Look Inside: New Bible Commentary & Dictionary

Posted by on 05/13/2014 in: , ,

For many years the New Bible Commentary and New Bible Dictionary have served Bible readers worldwide. We’ve enhanced these great resources for The Bible Study App.

Here’s how: (screenshots are from an iPad 2 – click on an image for a expanded view):

ONE: Resource Guide

Open your favorite Bible in the main window. (I’ve got the ESV open in this example.)  Tap the split window handle and drag it to a width or height you like.  As I scroll through the Bible text, the resource guide keeps up with me and searches through all the books in my library for content related to the Scripture passage in the main window.

If you scroll down the Resource Guide results, you will see the section headings “Commentaries”, “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”

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Tap or click on the New Bible Commentary for the content relevant to the passage you are reading.  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.  You can also view the new maps, diagrams, charts and tables that are included with each article.

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For the New Bible Dictionary content, choose the person/place/topic you want to learn more about.  I chose “Aristarchus” in this example.  The Bible Study App then brings you results from within the New Bible Dictionary.  After you’ve tapped on the New Bible Dictionary, you can scroll down and read the entire article without having to leave your Bible text.

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You can also tap the top right-hand corner of the pop-up window to bring up the option to open these hyperlinked references in the main window or the split window.

TWO: “Traditional Uses” 

You can also utilize the New Bible Dictionary as a traditional dictionary in The Bible Study App.  Just Tap/Click the “Go-To” button and scroll through this awesome resource as you would a hard-copy encyclopedia.

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As well as read the New Bible Commentary in the split window to follow along with the passage you are studying.

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iOS EXTRA #1: Lookup Feature

In iPhone/iPad app, you also have two additional options.  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.  Tap “Lookup” and you’ll find the New Bible Dictionary “hit” there that you can tap and read without having to leave your Bible text.

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iOS EXTRA #2: Resource Guide on a Verse

Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options to Tap and hold on a verse number and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Bookmark, Share, Guide, and More.  Here you can see the relevant content for the New Bible Commentary, and the hits on the people/places/topics and relevant articles from the New Bible Dictionary.

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As you can see, the New Bible Commentary and New Bible Dictionary are great resources that will help you deepen your Bible study.  You can find the New Bible Commentary and New Bible Dictionary as stand-alone resources on the Olive Tree store, or save more by bundling the New Bible Commentary and New Bible Dictionary together.

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Bible Maps & Atlases in The Bible Study App

Posted by on 05/12/2014 in: , ,

Bible Maps and Atlases give you insight into the historical, archaeological, and cultural times that the Bible was written.  Found in the maps category in the resource guide your map resources detect where you are in the text and pull up maps pertaining to that particular passage.

Watch the videos below to see how they look in The Bible Study App.

Maps on Mobile Devices:

Maps on Desktops:

Go here to see Bible Maps & Atlases available for The Bible Study App!

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New Title for The Bible Study App: Voice of a Prophet: A.W.Tozer

Posted by on 05/09/2014 in: ,

Voice of a Prophet is Now Available!

Voice of a Prophet is the 11th title in a series of best selling trade books compiled and edited by James Snyder, today’s leading authority on the life and writings of A.W. Tozer and includes never-before-published content based on the teachings of Tozer.  Here’s a brief introduction to this new work by the compiler and editor, James L. Synder.

From Guest Blogger and Editor:  James Snyder

One great concern of Dr. A.W.Tozer, addressed in this new book, has to do with the condition of the church. He loved the church and consequently was deeply concerned at the direction it was going.

Although he died in 1963, he had a prophetic view of where the evangelical church in particular was heading. And it disturbed him. Everything he said about the church seems to have come true.

The responsibility for this decline in the church today, according to Tozer, rests upon the gatekeepers. Or, as presented in this book, the prophets. The question posed here is simply, where are the prophets? And more pointedly, who is responsible for silencing the prophets in our day?

