Tag Archive: Look Inside

Look Inside: Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Posted by on 05/16/2016 in:

This week we’re able to offer some outstanding illustrated commentaries that are an amazing resource for use within the Bible App. The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on both the New and Old Testament brings to life the ancient world in informative entries and full-color photos and graphics.

The resource guide of the Bible App makes using Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary a seamless part of your study.

In the screenshot below (taken from an iPad) I have my Bible opened to Daniel chapter 1. The commentary section of the resource guide then shows me which of my commentaries have related entries to this text.

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The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary indicates five entries so I’ll click on that commentary to see a preview of the those entries.

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Since this chapter talks about Daniel and his friends being placed in a Babylonian learning environment, I’m interested in learning more about what that may have looked like. I then click on the third entry that talks about the language and literature of the Babylonians.

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I can then read a fascinating article about historical Babylonian education that Daniel and his friends would have been exposed to. Thanks to enhanced commentaries like the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary I can easily gain some amazing insight that helps me view the Biblical text in new ways.

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Look Inside: Visual Theology

Posted by on 05/16/2016 in:

Visual Theology is a newly released title by writer Tim Challies and artist Josh Byers.  It apply’s a unique blend of writing and infographics, creating a new kind of presentation of the Bible’s deepest truths.  On it’s print release it quickly hit Amazon’s Top 20 Bestselling Books.

We’re pleased to give you a peek inside the first available digital version of Visual Theology.

Like most eBooks in the Bible App you can easily navigate to to specific chapters and sections with a tap/click from the contents page.

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You can also navigate by using the verse chooser in the menu bar.

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As the title indicates, Visual Theology has a lot of great graphics and charts. You can view the images inline with the text or tap them to view a larger image like the two images below.

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As you’re reading scripture references also become hyperlinked for easy access to that particular passage.

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As you can see Visual Theology in the Bible App is a great resource. Go HERE to get it now!

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Look Inside: Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes

Posted by on 05/10/2016 in:

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John Maxwell is a nationally respected expert in leadership and a follower of Christ. The Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes provides an in-depth look at God’s laws for leaders and leadership.

Here is a look inside the Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes and how it works in the Olive Tree Bible App running on an Android tablet.

Like any study Bible notes in the app they can be used with your favorite translation in the main window and accessed easily in the Resource Guide found in the split window. Entries for the passage opened in your main window are indicated by a number.

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Simply tap/click on the Maxwell Leadership Notes in the Resource Guide to access the content. Any text that is colored blue means you can tap/click it to jump to other notes or sections.

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When I tap/click on the ‘Go to the Index of Leadership Articles’ hyperlink it quickly takes me to another section of the Maxwell Leadership Bible notes for easy reference.

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In addition to the Resource Guide the Maxwell Leadership Bible can be used independently when selected from the Library. Once selected tap the settings icon in the verse chooser to select ‘Alphabetical List View’. Now you can quickly navigate to any section for leadership notes on particular books of the Bible or great articles and insight.

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The Maxwell Leadership Bible Notes are on sale for a special introductory price this week only!

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3 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Study Bible Notes

Posted by on 03/29/2016 in: ,

Study Bible Notes are a great resource for those wanting to go deeper in their study of the Bible. Here are three ways to use them in the Bible Study App that will help you unpack God’s word.

1. Resource Guide

In your Main Window, open the Bible translation of your choice. (I have the NIV translation open in this example).  Then tap the arrow to open the split window on the right side of the screen (bottom if you are in portrait). Tap the more button (3 dots) and then choose Resource Guide.

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You’ll now see relevant “hits” in the resource guide from all of the resources you have downloaded to your device.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 Bible notes sync to exactly where you are in your reading.  You’ll save an enormous amount of time with this feature alone.

As I scroll through the Resource Guide I can see all of my enhanced resources that have an entry pertaining to the current text that I’m reading. I notice that my NIV Study Bible Notes has entries for commentaries, outlines, introductions, and maps. The numbers indicate how many entries are available for each enhanced resource.

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The NIV Study Bible Notes in the resource guide shows two entries under the Commentary section for Romans 1:1-10. When you tap on the NIV Study Bible Notes it then shows me a preview of those entries and I can click again to read the full commentary. As you read on in the text, those entries will stay in sync with your passage no matter what translation I have open in the main window.

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2. Split Window – Specific Resource

Go to the main Split Window, Tap Open and you will see the navigation menu again.  Here you can choose Recently Opened, Library Favorites, My Notes, My Highlights, and My Bookmarks. At the bottom of that screen tap Open Full Library. This will open your Library navigation. Scroll down the list and find the NIV Study Bible Notes (or the study notes of your choice). Tap to open it.

