Tag Archive: Look Inside

What The NIDB Is and How It Has Helped Me

Posted by on 02/06/2015 in: , ,

Guest ReviewAbram Kielsmeier-Jones

NIDB Olive TreeAn underrated but really good Bible dictionary is the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIDB). Published by Abingdon, the five-volume set is edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld and includes contributions of nearly 1,000 scholars.

For a short time the dictionary set is $99.99 in Olive Tree Bible software. Below I offer–from my perspective as a preaching pastor and Bible reader–my take on the set, with a focus on Olive Tree’s iOS Bible Study App.

What The NIDB Is and How It Has Helped Me

There are more than 7,000 articles in NIDB. The contributing scholars are diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, and denominational background–a refreshing mix of voices. The dictionary balances reverence for the biblical text with rigorous scholarship–though the dictionary is rarely arcane.
The NIDB has been eminently useful to me in my weekly sermon preparation. Last fall, for example, when preaching through Genesis, I knew I’d have to make sense somehow of the “subdue” command that God gives the first humans regarding their relationship to the earth. The dictionary’s “Image of God” entry helpfully clarifies:

While the verb may involve coercive activities in interhuman relationships (see Num. 32:22, 29), no enemies are in view here–and this is the only context in which the verb applies to nonhuman creatures.

The same article puts nicely the implications of humanity’s creation in God’s image: the “image of God entails a democratization of human beings–all human hierarchies are set aside.”

This sort of blend between technical detail and pastoral application is present throughout the dictionary.

I’ve also found useful background for my Greek reading. This year, for example, I’m reading through the Psalms in Greek with a group of folks (see here). In the “Septuagint” entry in NIDB I find this:

The 4th-cent. CE “Codex Vaticanus” contains all of the books of the Hebrew Scripture or Protestant OT, and the following material that is today classified as deuterocanonical: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Ps 151, the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus or Ben Sirach, the additions to Esther (several of which were originally composed in a Semitic language; others of which are original Greek compositions), Judith, Tobit, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, and the additions to Daniel (Azariah and the Three Jews, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon).

The entry goes on to describe other Septuagint manuscripts, with hyperlinks in Olive Tree to related entries.

iOS Features in Olive Tree

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Olive Tree is as cross-platform as a Bible study app gets: it runs on iOS (iPhone and iPad), Mac, Windows, and Android. The app itself is free, and you can get some good texts free, too, so you can preview the app before you buy any resources in it.

I’ve got the Olive Tree app on Mac, iPhone, and iPad Mini. It’s one of the best-executed iOS Bible study apps I’ve seen. It is visually appealing, highly customizable (especially with gestures and swipes), and easy to learn.

When reading the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (or anything else), here are a few features that have impressed me:

You can navigate with “flick scrolling” (how iBooks is set up) or “page scrolling” (like Kindle). This will make just about any user feel at home in the app. Flick scrolling (how you’d navigate a Web page) feels more natural to me, so I use that.

Dictionary entries are easy to get to. You can simply tap on “Go To” and type in the entry you’re looking for. The auto-complete feature saves having to type very much on the iPhone’s small keyboard:

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You can search the entire contents of NIDB by word. If I wanted to see not just the entry for “Septuagint,” but every time the NIDB mentions the Septuagint, I would simply type that word in to the search entry bar:

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Then I can select a result and read the given entry.

The full-color photos are zoomable. The NIDB contains full-color photographs that help visualize various entries. You can select the photograph and pinch-zoom for more detail.

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I’ve noted this before–there is a great deal of customizable “Gestures/Shortcuts” preferences in the “Advanced Settings” menu. Olive Tree is the most versatile Bible study app in this sense. For example:

  • Two-finger swipe left and right takes you through your history within the app. I can swipe between NIDB, and the last NIV Old Testament passage I was reading, and a commentary, and…. No need to go through menus.
  • Two-finger tap gets you from any screen to your library; right away you can get at your other resources.

