Posts tagged Look Inside

Improve Your Word Studies with Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures


When I first learned how to do word studies I found them to be quite daunting. There was always a wealth of information and I never knew where to start. Of all the challenges I faced, the problem I had most often was picking the “right” word(s) to study from the passage I was reading. Not to mention, would the lexicons I had help me or even mention my verse? If that’s you or you’ve been there before, I want to show you how Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures can make your word studies even easier than they already are in Bible+.

Before We Get Started

Before we get started, I want to address the big question that most have about this resource: If I already have Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary do I still need Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures? The honest answer is maybe, but I strongly believe both are worth owning. While there is a lot of overlap between the two resources, the way you use each is completely different, and they are built to complement one another. The best way to think about them is like this: Vine’s Dictionary is a dictionary, whereas Vine’s Word Pictures is a commentary. So, let’s dive in and see how the two work in harmony. (Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4).

Using Vine’s Word Pictures

To illustrate how Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures works we’re going to use the ESV Bible and 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 as our passage. As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this passage about comfort, suffering, and affliction. Where do we even begin?! This was one of the problems I had when learning to do word studies. This time, instead of getting overwhelmed, we’ll let Vine’s help us out. With the split window open, you can open Vine’s Word Pictures in the second pane. Since this resource functions as a commentary it will follow wherever your Bible goes.


One thing you’ll quickly notice about this resource is that it’s not like a normal commentary. There are no textual notes explaining the meaning of the passage. That’s what your other commentaries & study Bibles are for. Instead, what you get are the key words contained in each passage with definitions, theological significance, and clear cross references. You no longer have to guess which words to study because they are put in front of you. In this screenshot you can see a few key words include: mercies, comfort, and tribulation/trouble. Given the emphasis of this passage, these are words I’ll certainly want to study further.

I love cross references and Vine’s Word Pictures is not shy about providing them. Bible+ makes it easy to tap on the reference so you can read it without losing your place. Another bonus is that cross references within the same book of the Bible are boldfaced so you can take particular note of them.


Where this resource really shines is its Strong’s linking. Most words that are discussed also contain a transliteration of the corresponding Greek word and its relevant Strong’s number. These are tagged in Bible+ so you can tap on them and get more information about the word you’re studying. Within the pop-up you get the definition from the Strong’s dictionary, which is where Vine’s Dictionary comes into play.

Switching to Vine’s Dictionary

Let’s say the word “comfort” has caught our attention in this passage. We’ve read the entry in Vine’s Word Pictures, looked at the cross references, and perused the Strong’s pop-up. What next? Simple, let’s go to Vine’s Dictionary. The quickest way to get there is to tap the Strong’s number and then select the “Lookup” button at the bottom of the pop-up. From there, we can find the dictionary.


Unlike most lexicons and dictionaries, the nice thing about Vine’s is that it groups the original language words together based on their English translation. For us, this means that in our study on “comfort” we can go to the dictionary and not only find out information about our word’s usage as a noun, but we can easily get more information. Here we see additional material such as Greek synonyms we may want to include in our word study, as well as the verb form of the word. Not to mention, if there are other ways it is translated into English, we can get to those as well.



This is all information we would not have found if we had used Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures alone. And, if we had only used the dictionary we may not have even known this was a word worth looking at. But together we can get the big picture and walk away with a full understanding of the Greek word behind “comfort.”

Get Them Today

Add both Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures and Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary today and improve your word studies. Not only will you save yourself time, but you can rest assured that you’ll never miss an important word again. Get these titles and others in our current sale.

Look Inside: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary


MacArthur New Testament Commentary

When it comes to expositing and faithfully teaching the Bible, John MacArthur is a name respected by many. He has been preaching at Grace Community Church and heading Grace to You since 1969. In that time he has written nearly 400 books and study guides that have been published throughout the world. The reach of his ministry has allowed his ever popular MacArthur Study Bible to be translated into at least 8 different languages. It’s an understatement to say that MacArthur is a household name in evangelicalism.

Aside from his study Bible, Dr. MacArthur is best known for his MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary series began 32 years ago (1983) when he published his commentary on Hebrews. Since that time he has meticulously preached through the New Testament at his church and written detailed verse-by-verse commentary on each New Testament book. This year the final two volumes (Mark 1-8 & Mark 9-16) were released, completing the series. Today I want to show you how you can glean from MacArthur’s insight on any New Testament passage while studying in Bible+.

