myself that I’ll go back and look up the verse later but that doesn’t always happen.

Reading an eBook in Bible+ can help with this. Thanks to our scripture tagging, nearly every reference to scripture becomes a hyperlink to that passage. In the image on the left you’ll see that Isaiah 6 is colored green. This means it’s a hyperlink that you can tap to easily read scripture right in line with the text.

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Browsing to a specific section of an eBook is similar to finding chapter and verse in your Bible. Tap the title at the top of the screen to access the table of contents. From there you can easily select a chapter or specific section of a resource.

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Other options for eBooks include the ability to highlight or share what you’re reading to social – just tap, hold, and select the text. Due to the differences in platforms however there are some nuanced differences in functionality between Android devices and iOS.

For example in Android you can tap and hold on a word to search for that word in the book that you’re reading.

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Have you ever come across a word that you didn’t know the meaning of? In iOS you can tap on that word and then tap ‘Define’ to access the built in iOS dictionary.

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With this great functionality Bible+ is the perfect app for studying the Bible and reading your favorite eBooks!

We’re continuing to add the latest eBooks by top authors to our steadily growing library.

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Three Ways Bible Dictionaries Improve Your Study Time

Posted by on 04/18/2016 in: , ,

A good Bible dictionary is an invaluable resource for your personal Bible study and can go a long way in illuminating God’s word. Here are three ways you can easily use a dictionary in Bible+.

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The first way is through the Split Window and Resource Guide.

Open your favorite Bible translation in the main window and the Resource Guide in the Split Window.  As you read through your Bible text, the Resource Guide searches through all the downloaded resources in your library to find related Bible study content.

You’ll notice that the Resource Guide pulls related content from all of your downloaded resources.  If you scroll down the Resource Guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”  These headings give you the results of articles based on your downloaded resources.

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Tap or click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about. I chose “Canaan” in this example.  Bible+ then brings you results from within the resources you have on your device.  This is where you will find the Baker Compact Dictionary within the Resource Guide.

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You’ll notice that the resource has the words “Article on Canaan” underneath the book cover.  Tap/Click on the book cover and Bible+ will take you directly to the article within the Baker Compact Dictionary. As you are reading the article, any Scripture references become hyperlinks that you can tap/click to view as a pop-out window.

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The second way you can utilize a Bible dictionary is as a traditional dictionary in Bible+.

Select the dictionary from your library and  simply Tap/Click the book title and look through the resource as you would a hard-copy dictionary.

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The third way is to use the Bible+’s Lookup Feature.

Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  If you tap the “Lookup” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific word. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above.

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Bonus Feature

With a Strong’s tagged Bible you can also easily access your favorite Bible dictionary by searching on the Hebrew or Greek word that you’ve just tapped. In the screen shot below I’ve just tapped the word Lebanon and with one more tap can look up the Hebrew word in my other dictionaries for deeper study.

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For this example I’ll choose the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. I can read the article in the popup window or tap the arrow in the upper left to send it to the split screen or main window to read further.

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As you can see, Bible dictionaries are extremely helpful resources for studying the Bible.  Check out our list of great Bible dictionaries here.

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Look Inside: The NIV Greek-English Interlinear

Posted by on 04/11/2016 in: ,

Learning Greek can be a difficult task. It takes years of study and countless hours of practice before you reach the point of reading the Greek New Testament without the help of additional resources. Unless your aim is to be a New Testament scholar, most will not achieve that level of comfort with the Greek text. That doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from using the Greek New Testament in your studies. Whether you’re someone who can read Greek proficiently or have only ever used a Strong’s Bible, Olive Tree’s NIV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament is here to meet your needs.

Here’s a brief look inside the NIV Greek-English New Testament Interlinear .

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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.

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We’ve also tagged the English Word:

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And the Strong’s Number:

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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:

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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:

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You can also search the Greek word itself:

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The NIV Greek-English Interlinear (based on the NA28) is an outstanding study tool. If you already have the NIV or the NA28  you can get an additional discount. Just make sure you are logged into your Olive Tree account at checkout.

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Expositor’s Commentary Comparison

Posted by on 04/11/2016 in:

If you’re looking for a great Bible commentary you may have noticed three resources in the Olive Tree store that have similar names:

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While price may often be the biggest influence on whether you’d like to add them to your study library, the most important question is, ‘What’s the difference between them?’

Here are few things that may help you in your decision.

Authorship

All three commentary sets have a strong evangelical influence while at the same time drawing from a broad diversity of churches, including Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and Reformed.

The original Expositor’s Bible Commentary was compiled between the years of 1976-1992 with 50 different authors contributing.

