Greetings in the Lord from Spokane! It has been an exciting few weeks here at Olive Tree. The release of version 5.9 for our Bible study apps for iOS is a HUGE step forward in providing you the best in digital Bible study tools. We acknowledge that the update does not come without some inconvenience and even frustration for you. Because of this, we wanted to explain why we decided to make such a big change, and to ask for your patience and grace as we respond to your concerns and address issues.
The reason this update is so important is that we have completely re-engineered our core book technology. Our previous core platform was extremely limited in what it could do, which meant that we couldn’t provide you with the best experience for reading and studying the Bible. We knew it was time for our book technology to make some serious advances, and with this update, we are now able to provide you with text flow around images, book-specific fonts, drop-cap Bible chapter numbers, right-aligned text, and much more! Furthermore, we chose to utilize technologies that enable optimized experiences on the mobile devices you love to use to read and study the Bible. This technology is a fresh and firm foundation upon which we can continue to build amazing new Bible study features. You should look forward to great things coming over the next months and years.
Because we completely replaced our book technology, we need to replace your old book files with the new book file format. We also need to update all your notes, highlights, and bookmarks for the new format. We understand that re-downloading all your content can take time. When you just want to get into our app to read and study the Bible, these delays can get in your way! We apologize for this inconvenience. Please bear with us through this initial hurdle, and let us help you get back to running seamlessly again.
Our support staff is an amazing group of people who will gladly assist you with any problems you run into with the update. However, due to the number of people who have written in about this release, it may take a while for us to get back to you. If you write into our support team, please have patience with us! Your needs are very important to us, and we will help you as soon as we can.
In the meantime, if you are having problems downloading your books, notes, highlights, and bookmarks, or are not seeing books that should be in your account, please check here first for information about these issues: http://www.olivetree.com/help/ios-updating-to-5-9/
It is our desire and passion to help you read and study the Bible. It’s the reason we come eagerly to work every day. I hope and trust that we will continue to serve and delight you with amazing apps, books, and support. We are excited to be used by God to further His kingdom by providing you with tools and resources to read and study His Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Vice President of Operations
We are excited to release this latest update (iOS 6 &7) after over two years of hard work! You may say, “but I don’t see anything new,” which for many of you means we did our job right! We have completely rewritten our core software that displays the text you see on screen. This means you will need to re-download all your titles. Why? Besides having a cleaner text layout we want to bring you brand new tools for studying the Bible. Many of these were not possible with our older technology, but are now a very near reality!
Here are a few things of note:
- The first time you use the app, it may feel a little sluggish. This is because we are updating all of your notes, bookmarks, and highlights in the background to the new format. If you have a lot of them this may take a few minutes. (Remember, patience is a virtue)
- Users with lots of annotations may see a slow initial start up
- Re-download all of your titles. Because of the new text display layout, we’ve re-designed the text layout of several favorite Bible study resources.
Watch short preview of the version 5.9 Bible Study App for iOS devices.
New text display:
- Text wraps around images, charts, and tables eliminating all the blank space around them
- Beautiful new layout for your Bible study tools such as: Study Bibles, illustrated Bible handbooks and atlases
Here’s one example from Archaeological Study Bible Notes
What it means for the future:
- We’ll be able to support more language fonts like Korean, Japanese, Russian, and more!
- Greek Interlinears!
- Enables us to do things like dynamic timelines and flashcards (memorization aids)
- Enables multi-media like video and audio resources
What’s this mean for Android and our desktop apps?
We are hard at work to bring the same update to our other platforms that we have done with iPhone & iPad. We hope to see this technology on Android, PC, and Mac very soon!
The Understanding The Bible Commentary Series is now complete and consists of 36 volumes spanning the entire Old Testament and New Testament.
Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books with key terms and phrases highlighted and all Hebrew transliterated.
(screenshot below is of The Bible Study App on PC, click for larger view)
Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper. A bibliography as well as Scripture and subject indexes are also included. Pastors, students, and Bible teachers will find in this series a commitment to accessibility without sacrificing serious scholarship.
Watch the video below to hear more about The Understanding The Bible Commentary series.
A Bible Concordance is an alphabetical list that shows where specific words appear in the Bible.
In The Bible Study App you can use a concordance as a standalone resource or access it by looking up a word in the Bible text you’re reading.
Watch the video below to see how they work in the App!
The Voice Bible is a faithful dynamic equivalent translation that reads like a story with all the truth and wisdom of God’s Word. Through a collaboration of more than 120 biblical scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and artists, The Voice recaptures the passion, grit, humor, and beauty that is often lost in the translation process. The result is a retelling of the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works, yet remaining painstakingly true to the original manuscripts.
Information added to help contemporary readers understand what the original readers would have known intuitively
Commentary notes include cultural, historical, theological, or devotional thoughts
Screenplay format, ideal for public readings and group studies
Here’s a video from publisher Thomas Nelson to give an example of The Voice in Luke 11:
Now through June 30th you can get The Voice Bible for 30% off the regular price.
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.
I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Hughes and ask him to share how this series came about and to reflect about 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.