Tag Archive: resource guide

Nine Tips for Bible+ on iOS

Posted by on 05/11/2016 in:

If you’re new to using the Bible+ App you may be wondering where to start or what features are available. Here are 9 tips to get you started!

laptop with tablet and smart phone on table

Tip #1: Library

libraryIconThe Library button is where you’ll find your favorite Bible translations, commentaries, eBooks or whatever else you’ve added to your library. Don’t have much in there? Tap Store to download more free resources or purchase additional ones and build your own study library.

Tip #2: Search

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Want to quickly find a word or passage? Tap the Search button and quickly find exactly what you’re looking for. Search works on any type of book that you have open in the main window whether it’s a Bible or eBook.

Tip #3: Book Ribbon

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If you want to save the spot where you’re reading then tap the Book Ribbon. Similar to a physical Bible this will drop a digital version of a book ribbon so you can pick back up where you left off earlier. This particularly useful if you use the app on multiple devices as you can start reading on your iPhone and then access the book ribbon on your iPad or laptop thanks to our great sync feature.  (Note: sync only works if you have a free Olive Tree account.)

Looking for more features?
Tap the three bars in the upper left  to access the menu –> burger menu

In the menu you can access all  of your saved annotations like highlights, book ribbons, notes and the deeper features of the app. Here are a few of the top ones. 

Tip #4: Saved Passage

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Saved Passages are similar to Book Ribbons in that you can mark specific place in the text but they are created differently. To save a passage tap on the verse number or tap and hold to select as much as you want. Then tap ‘Save’. You can now navigate back to that passage later by tapping the Saved Passages section.

Tip #5: History

historyRecentIconWhat if you’re jumping around in different passages of scripture and want to go back to a previously read passage? This is where the Reading History feature comes in handy. Tap this icon to see previously read passages or even sections of eBooks. Just tap to go back.

Tip #6: Reading Plans

readingPlansIconBible Reading Plans in the App are a fantastic way to read through the Bible. With plans as short at 5 days or as long as two years you can select the right one for you in the season you’re in. The app comes installed with some great ones or you can tap ‘Get More Reading Plans’ to download more.

Tip #7: Font Size

fontDecreaseIcon fontIncreaseIconAt the top of the menu you’ll see a theme selection that allows for easier reading in lowlight or daylight. In addition to this you’ll notice the letter A with a + & -. Tap these to increase or decrease font size to further customize your reading experience.

Tip #8: Custom Settings

settingsMenuIconLooking for further customization? Scroll down in the menu and tap the App Settings icon. Here you’ll find things like scrolling options, gestures, background colors, and much more! Don’t worry, if you change something and want to go back just select ‘Reset Fonts and Colors’ at the bottom of the App Settings menu.

Last but not least the most powerful and beneficial feature of Bible+ is the Resource Guide!

Tip #9: Resource Guide

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<–In the main window tap this to open the split window and then tap the Resource Guide icon.  resourceGuideIcon (1)

The Resource Guide is your personal research assistant, pulling in any content that is relevant to the passage you are reading in the main window. The bigger your library is the more content you will have to help you unpack the passage you’re reading. Go HERE to see a preview of how the Resource Guide works.

If you are looking for more tips and information about the app check out our Help Site.

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

Posted by on 10/06/2015 in:

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.

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Introducing the IVP Dictionary Series

Posted by on 08/10/2015 in: ,

Any Bible study library worth its weight must contain good Bible dictionaries. Inevitably you will come across something you don’t completely understand and you’ll want more information than your study Bible or commentary has to offer. Bible dictionaries fill this void with their wealth of knowledge on a myriad of biblical subjects. Today I’d like to introduce you to the IVP Dictionary Series, a new top notch set that you’ll want to own as a part of your Olive Tree library.

The IVP Dictionary Series, known to many as the “Black Dictionaries” because of their covers, is a unique set of reference works that bridges the gap between scholars and those pastors, teachers, students and lay people desiring in-depth treatment of select topics in an accessible format.

When you look at many Bible dictionaries published today, they are typically a single volume and may or may not contain information on your desired topic of study. Given their single volume nature, publishers have to decide what to cover and what gets trimmed down or eliminated for the sake of page count. This is not the case with the IVP Dictionary Series. Instead, you get eight (8) individual dictionaries that target specific areas of Scripture, whether it be the Old Testament prophets or Paul and his epistles. The articles cover traditional and contemporary topics, including cross-sectional themes, methods of interpretation, significant historical or cultural background, and each Old and New Testament book as a whole.

