Free Resource Friday

Posted by on 03/11/2016 in:

We love Bible study and know you do too!

27706_largeThanks to our friends at David C. Cook you can get 1 & 2 Thessalonians of The Wiersbe Bible Study Series for free to use in the Bible+ App today only!

The Wiersbe Bible Study Series delivers practical, in-depth guides to selected books of the Bible. Featuring insights from Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s Be Ready commentary, this eight-week study includes engaging questions and practical applications that will help you connect God’s Word with your life.

Download this title for free to use in your Bible study with the Bible+ App by going HERE.

Also make sure and check out some of our other great Bible study titles on special this week!

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This Week’s Specials!

Posted by on 03/08/2016 in:

This week get 8 Bible Study Titles at 70% off starting today! These titles will not only save you money, but will also make your Bible study quick and easy.











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Justice is a part of discipleship & ultimately our worship of God

Posted by on 03/03/2016 in:

Worship and Justice

Guest Blog by Eugene Cho

Over the years, I’ve been given by some the mini-reputation as a leader in the field of justice. At first, I took it as a compliment and  of course, I still do because I care a lot about justice. I know that people mean well. But I care about justice not  just for the sake of justice. I care about justice…because I care much about the Gospel.

And sometimes, when I hear folks talk about justice in the church, I cringe…

I cringe because if we’re not careful, we’re again compartmentalizing justice rather than seeing it as part of the whole Gospel; We need to see justice as a critical part of God’s character and thus, our discipleship and worship.

Just like we shouldn’t extract the character of “love” or “grace” or “holiness” from God’s character, such must be the case with justice.

People often ask me, “What’s the most critical part about seeking justice.”

My answer:

We must not just seek justice but live justly. Justice work and just living are part of our discipleship. Justice contributes to our worship of God.
Justice is worship.

You will know a tree from its fruit. 
In other words, you will show evidence of where you are rooted if you produce fruit that is close to the heart of God. To that end, I believe you cannot credibly follow Christ unless you pursue justice.

I know that a lot of people will push back on that statement. Some say that salvation hinges on whether or not you believe in Jesus, and that is true. But do you really believe in Jesus when there is no evidence that you are doing what He compels us to do?

Early in Jesus’s ministry, He boldly proclaimed His revolutionary vision for the kingdom of God in a synagogue on the Sabbath, and the religious authorities surrounding Him stood amazed at His teaching. He stood up to read, and someone handed Him a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

He found these defining words and read them:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4:18–19)

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.

This was a proclamation of justice for the poor, the blind, and the prisoner, fulfilling a kingdom vision that included “the least of these.” A kingdom vision that even His closest disciples did not fully understand at the time. Shortly after this time, Jesus was rejected.

There was confusion. There was anger. The religious leaders listening to Jesus got angry, and their curiosity and amazement turned to apprehension, even fear. They believed that this humble arrival of the King was not how it was supposed to be. So an angry mob chased Him out of town and tried to run Him off a cliff (see Luke 4:29).

Biblical justice often does not make sense from our human perspective: The last shall become first. The weak will become strong. The poor will become rich.

What paradoxes!

How can you read the Scriptures or examine the life and ministry of Christ and not sense that mercy, justice, and compassion—particularly for those who have been marginalized—aren’t dear to the heart of God?

When we read through the Bible, it is clear to me that God cares about justice. The Word of God is God’s revelation for the world, showing how the world can be set right. We see that Jesus is not some mere historical figure—Jesus is the Son of God; He is God incarnate. His words and actions testify to the kingdom of God, where things will be restored, where there is justice, mercy, and compassion.

All of this matters because we are not just talking about ideas. We are not just hypothesizing about a “what if” scenario. This matters because justice involves people and their lives and their value before God. When justice happens to the least of these, God celebrates.

As Christians, we know and understand justice beyond secular definitions. It is not peripheral. It is not external. It is not secondary. It is critical. It is part of our identities. It is part of our discipleship. It is an important part of our witness to the world.

Eugene Cho is the founder and Lead Pastor of Quest Church – an urban, multi-cultural and multi-generational church in Seattle, Washington – as well as the founder and Executive Director of the Q Café, an innovative non-profit community café and music venue.

The Above Excerpt is from Eugene Cho’s Book Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than actually Changing the World?
For today and tomorrow only you can get this book for free! Get it HERE.

