Posts tagged Read the Bible

5 questions to ask when choosing a Bible reading plan

readingplanGuest Blogger: Rachel Wojnarowski

You intended for 2015 to be the year- the year that you settled into a daily Bible reading routine. Yet January 1st came… and the first week went, and you still haven’t started reading the Bible daily.

Guess what? I have wonderful news; it’s not too late to choose a Bible reading plan for 2015!

In fact, it’s never too late to begin a daily quiet time routine with God. The key to establishing a routine is to have an actual plan. Without a plan, we all know it just won’t happen; intentionality is a must. Today I have five questions to ask when choosing a Bible reading plan. These questions will provide guidance for choosing a Bible reading plan that works for you!

1. How much time do I intend to spend reading the Bible daily?
Choosing the amount of time you are going to spend each day reading the Bible doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it’s a great idea to estimate how much time you are going to set aside each day for reading. Knowing how much time you are going to use will enable you to choose a plan that will work for you! Whether it is 10 minutes or 20 minutes, choose an amount of time that is reasonable for you.

2. What is the best time of day for me to read the Bible daily?
While there is much to be said for beginning the day in God’s Word, there are seasons of life when taking 20 minutes in the morning is not the most ideal time for a larger segment of reading. Currently I am doing my daily reading in the morning, but there have been times in the past when I read just one verse in the morning and waited until a better time later in the day to read a full chapter or more. I believe the more consistent you can be with the time you have, the better the results.

3. How many chapters do I want to read in a day?
For the past two years, I’ve read the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan (available in Olive Tree’s Bible Study App) in order to read the Bible through in a year. This plan requires four chapters a day, as most Bible reading plans designed to be completed in a year. For me, this plan took about 20 minutes a day. Every reader will have a different comfortable speed of reading and different amount of time to spend reading each day. Think through these factors as you choose a Bible reading plan. This year I wanted to spend more time reflecting on the passage, so I chose to read one chapter a day. I won’t finish reading the Bible in a day, but that’s ok.

4. Do I plan to use any Bible study methods as I read or simply read and reflect?
Determining your study intentions before you begin the Bible reading plan will help you decide both your time factor and number of chapters per day. Whether you use a highlighting method or a simple Bible study guide each day will determine how much time you need to anticipate beyond the reading time.

5. How long do I plan to use this particular Bible reading plan?
Are you choosing your plan for the entire year or do you want to focus on a smaller increment of time, such as 3 months? It is sometimes difficult to know what you can do for an entire year and a shorter amount of time is a better way to commit. At the end of the 3 months, you can choose a new plan or even repeat the plan you finished for more impact.

What if I want to read through the Bible, but I know it will take longer than a year?

You can still read through the Bible AND do it all on your own. The first time I read through the Bible, I didn’t read 4 chapters a day and I didn’t use a set plan. You can find out what I did right here.

I hope these questions will guide you through the process of choosing a Bible reading plan that fits your current needs and desire.

Learn More about Rachel at
Watch a short video to learn more about Bible Reading Plans in The Bible Study App

The Voice Bible in The Bible Study App

The Voice Bible is a faithful dynamic equivalent translation that reads like a story with all the truth and wisdom of God’s Word. Through a collaboration of more than 120 biblical scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and artists, The Voice recaptures the passion, grit, humor, and beauty that is often lost in the translation process. The result is a retelling of the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works, yet remaining painstakingly true to the original manuscripts.

Features include:

Information added to help contemporary readers understand what the original readers would have known intuitively


Commentary notes include cultural, historical, theological, or devotional thoughts


Screenplay format, ideal for public readings and group studies


Book introductions


Here’s a video from publisher Thomas Nelson to give an example of The Voice in Luke 11:

Now through June 30th you can get The Voice Bible for 30% off the regular price.

