Posts tagged Bible Reading
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.
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.
While there is a lot that has remained the same with the recent updates to our apps, there is a lot that has changed & new features that have come your way. One feature users have been wanting for some time is the ability to easily use our app at night or in a dark location. A theming engine was one of the new features that was added to the app. This theming engine includes a dark theme that is perfect for night reading. We haven’t said a lot about this feature, but now that it is making its debut on Android, we want to show you how to enable and use the dark/night theme on each platform.
iPhone & iPad
Enabling the dark theme on iOS devices is extremely easy and only takes two taps. First, tap the menu icon (the icon at the top left of the screen). Second, tap the dark circle under “Select Theme” at the top of the menu. That’s it, you’re done! You’ve enabled the dark theme, which you can use for reading at night or other low light situations. To go back to the normal theme follow the same steps & select the other theme.
The dark theme on Android is only two taps away and here are the steps to make it happen. First, tap the “Quick Settings” icon (the “A” with a gear). Second, tap the dark circle at the bottom of the Quick Settings menu. It’s that easy! To go back to the normal theme follow the same steps & select the other theme.
We didn’t mention this as a feature when we released our Windows Desktop update last summer, but it has a dark theme as well. It’s not quite as easy to find as it is on iOS or Android, but it’s there nonetheless. Here are the steps to enable it. First, click the “Bible Study” button (green button at the top left) to open the menu. Select “Bible+ Options.” Next, click the “Colors and Fonts” tab in the Options pop-up. With that tab open, go to the bottom and select the dark theme. This enables the dark theme; now close the Options menu and get back to studying. Again, follow the same steps to return to the light theme.
Every new year thousands of Christians start a new Bible reading plan with the hope of reading through the entire Bible in a year. A few weeks into January or February and most have already abandoned those plans. I readily admit that I used to be one of those people. Let’s be honest, after getting through the familiar & event packed books of Genesis & Exodus things start to slow down and get boring. This is particularly true once you get to Leviticus and all the talk about being clean or unclean.
In 2016 I want to encourage you to start a new reading plan and provide some tips that will keep you reading throughout the year.
Bible Reading Tips
Here are a few tips that I have found helpful over the years, and I hope they encourage you as we enter the new year:
- Start Small. If you’ve never read through large portions of Scripture before, don’t try to start with a plan that looks insurmountable. That’s like someone new to the gym thinking they can lift the same weights as a power lifter. It’s not a good idea and can be a setup for failure. Instead of a year long reading plan, start with something that’s 2 weeks or 30 days. Once you finish that, try another 30 day plan, and gradually lengthen your plan.
- Pick a Time & Place. One of the easiest ways to maintain success in your Bible reading is by making it routine. Try to read at the same time everyday, and preferably in the same place. This will create a routine that you’ll get used to and put you in the right mindset. Also, I suggest doing it at a time of day when you’re most alert. There’s nothing worse than reading the Bible when you’re tired or sleepy.
- Don’t Give Up. This one is the most important. There will be times when you want to give up, but push through it and keep at it. You’ll hit difficult passages and sometimes you may not understand what you just read, and that’s okay. Just keep at it and ask God to help you understand what you’re reading. Over time God will make it clear to you. When you hit those difficult spots, remember to make use of the tools available to you. And, inevitably, you may fall off the wagon and stop reading altogether for a season. Don’t get discouraged, just start again.
Starting a Plan in Bible+
One of the great things about doing a reading plan in Bible+ is that it syncs across all your devices. You can read on your computer one day, and then read it on your phone or tablet the next day when you’re on the go. Here’s how to start a new reading plan in Bible+.
Open Reading Plans from the Menu
Select a Plan
Choose from one of the pre-installed plans or select “Get More Reading Plans” and download a new one
Label & Start the Plan
Give your reading plan a name and set it as the default plan (this is helpful if you have several), and then select “Start Reading Plan” to get it started.
Check out the reading plans in our app, and also be sure to check out other devotional titles that we have on sale that can enhance your daily Bible reading in the new year.
There are lots of different methods for studying the Bible, but the common denominator is they all require you to read the Bible. More often than not, we read the Bible in our preferred translation; but, what do you do if you want to compare one translation to another? The Bible Study App makes it easy to read two Bibles side by side. Today we’re going to show you a few easy ways to do this.
The screenshots below are from a Nexus 10 Android tablet, but the process works identically on iOS devices. The methods described below require the split window to be open and assume a Bible is already open in the main window.
Method 1: Library View
The first way to create a parallel Bible is through the library view. If your split window is currently open to Resource Guide or My Stuff you can return to the library view by tapping the back arrow in the header. Once in that view, if you don’t see a list of your resources, tap the title of the currently open resource and select “Library” which will open a list of your resources.
If you have a large library, you may want to filter this view to only show your Bibles. Do this by selecting “Browse by Category” and tapping “Bibles.” Then choose the translation you want to read in parallel. In this screenshot we have chosen to open the Passion Translation.
With both Bibles now open, you can read the Bible in your main window while your secondary Bible follows along.
Method 2: Resource Guide
If you’re someone who frequently uses Resource Guide, this second method will work better for you.
With Resource Guide open, scroll to your Bibles section. Here you are presented with a list of all the Bibles in your library that contain the passage you currently have open in the main window. Select the Bible you want to read and it opens to the same location as the main window. Like in the first method, this Bible will stay in sync as you scroll through the Bible in the main window.
Bonus Method: Multiple Parallel Bibles (Desktop Only)
Do you use our Windows desktop or Mac app? If so, we have a bonus method that allows you to open multiple parallel Bibles simultaneously.
