You might have heard that we’ve been working on a big update for Bible+ on iOS. The rumors are true and it’s our biggest release to date. With this update we’ve completely redesigned the look and feel of the app so you can study the Bible better. We took a lot of your feedback into consideration and are confident this app is much easier to use and better looking than anything we’ve done before. But, with a new look and feel come changes. Today we want to tell you about some of the more important changes and new features in Bible+ 6.0 for iOS.
Remember that icon in Bible+ 5 that looked like a briefcase? Do you know what it was for? If not, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, a lot of our users didn’t know what it was for either. After listening to your feedback, we finally got the message that we needed to rethink that icon’s functionality. In it’s place we implemented a centralized menu where most of the app’s features now reside. Looking for your notes, highlights or book ribbons? Now all you have to do is tap the “hamburger menu” icon at the top left. The same is true with reading plans, or anything else you’re looking for. Everything is organized according to its function in the app, so you can find what you’re looking for at a glance. This change alone makes Bible+ much easier to use.
In changing the look and feel of the app, we thought it was time to give the verse chooser a much needed face lift. Gone are the tan and gray boxes. Welcome a more streamlined design that is easy on the eyes. And, if you want a more colorful verse chooser (see below), you can tap the gear icon & turn on the shading effect. Another change is in how you access the verse chooser. Instead of having a separate “Go To” button cluttering the screen, you now tap on the book title or passage to bring up the verse chooser. Alternatively, you can access it from the main menu, but that makes it a two-step process. The new verse navigation helps Bible+ get out of the way so you can study without distraction.
Night Reading Mode
We know that a lot of you like to study your Bible or read a devotional before the sun comes up or late at night. That proved difficult in the Bible study app because it felt like the bright screen was blinding you when in a dimly lit room. Even lowering the brightness of the device didn’t do much to help with the problem. Well, we’ve finally done something about that. With Bible+ 6.0 we are introducing a dark theme that is conducive to reading in low light situations. Toggling the feature only requires two taps: 1) tap the menu icon, 2) tap on the dark theme & you’re done.
This is a relatively minor change, but it is another that comes as a direct result of your feedback. Book ribbons and bookmarks, what’s the difference between the two? Honestly, most Olive Tree employees couldn’t clearly articulate the difference either. Therefore we thought it was time to change the terminology to better reflect what each does. Book ribbons remain unchanged, and should be used like you use the book ribbon in your Bible. You use it to mark your place in a book or Bible for future reading. Book ribbons are meant to serve as temporary placeholders.
Bookmarks, on the other hand, are now called “Saved Passages.” Saved passages are better used as long term markers for verses you would like to navigate to again in the future. This change in terminology better reflects how the feature is to meant to be used in the app. You’ll see this change in two places. First, when you tap on a verse to save a passage, the popup menu now says “Save” instead of “Bookmark.” And the main menu says “Saved Passages” instead of “Bookmarks.”
Changing Font Size
Changing the font size was another feature that got a minor update. Again, thanks to your feedback and expressing the confusion of not knowing whether to tap the briefcase or the “A with the gear,” we made this change with you in mind. Now all you have to do is tap the new menu icon and then increase or decrease the font size. No more having to remember where the setting is. And, if you need to change more settings, those are now found near the bottom of the menu.
Leave Your Feedback
If you enjoy what we’ve done with the Bible+ 6.0 update please do a couple things for us: 1) rate and/or review the app in the App Store, and 2) share the app with your friends. Those 4 & 5 star ratings help us have greater visibility in the App Store, and word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Thanks for your years of support, it means a lot! We wouldn’t be here without you & we did this update for you!
Note: Bible+ 6.0 will only work on iOS 8 or later.
Click here to get answers to some of the more frequently asked questions concerning the new app.
When it comes to expositing and faithfully teaching the Bible, John MacArthur is a name respected by many. He has been preaching at Grace Community Church and heading Grace to You since 1969. In that time he has written nearly 400 books and study guides that have been published throughout the world. The reach of his ministry has allowed his ever popular MacArthur Study Bible to be translated into at least 8 different languages. It’s an understatement to say that MacArthur is a household name in evangelicalism.
Aside from his study Bible, Dr. MacArthur is best known for his MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary series began 32 years ago (1983) when he published his commentary on Hebrews. Since that time he has meticulously preached through the New Testament at his church and written detailed verse-by-verse commentary on each New Testament book. This year the final two volumes (Mark 1-8 & Mark 9-16) were released, completing the series. Today I want to show you how you can glean from MacArthur’s insight on any New Testament passage while studying in Bible+.
Why This Commentary?
One of the questions that’s often asked when discussing commentaries is, “Why should I buy commentary ABC instead of commentary XYZ?” Here are a couple reasons why the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is a valuable resource to have in your library.