I think my favorite chapter is chapter 12, “We Need Prophets, Not Promoters.” The dilemma that Tozer saw the church facing was choosing between promoters and prophets. Unfortunately, the choice has been the promoters. It is more important to promote the church in such a way as to appease and appeal to the culture around us than to stand up and“earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Throughout the book, Tozer insinuates that the church is always trying to go forward, but when God begins to move He always brings the church back. Back to that place where it started. This is called revival. People want to see revival, or so they say, but they do not want to go through the process of God bringing revival to them.

This matter of being a prophet is not something to be considered lightly. From the introduction, “I think Tozer would agree when I say that those who seem right for the job are not the ones God calls. God chooses a man or a woman who is out of sync with his or her generation. God uses a person, not because he or she fits in, but usually because he or she does not fit in.”

A prophet can never be a celebrity. This Tozer emphasizes throughout this book. We are the generation of celebrities and we think that God’s work can not survive without a generous share of celebrities.

However, the prophet God uses those not volunteer for the job, but rather is one that God chooses. A man who has been prepared by the world or by worldly standards is not prepared to do the job that needs to be done as a prophet of God. This book emphasizes this thing.

The book is an exploration into what G.K.Chesterton said; it is “the paradox of history that each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.” And the celebrity never contradicts but rather conforms. This was an odious concept to Dr.Tozer. The world needs to be contradicted if it is to be brought to a place of knowing God.

I think to truly appreciate this book and what Dr.Tozer has to say, it is important to prayerfully read his “The Prayer of a Minor Prophet. Not only does this set the tone for the entire book, but it helps to understand a little bit about Dr.Tozer as a prophet to the evangelical church.

This is not Tozer saying something profound to the church. This is Tozer delivering to the church a message that needs to be not only heard but also put into radical practice. Every prophet is radical, radically committed to the concepts God laid down as the foundation for His Church.

It is my prayer that in reading this book, one will come under the awesome burden for the church today that Tozer had. And if we do not have men and women who are utterly committed to God and His message to the church, the church does not stand a chance of surviving.

You can find Voice of a Prophet on the Olive Tree Store here.

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Free Resource Friday!

Posted by on 05/09/2014 in: ,

The Bible Study App by Olive Tree Bible Software has been a valuable resource for people from all walks of life and from countries across the world for over a dozen years! Providing not just a great Bible reading experience but also access to thousands of great Bible study resources, The Bible Study App (formerly called BibleReader) has been downloaded and used by over 7 million people.Free ESV Download

King JamesToday we highlight over 30 free Bibles that are available for download to use in The Bible Study App. Once downloaded they can be used without a wifi connection and just like a paper Bible you can highlight, make notes, bookmark, and more.

Go here to see the free Bibles available!
See Bibles discounted this week!

Create your own Customized Parallel Bible!

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My Favorite Features of The Bible Study App

Posted by on 05/08/2014 in:

People often ask me “what sets Olive Tree’s Bible Study App apart?” Although it’s hard for me to narrow down, here are my favorite features of The Bible Study App (Screenshots are taken from an iPad 2.  Click for a larger view)

1. Split Window

The split window has many functions. While reading in the main window, I can open the Resource Guide (see below), another translation, a study Bible, or even take notes as I read the text. I love being able to take sermon notes while in church on Sunday. I can have my main window open to the passage and take notes in the split window. Before, I had to do a balancing act with my Bible in one hand and my notepad in another, trying to keep everything in place while flipping back and forth in the Bible along with the sermon. Now my Bible and notes are all easily managed in one hand.  As a bonus, any Scripture References become hyperlinks that I can tap to pop up that passage.

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2. The Resource Guide

By far my favorite and most used feature in the Bible Study App is the Resource Guide. While I’m reading the Bible, I can open the Resource Guide in the split window to see cross references, study Bible notes, maps, topics and more that are all related to my current reading. As I continue to read, the Resource Guide tracks with me and updates the material to match the Scripture I’m reading.

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3. Search Feature

I’m not very good at remembering verse references and often find myself asking things like, “Where is that verse about the mustard seed?” Instead of flipping through the Bible or searching through an index, I can tap the search icon and type in “mustard seed” and find the verse I’m looking for. As an added bonus, I can view the verse in each of the gospel accounts and see other search results related to “mustard seed.”