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Improve Your Highlights, Improve Your Bible Study

Posted by on 02/26/2016 in:

Portrait of a young attractive girl standing with a touch tablet

Highlighters, crayons, markers, and pens are staples for personal Bible study. When you find a passage you want to memorize or remember for later, you mark it up in some kind way that makes it stand out from the rest of the text. When it comes to digital Bibles we often neglect using highlights as a part of our study methods. Sure, we may highlight a favorite verse or passage, but most don’t go any further than that. Today, I want to open up a world of highlighting possibilities for you in Bible+ that will hopefully improve your Bible study.

How to Highlight

Before we dive into the ways you can use highlights in Bible+, first let me give you a refresher on the two ways to make a highlight in Bible+.

Verse Highlights

The most popular way to make a highlight in Bible+ is to highlight an entire verse, or a group of verses. To do this, you tap the verse number and select “Highlight.” If you want to highlight a range of verses you can increase the range to your desired selection, then choose your color. This method is useful if you want to have your highlights appear across various Bible translations. Since these are tagged on a verse level, they will appear in all your Bibles.

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Word Based Highlights

You also have the option to make word based highlights that are resource specific. To do this, simply select your desired text, and then follow the same steps to highlight as above.

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Make Your Own Highlighter Styles

One of the advantages of Bible+ is that you are not limited to default highlighter styles or colors that come with the app. You have the ability to create your own highlighter colors & styles to suit your needs. This is the first step in making highlights more useful in your study.

There are a couple different ways you can get to the new highlighter menu. First, you can go to the Main Menu, select Highlights, tap Edit, then choose “Add Highlighter.”  Alternatively, you can reach this menu by selecting a verse or text to highlight, tap Highlight, select the “More” icon, then choose “Add Highlighter.”

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Once you’ve reached this screen you are presented with a few different options. First, you can give your highlighter a name in the Label field. You can either name it the color you’re going to create, or you can get creative and give the highlight a specific meaning. For example, you can have all references to the Holy Spirit or Jesus use this highlighter, and then name it as such. The choice is yours. From there you can select whether you want it to be a traditional highlight or underline. Then you have the ability to customize how that highlight or underline will appear by selecting intensity, thickness (for underline), and the color.

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Once you’ve made all the highlighters you need, you’re ready to start using them in your study. And, remember, it’s just as easy to make new highlighters as you need them; just follow these steps.

Add Notes to the Mix

Another way to highlight and emphasize key passages is to use the notes functionality within Bible+. This works just like highlighting, except you choose “Note” instead of “Highlight” when selecting a verse or text. One of the cool things about notes in Bible+ is that you can select a cool icon to go represent what the note is about. This is cool for when I’m taking notes on sermons, but it’s also useful for calling out a part of the text. If something is extra important you might want to add a “star” or if it’s puzzling you can select the “question mark” icon. Even if you don’t put anything in the note, these icons will appear in your Bible & can serve to as an additional layer of highlighting & meaning.

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Great for Inductive Study

While the purpose of this post is to show you the possibilities for highlighting instead of a specific method, there are some Bible study methods that are centered around highlighting. One of the more popular methods is the Precepts Inductive Bible Study method popularized by Kay Arthur. While the Precepts method involves some fairly complicated highlighting models, with the infinite highlighting possibilities that you can create in the app you can certainly adapt it for your needs. Click here to learn more about the Inductive Bible Study method from Precepts Ministries International.

Experiment with highlights & notes icons to create a Bible study method that works for you. Also be sure to check out the Bible study titles we currently have on sale.

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We’ve updated our blog!

Posted by on 02/26/2016 in:

Take a look around and let us know what you think!

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If you aren’t already, make sure and follow us on your favorite social network. Also, we love comments. Feel free to interact with us on any of the posts and start a conversation.

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Read & Research Bible Study Method

Posted by on 02/26/2016 in: ,

laptop with tablet and smart phone on tableMy early attempts at Bible study were sporadic and didn’t go that smoothly. I soon learned that I needed a more formalized approach to my Bible study. Here are a few tips & resources that I’ve found that will help you keep your Bible Study on track.