My Favorite Three Bible Study methods

From Guest Blogger: Andy Deane, author of Learn to Study the Bible

Studying the Scriptures is supposed to be exciting! That’s why King David tells us in Psalm 119:103: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey tolearntostudythebible my mouth!” Like me, I hope that you have found this verse to be true. Maybe, like me, you have also discovered that having plain honey multiple times a day can get repetitive. I’m not saying that God’s word becomes boring over time. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I love that God’s word is so diverse and continues to excite and bless the reader taste after taste. The Scriptures are not to blame if we lose our taste for them. The Bible is designed to be a continual blessing to the believer. But believers may sometimes need to mix up how they study the Scriptures to make sure to avoid the ruts that their method of extracting the honey can bring about. Sometimes when we use the same approach to studying each and every day, the approach can become repetitive. It’s not God’s word that needs new spice, it’s the method of study that needs variety. That is why I wrote Learn to Study the Bible. With forty different ways to study the Scriptures, you always have a fresh way to prepare and digest your daily manna from heaven.

I’d like to share briefly the three ways that I personally enjoy studying the Bible.


To start, please consider buying a new Bible to use with this method, or at least a new color highlighter. Begin by reading one to four chapters of the Bible a day. Remember that reading one chapter a day will get you through the entire New Testament in a year with one hundred make up days for when you miss a day of reading. Four chapters a day will get you through the entire Bible in a year in less than 25 minutes of reading time. The key is that each day you underline only one favorite verse from each chapter you read. That’s easy when you are in Leviticus but extremely difficult when you are in Matthew! After you are finished reading the entire book, go back and circle one favorite verse from the verses you underlined in the whole book. Write a few sentences in your Bible about why that is your favorite verse for that book. After you’ve read the whole Bible, you’ll have 1,189 favorite verses underlined (one from each chapter) and 66 all-time favorite verses (one from each book). Think about how valuable that Bible will be to you because of this investment. As you turn to any page in Scripture you will remember which verse spoke to your heart the most. You might even consider putting the date next to the verses you choose to connect them to your daily journal to enhance the experience even more. These will become the verses you choose to memorize since they have meaning to you. It’s a simple but fruitful and personal way to study the Bible.


Not every student of God’s word is going to have the blessing of learning the original biblical languages. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t stand on the shoulders of scholars who spend their lives steeped in these languages, and this is the beauty of the Translation Comparison Bible Study Method. Every translation of the Bible represents the understanding and choice of dozens of skilled language scholars. When you see a unique word in a verse, you can be sure an important decision was made to choose that word over another word. This method helps you notice the different word selections that scholars made when creating English translations of the Bible. You’ll also learn how to prayerfully meditate on why these words were chosen over other words and how that can impact your understanding of the text. Learn how to compare Bible translations for spiritual growth and profit by reading a chapter from the book for free by visiting this link:


Sometimes our biggest problem is rushing our reading of a passage of Scripture. If we simply slow down and chew on God’s word then we would be blessed by it. Slowing down is exactly what the Daily Bread Bible Study Method will force you to do. With this method, you’ll learn techniques that invite you to take the time to make sure you’re squeezing all the meaning you can out of the Scriptures. If you’ve struggled with understanding what your pastor means when he tells you to “meditate on God’s word,” then this method is for you. Read another free chapter from the book by visiting

I hope these three Bible study methods that I use personally will bless you as you experiment with them. Remember that however you mix it up, keep it exciting—don’t let your Bible study time become dull or a duty. I hope you’ll enjoy and use one of these methods, but don’t forget that you should never become devoted to the method—only to the Savior to whom the methods lead!

Learn to Study the Bible by Andy Deane can be purchased for the Bible Study App on here.

A Look Inside the “New Interpreter’s Study Bible Notes”

The New Interpreter’s Study Bible Notes, based on the text of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, blends a devotional and a thought provoking reading of the Old and New Testament and deuterocanonical books ( also known as the Apocrypha). This resource is especially equipped with enhanced features in The Bible Study App. The split-screen mode allows you to read the study notes, outlines, and book introductions alongside the biblical text.

New Intepreters Verision Edit

Introductions at the beginning of each biblical book highlight major themes within that book, the style of the author and his writing, and the historical and biblical context of the book. Detailed verse-by-verse notes follow the introductions and book outlines and contain helpful insights into the biblical text.


There are also over 90 excursus that help explain the thematic and theological background of the Bible text.


Students of the Bible will find new depth and insight in this work, whether newcomers to scriptural study or seasoned academics. Check out the New Interpreter’s Study Bible Notes on The Bible Study App.  Now through May 13th, you can get the New Interpreter’s Study Bible Notes, the New Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary, and the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible Complete Set for half the regular price.

