Posts tagged Look Inside

Look Inside: The Preacher’s Commentary Series

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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!

Enhanced Maps: ESV Bible Atlas

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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!

Look Inside: Thompson Chain Reference System

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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…)

Introducing Olive Tree Cross References

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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.

Look Inside: Reformed Expository Commentary

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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