Prepare yourself through Prayer
“All our study is futile without the work of God overcoming our blindness and hardheartedness.” – John Piper, Martin Luther Lessons from His Life and Labor p. 33

There is no substitute for prayer when reading and studying the Bible.  Prayer takes the attention off of what we can do and puts the attention instead on what God can do in and through us.  Bible study is a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1) in which we present our best to God.  We have to remember that this is not just a book we’re reading.  We need prepare our hearts and minds for Bible study.

Read the Scripture for yourself
Read and re-read the passage you’re studying.  Get familiar with the flow of the passage.  If there are terms that you don’t know, look them up in a simple dictionary.

Ask yourself these Questions

  1. Observe – What does the text say?
  2. Interpret – What does the text mean?
  3. Apply – How does it apply to me today?

Asking these questions will keep you focused on the study at hand.  These questions are also helpful when preparing, guiding, and leading discussions for small group and Sunday school Bible studies.

Read and Research

1.Bible Study Notes
There are multiple Bibles that have study notes written by scholars and trusted authors that will assist you in better understanding the Bible.  I recommend choosing one that corresponds to your preferred translation (KJV, ESV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, etc.)

2. Bible Concordances
Concordances are great tools that give you a list of verses that contain that root word in the Bible.  However, be careful that you do not JUST use a concordance in your preparation.  Concordances are a great place to BEGIN, but are never the END of your Bible Study.

With that “don’t try this at home” disclaimer, I do suggest using a digital Bible with Strong’s numbers integrated into the text for your Bible study.

Recommendations:

3. Bible Dictionaries
Dictionaries give you more explanation and meaning for specific words.  They also help us to keep our Bible Study on track.
Recommendations:

4. Bible Commentaries
After you’ve studied the Bible for yourself, it is often helpful to read trusted Bible scholars to see how they explain the text you are reading.

Recommendations:

I would also suggest checking BestCommentaries.com. It’s a great site with recommendations for commentaries on each book of the Bible.

Other Resources
Lastly, here are some useful resources to further your Bible Study methods:

Using these simple methods and tools will deepen your Bible Study and further prepare you to present God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).

What are your favorite Bible Study titles and tools?

Be sure to check out this week’s highlighted offers on titles that will help your Bible Study this year.

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Look Inside: Feasting on the Word Commentary

Posted by on 02/15/2016 in:

Let’s face it, pastors have a hard job. They’re on call 24/7, counsel and minister to the needs of their congregation & the community, and often oversee the day-to-day operations of the church. On top of that, pastors are expected to spend hours mining through the truths of God’s Word and preach a weekly sermon. With only 168 hours in a week, that is a difficult task for even the most organized person. Something that can make this task more difficult is when you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to teach every week. This is one of the many reasons why expositional preaching through books of the Bible is so popular. But that’s not the only way to preach with a plan; another method is to preach using a lectionary.

When most people hear the term lectionary their mind often goes to the Roman Catholic church. But, they are not the only church that uses a lectionary. It is also popular among Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and some Presbyterians. What exactly is a lectionary? A lectionary is nothing more than a collection of Scriptures readings that are appointed for a given day or occasion of worship. One of the more common lectionaries today is the Revised Common Lectionary, released in 1994. Today we want to introduce you to the Feasting on the Word commentary series, a commentary based on this lectionary.

What is Feasting on the Word?

Most commentaries today don’t have much that set them apart from the rest. So when a commentary set like Feasting on the Word comes on the scene it is sure to turn some heads. Feasting on the Word is a 12-volume commentary set that includes four volumes for each of the three years of the Revised Common Lectionary. It covers all the Sundays in the lectionary cycle, along with movable occasions, such as Christmas Day, Epiphany, Holy Week, and All Saint’s Day. This is the first thing that sets the commentary apart. Instead of having a commentary that covers an individual book of the Bible or goes in canonical order, the passages are discussed as they appear in the lectionary calendar.

The second thing that sets Feasting on the Word apart is how the commentary text is organized. For each lectionary text you will find four brief essays, one each that covers the theological, pastoral, exegetical, and homiletical challenges of the text. Since each date in the RCL provides a reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm, a Gospel, and Epistle, this combination gives you sixteen (16) different approaches for the preaching of God’s Word on any given occasion. In the print edition of Feasting on the Word the Bible passage is given and the commentary is placed in four columns, so as to not give preference to any one approach to the text. For ease of use in the digital version the columns have been removed and each essay is followed one after another.