Concluding Assessment and How to Buy

One of my favorite features of Olive Tree’s apps is that you can view two resources at once that aren’t tied together by Bible verse. It’s like having split windows on an iPad. So you can have the NIDB open in the top half of your screen, and a Bible text or other resource open in the bottom half–even to unrelated topics if you want.

The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible is about as good a Bible dictionary as you’ll find. If you can use it to complement the Anchor Bible Dictionary (also available in OT), you’d be very well set with Bible dictionaries.

Olive Tree has done a great job, especially with its iOS apps. As much as I loved my print copy of NIDB, I unloaded it not long ago since I can essentially carry it around with me now. And getting at its contents is even easier with the enhancements Olive Tree provides.

Abram Kielsmeier-Jones is the pastor of a great church in a seaside community near Boston, a youth ministry consultant, a husband and father, and a follower of Jesus. At his blog Words on the Word he records his thoughts on the Bible (particularly as written in Greek and Hebrew), books about the Bible, pastoring, leading worship, parenting, youth ministry, music, the Church, and more. Read more about Abram here.

Thanks to Olive Tree for the NIDB for the purposes of this review, offered without any expectations as to the content of the review. You can find the product here, where it is currently on sale for $99.99.

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Best New Bible Study Tool: Greek-English Interlinear New Testament

Posted by on 01/21/2015 in: ,

In July 2014 we released our newest App update to iOS 5.9.  With this update we released Greek Interlinear Bibles and they soon became a go to Bible study tool for many people.

What’s an Interlinear Bible? An interlinear Bible typically is the Hebrew or Greek text of the Old or New Testament with a literal English translation between the lines of the original-language text.  This is a helpful Bible Study tool, especially for those wanting to dig deeper into original Bible language studies.

Here’s a brief look inside the ESV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. (Screenshots are taken from an iPad 2, click for a larger view)

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Not only can The Bible Study App display the text in an Interlinear format, we’ve tagged the Greek word with the Greek Parsing and Strong’s Definition: Simply tap a word to get more details on that Greek word.

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We’ve also tagged the English Word:

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And the Strong’s Number:

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Searching for this Greek word in the text? No problem. Tap search and The Bible Study App will bring you a list of results for that Greek Word:

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You can also tap “lookup” and The Bible Study App will find dictionaries already downloaded to your device that contain more information on this Greek word:

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You can also search the Greek word in the same form as the word you’ve tapped:

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Or, you can search for all Greek words in the same form as the word you’ve tapped:

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To celebrate their becoming the best Bible Study Tool of 2014, we’re offering great discounts on the ESV, NKJV, and KJV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament Bibles as well as the Best New Titles from 2014.

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How to use the NIDNTTE in The Bible Study App

Posted by on 11/05/2014 in: , ,

NIDNTTE picA standard and widely-used reference work for nearly 40 years, the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE) has been thoroughly revised and updated to aid today’s pastors, students, scholars, and teachers in their study of the New Testament.

The NIDNTTE offers a wealth of background and information on the meaning of Greek words in the New Testament—as well as related usage in classical Greek sources, the Septuagint, Jewish literature, and more

Here are Five ways to use the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE) in The Bible Study App (screenshots are from an iPad 2 – click for a larger view).

ONE – Traditional Dictionary

Open the NIDNTTE in the main window. Tap the GO TO button. From here you can search for the word you are looking for as you would another other dictionary through the Table of Contents.

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TWO – Traditional Dictionary Search

Similarly, with the NIDNTTE in the main window. Tap GO TO > Browse Dictionary > Enter the Greek Word you are looking for.  The Bible Study App search the NIDNTTE for the Greek word. Tap the word and read the article.

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These first two options require a working knowledge of Biblical Greek.  I’m sorry to say that my Greek is a bit rusty. Okay, it’s a LOT rusty. (Apologies to Dr. Walls, my Greek professor)  This is where the Bible Study App’s functionality and integration with original language resources really shines.

THREE – Strong’s Tagged Bible Integration

If you have a Strong’s Tagged Bible, using the NIDNTTE is a snap.  Open your Strong’s Tagged Bible in the Main Window (I’m using the ESV Strong’s Tagged Bible in this example). Tap the word you want to learn more about.  I’ve chosen the word “worship” from Romans 12:1 latreia. From the Strong’s Popup, tap “Lookup latreia”.