Why This Commentary?

One of the questions that’s often asked when discussing commentaries is, “Why should I buy commentary ABC instead of commentary XYZ?” Here are a couple reasons why the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is a valuable resource to have in your library.

First, when you look at most modern commentary sets, each volume is typically written by a different author. While there may be a singular general editor, there may be differences of theology and understanding among the authors, making for a lack of consistency across volumes. What’s more, sometimes the same author will write a commentary on a book of the Bible for different commentary series. For example, Douglas Moo has written a commentary on Romans for both the New International Commentary and NIV Application Commentary series, and a commentary on James for the Pillar New Testament and Tyndale New Testament Commentary series. The advantage of the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is its singular voice. You’re not going to encounter the issues you may find in other series. Having one author write the entire series provides a level of consistency in thought and teaching that isn’t necessarily possible in the other commentary sets. Whether or not you agree with what is taught, at least you know it will be consistent throughout the entirety of the series.

Second, John MacArthur is not just a Bible scholar, he is also a pastor. This may not seem like something that would be important, but it means this commentary has a different tone and approach than other series. There is a difference between writing a commentary academia and writing for the general Christian population. MacArthur’s commentary certainly falls in the latter. His tone is pastoral and stays away from being unnecessarily complex. Every passage is explained clearly so that you have little to no questions afterward. His exegesis of the text also makes applying the text to your life easy. This makes it an easy commentary to read, whether you’re in the pew or pulpit.

Using the Commentary

Like many resources in Bible+, the best way to get the most out of your library is by using the Resource Guide; the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is no exception. To illustrate, let’s assume we’re starting to read Mark’s gospel and are using MacArthur’s commentary to aide our study.


When beginning a study on a new book of the Bible, one of the first things you want to do is get some background information. Resource Guide makes this easy. Simply scroll down to the “Introductions” section, where we find 5 hits for our commentary.



Here we find information about the gospel, it’s author, date, audience, purpose, and other issues worth keeping in mind.


Next, you’ll want to get a feel for how the book is laid out, so let’s find an outline. Again, the Resource Guide shows us that MacArthur has an outline for our book, and we see that it is quite extensive. One thing worth noting is that the book’s outline also serves as the layout for the commentary. This helps in seeing how a handful of verses relate to their larger context. Personally, I refer to the outline often throughout the course of studying a book of the Bible, as it keeps the big picture in view.


Commentary Text

Finally, when it’s time to dive into the commentary text, the Resource Guide is again our friend. Instead of hunting down the commentary on your passage, let Resource Guide do the heavy lifting. Find the MacArthur New Testament Commentary in the commentaries section, find your passage, and commence reading. This saves you both time and effort while studying, which is useful with our busy lives.



Alternatively, you can leave the MacArthur New Testament Commentary open in your split window and it’ll always be at the right location when you need it. This will save you even more time if you don’t plan on consulting other resources.

Upgrade Today

No matter who you are, the MacArthur New Testament Commentary is an excellent go to resource for New Testament studies. MacArthur’s knack for explaining the text is second to none and easy to follow. Even if you don’t completely agree with him theologically, you can still appreciate his clear exegesis and application.

Add the MacArthur New Testament Commentary to your Olive Tree library today while it’s on sale. Whether you’re buying the full set, upgrading, or buying an individual volume, we have a deal that will fit any budget.

Look Inside: Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament


These days it’s hard to find a commentary that is distinct from all the others on the market. I mean, there are only so many ways that you can exposit a passage. With that in mind, it’s worth noting when a commentary comes along that is wholly unlike the rest. The Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by G. K. Beale & D. A. Carson, is one of those commentaries. Let’s take a look inside this commentary and see how it can enhance your Bible study in Bible+.

What It Is and Isn’t

The key to using this commentary is first understanding how the editors designed it. This is not a verse-by-verse commentary on the entire New Testament; there are plenty of commentaries that already do this well. Nor is this a commentary that gets into the debates surrounding how the Old Testament is utilized by New Testament authors. Again, there are plenty of books already written on the subject.

