Posts tagged Bible Study Tips
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.
The New International Commentary Series on the Old Testament (NICOT) and New Testament (NICNT) are highly regarded scholarly resources that are always ranked at the top by scholars, pastors, students, and professors.
The Bible Study App makes the NICOT/NICNT 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 NICOT/NICNT 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, the NICOT/NICNT 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 the NICOT/NICNT for words or passages. Take “love” as an example. You can search the entire NICOT/NICNT 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 The Lord’s Chosen servant in Isaiah that are pertinent to my study. With a hard copy, I have to open a different Bible and find each and every 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 the NICOT/NICNT 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, the NICOT/NICNT within The Bible Study App gives you the best in scholarly work, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort. Get the NICOT and NICNT at 40% off the regular price this week through Monday, May 27th.
Sermon & Lesson Prep in the Windows Desktop App
One of my favorite features in The Bible Study App is the Split Window feature. However, when preparing for a sermon or small group lesson, sometimes two windows just aren’t enough. For example, when I prepare for teaching, I like to compare multiple Bible translations, study Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, atlases, and my own notes I’ve taken on the Scriptures I’m studying. This is not a problem in The Bible Study Desktop App. All I have to do is use the pop out feature in The Bible Study App.
I start with the split window feature in The Bible Study Desktop App (here’s a helpful video on split window feature in Windows) by clicking the split window button . I then click the Pop out button at the top right hand corner of The Bible Study App. This opens a new pop out window in the resource that I’m already in. I can accomplish the same task by hitting the drop down menu and choosing “Open this book in a new window”.
Next, I choose the resource that I want to view in this new window by choosing it from the drop down menu.
I continue this process until I have all of the Bibles, Study Bibles, Commentaries, etc. open that I want to view for this study. With this option, I can view all of the resources I want at the same time and the multiple windows will sync with where I am in the main window of the app.
How do you utilize the pop out feature in The Bible Study App?
The New Interpreter’s Study Bible Notes, based on the text of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, blends a devotional and a thought provoking reading of the Old and New Testament and deuterocanonical books ( also known as the Apocrypha). This resource is especially equipped with enhanced features in The Bible Study App. The split-screen mode allows you to read the study notes, outlines, and book introductions alongside the biblical text.
Introductions at the beginning of each biblical book highlight major themes within that book, the style of the author and his writing, and the historical and biblical context of the book. Detailed verse-by-verse notes follow the introductions and book outlines and contain helpful insights into the biblical text.
There are also over 90 excursus that help explain the thematic and theological background of the Bible text.
Students of the Bible will find new depth and insight in this work, whether newcomers to scriptural study or seasoned academics. Check out the New Interpreter’s Study Bible Notes on The Bible Study App. Now through May 13th, you can get the New Interpreter’s Study Bible Notes, the New Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary, and the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible Complete Set for half the regular price.
Olive Tree just released Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament for The Bible Study app. According to the series foreward, the commentary series was named “Paideia”, which is Greek for “education”, to reflect:
(2) the fact that the New Testament texts as literary unities are shaped by the educational categories and ideas of their ancient writers and readers; and
(3) the pedagogical aims of the texts themselves—their central aim being not simply to impart information but to form the theological convictions and moral habits of their readers.
Although this series is intentionally aimed at “MA students in religious and theological studies programs, seminarians, and upper-divisional undergraduates” the authors do not go into so much theological detail as to leave the rest of us lost in a sea of research.
Paideia is also different in that the series is not a “verse-by-verse” commentary, but rather looks at the final form of the Biblical text in large units of thought.
As such, each commentary is broken out into three sections:
(1) introductory matters
(2) tracing the train of thought
(3) theological issues
Paideia also has several maps, photos, and charts that help make the biblical text more accessible to those without original language, biblical and extra-biblical historical backgrounds and preparation.
Here are a few Examples:
The Paideia commentaries are even more powerful with The Bible Study App. Use the split window to read your chosen Bible translation on one side of the screen while the corresponding Paideia commentary will sync with your reading in your split window. Or, use the pop-out windows to view the content separately. If you are using the Windows 7 app, this is especially helpful if you have two monitors.
Originally created by Dr. James Strong (1822-1894), the Strong’s Concordance matches every word in the King James Bible to the word it came from in the original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. This system has been adapted to work with the NKJV translation of the Bible and has proven to be an invaluable resource that is used extensively by pastors, seminary students and scholars of the Bible.
The great thing about Strong’s tagged Bibles in The Bible Study App is that you don’t need to be a scholar to use one, and yet, after a few uses, you’ll feel like a scholar. Here are some quick tips for using Strong’s tagged Bibles in The Bible Study App:
Open the NKJV Bible with Strong’s and you’ll see that some words are a slightly different color. Tapping or clicking on those words will pop-up the Strong’s information for that word. These pop-ups contain a wealth of information, including:
- The Strong’s number (beginning with either a “g” or an “h”) for that word.
- A short definition for that word.
- An outlined list of the different meanings for that word in the original language.
- Often you will also find that another Strong’s number is included as a link. These can be similar words that you can compare or other words from which your current word selection derives its meaning.
You can also go to your settings in the The Bible Study App and turn on the setting to show Strong’s Numbers (Settings – Advanced Settings – Display and Copy Settings). The numbers for the words will appear in the Bible text. Tapping on the number will also bring up the Strong’s pop-up.
At the bottom of the Strong’s pop-up, there are two buttons that perform “look-ups” or searches based on the Strong’s number or the word in its original language.
Look-up by Strong’s Number
The first button contains the Strong’s number for your word. Clicking or tapping on this button will perform a search in your library for articles containing this Strong’s number.
Look-up by Original Language
The second button contains the word in its original language. Clicking or tapping on this word will perform a search in your library for articles about the word in its original language.
Using the Search Function
Strong’s tagged Bibles can quickly create a very accurate concordance. By entering the Strong’s number into the search bar at the top right of the The Bible Study App, you can easily find all of the places within the Bible where that specific word is used. This is different than searching for the word in its English form. In the original language, there is more than one word that can be translated as the word love, for example. Searching by the Strong’s number will find only the specific cases where the word agápē is translated as love, not one of the other forms of the word “love.” Secondly, when you have a Strong’s pop-up open, you can select the word as it appears in its original language form, like αγάπη, and copy and paste it into your search bar to find all of the places in the Greek text were this Greek word appears.
The NKJV with Strong’s is an excellent resource for diving deeper into the biblical text. It offers insight into the original languages of Scripture without requiring you to have any formal training in Greek or Hebrew. This week the New King James Version with Strong’s Numbering is 50% Off through April 15. Be sure to check out this great resource!