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Revised Series is a 2012 update to the original that includes the work of 56 different authors – 30 of whom are new.

The Expositor’s commentary: Abridged was published in 1994 and draws all of it’s content from 52 different authors.

Content

Both the original and the revised editions include the following content:

  • Comprehensive introductions
  • Short and precise bibliographies
  • Detailed outlines
  • Insightful expositions of passages and verses
  • Overviews of sections of Scripture to illuminate the big picture
  • Occasional reflections to give more detail on important issues
  • Notes on textual questions and special problems, placed close to the texts in question
  • Transliterations and translations of Hebrew and Greek words, enabling readers to understand even the more technical notes

The abridged edition – as expected – is more concise and leaves out much of the technical information of the larger sets but still includes the following:

  • Verse-by-verse exposition of the entire Bible
  • 250 charts, maps, tables, and pictures

All three sets use the New International Version for its English text, but also refer freely to other translations and to the original languages. Each book of the Bible has, in addition to its exposition, an introduction, outline, and bibliography. They also include a balanced and respectful approach toward marked differences of opinion.

Bible Study App

In Bible+ all of this content is easily accessed in the Resource Guide found in the split window. No matter which commentary you are using they follow along with the scripture in your main window to give you easy access to expositional commentary, charts, outlines and more.

Each number indicates relevant entries for the passage

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Notes are just a tap away

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Charts and outlines are easy to use

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All three of these great commentary series on sale right now. Click the links below to see them.

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A Conversation with Kent Hughes

Posted by on 04/06/2016 in: ,

R. Kent Hughes was in pastoral ministry for 41 years, the last 27 as senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. He earned his B.A. from Whittier College (history), an M.Div. from Talbot Seminary and a D.Min. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Kent is the author of numerous books, among them the best-selling Disciplines of a Godly Man. He is also editor of the projected 50-volume Preaching the Word series to which he has made numerous contributions.

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I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Hughes and ask him to share how this series came about and to reflect on the role a commentary can play in a preacher’s study.

Of the 29 volumes of the Preaching The Word Commentary, you wrote 22 volumes. How did this project start?

I was [the pastor] at College Church in Wheaton which had lots of students and academics. I was very careful about doing all of my work on my sermons and then making them come alive when I preached. Lane Dennis (President of Crossway) and I were at an event and he approached me about publishing my sermons. We came up with the name Preaching the Word, which comes from 2 Timothy 4:2.

As you wrote a particular commentary, what goals did you have in mind?

The commentaries are homiletically arranged with careful attention to history, background, words, structure, and theology and with a focus on clarity in how they are presented. It’s important to also know that the content of each commentary has been preached live before a congregation.

If you were to pick the type of person that The Preaching the Word series is aimed at, who would it be?

It’s aimed at pastors, small group leaders, and Bible study groups.  For preachers, it’s not meant to be a substitute for personal study. It’s important that you do your own work first and then come to a commentary like Preaching the Word. If you come right to the commentary without doing your own study and outline first, then you’ll most likely end up preaching the commentary.

If I’m going to preach on a specific book of the Bible, what role should a commentary play in my sermon preparation?

If it were a small book like Philippians, I’d first read it 30-40 times through, mostly in my preferred translation but also in some others. If you’re able to, also read it in the Greek.

Then I’d ask, “What is the big theme of the book?” and look at structure, turning points, and applications – just try to get the text inside of me. Then I’d try and think of how to break up the book homiletically – how many sermons, where to break up the passages, and do my best to outline it.

Then, having done that, I’d open up a commentary and modify my sermon where needed. You should use a commentary like Preaching the Word as a part of your sermon-prep process. But if you use a commentary to start your process, you will become a commentary cripple.

When you look back at your own preaching ministry, what are a few things you wish you would have known as a young preacher that you’d exhort other young preachers toward today?

This matter of doing your own work is very, very important. You can borrow from all kinds of people and not really do your own thinking. The hardest thing to do is to sit down with the biblical text and ask God to help you. Do your own work first and then you can use a commentary to help you adjust.

*Editors note: This interview originally took place when the Preaching the Word Commentary Series was only 29 Volumes. We have recently added 11 more volumes to this series bringing it to 40 Volumes and you can get the entire set on special right now. 

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Four Steps to Build Your Ultimate Study Bible

Posted by on 04/04/2016 in: ,

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As a Bible teacher and technologist, people often ask me what they should buy to start building their Bible study library. I love answering this question and many are shocked by my response. The conversation begins by describing the massive library I’ve built over the years in several Bible software platforms. Then I tell them they don’t need all that & start listing the handful of resources that I find essential to Bible study. The end result is a concise but robust set of tools that anyone can use to study the Bible and grow in the things of God. Today, I will show you how you can build your ultimate Bible study library.