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4. Lookup Feature

Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, Note, Bookmark, Share, Define, Lookup, and More. If you tap the “Lookup” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific word.  Like before, just tap the book cover and you can read the article in the pop-up window, or choose to open in the Main or Split window.

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5. Automatic Background Sync

I do my daily Bible Reading in the App and Olive Tree’s Automatic Background Sync takes care of it.  This allows me to go into my other devices to access and keep up with my Reading Plan.  The Bible is able to sink into my daily life and I can refer back to that morning’s reading from wherever I am – on the go with my phone, on laptop at work, at coffee shops on my iPad, or at home on my desktop.  Because of the Bible Study App Sync function, all of my custom highlights, tags, and bookmarks are always readily available.  With Olive Tree’s Automatic Background Sync, I don’t have worry about whether or not my notes, highlights, bookmarks, and book ribbons are up to date.

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6. Cross Platform Access

Did you know that you can Download The Bible Study App all your devices?  I personally have an iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, Windows Laptop, and Windows desktop.  The advantage to having the App on your devices is that with an Olive Tree Account (have you created one yet?) you can access your entire library on up to 5 different devices from wherever you study the Bible.

That’s my favorite features, but The Bible Study App can do so much more!  What’s yours?

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Free Resource Friday!

Posted by on 05/02/2014 in:

For this weeks Free Resource Friday we highlight Necessity of Prayer, by E.M. Bounds to read within The Bible Study App.Necessity of Prayer

In this classic eBook on prayer, author E. M. Bounds paints a clear and complete picture of The Necessity of Prayer. The book’s fourteen chapters develop the relationship between prayer and faith, trust, desire, fervency, importunity, character, conduct, obedience, vigilance, the Word of God, and the House of God. Concerning Bounds’ unceasing burden for prayer, Claude Chilton, Jr. wrote, “He prayed because the needs of the world were upon him. He prayed for long years, upon subjects which the easy-going Christian rarely gives a thought, and for objects which men of less thought and faith are always ready to call impossible.” It is difficult to read one chapter of a book by E. M. Bounds without being impressed with the overwhelming need for prayer in this world and with the great privilege believers have in being able to approach with boldness the throne of grace and to take God at His word.

You can download this eBook for free by looking it up in the in-app store of The Bible Study App or go HERE for download instructions!

EM BoundsEdward McKendree (E. M.) Bounds (1835-1913) As a young adult, Bounds was ignited by a great revival, and left his legal practice to serve the Lord, becoming an ordained Methodist Episcopal preacher. Shocked by atrocities committed against his countrymen by the invading Union Army during the Civil War, Bounds peacefully refused to sign an oath of allegiance to the Union and was sent to prison, where he continued his ministry among the inmates. Eventually released and sent away, he became a Confederate chaplain on the front lines, praying for his men within sight of them as they fought. After a full year of intense public intercession from Bounds and the surviving men of Franklin, the demoralized town experienced revival. The tireless compassion of this man, who would spend hours each day in intercessory prayer, continued to the end of his life. W. H. Hodge, who was mostly responsible for the publication of E. M. Bounds’ books, developed an intimate friendship with the prayer warrior: “At last,” he said, “I have found a man that really prays. I shall never let him go. He drew me to him with hooks of steel.”

See more titles on Prayer for The Bible Study App!

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New Title: Astonished by Mike Erre

Posted by on 05/01/2014 in: ,

We’re trilled to announce the release of a new title to The Bible Study App: Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God by Mike Erre.  In Astonished, Pastor Mike Erre calls Christians away from simplistic formulas to honest and rugged faith in the mysterious and unpredictable God.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 8 of this brand new title:

The disciples give me a great deal of hope. They weren’t particularly bright or faith-filled or quick to learn; they were, in the words of Luke, “unschooled, ordinary men” who were consistently rebuked for missing the point of Jesus’s teaching and ministry. At one point in His ministry, however, they got it. Jesus had just asked them who they thought He was. Peter, responding for the group, said that Jesus was the promised Christ, the one the Jews had been waiting for. Jesus affirmed His words and pointed out that Peter didn’t come to this conclusion on his own but that this had been revealed to him from heaven. But then Jesus did something quite interesting—He commanded them to tell no one who He was. Why? You’d think it was at that point in His ministry he’d want people to know.