Instead, what you get with this commentary is exactly what its title says: a commentary that explains how the New Testament makes use of Old Testament quotations and allusions. While analyzing these passages, Beale and Carson encouraged the commentary’s contributors to keep in mind six questions that ought to be answered:

  1. What is the NT context of the citation or allusion?
  2. What is the OT context from which the quotation or allusion is drawn?
  3. How is the OT quotation or source handled in the literature of Second Temple Judaism or early Judaism?
  4. What textual factors must be kept in mind as one seeks to understand a particular use of the OT?
  5. What is the nature of the connection as the NT writer sees it?
  6. To what theological use does the NT writer put the OT quotation or allusion?

Wherever possible, each passage covered in the commentary seeks to answer these six questions so that you, as the reader, can understand how the text is being used. While most commentaries delve into this subject matter on some level, the advantage of this commentary is that it’s its sole focus. You don’t have to worry about reading only a few sentences or a short paragraph because the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament will give you everything you want & then some.

Using the Commentary

There are a few ways you can use the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament in Bible+, but let me show you the most convenient way: Resource Guide.

Depending on the Bible translation you’re using it can be easy or difficult to identify when the New Testament authors are quoting from the Old Testament. For example, in the ESV you may find text that is indented and set apart to show that it’s a quotation; but, it’s not as easy to identify when it is kept inline. Translations like the NASB, on the other hand, put OT quotes in small caps, which make them easier to identify (see below). In a book like Matthew, this isn’t a big deal; but consider a book like James that alludes to the OT frequently. In this case, you could miss these in the ESV, where they are obvious in a translation like the NASB.

ESV & NASB in parallel

ESV & NASB in parallel

With the Resource Guide your choice of translation doesn’t matter, whether it be the ESV, NASB or some other translation. As you’re reading a New Testament passage, you don’t even have to consider if what you’re reading contains an OT quotation or allusion. Simply glance down at the commentaries section of Resource Guide and see if you have a hit for the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. If there is, you can proceed reading the commentary text. A perfect example of this is James 5:1-6 where James condemns the rich for oppressing their workers. There is no clear OT quotation, but a Jew would understand that James is alluding to the Mosaic Law. The commentary explains this in great detail, providing all the context you need to understand what James is trying to get across.

Commentary on the NT Use of the OT in Resource Guide

Commentary on the NT Use of the OT in Resource Guide

Commentary on the NT Use of the OT opened in Resource Guide

Commentary on the NT Use of the OT opened in Resource Guide

The biggest benefit of using Resource Guide in your study is that you don’t have to manually search through your commentaries. Forget having to wonder if the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament addresses your passage, you’ll know without ever having to open it. The Resource Guide saves you time and effort in your studies by putting the information you need at your fingertips.

Purchase the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament today and save 33% off our regular price in our Pastor Appreciation Sale.

Explore the NIV Zondervan Study Bible

Zondervan has just released the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D.A. Carson as the general editor. Built from the ground up to reflect the most current 21st century scholarship, Dr. Carson and a team of over 60 contributors have crafted all-new study notes, book and section introductions, theological articles, and other study tools that specifically focus on biblical theology, which is the progressive unfolding of theological concepts through the Bible.

As you read and study with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, you’ll learn more about the biblical writers, the times in which they wrote, and the larger purpose of their writings in God’s story.

Let’s walk through the features of this terrific new study Bible so you can see just how comprehensive it is.

Book and Section Introductions

The NIV Zondervan Study Bible offers section introductions to the Bible’s literary genres, such as the Pentateuch and the Historical Books. In the book introductions, you will find everything from the author’s purpose in writing, the book’s theme, a full outline, and relevant photos. This study Bible leaves no stone unturned. These introductions cover everything you need to know before studying any book of the Bible.

Romans Introduction

Romans Introduction

Verse-by-Verse Notes

After reading through the book and section introductions, you’re ready to dive into the study notes. The notes will help you zero in on the unique and essential voice of each biblical book and writer and the contribution each one makes to the overall plot of the Bible. The NIV Zondervan Study Bible has nearly 20,000 verse-by-verse notes offering insight on every passage of Scripture.

You can access the study notes in conjunction with your Bible by opening them in a split window or through the Commentaries section of the Resource Guide.