Step 0: Use the Bible Study App

If you’re at all technologically inclined, and I assume you are if you’re reading this, the initial step is downloading Bible software. For as much as I love print, it is easier and faster to study the Bible digitally. You can search resources in a matter of seconds, quickly look up cross references, and study anywhere. You don’t have to worry about flipping pages or having a large desk so that you can open all your books at once. Instead, carry your entire library on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

I always recommend the Bible Study App to people because it is feature rich and easy to use, and I say this not just as an Olive Tree employee. There is no steep learning curve required to use the app and all the features are intuitive. Plus, it’s free to download and try! So, download the app & let’s move to Step 1.

Step 1: Add a Bible Translation

A lot of people don’t think about Bible translations and how they can help their Bible study. For many, they use whatever Bible translation they were given when they became a Christian and never give it a second thought. Yes, the thee’s and thou’s of the KJV may be quite poetic, but what good is it if you cannot understand what you’re reading? In many respects, the Bible is already a difficult book to study, so why make it harder with a difficult to read translation? There is nothing wrong with owning a Bible written in a modern translation.

When choosing a Bible translation, you should find one that works for you. I also believe you should own at least two Bible translations. The first should be more word-for-word in its translation of the original languages, while the second should be more thought-for-thought or a balance between the two. I recommend checking out some of the translations listed below at Biblegateway.com and pick the one you find most readable in each category.

Once you have your Bible translations, you’re ready to build the rest of your ultimate study Bible library.

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Step 2: Add Study Notes

Next to the Bible, if you had to spend money on one resource, hands down it would have to be a study Bible. These are great tools because they are an all-in-one resource. You get commentary, introductions, and a wealth of other useful features. With so many study Bibles on the market, wisdom is needed when making a purchase. You want to make sure you’re buying something that will help you understand what you’re reading and keep things in their proper context.

A good study Bible should contain: thorough study notes, book introductions, maps, charts & illustrations, and Bible chronologies. A few worth checking out include: the ESV Study Bible, NLT Study Bible, NKJV Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, and the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible.

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Step 3: Add Key Reference Tools

As you expand your library beyond Bibles and study Bibles, you should start by adding key reference tools. This is a broad category that ranges from single volume commentaries to Bible dictionaries and atlases.

Bible commentaries come in many flavors and vary in their target audience, which is often reflected in the price. Because of their depth, commentaries can quickly become the most expensive tool in your library. I recommend starting with single volume commentaries since they cover the entire Bible. While single volume commentaries may not be as thorough as their single-book counterparts, they do take time to cover all passages in general and are sure to explain the more difficult ones, making them useful additions to your library.

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While study Bibles and commentaries are good at explaining the text of the Bible, they don’t always give enough detail about some of the Bible’s concepts and words. This is where a good Bible dictionary comes into play, which is, in effect, an encyclopedia for the Bible. To illustrate it’s usefulness, let’s say you’re reading the gospels and you encounter the Pharisees and Sadducees. Who are these guys and where did they get their authority? A Bible dictionary will explain who they are so you’re not left clueless about their role and purpose in the Bible.

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Atlases are a fantastic tool to have in your library. If we’re honest, most of us aren’t familiar with the geography of the lands from Bible times. Not to mention, you’ll have no luck finding many places mentioned in the Bible on a modern map. Atlases provide you with extensive maps that help you get a lay of the land so that you can make better sense of the Bible’s narrative. Many atlases also provide relevant commentary on the Bible that corresponds to the map or picture.

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Many of these tools you can add to your Olive Tree library at minimal cost and they will go a long way in helping you study the Bible.

Step 4: Add Advanced Reference Tools

Most people could stop at Step 3, but if you’re the person who wants to dive deeper into God’s Word you can buy more advanced reference tools. Resources that fall into this category would include: single book commentary sets, Greek & Hebrew lexicons, and more extensive versions of the tools found in Step 3. These are the tools used by pastors, seminary students, and those, like myself, who don’t mind treading through the original languages and academic level terminology. This is an area where you can spend a lot of money, but each resource is well worth the cost.

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Build Your Ultimate Study Bible Today

By following the above steps, you will have built your own Ultimate Study Bible and have all the essential tools needed to study the Bible. Start building yours today with our Build Your Ultimate Study Bible sale!

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Important Notice Regarding the Bible+ Windows Store App

Posted by on 04/04/2016 in:

The mission of Olive Tree Bible Software is to inspire people to connect with God and the Bible via technology. Since our beginning as a company we’ve been blessed to carry out this mission and see God’s word being read and studied all around the world. While technology has changed our mission has remained the same and by God’s grace we’ll continue to carry out this mission for many years to come.