The reason Jesus commanded silence was that though they had figured out He was the Messiah, they had no idea what His messiah-ship entailed:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and

take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matt. 16:21–26)

The minute the disciples understood Jesus to be the Messiah, He revealed to them that He must suffer. But this violated the number- one rule in the Messiah playbook—messiahs don’t suffer and die. Crucifixion is what happened to failed messiahs. In the Jewish con- ception of God’s rescuer, the Messiah was to restore Israel’s fortunes through the defeat of Rome and the gentile nations. This was so offensive to Jewish sensibilities that Peter took it upon himself to rebuke Jesus.

On at least three separate occasions, Jesus told His followers to be prepared for His suffering at the hands of gentiles. It was impossible for them to grasp what He had in mind, so He used the image of His impending crucifixion as picture of what was expected of those who will follow Him. “Taking up [one’s] cross” was a renunciation of one’s rights in the first century. Only criminals would take up a cross in Jewish society. Your friends and family would be dead to you. Your life as you had known it was over. Jesus calls His followers to carry their crosses as he carried His. For some of His earliest followers, that meant a literal martyr’s death. For most of us, that death won’t be so literal, but it is true regardless. To follow Jesus is to prepare yourself to die.  Your self, your privileges, your entitlements—all are surrendered in order to follow Christ. We think the cross is the place where Jesus died. But is a place where we die too. The self must die. That doesn’t mean you lose your personality or cannot enjoy anything. It means your desires don’t rule you any more. They are submitted to something bigger.

But we are consumers at heart; our lives are built on the foundation of self-indulgence and gratification. “What do I want?” and “What do I need?” are the twin questions that drive us. Jesus summons us to abandon the project of finding life through what Jesus calls the “self ”—the way of living characterized by exalting self, glorifying self, promoting self, all in the strength of self—that project must be put to death in order to follow Jesus. What has to die is every impulse to assume authority and control over our own lives.

Jesus wants us to surrender our lives to Him and follow Him into the unknown. And if it means a life of suffering, hardship, and disappointment, it will be worth it, because following Him is better than living with everything in the world minus Him. That is what it means to say that He is the treasure. Have we become so refined and civilized that the benefits of our faith have become more precious and more valuable than Jesus Himself?

Faith in Jesus demands surrender. There is no other way around it. The path to the life Jesus offers is cross-shaped. To receive His gift, we must release our grip on everything else. The gift is free, but it costs us everything.

Mike Erre is the lead pastor of the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton (evfreefullerton.com).

Get Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God by Mike Erre HERE.

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Learning How to Study the Bible

Posted by on 05/01/2014 in: ,

ipad for teachingReading and studying the Bible are important disciplines for all Christians, but the concept of Bible study can be more elusive. In Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods, Warren starts out by saying, “I have discovered that most Christians sincerely want to study their Bibles on their own, but they just don’t know how.”

There are many classes, books and seminars full of theories and methods to teach you how to study the Bible. I took a class in seminary called Principles of Inductive Bible Study, and to this day I can hear the professor’s voice in my head. Every day the professor would ask, “What’s the first step in inductive Bible study?” and as a class we had to respond in unison, “Observation!” Then he would ask, “What question do we ask in the first step of Inductive Bible Study” and in unison we would again respond, “What does the text say?!” Often he would repeat these questions over and over until he felt we responded enthusiastically enough. He drilled into us what he believed to be the right steps for inductive Bible study, but his was just one out of a multitude of Bible study methods.

