Posts tagged Bible Study Tips
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.”
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.
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.
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.
As well as read the New Bible Commentary in the split window to follow along with the passage you are studying.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
People sometimes ask me what I would suggest for their Bible study library. While this is a difficult question, many Bible teachers point to the same basic resources to make a well-rounded library.
Sorry to be Captain Obvious here, but you need a Bible. The most important component of a Bible Study library is a solid Bible text. I also suggest two or more translations to allow for a “Bible Translation Comparison” Bible Study method.
Here’s a short list of Bibles available for The Bible Study App:
- King James Version (KJV) FREE for The Bible Study App
- English Standard Version (ESV) FREE for The Bible Study App
- New International Version (NIV)
- New King James Version (NKJV)
- New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
- Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
- Other Bible Translations Available
2. Cross References
After you’ve thoroughly read the scriptures for yourself, read all of the related verses for that text. The Bible Study App has some great resources to help you find all of the cross references. These are helpful because they will save you tons of time and effort just looking up the references.
3. 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.
- King James Version – with Strong’s Numbers
- Other Bibles with Strong’s Numbers Available
- Olive Tree KJV Concordance
- Other Concordances Available
4. Bible Dictionaries
Dictionaries give you more explanation and meaning for specific words. They also help us to keep our Bible Study on track.
- Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible
- Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
- Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE), 2nd ed.
- Other Bible Dictionaries Available
5. 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, NLT, etc.)
- NIV Study Bible Notes
- NKJV Study Bible
- HarperCollins Study Bible Notes
- HCSB Study Bible Notes
- Other Study Bibles Available
6. Bible Maps & Atlases
We are far removed from Biblical times. Bible maps and atlases help us visualize locations, actions, and events in the Bible.
- Olive Tree Bible Maps
- Zondervan Atlas of the Bible
- Bible Maps – Then and Now
- Manna Bible Maps Study Set
- Other Maps & Atlases Available
7. Bible Handbooks & 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. These resources are also helpful to explain difficult passages or clarify the meaning behind Bible customs and events.
- The Essential Bible Companion
- Key Word Commentary
- IVP Bible Background Commentary
- Other Commentaries Available
Olive Tree’s Bible Study Collections
To make it easier, Olive Tree has bundled collections of resources to help you dig deeper into God’s word. These bundles give you the basic tools that you need like the study tools mentioned above. All of these wonderful resources are designed to be integrated into the Resource Guide within The Bible Study App for a seamless and easy-to-use Bible study experience.
- Choose from the following Bible Translations: NIV, NRSV, NKJV or HCSB
- A Study Bible that corresponds to your Preferred Bible Translation
- Bible Dictionary
- Everything in the Essentials bundle
- Strong’s Tagged Bible
- Essential Bible Companion
- Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
- Expanded Maps
- Everything in the Standard bundle
- Key Word Commentary
- Expository Dictionary
- Bible Concordance
- and even more Maps
- Everything in the Expanded bundle
- More Commentaries
- Bible Encyclopedia
- More Cross-references
- A Bible Atlas
Using these and tools will deepen your Bible study and further prepare you to present God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).
By Olive Tree Employee: David Mikucki
The great part about this resource is that anyone can use it. You don’t need to be seminary trained or have years of experience. You can just tap and read. The tool is powerful and practical enough to be useful even for personal study.
As with many powerful tools, this resource can do more if you know how to use it. It can also be somewhat dangerous if you don’t know how to use it. We don’t just want to provide you with the resource; we want to help you get the most out of it and avoid the dangers of misinterpretation. In this post, we’ll talk about the basic features of the ESV with Strong’s and about how to get the most out of each of them.
Tap to See Greek/Hebrew Word
The first feature is the most obvious. As soon as you tap, you can see what Greek or Hebrew word is behind it. This is the first thing you’ll see when you tap on a word. It’s probably most helpful for people who know Greek or Hebrew.
Now, if you tap on a darker word and it doesn’t open to do anything, that means that the word isn’t explicitly in the Greek or Hebrew text. The word was added by the translators in order to help the sentence make sense. We do this all the time in English, leaving out words because they’re assumed. Of course, the words left out in Greek aren’t necessarily the words we can leave out in English. Different languages have different rules for what’s important and what can be left out.
The takeaway here is that, while a word might not be in the original Greek or Hebrew, that doesn’t mean the word isn’t implied by other words. Sometimes the translators of the ESV add those words so that we English readers won’t be left scratching our heads.
Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary
The Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary is what appears when you tap a word that does have a Greek or Hebrew word behind it. This is a really handy tool because it will show you all the ways that the word gets translated throughout the Bible and give you an idea of how common each translation is. This can give you a fuller idea of what the word meant in the original language.