We love to hear from people around the globe who have been with us through the many iterations of our App and advances in technology. Many of you found us while looking for a Bible for your very first handheld mobile device and as you moved from device to device your Olive Tree notes, highlights, and Bible study resources have moved with you.

In order for us to continue to fulfill our mission we sometimes have to adapt to the changing market of technology to best focus our software development resources to serve the widest range of people.

It’s with this in mind that we wanted to let you know we will no longer be supporting the Windows Store App (different than our Windows Desktop App).

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What does this mean?

  • As of today there will be no further updates to the Windows Store App
  • Starting May 2 it will no longer be available to download from the Windows Store

What can I do?

-> Make sure that you have an account with us. This ensures that your notes, highlights, bookmarks, and all of your purchased resources can be used on our other platforms such as PC, Mac, Android, iOS, and Kindle.

-> If you have a PC, Mac, Android, iOS or Kindle Fire device, download our App and with an account you can still use the same great tools you’ve been accustomed to on the Windows App version. Simply download it (HERE) and login with your account.

Our Windows Desktop App runs on any Microsoft Surface Pro and if you are logged in with your account you’ll be able to access all of your books and custom annotations. Click HERE to download the Windows Desktop App now.

While we understand this may be a painful transition we appreciate your understanding and hope to continue to provide a great Bible study experience for many more years to come! If you have any further questions or need assistance in this transition please contact our support team.

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What’s the best Bible Translation?

Posted by on 03/31/2016 in:

I’ll be upfront with you. I’m not actually going to tell you what Bible translation I think is the best. I won’t even tell you which one I prefer or if it may or may not have colorful illustrations that make Jesus look like a California surfer. I tend to agree with Pastor Rick Warren when he said, “The best Bible translation is one that is translated into your life.” In saying that, there are some things that are worth knowing that may help you decide what you use for study, what you recommend to new believers, and even what you read to your kids.

Centuries of scholarship have gone into the English translations we have today.

The two primary metrics for how scholars have translated the original language into the the English Bibles we have today are based on:
1. How close the translation is to the original, literal word (word for word).
2. How close the translation is to the original idea being communicated (thought for thought).

The more technical terms are usually put into three categories:

Formal Equivalent
These translations attempt to reproduce the Greek and Hebrew as exactly as possible into the English language. Words, figures of speech, and sometimes even the sentence structure of the original languages are reproduced in a much more literal and limited way in this type of Bible. These hold -in varying degrees- to a generally word for word approach.

Dynamic Equivalent
These Bibles run on a more thought-for-thought philosophy than the Formal Equivalent translations, but not to the extent that a paraphrase would. Greek and Hebrew figures of speech are replaced with modern rough equivalents. They are typically easier to read, though sometimes in a freer translation passages may lean more toward an interpretation than a strict translation.

Paraphrase
Not usually considered ‘translations’ but rewordings of the Scriptures that speak in a very earthy, common tongue. Those who advocate these note that the New Testament was written in the common language of the people and not by scholars or philosophers. The results can be the clearest expression of Scripture on par with the original. However, theological lenses can more easily influence the interpretation. Some paraphrases are based on the original Hebrew/Greek and some are based on more formal equivalent English translations.

The centuries old challenge for scholars is how do you translate the original manuscripts in a way that makes them accurate and literal, but also readable and understandable?

For an example of this challenge imagine that I’m speaking to an audience in China through a translator and say, “Hong Kong is the coolest city I’ve ever been to.” If my translator literally interpreted my statement to the audience and said, Hong Kong is the coldest city I’d ever been to, they’d probably think I grew up in the middle of the Gobi desert (Hong Kong never really gets cold). I would want my translator to understand my culture and West Coast slang enough to take the liberty to translate my thought, as opposed to my literal words; “He really likes Hong Kong”.

And so for centuries the challenge for Bible translators has been to translate Scripture into thousands of languages worldwide, maintaining as literal an interpretation while still making it readable and understandable to the culture. So, unless you can read the Biblical Hebrew and Greek yourself every translation you have read has gone through this challenge.

Where does your favorite translation rank in terms of being word for word and thought for thought? Check out the *graphic below (click for larger image):

You’ll notice this chart doesn’t say one translation is better than another but it is a useful graphic to understand where the different translations lean in how they interpret the original manuscripts. If you want to dig deeper most Bible translations have an introduction that explains their translation philosophy. You can also check out the links below for more in depth thoughts on the differences between translations.

Helpful Resources:


* Please note that there is no specific difference (other than their place on the continuum) between the orange and green Bibles listed in the graphic

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