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There you will find an article in the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis.  Tap the NIDNTTE book cover and you can read the article on the Greek word in the popup window.

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You even have the option to open the article in the Main Window or Split Window.

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FOUR – Original Language Integration 

Along the same lines is the integration with Greek Parsed texts like the NA28 with Parsings.

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FIVE – Greek New Testament Interlinear Integration

Lastly, the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis integrates well with our Greek New Testament Interlinear titles.

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The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis is a great resource for going further in your understanding of biblical Greek.  Thanks to our partners at Zondervan, we’re able to offer a special introductory price for the fully updated and revised 5 volume set, and the 10 volume bundle that includes it’s sister title the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDOTTE).  Hurry, because this is a limited time offer and we don’t know when we’ll be able to offer these discounts on these resources again.

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How to Use the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible

Posted by on 07/31/2014 in: ,

The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIBD), complete 5-volume set, is the definitive starting point for research on any topic, place or person in the Bible, with emphasis on the crucial theological concepts. Based on the NRSV the NIBD is a balanced and relevant Bible study resource for any pastor, rabbi, preacher, teacher, or student who is preparing to serve the congregation.

Here are three ways you can use this comprehensive resource in The Bible Study App. (Screenshots are taken from an iPad 2 – click for a larger view)

The first way is through the Split Window and Resource Guide.  Open your favorite Bible translation in the main window and the Resource Guide in the Split Window.  As you read through your Bible text, the Resource Guide searches through all the downloaded resources in your library to find related Bible study content.

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You’ll notice that the Resource Guide pulls related content from all of your downloaded resources.  If you scroll down the Resource Guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”  These headings give you the results of articles based on your downloaded resources.

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Tap or click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about. I chose “Nebo” in this example.  The Bible Study App then brings you results from within the resources you have on your device.  This is where you will find the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIBD) within the Resource Guide.

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You’ll notice that the resource has the words “Article to Nebo” underneath the book cover.  Tap/Click on the book cover and The Bible Study App will take you directly to the article within the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIBD). As you are reading the article, any Scripture references become hyperlinks that you can tap/click to view as a pop-out window:

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The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible was written by 900 scholars from 40 nations. It contains 7,100 original articles and 1,300 distinct cross-reference entries.  Here’s one example from the Mount Nebo article we’ve been reading:

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The second way you can utilize the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIBD)  is 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 dictionary.

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The third way is to use the Bible Study App’s Lookup Feature. Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  If you tap the “Lookup” button you’ll get “hits” from your resources on just that specific word. From here you can follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option above.

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If you’re on an iOS device, you can also tap the verse number and a menu bar will appear.  Tap “Guide” and you will get hits from your resources on that specific verse.  Then just follow the same steps as you would in the resource guide option.

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As you can see, the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible is an extremely helpful resource for studying the Bible.  Right now you can get this amazing resource for only $99.99.  That’s $200 off the regular price!  Hurry because this is a limited time offer!

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Look Inside: NIV Study Bible Notes

Posted by on 07/24/2014 in: ,

One of the great things about our new iOS 5.9 release is how The Bible Study App will be better able to layout text in ways that we could not before. Here are some examples from the NIV Study Bible Notes. (Screenshots taken from an iPad 2.  Click images for a larger view.)

With iOS 5.9 all charts are now actual text, and as with other verse references in the App, verse references now become hyperlinks that you can tap and see the verse without having to leave your place in the Bible text and the NIV Study Bible notes.

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Secondly, the NIV Study Bible Notes used to require the entire width to display the images, and that the text cannot flow around the images. In the new iOS 5.9 App, note how text flows around the images as intended.

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These are just two examples of how the iOS 5.9 update dramatically improves the layout of the NIV Study Bible notes.

Check out the NIV Study Bible notes and other titles that demonstrate the beautiful new layout with the latest update.

Learn more about the iOS 5.9 update here.