Preparing a Sunday School Lesson with Olive Tree

Developing the Bible Study app and resources isn’t just a job for us here at Olive Tree. Like you, we are passionate about reading the Bible and we love using our app to enhance our study of God’s Word.

We thought you might like to see the Olive Tree app in action. Keith, an Olive Tree engineer, put together a step-by-step guide for preparing a Sunday school lesson on the Bible Study app for Windows 7. Here’s Keith:

“I’ve been preparing Sunday school lessons on the “Lord’s Prayer”-Matt 6:9-13, and next Sunday’s lesson is on Matthew 6:11: Give us today our daily bread.”

“With the ESV Bible open in my Windows 7 Bible Study app, I type Matt 6:9 in the search bar in the upper right corner of the window and press enter. This takes me to this passage in the main window.”



“I’d like to make some text from this passage be my lesson title, so I highlight “Give us today our daily bread” in the Bible window and right click the highlight. This displays a menu from which I click “Copy” and now I can paste the text into my word program.”



“I want to know more about the word “bread” in the Matthew passage, so I right click on “bread” in the text which highlights the word and displays a menu with various search options. I select “Look up bread” from the menu.”



“From “Look up bread,” a list of articles, notes, images, etc. about “bread” will appear. I choose Easton’s Dictionary of the Bible from the “Articles,” which gives me a great article with some background information. I highlight the first two paragraphs in the pop-up window and right-click/copy/paste the section into my lesson document. Here’s what I find in the Easton’s Bible Dictionary:”


Among the Jews was generally made of wheat (Ex 29: 2 Judg 6: 19), though also sometimes of other grains (Gen 14: 18; Judg 7: 13). Parched grain was sometimes used for food without any other preparation (Ruth 2: 14).

Bread was prepared by kneading in wooden bowls or “kneading troughs” (Gen 18: 6 Ex 12: 34; Jer 7: 18).


“The term “daily bread” reminds me of “manna,” so I look up manna by typing it into the search bar and hitting enter. In the right window, I now see headings that guide me to topics, articles, Bibles, images, charts, all about “manna”. I can simply click on a result to go to any of the articles and Bible passages that pique my interest. In “Search results in Open Books,” I choose the Bible I’m using for study to see a list of every time “manna” is mentioned in the Bible. I highlight and copy the verses I want to paste into my lesson plan.”



“But what does the word “manna” mean in the original Greek and Hebrew? I go back to my search results for manna and scroll to the “Search results in Dictionaries” to select Olive Tree’s “Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary” that comes with Strong’s numbered Bibles. Now I have information about manna in Hebrew and Greek:”

h4478. מנ man; from 4100; literally, a whatness (so to speak), i. e. manna (so called from the question about it): — manna.

AV (14)- manna 14;

manna the bread from Heaven that fed the Israelites for 40 years of wilderness wanderings means ‘ What is it?’

“Olive Tree has many original language reference works available, including many Bibles with Strong’s definitions that are tied to the words in the biblical text. In a Strong’s numbered Bible you can click the word “bread” and the Strong’s definition pops up with further options for searching deeper into the word right in the popup.”



“With this research under my belt, I’m well on my way to bringing an excellent and thought-provoking lesson to my Sunday School class.”


Thanks Keith! That was only an introduction to the basics of how the Bible Study app can help you prepare for Bible studies, Sunday School classes, sermons, and more. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay on top of all the latest updates and news for the Bible Study app.


This blog is a re-post from the best of 2011 Olive Tree blogs.

Isaiah 40:8

I recently wrote about how standing in line is made better by reading my Bible and devotionals on the Bible Study app. The comments I received from readers reminded me of this verse:

 Isaiah 40:8

Isaiah spoke these words to the exiled Israelites as he proclaimed the good news that there would be an end to their plight, that the their “warfare is ended and iniquity is pardoned,” and that the “glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” (Isaiah 40:1-5)

Peter repeats these words and exhorts the early Christians to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Peter 1:22-25)

A good reminder, especially as we debate over politics, gawk at the latest gadgets, and go about our busy days. In the end all of it will fade, but God’s Word remains forever.

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