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As with the resource guide, The Bible Study App’s sync scrolling will keep track of where you are in the Bible text regardless of what translation you have open.  This is a great way to study if you just want to focus on one resource in your library.

3. Resource Guide on a Verse

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse.  Tap a verse number in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Bookmark, Share, Guide, and More.

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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 your study notes in the main or split window.

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This is helpful if you want to read through your Bible “full screen” and refer to the study notes when you want to see what it says about a specific verse.

As you can see, study Bibles notes in The Bible Study App can save you a lot of time and will help you get more of of your quiet time.

Check out the NIV Study Bible Notes or other Study Bible notes here.

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Look Inside: Calvin’s Institutes

Posted by on 03/17/2016 in:

Our content formatting team at Olive Tree has put a lot of work into a new edition of Calvin’s Institutes for Bible+. In this post, I want to show off some of the things we’ve done to make the Institutes more accessible and perhaps convince you that it’s worth having a copy in your library.

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Regardless of your opinions about Calvinism, it might interest you to know that Jacobus Arminius (yes, the fellow after whom Arminianism is named) once said that Calvin’s works are some of the most valuable books written in church history. Many today who are strongly opposed to Calvinism still find Calvin’s Institutes and commentaries to be extremely helpful in their studies.

Calvin was clear and passionate about much of what is important to evangelical Christians today: including justification by faith alone and the supremacy of the Scriptures. For this reason and many others, I personally believe it would be beneficial for every Christian to read and reference Calvin’s Institutes.

Of course, one of the problems with old books is that they are often not easy to read. What Christian authors of old writeth, modern Christians wot not. We have a hard time with the King James-style English that we see in many of the reformers and Puritans. This edition of the Institutes should help with that.

Calvin’s Institutes were originally not written in English, and some of the translations that have been made are so old, they barely look like they’re in English. A more recent version, translated by Ford Lewis Battles and edited by John T. McNeill makes Calvin’s Institutes readable to just about anyone. In comparison to other translations I had used, I personally found that I was able to read this translations almost twice as fast, enjoy it more, and feel like I understood it better.

If you’re new to theology and just looking to read through the Institutes, you might find a Theological Guide helpful, too.

Features in the Olive Tree Edition

Although I’ve read through the Institutes once (and many parts twice or more), I still find it very helpful to use as a reference. Using this resource as a reference gets pretty cumbersome in most eBook apps and requires a lot of flipping around in the print version.

When you open our version, the first thing you’ll notice is that even though the Institutes were written in four books (and is often spread across 2–3 volumes when printed), Olive Tree combines everything into one resource. This makes it easier to use the search feature.

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In these screenshots, I have the Institutes open on my iPad Pro right next to a Bible (the way, I’m sure, Calvin would have wanted his writings to be read).

The next thing you’ll notice is how easy the Institutes are to navigate in our app. Everything is arranged hierarchically and you can drill down to go straight to the section you want.

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Of course, if you highlight something on your tablet, the highlight will be there waiting for you if you open the book on your phone later.

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I’ve saved the best feature for last. With Bible+, we’ve made the indexes at the end of the resource link to actual sections in the book so that you can quickly find what Calvin had to say about various Scripture passages, subjects, and where he quoted other authors.

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All of these features, plus the readability of the translation, make this a really great deal—whether you want to read through the Institutes, or just use them as a reference.

Get The Institutes

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Look Inside: The Preacher’s Commentary Series

Posted by on 01/28/2016 in:

Pastors have a hard job. They get in front of their congregations every week and preach a word from the Lord with the intent of impacting their lives and souls. To accomplish this goal the preacher must do two things: 1) explain the text, and 2) relate the text. Many of the Puritans believed a preacher had to saturate himself with Scripture and apply it to himself before he could preach it with power to others. With such sound advice, what can a preacher do to aide in the application of Scripture both to himself and others? This is where a resource like the Preacher’s Commentary Series is handy; it helps preachers and teachers understand their passage while providing applicable truths & illustrations.

Let’s look inside The Preacher’s Commentary Series and see how it works in the Bible Study App.

Resource Guide

Like any enhanced resource you purchase for the Bible Study App, the Preacher’s Commentary Series is built to work hand-in-hand with the Resource Guide. As you read the Bible the Resource Guide follows along and gives an overview of resources in your library that have content related to your passage. In the screenshot below you can see we have a hit in the commentary section for the Preacher’s Commentary Series. Since I’m currently studying the armor of God in Ephesians 6, I can quickly see what this commentary says without having to go find the commentary in my library and manually open it to my desired location. Not only do I save time, but I get the information I need with minimal effort.

The Commentary

One thing I appreciate about the Preacher’s Commentary is it reads like a devotional. Instead of getting caught in the nuances of the text that may not help you teach a passage, the commentary keeps an eye on explaining the things that matter. This means you don’t waste time skimming through pages of endless commentary to find the nuggets you came for. For example, in the commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20 the text is explained while intertwining a great illustration that bring immediate application. You then get descriptions for each piece of armor and their relevance to the Christian life.