How to Use It

Like many resources in Bible+, there are several ways to make use of them within the app. Let me show you the many ways you can use Feasting on the Word in your studies or sermon prep.

Table of Contents

If you’re already familiar with the lectionary calendar and how to use it, the easiest way to navigate Feasting on the Word is through the table of contents. To access the table of contents tap the verse chooser, then the gear, and select “List Layout” (if not already in that view). Now you can quickly navigate to the current week and drill down to your passage of choice. If you know what week it is in the lectionary calendar, this is the fastest way to navigate. Please note that each lectionary year is its own volume, so you will need to know which year you’re currently in to make sure you’re in the correct volume.

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Verse Chooser

Conversely, if you already know your passage for the week, you can use the verse chooser as normal (grid view) and navigate directly to your passage. For example, since this week is the first Sunday in Lent and we know we want to preach from the Old Testament, we can open the Year C volume (for our current year) & navigate to Deuteronomy 26:1-11. This method is useful for those who would like to use this commentary but are not lectionary preachers or simply want to access the content of this resource on any given passage.

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Scripture Index

Each volume of Feasting on the Word includes a full scripture index that allows you to see where a passage falls in the lectionary calendar. You can access this index via the table of contents, and then navigate to your passage in the canonically ordered list. Once you find your passage you can then tap on the reference to be taken to its location in the commentary. Again, this method is useful for those using this resource in a nonlectionary manner or if you want to see if a particular passage is discussed in a given volume.

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Resource Guide

The last way to make use of Feasting on the Word in Bible+ is through the Resource Guide. You can either have your Bible passage open or Feasting on the Word in the main window and the Resource Guide in the split window.

If you have the Bible open, you can navigate to the commentaries section and find the Feasting on the Word volume that contains your passage and quickly navigate to the type of commentary you want to read.

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Conversely, if you have Feasting on the Word open in the main window, you can use Resource Guide to quickly access other library resources, such as checking other translations, comparing commentary text, or pulling up maps & images from other resources.

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A Commentary for Everyone

With all the different ways you can utilize Feasting on the Word in Bible+, it can be a truly versatile tool in your Bible study library. This commentary is not just for those who preach through a lectionary calendar. It is a solid commentary that helps you look at the text in four different ways. Whether you’re a lectionary preacher, someone who struggles to find a passage each week, or simply a student of the Bible, this commentary has something for you. Add Feasting on the Word to your library today & start gleaning from its insights on Scripture.

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Start a Lent Reading Plan

Posted by on 02/09/2016 in: ,

Lent begins this Ash Wednesday—February 10 this year—and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. For many people, it is a 40-day period—not including the six Sundays—devoted to reflection, repentance, fasting, and preparation prior to Easter.

Unlike Christmas, Easter is not a fixed date on the calendar; it is sometimes described as a “moveable feast.” The Western church decided long ago to set Easter as the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). Since the date of Easter varies widely (from March 22 to April 25), the dates of every other holiday related to Easter vary as well. The week before Easter is referred to as Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Thursday of that week is known in some traditions as Maundy Thursday because it memorializes Jesus’ final instructions and last meal with His disciples. The term “Maundy” is related to the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” which is the first word in the Latin version of John 13:34 that records Jesus’ new commandment to His disciples that they love one another. Since Jesus washed his disciples’ feet that fateful evening, Christians often do as Jesus did and wash one another’s feet. Good Friday follows. It is the day that commemorates the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Calling the day “good” seems ironic since Jesus died such a horrid death that day. However, what Jesus’ death accomplished for the redemption of the world is the greatest good the world has ever seen. The Sunday following Good Friday ends the season of Lent and is designated Easter. It may be the most celebrated day on the Christian calendar, for it commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the beginning of the new Kingdom. – Adapted from The Voice Bible.

startyourreadingplaninapp
Lent is a great time to think about starting a new reading plan.

Checkout our free reading plan especially for Lent.  Adapted from The Voice Bible, this plan starts on Ash Wednesday, February 10 and continues until Easter Sunday. This is a great way to prepare your heart for Easter.

  • Go to the Reading Plans section of the BIble+ App
  • At the bottom of the list of reading plans tap the ‘Get More Reading Plans’ button
  • The Lent Reading plan will be listed first

Once you tap the install button, the reading plan will be available to start.

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