Let’s face it, studying the Old Testament can be hard work. This is doubly true once you dive into the original languages, and Hebrew in particular. There are a plethora of useful resources to choose from when studying Biblical Greek, such as BDAG, EDNT, TDNT, NIDNTTE, Louw & Nida, to name a few. Yet when it comes to studying Hebrew the pickings are slim. In Olive Tree, outside of the Strong’s Dictionary, you’re limited to a few titles including: NIDOTTE, HALOT, and TWOT. Even though there’s not a lot to choose from when it comes to studying Hebrew, the available resources are extremely useful.
Today I will show you how to use the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) in the Bible Study App.
Studying with TWOT
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament is essentially a Hebrew lexicon and can be used like any other Hebrew lexicon. However, it has certain special features which are designed to facilitate its use, especially for those less at home in the Hebrew language. It is primarily intended to be a ready tool for the pastor and the serious student, who want to study carefully and understand more fully the sacred text.
I recommend using the TWOT in conjunction with a Strong’s Bible, such as the ESV, to get the most out of it. To illustrate how TWOT works, we will take a look at 1 Samuel 16, a passage I recently read in my Olive Tree daily reading plan. In this passage we find Samuel anointing David as the new king of Israel, since Saul, the current king, had chosen to stop obeying the Lord.
With the emphasis of anointing in this passage, I wanted to find out more about the Hebrew word behind it, since I knew it is used in several contexts in Scripture. To do this, I tap on the word “anoint” in 1 Samuel 16:3 to bring up a Strong’s popup.
The definition from the Strong’s dictionary is rather sparse, so I want to find out more. This is where the TWOT comes into play. I tap the “Lookup” button and then select the TWOT article.
The TWOT is now in view and I can read more about the Hebrew root word. If I want to keep the window open or have more space to read, I can then open it in the split window.
As I read I can see there is some theological significance to this word, including the divine enablement that accompanied someone being anointed king over Israel. This is information I wouldn’t have gotten from Bible reading alone or from my Study Bible notes. Thanks to TWOT I have a richer understanding of the importance of Samuel anointing David as king.
Because the TWOT is an enhanced Olive Tree product, it is extremely easy to use. Anywhere you find a tagged Hebrew word you’ll be able to quickly get to its TWOT entry. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading your Hebrew and Strong’s Bibles or looking at another Hebrew lexicon. TWOT is always right at your fingertips to expand your understanding of the Hebrew text.
Add TWOT to Your Library
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!
Pastors have a hard job. They get in front of their congregations every week and preach a word from the Lord with the intent of impacting their lives and souls. To accomplish this goal the preacher must do two things: 1) explain the text, and 2) relate the text. Many of the Puritans believed a preacher had to saturate himself with Scripture and apply it to himself before he could preach it with power to others. With such sound advice, what can a preacher do to aide in the application of Scripture both to himself and others? This is where a resource like the Preacher’s Commentary Series is handy; it helps preachers and teachers understand their passage while providing applicable truths & illustrations.
Let’s look inside The Preacher’s Commentary Series and see how it works in the Bible Study App.
Like any enhanced resource you purchase for the Bible Study App, the Preacher’s Commentary Series is built to work hand-in-hand with the Resource Guide. As you read the Bible the Resource Guide follows along and gives an overview of resources in your library that have content related to your passage. In the screenshot below you can see we have a hit in the commentary section for the Preacher’s Commentary Series. Since I’m currently studying the armor of God in Ephesians 6, I can quickly see what this commentary says without having to go find the commentary in my library and manually open it to my desired location. Not only do I save time, but I get the information I need with minimal effort.
One thing I appreciate about the Preacher’s Commentary is it reads like a devotional. Instead of getting caught in the nuances of the text that may not help you teach a passage, the commentary keeps an eye on explaining the things that matter. This means you don’t waste time skimming through pages of endless commentary to find the nuggets you came for. For example, in the commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20 the text is explained while intertwining a great illustration that bring immediate application. You then get descriptions for each piece of armor and their relevance to the Christian life.