Use it Today

The Preacher’s Commentary Series is a perfect companion for the teacher or pastor looking to relate the passage to their students or congregation.

Add the Preacher’s Commentary Series to your Olive Tree library today. Also be sure to check out the other titles we have on sale!

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Enhanced Maps: ESV Bible Atlas

Posted by on 01/03/2016 in: , ,

Capitalizing on recent advances in satellite imaging and geographic information systems, the Crossway ESV Bible Atlas offers Bible readers a comprehensive, up-to-date resource that blends technical sophistication with readability, visual appeal, and historical and biblical accuracy.

All the key methods of presenting Bible geography and history are here, including more than 175 full-color maps, 70 photographs, 3-D re-creations of biblical objects and sites, indexes, timelines, and 65,000 words of narrative description.  With The Bible Study App, all Scripture references become hyperlinks that you can tap and read the Bible text without having to leave the ESV Bible Atlas.

Here are a two examples: (screenshots are taken from an iPad Mini 4, click for a larger view)

 

Using The Bible Study App’s powerful resource guide, the ESV Bible Atlas detects where you are in the text that you’re reading and pull up maps pertaining to that particular passage. You can then tap on a map for a bigger view and even zoom in and out on the map for more details.

You can then tap the “Go” button and read the content applicable to the map you are viewing.

Or, you can view the map full screen on your mobile device.

Enhance your Bible study with the ESV Bible Atlas!  See all Maps & Atlases available for The Bible Study App!

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Look Inside: Thompson Chain Reference System

Posted by on 01/01/2016 in: ,

By Olive Tree Employee: Genny Gager

Bible commentaries and study notes are great tools for understanding what the Bible has to say to us today. Often overlooked, however, is the value that using scripture to understand scripture can bring. God’s inspired word is a complex tapestry of themes all woven together, and the development of those themes can provide us with insight into the relevant message of the Bible for today’s readers.

Finding our way around these themes can be a daunting task, especially given the variety of subjects covered in the Bible. A word search can be helpful, but it can give an incomplete picture due to the complexity of language and the context in which words are used. The great news is that Olive Tree offers the Thompson Chain Reference System, which links various themes together as they are touched upon and developed throughout Scripture. The very heart of this product is the thematic chains that number in the thousands, and people at all stages of learning about the Bible have used it in the 100 years since its initial release. The Thompson Chain resource is also a great study Bible, offering cross references, book outlines, book introductions, maps, and harmonies to aid us in our study.

We’ve put quite a bit of attention into converting the rich topical content so it can be used in the Bible Study app. Our goal was to make navigating the famous topical chains easy and intuitive and to allow quick access to the additional materials as well.

We’re going to walk through a quick example of how the Bible Study App can make navigating the Thompson Chain Reference System enjoyable and easy. The example uses and refers to the iPad version of our software. We’ve designed this resource to work seamlessly with the built-in resource guide, so if you don’t already know how to open it, read this article to open it in the split window, and have your Bible of choice open in the main window of your app.  Although we’ll be relying on the iPad version in our example, other versions of our app will have similar functionality.

If you want to follow along with the example, bring 1 Samuel chapter 17 up in your Bible. With everything set up, the screen will look similar to this (your screen may look a little different depending on what resources you have and how you have your resource guide set up):

To activate the chains, tap the name of the Thompson Chain under the commentaries section of your resource guide. Your split-window view will change to a listing of verses directly related to your location: (more…)

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Introducing Olive Tree Cross References

Posted by on 12/07/2015 in: ,

One of the first things I was taught when learning to study the Bible is that Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture. In my daily study and sermon preparation this is a truth I live by. Before turning to the notes in my study Bible or my vast assortment of commentaries I first turn to my cross reference resources. Even though these resources involve some manual curation of references, they point me back to the Bible and I can decide for myself if the verse is related to the passage I’m reading. With that in mind, I’m excited to introduce two brand new cross reference titles from Olive Tree: Olive Tree Cross References: Expanded Set and Olive Tree Cross References: Concise Set. Let’s take a look at these resources and see how they work in Bible+.

What Do You Get?

The Olive Tree Cross References: Expanded Set is a unique cross reference system derived from numerous traditional sources using computer-aided statistical analysis. The resulting cross reference set contains over 100,000 of the most pertinent references.

Using statistical analysis, verses are ranked according to importance and relevance. Highly relevant cross-references are printed in bold. Those of average importance and relevance are printed in normal text. More obscure references are printed in italics.

The Concise Set contains only the bolded references from the Expanded Set, which are the most important and relevant cross references. While abridged, the Concise Set still includes nearly 20,000 cross references.