First, when you look at most modern commentary sets, each volume is typically written by a different author. While there may be a singular general editor, there may be differences of theology and understanding among the authors, making for a lack of consistency across volumes. What’s more, sometimes the same author will write a commentary on a book of the Bible for different commentary series. For example, Douglas Moo has written a commentary on Romans for both the New International Commentary and NIV Application Commentary series, and a commentary on James for the Pillar New Testament and Tyndale New Testament Commentary series. The advantage of the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is its singular voice. You’re not going to encounter the issues you may find in other series. Having one author write the entire series provides a level of consistency in thought and teaching that isn’t necessarily possible in the other commentary sets. Whether or not you agree with what is taught, at least you know it will be consistent throughout the entirety of the series.
Second, John MacArthur is not just a Bible scholar, he is also a pastor. This may not seem like something that would be important, but it means this commentary has a different tone and approach than other series. There is a difference between writing a commentary academia and writing for the general Christian population. MacArthur’s commentary certainly falls in the latter. His tone is pastoral and stays away from being unnecessarily complex. Every passage is explained clearly so that you have little to no questions afterward. His exegesis of the text also makes applying the text to your life easy. This makes it an easy commentary to read, whether you’re in the pew or pulpit.
Using the Commentary
Like many resources in Bible+, the best way to get the most out of your library is by using the Resource Guide; the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is no exception. To illustrate, let’s assume we’re starting to read Mark’s gospel and are using MacArthur’s commentary to aide our study.
When beginning a study on a new book of the Bible, one of the first things you want to do is get some background information. Resource Guide makes this easy. Simply scroll down to the “Introductions” section, where we find 5 hits for our commentary.
Here we find information about the gospel, it’s author, date, audience, purpose, and other issues worth keeping in mind.
Next, you’ll want to get a feel for how the book is laid out, so let’s find an outline. Again, the Resource Guide shows us that MacArthur has an outline for our book, and we see that it is quite extensive. One thing worth noting is that the book’s outline also serves as the layout for the commentary. This helps in seeing how a handful of verses relate to their larger context. Personally, I refer to the outline often throughout the course of studying a book of the Bible, as it keeps the big picture in view.
Finally, when it’s time to dive into the commentary text, the Resource Guide is again our friend. Instead of hunting down the commentary on your passage, let Resource Guide do the heavy lifting. Find the MacArthur New Testament Commentary in the commentaries section, find your passage, and commence reading. This saves you both time and effort while studying, which is useful with our busy lives.
Alternatively, you can leave the MacArthur New Testament Commentary open in your split window and it’ll always be at the right location when you need it. This will save you even more time if you don’t plan on consulting other resources.
No matter who you are, the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is an excellent go to resource for New Testament studies. MacArthur’s knack for explaining the text is second to none and easy to follow. Even if you don’t completely agree with him theologically, you can still appreciate his clear exegesis and application.
Add the MacArthur New Testament Commentary to your Olive Tree library today while it’s on sale. Whether you’re buying the full set, upgrading, or buying an individual volume, we have a deal that will fit any budget.
Why are you a Christian? Christianity is outdated and needs to get with the times. What proof do you have to substantiate your beliefs? Isn’t it just blind faith in a fictional God? The creation story in Genesis can’t be true because we’ve proven that evolution is true. Don’t all religions eventually get you to the same place? Just do what works for you.
Does any of that sound familiar? It should because it’s a picture of the times we live in. Christianity and the Bible are under attack from all angles, and if you believe in the God of the Bible, you’re viewed as someone who is antiquated and needs to get with it or shut up. While it is sometimes easier to keep our faith to ourselves, Christianity is a perfectly rational and defensible worldview. We do not hold to a blind faith. There is plenty of evidence and logic to back up our claims. As Christians, we ought to be ready to defend our faith against its opponents. The Apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 that we should always be prepared to give a defense to anyone who asks. This wasn’t a command he gave only to church leaders; it was for everyone, including you!
Many people think they cannot share their faith or have religious conversations because they don’t have all the answers. But no one has all the answers. Not having answers doesn’t mean we cannot work with what we do have. It also doesn’t mean we cannot continue to learn as we go along. One of the great things about living in the age we do is that we have a wealth of information at our disposal, ready to be called upon at a moment’s notice. Not only that, but many of the arguments we face today aren’t new. Great Christian thinkers have already tackled these tough issues, and we can glean from their writings instead of trying to figure it out on our own. For most people, it only takes having a few apologetic resources in their library to equip them to defend and share their faith.