The thing to keep in mind here is something that all languages share in common: just because a word can mean something in one place, doesn’t mean it means that thing everywhere else. How and where a word is used in a sentence, paragraph, chapter, and book is a critical part of understanding what the word means.
Many words in English have several diverse meanings. For example, the word “dodge” can mean to get out of the way of something. It can also mean to lighten part of an image or photo (like the “dodge brush” in image editing programs). If you were to simply look up the dictionary definition and pick the first one, you could find yourself very confused. Another example is the English word “love.” When someone says “I love ice cream,” he means something very different from when he says “I love my wife” (or at least he ought to).
The point here is that we want to let the dictionary help us get an idea of what the word can mean, then let the context of the passage determine what the word does mean. If we’re in a class on photography, “dodge” probably doesn’t mean “get out of the way.” It probably means “lighten.” But we wouldn’t want to make that assumption in gym class.
View All Occurrences
This is probably my favorite feature in The Bible Study App for word studies. It’s the button that says “Search for g5457” (or some other number). This feature allows you to search for everywhere in the Bible where that particular Greek or Hebrew word is used. Since a translation might translate one word twelve different ways, it’s hard to know when that word is being used. But this feature can help.
The best way to use this feature is to start with where the word is used closest to the verse you’re studying, then work outward from there. Look in the verse, then the chapter, then the book, then other books the author has written, then in the whole Bible.
In this way you can get a sense for how a certain author used a particular word in its context, in all his writings, and how the word gets used throughout the whole Bible. While this doesn’t necessarily result in the same mastery of the word that a scholar might have, it certainly does help us to better understand the word and the passage we found it in.
Generally speaking, this isn’t going to completely change the way you read a passage of Scripture. The translators know the languages a lot better than most of us, so most often we’ll end up agreeing. But doing a word study can help us discover a richness to the word that we otherwise might not have seen. It can also help us to connect things in Scripture that we otherwise might not have thought to connect.
Look Up Word in Dictionaries
The Look Up feature allows you to look up a word in any Greek/Hebrew dictionaries that you might have. There are a lot of really helpful dictionaries out there by scholars who have already done the work of a detailed word study. They may also include information about where the word came from and how it was used in books outside the Bible. These can be extremely helpful to supplement the word studies that you’re already doing with the ESV with Strong’s. Here are a few you might find helpful:
- Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
- Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary
Tools like the ESV with Strong’s and Bible dictionaries can be really helpful in understanding what God has to say. We should pray that, in our study, we will allow God to correct us with what we learn about the words of Scripture. This is very different from using the tools to bend God’s words to mean what we want them to. Humility and openness to correction are important here.
If we come to the Scriptures with our tools, ready to be taught by the Scriptures, then we will be in the right place to see God’s love for us in Christ and how we are to live in light of that love. We hope these tools prove helpful in your studies.
Psalm 119:130 (ESV)
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple
Bible Commentaries are extremely valuable study tools. Many commentaries include historical and culture context, theological interpretation, and other resources like timelines and charts. Here are Six Reasons to use Commentaries in The Bible Study App. (Screenshots are from an iPad 2. Click on Images for a larger view)
1. Resource Guide
Open your preferred Bible Translation in the main window and have the Resource Guide open in the Split Window. You’ll see relevant 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 commentary 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.
2. Search & Look Up Feature
Search the commentary for words or passages. Take “Vine” as an example. You can search the entire commentary series for where “Vine” 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.
3. 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 John 15 where Jesus is talking about the Vine and the Branches. In the Preaching the Word Commentary there’s a reference to Isaiah 5:7. 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. Commentaries normally have 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 book. This also was a huge time waster, and I would often lose my train of thought. With The Bible Study App footnotes are linked. Just tap on the footnote, read it, and go back to where you were without losing your place.
4. Copy/Paste into Notes
Commentaries are full of great content. I often find myself reading a passage, going deeper with the commentary and finding that “perfect quote” that sums up what I was thinking but didn’t know how to express it in written form. However, in the world of hard copy commentaries, I have to re-type it into my personal study notes. With The Bible Study App, all I have to do is highlight the text that i want, copy it and paste it into my notes. This feature saves me a ton of time, not to mention the wear and tear on my typing fingers!
5. Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)
In iPhone/iPad app, you also have an additional option. 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.
If you tap “Define” you will get the integrated iOS dictionary pop-up. This is extremely helpful when you run across a word in the commentaries or even the Bible text that you do not know.
6. Resource Guide on One Verse (iOS Extra)
An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one 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..
If you tap the “Guide” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific verse. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above. You can even choose to open the commentary in the main or split window.
This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the commentary when you want to see what it says about a particular verse.
As you can see, the commentaries within The Bible Study App give you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.