I’d recommend taking a look at How to Read the Bible Book by Book and How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart as good introductory Bible study resources. Learn To Study The Bible by Andy Deane, and Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul are also helpful for picking up good Bible study tools and habits. Study Bibles, like the NIV Study Bible Notes can provide notes, cross references and other insights into the text to help you in your Bible study. I have several study Bibles, dictionaries, commentaries and other resources that I consult when studying a particular passage of Scripture. However, don’t get too bogged down with study books and miss out on the truths you can glean from digging into the text on your own.

Here are some things I do when studying the Bible (don’t worry; I won’t make you memorize these!):

Context, Context, Context

I start by looking for the historical context: the author, style of writing, time period, audience and the historical background that surrounds the text. I then focus on the biblical context. I read the previous and subsequent chapters to get a full picture of the passage. Finally, I look for how the passage is applicable to my life.

Absorb It

I like to read the passage through three times. I write down repeated words or phrases, metaphors, similes, exclamations or anything that stands out. If anything reminds me of another passage I’ll look it up and compare. I like to pick out a couple of the repeated words and phrases for a quick word study, looking for other places those words are used in Scripture using my Strong’s Bible.

Retain It

I like to re-write the passage of Scripture in my own words, taking into account all of the work I’ve done up to this point. I then summarize my study in three sentences or less. I’m terrible at memorizing Scripture, but I’ve found that re-writing the passage in my own words helps me to recall the verse, even if it isn’t exact.

Do you have steps for Bible study that you follow? Is there a resource that you find especially helpful for your study? Let us know by leaving us a comment.

See more Resources to Help you Study The Bible HERE.

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National Day of Prayer

Posted by on 05/01/2014 in: ,

PrayerToday is the first Thursday in May, a day set aside by our country’s leaders as a national day of prayer. The Bible speaks of prayer often and encourages us with numerous examples of people who spent time in prayer. Examining the lives of those prayerful individuals in the Scriptures reveals that they are no different from you and me; they have their shortcomings and, in many cases, it is only through the Lord answering their prayers that they succeeded.

Learning to Pray from Moses

Moses’ example—that is, his overcoming his fear of public speaking and leadership—speaks volumes about prayer. Moses knew he wasn’t a capable leader of his people, so he spent much of his time in conversation with the Lord, often pleading for God to have mercy on the stubborn and rebellious Israelites. It was only through his conversations with the Lord that Moses was able to deliver Israel from Egypt.

Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ [God] said, ‘But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.’ (Ex. 3:11-12 ESV)

Moses continued to ask the Lord for guidance, and when it was clear Israel would need a new leader to take them in to the land, he appealed to God, saying:

‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.’ So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.’ (Num. 27:15-18 ESV)

God provided Joshua to be the new shepherd to the Israelites, a direct answer to Moses’ prayer. However, not all of Moses’ prayers were answered. In Deuteronomy 3:23-28,  Moses pleads with God to let him enter the Promised Land with the Israelites.

And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’

But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan.  But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’ (ESV)

God’s answer to our prayers, like His answer to Moses’ here, may be “no,” but the truth still remains that God is willing and ready to listen to our prayers, but we must be equally willing to speak to Him and listen for His answer.

As a Christian, prayer is an important part of spiritual life.  It’s a time when we draw into the presence of our Lord and offer Him our praise, thanksgiving, supplication and repentance. We want to encourage you today and every day to spend time taking advantage of the privilege of speaking to our Lord personally and intimately through prayer. The writer of Hebrews invites us to do the same:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:14-16 ESV)

To help equip you for this day, all of our prayer titles are 25% off through May 5th!

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Look Inside: Anchor Yale Bible Commentary Series

Posted by on 04/30/2014 in: ,

We just released the Anchor Yale Bible Full 86 Volume Commentary Series! Watch the video below to see how these great resources look and work within The Bible Study App:

Get the Anchor Yale Bible Full 86 Volume Commentary Set at 40% Off now through May 5th!

Also Available:

Anchor Yale Bible Commentary New Testament Set (26 volumes) 42% Off Now through May 5th!.

Anchor Yale Commentary Old Testament & Apocrypha Set (60 volumes) 40% Off Now through May 5th!.

Individual Volumes 25% Off Now through May 5th!.

Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 volumes) 40% Off Now through May 5th!.

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