How Do You Use It?

The Olive Tree Cross References Sets are not complicated resources. Out of all the resources you can have in your digital study library, these are two of the most straightforward titles to use. That being said, let me show you the two ways to use them. Screenshots are from the Expanded Set using an iPad Mini 4 (click images for a larger view).

The simplest and best way to use the Olive Tree Cross References is in a split window. In the main window you can have your favorite Bible translation open and the Olive Tree Cross References open in the split window.

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As you read and navigate through your Bible the cross references follow along, keeping them at your fingertips. After you read your Bible text you can then look over and quickly get to all the related passages, which are a tap away. Tap on the verse to read it without losing your place in your Bible. Unlike a physical Bible, you don’t need a second copy or risk losing your place. This saves you both time and effort in your studies.

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Alternatively, you can use the Olive Tree Cross Reference Sets in the Resource Guide via the Related Verses section. While we often say the Resource Guide is the most helpful way to use resources in the app, I’ll be honest and say that this isn’t the best way to make use of the Expanded Set. This is because you lose the visual distinction that differentiates between the different levels & types of references. On the other hand, the Concise Set is perfect for Resource Guide. The Resource Guide works in much the same way as the resource itself, presenting the verses, but in a different format. Either way, the references are only a tap away.

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Add Them to Your Library

Add the Olive Tree Cross Reference Sets to your digital library today and let them help you understand the Bible. Add both the Expanded and Concise Sets or just one of them. Get them today at their introductory price & check out our other titles currently on sale.

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Look Inside: Reformed Expository Commentary

Posted by on 11/30/2015 in:

Most major Bible commentaries today are written by scholars who have dedicated their lives to the study of specific books of the Bible. These commentaries can be extremely helpful, but they aren’t necessarily the best resource for a layman or a pastor trying to make the passage relevant to his congregants. This is where a series like the Reformed Expository Commentary from P&R can prove beneficial.

The Reformed Expository Commentary is a commentary written by pastor-scholars for pastors and laymen alike. As pastors, they recognize the need to provide faithful exposition of the text while also providing clear and relevant application. The contributors to the series aim to be scholarly in their writing, while not being academic. The idea is to be faithful and clear in teaching the text to Christians who possess various levels of biblical and theological training. The series achieves this by focusing on four fundamental commitments. First they aim to be biblical, by giving comprehensive exposition of each passage. Instead of going word by word or verse by verse, the passage is explained as an entire section. Second, the commentaries are doctrinal in their adherence to the Westminister Confessions and Catechisms, making them solidly reformed. Third, the commentaries possess a redemptive-historical orientation, focusing on the work of Christ throughout the entire narrative of Scripture. Finally, they are practical, applying the text to contemporary life, both public and private, through appropriate illustrations.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at this commentary in Bible+. Screenshots are from an iPad Mini 4, click the image for a larger view.

Pericopes of Scripture

The scriptural text has been divided into pericopes, or passages, usually several verses in length. Each of these pericopes is given a heading, which appears at the beginning of the pericope. For example, the first pericope in the commentary on 1 Peter is “Strangers in a Strange Land – 1 Peter 1:1-2.” To see the Scripture passage, tap on the highlighted reference, in this case “1 Peter 1:1-2.” A pop-up window will open the Scripture passage to your default Bible translation.

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Topical Headings

Each pericope can be further broken down into smaller sections. For this reason the commentary is divided into topical headings that relate to the passage. The topics focus on various aspects of each passage and help to relate them to the present day. This feature alone makes the Reformed Expository Commentary a valuable resource.

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The Footnotes

Readers who wish to pursue a deeper investigation of their passage will find the footnotes especially valuable. Tapping on a footnote number will cause a box to pop up on the screen, where in addition to citations, one will find information on textual issues and other notes of significance.

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Bible+ makes the Reformed Expository Commentary even more powerful! Here’s how.

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” from the Reformed Expository Commentary in the split window.

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Bible+ 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.

Linked Reference Pop ups

One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries is the other biblical references within the commentary. 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 Bible+, the scripture references are hyperlinked within the commentary text. All I have to do is tap the scripture reference to read it instantly.

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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 Bible+, all I have to do is highlight the text I want, copy 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!

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Integrated Dictionary (iOS Extra)

In the iPhone/iPad version of our app you 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, Save, Share, Define, Lookup and More.

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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.

Resource Guide on One Verse (iOS Extra)

An additional iOS option is looking up additional information on just one verse. Tap on a verse number and an option menu bar will pop up. From here you get the options Copy, Highlight, add a Note, Save, Share, Guide, and More.

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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 Reformed Expository Commentary within Bible+ gives you the best content, while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

Click here to find out more information about the Reformed Expository Commentary

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