Study Notes

Study Notes


One particularly valuable feature of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is its library of concise theological articles that unpack God’s story by tracking the development of biblical themes as they are progressively unfolded throughout the Scripture. Notable scholars and leaders such as Timothy Keller, Kevin DeYoung, and Douglas Moo address theological topics such as “sin,” “creation,” “shalom,” and many more. These short articles provide the perspective that the book-by-book notes cannot: an overarching view of the Bible’s message and teaching and how the gospel of Jesus Christ relates to each topic.

The simplest way to find the articles is by changing the Verse Chooser to list view and navigating to “Articles Table of Contents”. This will display a list of all the articles for quick access. Depending on the passage you’re in, these articles may also appear in the Resource Guide under their respective topics.

Article on the Glory of God

Article on the Glory of God

Photos, Maps, & Charts

The NIV Zondervan Study Bible includes hundreds of full-color photos, maps, and charts to help you understand the biblical narrative. You’ll find incredible photos of biblical artifacts and locations placed within the study notes. The study Bible includes over 90 maps with explanatory notes located near their relevant Scripture passages so you know where key Bible events happened. There are also over 60 charts that summarize information and concepts encountered throughout the Bible. Many of these images will also appear in the Resource Guide under their respective sections.

Illustration of the Tabernacle

Illustration of the Tabernacle

Chart of Moses' Life

Chart of Moses’ Life

Map of the Exodus and Wilderness Wandering

Map of the Exodus and Wilderness Wandering

Photo of Ephesus

Photo of Ephesus


Most Bibles include a concordance of some kind. The purpose of a concordance is to help you find passages that refer to a name, place, or word. You can already do this with the Search feature in the Bible Study App, but we took things further and included the NIV Zondervan Study Bible‘s concordance. Not only did we include it, but we tagged it in such a way that it works with the Lookup feature and also appears in the People, Places, and Topics sections of the Resource Guide.



Buy in Print, Get Digital for Free

We have partnered with Zondervan to do something special with the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. All print copies of the study Bible contain a redemption code that can be used to download a free copy of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible for the Bible Study App from Olive Tree. You can’t beat that 2-for-1 deal!

If you’re not interested in owning it in print, you can buy the NIV Zondervan Study Bible directly from us for use in the Bible Study App. Be sure to check out the other titles we have on sale this week.

Look Inside: Open Your Bible Commentary

The difficulties of maintaining a daily Bible study routine are many. Where do you start? How do you make adequate time for more than a cursory reading of the Text? How do you find the right balance of study and devotion? And the list goes on. The truth is there are no easy answers to any of these questions. But we shouldn’t throw in the towel and give up. Every Christian struggles with their Bible reading at some point in their life. Today I want to share a new Olive Tree resource whose aim is to help your daily Bible study. Let me introduce you to the Open Your Bible Commentary.


The Open Your Bible Commentary was written to encourage daily Bible study. The content of this two volume commentary began as a series of Bible Study books originally published by Scripture Union. The series’ intent was to create a resource that encouraged a greater depth of Bible study in a way that wasn’t possible with study notes alone. This format allowed the authors to give fuller discussions on introductory, textual, and background material that might otherwise be overlooked in something like a study Bible. The principal aim of the studies was to stimulate daily Bible reading as a means of personal devotion and life application.

These sensitively edited studies have been reworked into what we now have as the Open Your Bible Commentary. With this commentary you get short readings rich in content. Each passage is carefully explained, devotionally warm, and practically relevant. In its introduction, the commentary boasts four great strengths that set it apart from others:

  1. Accessible: The studies address the average, thoughtful Christian without assuming they have a prior background with the text.
  2. Digestible: No section is overly long. It is designed so that you can read one or two sections each day without feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Dependable: The commentary is authored by renowned theologians, scholars, and experienced pastors including: F.F. Bruce, Leon Morris, William L. Lane, and others
  4. Practical: The studies offer a diversity of everyday application. Sometimes you are given clear application, while other times you are left to ponder the truths for yourself.

All in all, the Open Your Bible Commentary is built for Christians who desire to engage with the Bible daily. After each section you are sure to walk away with a greater understanding of the Bible and application to apply.

Open Your Bible in the Bible Study App

There are a few ways you can use the Open Your Bible Commentary in the Bible Study App, but let me show you my favorite way to use it.