First, access your first parallel Bible by using one of the methods outlined above. Once you have your Bible open in the split window, you can then click the Popout Window button. This will open a copy of the Bible (or any resource) in a popout window that you can resize and move anywhere on the screen.
Now go back to the split window and choose a different Bible. At this point you will have three different Bibles open to the same location that sync with the main window. Repeat these steps to open up as many translations as you would like. Below is a screenshot with four different translations open to John 4.
Why Use a Parallel Bible?
Now that you know how to create a parallel Bible in the Bible Study App, why would you want to use one? Here are some ideas:
- Read a more literal translation (KJV, ESV, NASB) alongside a more dynamic one (NLT, Message, TLB) to get a better idea of what the text says
- Have an English translation open alongside the original language text
- Use it to compare commentaries or dictionaries by having those resources open instead of a Bible
A parallel Bible can also be used to check out newer Bible translations to see how they compare to your translation of choice. An example of this would be reading the newly released Passion translation titles as a part of your daily reading or Bible study. Purchase a single book of the Bible (such as John or Matthew) and read it beside your regular Bible. You’ll get to experience the Bible in a new way in a different translation that is still faithful to the original languages & intent of the author.
All of the Passion Translation titles are currently on sale for half off, so pick one up today and use it as a parallel Bible!
By Olive Tree Employee: David Mikucki
If you look at the calendar, you’ll see that it is now February and it has been February for a number of days. But for many of us, if we look at our Bible reading plan, we’re stuck somewhere in January.
A lot of us start out with noble intentions, perhaps wanting to read the whole Bible in a year. The wheels typically start to fall off around the time we get to the book of Leviticus and forward progress comes to a complete halt by Numbers. Reading Scripture can be hard, especially when we don’t feel like we understand what we’re reading.
But God does offer us encouragement, and a lot of it. First of all, for those of us who struggle to read the Bible regularly, there is grace and peace in Jesus Christ. God is not up in heaven with a strict reading plan, ready to slap you down because you haven’t kept it. Jesus was struck down for our sins and our failings (Isaiah 53:5). If you’ve put your faith in Jesus Christ, you are still loved and forgiven even if you’ve failed to love God’s Word.
Besides the good news of forgiveness and acceptance by God the Father through Jesus the Son, there is still more good news to be found for those of us who struggle as we read Scripture. We have a promise from God that His Word doesn’t go forth without doing the thing He sent it to do (Isaiah 55:11).
This should encourage us, because it means that even when we feel like our time in Scripture is dry, God’s Word is still working as He wants it to. We can approach Scripture reading in faith, trusting God instead of our feelings about whether or not our reading is doing anything. We can trust that God works through His Word and believe that He can be working in us in ways we can’t yet see. We can walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
What you read yesterday (or perhaps last week) might not make a lot of sense to you now, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t using it to mold and shape you. Few of us understand what our parents are doing as they raise us, but we’re thankful for it later on. We don’t need to see God working to know that He is.
You see, if you read through Leviticus in your daily reading half a dozen times before you come back around and study it on your own or with your church, you’ll be better equipped to understand it. This is because reading it all those times will have made you familiar with it.
Moreover, there are times when an application of a particular passage isn’t clear to you. Several weeks or months later, however, God may bring that passage to mind at a time in your life when it is very applicable. In an age where technology makes us want results as soon as possible, our God still loves to plant a seed and let it grow over months and years.
Take heart, Christian. God works through His Word even if you don’t see it just yet.
David is a front end web developer at Olive Tree. He also writes on his personal blog, And the Rest of It.
By Olive Tree Employee: Emily Roth, Content Editor
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1:1-2).
The nature of my position at Olive Tree requires that I read the Bible throughout the day, whether to check a verse citation or to study an entire book. Due to a recent project, I managed for the first time to read straight from Genesis to Revelation. Each day on this project, no matter where I was in the Bible, something from God’s Word spoke to my heart, convicted my soul, or related to my struggles. My computer monitors store a collection of sticky notes for the verses I want to keep in mind.
It surprised me on a consistent basis the value of the simplest or most overlooked of verses. While I’ve long believed in the inspiration of the Bible in its entirety, I tended to judge certain books or passages as “most important” and then ignored the rest. What did I care about the Minor Prophets? They had to be called “minor” for a reason, right? But as I read, I realized that the Bible isn’t a bunch of stories about a bunch of people. It’s one continuous story about one God.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16).
Even Jesus affirms the absolute necessity of reading God’s word. He quotes from Deuteronomy, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4). And the best part? Anyone who doubts the Bible’s benefits can test it for himself.
The Bible Study App now has several reading plans available for free download. Over time, this new feature will offer additional plans across all platforms. Find one that interests you by looking under “Reading Plans” in the “My Stuff” window. After beginning a plan, you can check off each reading as you go.
If you have never read the Bible as a whole, it may seem like a daunting challenge. The Olive Tree Summer Bible Reading Plan provides guidance to study major themes and events throughout your preferred version of Scripture from June 1 to September 11. Compiled by the Olive Tree staff, this resource includes brief introductions of each book as well as the literary subgroups such as the History books of the Old Testament or the Pauline Epistles.
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thess. 2:13).
Until I read through the Bible all at once, I didn’t realize how much I had been missing. The Minor Prophets, for instance, display some of the most heartbreakingly expressive poetry that I’ve ever read. Read them for yourself if you don’t believe me. And while you’re at it, just finish the whole collection of books in the Bible if you never have before.
If the idea of daily reading intimidates you, simply commit to finding out what God wants to tell you today. Then do the same tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. It won’t take long to feel its effect. You will find a deeper appreciation of the Bible, God, and the story he has invited us into.
This week you can get the Olive Tree Summer Bible Reading Plan for FREE now through June 6th.