While Olive Tree may be known as the “Bible Study App,” we can also help you defend your faith with the resources we offer. If you want an apologetic resource and Bible study notes all in a single resource you can look at resources like the Apologetics Study Bible or the Evidence Bible. We also have books dedicated to the subject, such as Alister McGrath’s Mere Apologetics, R.C. Sproul’s Defending Your Faith, and John Feinberg’s Can You Believe It’s True?, just to name a few. With the Bible Study App, you can keep both your Bible study and apologetic library with you at all times, giving you all you need to live up to Peter’s call. Both Jesus and Paul were apologists, and we should be too!
Want to know more about apologetics? Check out this video with Dr. Bill Mounce as he explains what apologetics can and cannot do.
Equip yourself today with the tools you need to be ready to defend your faith in our Apologetics Sale.
These days it’s hard to find a commentary that is distinct from all the others on the market. I mean, there are only so many ways that you can exposit a passage. With that in mind, it’s worth noting when a commentary comes along that is wholly unlike the rest. The Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by G. K. Beale & D. A. Carson, is one of those commentaries. Let’s take a look inside this commentary and see how it can enhance your Bible study in Bible+.
What It Is and Isn’t
The key to using this commentary is first understanding how the editors designed it. This is not a verse-by-verse commentary on the entire New Testament; there are plenty of commentaries that already do this well. Nor is this a commentary that gets into the debates surrounding how the Old Testament is utilized by New Testament authors. Again, there are plenty of books already written on the subject.
Instead, what you get with this commentary is exactly what its title says: a commentary that explains how the New Testament makes use of Old Testament quotations and allusions. While analyzing these passages, Beale and Carson encouraged the commentary’s contributors to keep in mind six questions that ought to be answered:
- What is the NT context of the citation or allusion?
- What is the OT context from which the quotation or allusion is drawn?
- How is the OT quotation or source handled in the literature of Second Temple Judaism or early Judaism?
- What textual factors must be kept in mind as one seeks to understand a particular use of the OT?
- What is the nature of the connection as the NT writer sees it?
- To what theological use does the NT writer put the OT quotation or allusion?
Wherever possible, each passage covered in the commentary seeks to answer these six questions so that you, as the reader, can understand how the text is being used. While most commentaries delve into this subject matter on some level, the advantage of this commentary is that it’s its sole focus. You don’t have to worry about reading only a few sentences or a short paragraph because the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament will give you everything you want & then some.
Using the Commentary
There are a few ways you can use the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament in Bible+, but let me show you the most convenient way: Resource Guide.
Depending on the Bible translation you’re using it can be easy or difficult to identify when the New Testament authors are quoting from the Old Testament. For example, in the ESV you may find text that is indented and set apart to show that it’s a quotation; but, it’s not as easy to identify when it is kept inline. Translations like the NASB, on the other hand, put OT quotes in small caps, which make them easier to identify (see below). In a book like Matthew, this isn’t a big deal; but consider a book like James that alludes to the OT frequently. In this case, you could miss these in the ESV, where they are obvious in a translation like the NASB.
With the Resource Guide your choice of translation doesn’t matter, whether it be the ESV, NASB or some other translation. As you’re reading a New Testament passage, you don’t even have to consider if what you’re reading contains an OT quotation or allusion. Simply glance down at the commentaries section of Resource Guide and see if you have a hit for the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. If there is, you can proceed reading the commentary text. A perfect example of this is James 5:1-6 where James condemns the rich for oppressing their workers. There is no clear OT quotation, but a Jew would understand that James is alluding to the Mosaic Law. The commentary explains this in great detail, providing all the context you need to understand what James is trying to get across.
The biggest benefit of using Resource Guide in your study is that you don’t have to manually search through your commentaries. Forget having to wonder if the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament addresses your passage, you’ll know without ever having to open it. The Resource Guide saves you time and effort in your studies by putting the information you need at your fingertips.
Purchase the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament today and save 33% off our regular price in our Pastor Appreciation Sale.
The Hermeneia Commentary Series is a highly regarded scholarly resource that is used by scholars, pastors, students, and professors. The Bible Study App makes Hermeneia even more dynamic. Here’s how:
Open your preferred Bible translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window. You’ll see relevant Hermeneia commentary “hits” in the split window.
The Bible Study App 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, Hermeneia 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.
Search & Look Up Feature
Search Hermeneia for words or passages. Take “love” as an example. You can search the entire Hermeneia series for where “love” 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.
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 Matthew about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry there are multiple references to Isaiah that are pertinent to my study. With a hard copy, I have to open a different Bible and find each 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 the Bible Study App, 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. Since Hermeneia is a highly scholarly work, there are 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 writing. This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought. With the Bible Study App, all of the footnotes are linked. Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.
As you can see, Hermeneia within the Bible Study App gives you the best in scholarly work, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort. Get Hermeneia at up to 50% off the regular price this week through Monday, October 5th.