Use it Today
The Preacher’s Commentary Series is a perfect companion for the teacher or pastor looking to relate the passage to their students or congregation.
Who doesn’t love a good Top 5 list? I know I do! Here are the top reasons why you should use our new Windows Desktop app alongside your mobile. Ready. Set. Go!
1. Multiple Windows
One limitation of working with the Bible Study app on mobile is that you can only have two resources open at a single time, or three if you count pop-ups. This limitation exists for various reasons, ranging from screen size to processing power. You don’t have this problem with Windows Desktop. Open multiple windows to your heart’s content and resize them however you’d like. The possibilities are endless.
2. Universal Search
Have you ever wanted to search your entire library for a topic or word? The Resource Guide helps with this to an extent, but it only works with enhanced resources. With the Windows Desktop app you can type anything you want in the search field and you’ll get hits from your entire library. This alone is a time saver or reason to get lost in rabbit trails, you decide.
Do you like using Microsoft Word or Google Docs to write your sermons or notes? That’s easy with the Bible Study app on Windows Desktop. If you have multiple monitors, have the app open on one screen and Word open in the other. Don’t have two monitors? Resize your windows and you can still do the same. Try doing that on your phone!
4. More Text on the Screen
My phone has a higher resolution (1440 x 2560) than my computer (1920 x 1080). But given the fact my phone is 5.7″ versus the 15″ screen of my laptop, I can still fit a lot more text on my laptop’s screen than I can on my phone. This means I can study a lot easier than I can on my phone. I can read more with less scrolling, which saves time and effort.
Look how much more text you can fit on a desktop computer versus a tablet (Nexus 10).
5. Distraction Free Studying
The refreshed user interface of Bible+ 6.0 for Windows Desktop was designed to get out of the way so you could focus on studying. How often have you tried reading the Bible on your phone only to get distracted by a call, text message, or notification? Happens to me all the time, and sometimes I don’t have the luxury of turning on Airplane mode to keep it from happening. The simple gesture of sitting at a computer often implies that it’s time for serious work, which can make it easier to focus and get your studying done distraction free. Plus, it’s easier to “unplug” your computer from the Internet without feeling like you’re cut off from the world.
What Are Yours?
What are some of your favorite features and tips when using the Windows Desktop app? Leave a comment and share them with us and other Olive Tree users.
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.
With the Bible Study App we make it easy for you to read & study the Bible wherever you are. This is especially true with original language study. Instead of hunting down the dictionaries and lexicons that possess the information you’re looking for, we put it at your fingertips. Today we’re going to show you how to use the lookup feature in the Bible Study app to access HALOT and TDNT entries in the BHS Parsed and ESV Greek-English Interlinear Bible. We’ll show you how to do this on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but the steps are exactly the same on iOS.
BHS & HALOT
Step 1: Find a word that you want to study in-depth. Tap on that word to get a basic definition and parsing information. Then tap on “Lookup” to begin searching your installed dictionaries for your currently selected word.
Step 2: Find your dictionary, in this case HALOT, and tap on it.
Step 3: Read the entry for your word in the resource you selected.
Greek-English Interlinear & TDNT
These steps work exactly the same way for Greek resources. We’ll perform the same steps to lookup a Greek word in our ESV Greek-English Interlinear Bible.
Step 1: Find a word you want to study and tap on it. Then tap the “Lookup” button in the popup.
Step 2: Find the dictionary/lexicon that you want to read, here the TDNT.
Step 3: Read your entry in the TDNT.
This lookup feature isn’t just limited to HALOT and TDNT. Use it to lookup words in any of your lexicons or dictionaries. Tap on a Strong’s tagged word and do the same. Want to find entries on Moses? Select his name in your English Bible and perform a lookup on his name. Try it for yourself and see just how indispensable the lookup feature can be to your own studies!