If you haven’t already done so, you can update to the latest iOS 5.9 version by clicking the link App Store graphic below:

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Look Inside: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Posted by on 07/24/2014 in: ,

One of the great things about this our latest iOS 5.9 app update is how The Bible Study App will be better able to layout text in ways that we could not before.  We wanted to show you a few examples of this using the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT). (Screenshots taken from an iPad 2.  Click for a larger view.)

Compare the Introduction to 1 Corinthians

Previous iOS App 5.5.4                                               Current iOS App 5.9

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Notice how the introduction text can now be displayed in the gray box to notate the 1 Corinthians Introduction (a feature mentioned in the commentary series preface).

Compare the Translation Text

Current iOS App 5.5.4                                               Future iOS App 5.9

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Notice the author’s translation of the text is in a different font type than the exposition text.

Check out the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) and other titles that demonstrate the beautiful new layout with the latest update.

Learn more about the iOS 5.9 update here.

If you haven’t already done so, you can update to the latest iOS 5.9 version by clicking the link App Store graphic below:

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Look Inside: NLT Study Bible

Posted by on 07/24/2014 in: ,

One of the great things about our new iOS 5.9 release is how The Bible Study App will be better able to layout text in ways that we could not before.  We wanted to show you a few examples of this using the NLT (New Living Translation) Study Bible. (Screenshots taken from an iPad 2.  Click for a larger view.)

Compare Romans 1:1

Previous iOS App 5.5.4                                               Current iOS App 5.9

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You’ll notice that as you scroll through that section (and most other sections of the NLT Study Bible), you will find articles and sidebars, some of which are floating or using some nice formatting to make them stand out.

Compare Genesis 1:1

Previous iOS App 5.5.4                                               Current iOS App 5.9

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The tables and articles are much laid out in a much more flowing format with the content.  This is just one of the many advantages to this app update.

Check out the NLT Study Bible and other titles that demonstrate the beautiful new layout with the latest update.

Learn more about the iOS 5.9 update here.

If you haven’t already done so, you can update to the latest iOS 5.9 version by clicking the link App Store graphic below:

appstore

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Look Inside: ESV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament

Posted by on 07/21/2014 in: , ,

With our newest App update to iOS 5.9 we can now offer Interlinear Bibles!  What’s an interlinear Bible you ask?  An interlinear Bible typically is the Hebrew or Greek text of the Old or New Testament with a literal English translation between the lines of the original-language text.  This is an extremely helpful Bible Study tool, especially for those wanting to dig deeper into original Bible language studies.

Here’s a brief look inside the ESV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. (Screenshots are taken from an iPad 2, click for a larger view)

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Not only can The Bible Study App display the text in an Interlinear format, we’ve tagged the Greek word with the Greek Parsing and Strong’s Definition: Simply tap a word to get more details on that Greek word.

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We’ve also tagged the English Word:

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And the Strong’s Number:

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Searching for this Greek word in the text? No problem. Tap search and The Bible Study App will bring you a list of results for that Greek Word:

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You can also tap “lookup” and The Bible Study App will find dictionaries already downloaded to your device that contain more information on this Greek word:

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You can also search the Greek word in the same form as the word you’ve tapped:

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Or, you can search for all Greek words in the same form as the word you’ve tapped:

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We’re really excited about the release of the Greek-Interlinears!  To celebrate their release, we’re offering great discounts on the ESV, NKJV, and KJV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament Bibles!

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Look Inside: Understanding The Bible Commentary Series

Posted by on 07/10/2014 in:

The Understanding The Bible Commentary Series is now complete and consists of 36 volumes spanning the entire Old Testament and New Testament.

Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books with key terms and phrases highlighted and all Hebrew transliterated.

(screenshot below is of The Bible Study App on PC, click for larger view)

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Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper. A bibliography as well as Scripture and subject indexes are also included. Pastors, students, and Bible teachers will find in this series a commitment to accessibility without sacrificing serious scholarship.

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Get the entire Understanding The Bible Commentary Series here!

Watch the video below to hear more about The Understanding The Bible Commentary series.

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