Since the commentary is conveniently broken into manageable sections for study, I prefer to use it as my daily reading plan. In the morning I read a section from the New Testament volume along with its accompanying Bible passage. For my evening reading I do the same, but with the Old Testament volume.

Unlike most times when I read the Bible, this time I have the commentary open in the main window. I then use the Book Ribbon to mark my current location so I can easily pick up where I left off next time.

Open Your Bible Commentary with Book Ribbon

Open Your Bible Commentary with Book Ribbon

Next, I tap the verse reference and open it in the split window. Now I can read the passage and the commentary text. I can also tap on any of the cross references and read them in a pop-up.

Open the Bible text in a Split Window

Open the Bible text in a Split Window

Bible in Split Window

Bible in Split Window

Even with the Bible open in the split window I can still take notes on what I’m studying. And, if by chance I want to do further study, I can quickly switch to the Resource Guide to explore my other resources.

Taking Notes from a Split Window

Taking Notes from a Split Window

What I love about this setup is it allows me to have a different kind of reading plan that still lets me easily study the Bible. I recommend giving it a try!

Purchase Today

I’m confident the Open Your Bible Commentary will prove a great aide to your daily Bible reading. Save 50% and add it to your library today during our Back 2 School Sale.

Quick Tip: Using TWOT in the Bible Study App

Let’s face it, studying the Old Testament can be hard work. This is doubly true once you dive into the original languages, and Hebrew in particular. There are a plethora of useful resources to choose from when studying Biblical Greek, such as BDAG, EDNT, TDNT, NIDNTTE, Louw & Nida, to name a few. Yet when it comes to studying Hebrew the pickings are slim. In Olive Tree, outside of the Strong’s Dictionary, you’re limited to a few titles including: NIDOTTE, HALOT, and TWOT. Even though there’s not a lot to choose from when it comes to studying Hebrew, the available resources are extremely useful.

Today I will show you how to use the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) in the Bible Study App.

Studying with TWOT

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament is essentially a Hebrew lexicon and can be used like any other Hebrew lexicon. However, it has certain special features which are designed to facilitate its use, especially for those less at home in the Hebrew language. It is primarily intended to be a ready tool for the pastor and the serious student, who want to study carefully and understand more fully the sacred text.

I recommend using the TWOT in conjunction with a Strong’s Bible, such as the ESV, to get the most out of it. To illustrate how TWOT works, we will take a look at 1 Samuel 16, a passage I recently read in my Olive Tree daily reading plan. In this passage we find Samuel anointing David as the new king of Israel, since Saul, the current king, had chosen to stop obeying the Lord.

1 Samuel 16 in ESV Strong's Bible

1 Samuel 16 in ESV Strong’s Bible

With the emphasis of anointing in this passage, I wanted to find out more about the Hebrew word behind it, since I knew it is used in several contexts in Scripture. To do this, I tap on the word “anoint” in 1 Samuel 16:3 to bring up a Strong’s popup.

Strong's Popup for "Anoint"

Strong’s Popup for “Anoint”

The definition from the Strong’s dictionary is rather sparse, so I want to find out more. This is where the TWOT comes into play. I tap the “Lookup” button and then select the TWOT article.

Lookup for Hebrew Word

Lookup for Hebrew Word

TWOT in Popup Window

TWOT in Popup Window

The TWOT is now in view and I can read more about the Hebrew root word. If I want to keep the window open or have more space to read, I can then open it in the split window.

Open TWOT in Split Window

Open TWOT in Split Window

TWOT in Split Window

TWOT in Split Window

As I read I can see there is some theological significance to this word, including the divine enablement that accompanied someone being anointed king over Israel. This is information I wouldn’t have gotten from Bible reading alone or from my Study Bible notes. Thanks to TWOT I have a richer understanding of the importance of Samuel anointing David as king.

Because the TWOT is an enhanced Olive Tree product, it is extremely easy to use. Anywhere you find a tagged Hebrew word you’ll be able to quickly get to its TWOT entry. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading your Hebrew and Strong’s Bibles or looking at another Hebrew lexicon. TWOT is always right at your fingertips to expand your understanding of the Hebrew text.

Add TWOT to Your Library

The TWOT is currently half off in our Back to School sale. Add it to your Olive Tree library today and check out the other titles on sale.

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