Tag Archive: Bible Study

Introducing Touch Bar Support!

Posted by on 05/01/2017 in: , , ,

This past fall, Apple announced an overhaul of their MacBook Pro line of laptop computers. The overhaul included the usual faster-thinner-lighter mantra that we have all grown accustomed to with new hardware upgrades. They even dumped the glowing Apple logo on the back of the clam-shell lid and replaced it with a shiny version similar to what Apple puts on their iPads and iPhones.

The highlight from the list of improvements was the introduction of what Apple is calling the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar is a long and thin digital screen that runs along the top of the keyboard and replaces the traditional row of F keys (function keys) that typically use this space on a keyboard. The genius of this screen is that it is touch sensitive and operates like the F keys.

Even more exciting are the infinite tasks this glowing strip of glass is ready to take on. For example, when playing a video, the Touch Bar can jump to any position in the video without needing to toggle the controls on the screen, move the mouse to the tracking bar, seek the new location and toggle the controls back off. With the Touch Bar, just drag the control to any position to instantly change the position in your video.

One of the strengths of the new Touch Bar is that Apple leaves it up to the app developer to decide what shows on this mini touch screen. Unleashing the power of the Touch Bar requires app updates to make use of the functionality with this new feature. We are excited to announce that the latest version of the Mac Olive Tree Bible App now has support for the Touch Bar. We thoughtfully considered what functionality on the Touch Bar would increase productivity and added it.

Touch Bar support for the Mac Olive Tree Bible App!

Bible Study Touch Bar controls

The main Touch Bar controls for the Olive Tree Bible App

The figure above shows the buttons we added to the top level Touch Bar. From left to right on the Touch bar, we added this functionality: history back, history forward, Go To, Search, increase font size, decrease font size and margin control.

There are other areas of the app that use the Touch Bar as well. For example, you can use this bar to add a note or highlight to selected text. When editing a note, you will find some useful actions on the Touch Bar such as changing the note’s category or adding a tag.

If you have one of the new MacBook Pros, be sure to try the new features, and let us know what you think. We are always open to suggestions and feedback.

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What’s the Best Bible Translation?

Posted by on 03/31/2016 in:

What's the Best Bible Translation?I’ll be upfront with you. I’m not actually going to tell you what Bible translation I think is the best. I won’t even tell you which one I prefer or if it may or may not have colorful illustrations that make Jesus look like a California surfer. I tend to agree with Pastor Rick Warren when he said, “The best Bible translation is one that is translated into your life.” In saying that, there are some things that are worth knowing that may help you decide what you use for study, what you recommend to new believers, and even what you read to your kids.

DECIDING ON THE BEST BIBLE TRANSLATION FOR YOU

Centuries of scholarship have gone into the English translations we have today.

The two primary metrics for how scholars have translated the original language into the the English Bibles we have today are based on:

  1. How close the translation is to the original, literal word (word for word).
  2. How close the translation is to the original idea being communicated (thought for thought).

The more technical terms are usually put into three categories:

Formal Equivalent

These translations attempt to reproduce the Greek and Hebrew as exactly as possible into the English language. Words, figures of speech, and sometimes even the sentence structure of the original languages are reproduced in a much more literal and limited way in this type of Bible. These hold -in varying degrees- to a generally word for word approach.

Dynamic Equivalent

These Bibles run on a more thought-for-thought philosophy than the Formal Equivalent translations, but not to the extent that a paraphrase would. Greek and Hebrew figures of speech are replaced with modern rough equivalents. They are typically easier to read, though sometimes in a freer translation passages may lean more toward an interpretation than a strict translation.

Paraphrase

Not usually considered ‘translations’ but rewordings of the Scriptures that speak in a very earthy, common tongue. Those who advocate these note that the New Testament was written in the common language of the people and not by scholars or philosophers. The results can be the clearest expression of Scripture on par with the original. However, theological lenses can more easily influence the interpretation. Some paraphrases are based on the original Hebrew/Greek and some are based on more formal equivalent English translations.

The centuries old challenge for scholars is how do you translate the original manuscripts in a way that makes them accurate and literal, but also readable and understandable?

For an example of this challenge imagine that I’m speaking to an audience in China through a translator and say, “Hong Kong is the coolest city I’ve ever been to.” If my translator literally interpreted my statement to the audience and said, “Hong Kong is the coldest city I’d ever been to,” they’d probably think I grew up in the middle of the Gobi desert (Hong Kong never really gets cold). I would want my translator to understand my culture and West Coast slang enough to take the liberty to translate my thought, as opposed to my literal words; “He really likes Hong Kong”.

And so for centuries the challenge for Bible translators has been to translate Scripture into thousands of languages worldwide, maintaining as literal an interpretation while still making it readable and understandable to the culture. So, unless you can read the Biblical Hebrew and Greek yourself every translation you have read has gone through this challenge.

Where does your favorite translation rank in terms of being word for word and thought for thought? Check out the *graphic below (click for larger image):

You’ll notice this chart doesn’t say one translation is better than another but it is a useful graphic to understand where the different translations lean in how they interpret the original manuscripts. If you want to dig deeper most Bible translations have an introduction that explains their translation philosophy. You can also check out the links below for more in depth thoughts on the differences between translations.

Helpful Resources:


* Please note that there is no specific difference (other than their place on the continuum) between the orange and green Bibles listed in the graphic

Olive Tree Bible App iOS

Olive Tree Bible App Android

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Read & Research Bible Study Method

Posted by on 02/26/2016 in: ,

laptop with tablet and smart phone on tableMy early attempts at Bible study were sporadic and didn’t go that smoothly. I soon learned that I needed a more formalized approach to my Bible study. Here are a few tips & resources that I’ve found that will help you keep your Bible Study on track.

Prepare yourself through Prayer
“All our study is futile without the work of God overcoming our blindness and hardheartedness.” – John Piper, Martin Luther Lessons from His Life and Labor p. 33

There is no substitute for prayer when reading and studying the Bible.  Prayer takes the attention off of what we can do and puts the attention instead on what God can do in and through us.  Bible study is a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1) in which we present our best to God.  We have to remember that this is not just a book we’re reading.  We need prepare our hearts and minds for Bible study.

Read the Scripture for yourself
Read and re-read the passage you’re studying.  Get familiar with the flow of the passage.  If there are terms that you don’t know, look them up in a simple dictionary.

Ask yourself these Questions

  1. Observe – What does the text say?
  2. Interpret – What does the text mean?
  3. Apply – How does it apply to me today?

Asking these questions will keep you focused on the study at hand.  These questions are also helpful when preparing, guiding, and leading discussions for small group and Sunday school Bible studies.

Read and Research

1.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, NKJV, NLT, etc.)

2. 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.

Recommendations:

3. Bible Dictionaries
Dictionaries give you more explanation and meaning for specific words.  They also help us to keep our Bible Study on track.
Recommendations:

4. 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.

Recommendations:

I would also suggest checking BestCommentaries.com. It’s a great site with recommendations for commentaries on each book of the Bible.

Other Resources
Lastly, here are some useful resources to further your Bible Study methods:

Using these simple methods and tools will deepen your Bible Study and further prepare you to present God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).

What are your favorite Bible Study titles and tools?

Be sure to check out this week’s highlighted offers on titles that will help your Bible Study this year.

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