The great thing about having individual volumes that focus on specific areas of Scripture is it allows you to get an in-depth look at the subject as it pertains to the passage you’re studying. As opposed to getting a broad overview that covers the subject over the entirety of the Bible, you can narrow down your study to only see how it relates to your passage. Allow me to illustrate, while showing you how to use them in the Bible Study app.

Let’s say I’m in the gospels studying one of Jesus’ miracles, such as his cleansing of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19. As I study this passage, I’m going to want to do more study on the subject of miracles and faith, since it is clearly an emphasis in this passage. The Resource Guide makes it easy to study these topics and suggests them to me. So, I click on faith.

Faith and Miracles in the Resource Guide

Faith and Miracles in the Resource Guide

As I peruse my list of hits I find many dictionaries in my library that discuss the subject of faith. Notice that the IVP Dictionary Series is in my list, and, of the 8 volumes, 6 have entries for faith. Since I’m currently in the gospels I will take a look at the entry in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.

Articles on "Faith" in the IVP Dictionaries

Articles on “Faith” in the IVP Dictionaries

Looking through the article, I immediately find out just how important faith is in the gospels, and the New Testament in general. I can then see a quick outline of the entry, before drilling down into the subject. When I’m done, I walk away with a greater understanding of how faith relates to the gospels and Jesus’ ministry. Now, if I want to expand my study beyond the gospels, I can read the other IVP dictionaries and see how it is understood in other areas of Scripture, such as the Pentateuch or the later New Testament writings.

"Faith" in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels

“Faith” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels

There are many ways you can utilize these dictionaries in your studies. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, just open up the dictionary and navigate to your subject. Alternatively, if you’re reading the Bible and find a word you want to study, tap it and use the Lookup feature to find hits in these dictionaries. How you use them is really up to you.

Purchase the IVP Dictionary Series today at it’s introductory sale price and start using these dictionaries in your own studies. This is one set of dictionaries you will not regret owning!

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How to Use God’s Commentary on Scripture

Posted by on 04/10/2015 in: , ,

By Olive Tree Employee: David Mikucki

Olive Tree has a lot of commentaries and study Bibles available, and I love using them. I find myself using one almost every day, even if it’s only to get background information on a verse as I read each day. The Resource Guide makes it easy to do just that. I can’t even imagine trying to carry Calvin’s 22-volume commentary set or even the hefty ESV Study Bible with me everywhere.

But as I’m sure you’re aware, commentaries and study Bibles can get things wrong. Theologians and scholars make mistakes and misinterpret things, but God is perfect and doesn’t make any mistakes. Wouldn’t it be great if God had written a commentary on Scripture? Well, in a way He did, and His commentary comes free with The Bible Study App. Let me explain what I mean…

Interpreting Scripture with Scripture

frustrationIt has been said that Scripture is its own best interpreter, and that’s absolutely true. It has also been said that when we’re having trouble interpreting a text that seems unclear, the best place we can go is to clearer texts that talk about the same subject. So when Jesus speaks in a parable, it can be very helpful to see what Paul had to say about the subject. That can help to guard us from error as we seek to understand the meaning of difficult passages. In this sense, God gives us commentary on Scripture through other Scripture.

Before I used The Bible Study App, I would do this by looking at the tiny cross-references in my Bible text, then I would try to keep my finger where I started as I used my other hand to look up the cross-references—leaving a finger at each cross reference. That got pretty crazy pretty quick since I only have ten fingers. Besides that, what about keeping my place in commentaries?

Thankfully, Olive Tree offers a few features that make this a lot easier.

Cross Reference Popups

Several of the translations Olive Tree offers (like the ESV and the NIV) have cross-references built right into the Bible text. Cross-references are references to verses that the translators thought were related to the verse you’re reading. They look like little superscripted letters. When you tap them, you see popup that shows you the cross references related to that verse:

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The list of cross-references, of course, isn’t inspired. But Scripture is inspired and the cross references are designed to take you to places in Scripture that are related to the passage you’re reading. In the example below, I was reading the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, and I found a cross-reference where Hebrews gives us some extra insight into this story:

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Two Passages Side-by-Side

If you want to dig into God’s commentary even more, you might find popups don’t show enough context and they can get in your way of reading the original passage. With split window, you can easily pull up two whole passages of Scripture side-by-side. First open split window by tapping on the arrow at the edge of your screen:

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This will probably bring up the Resource Guide, so tap Open at the top of the Resource Guide, then tap Recently Opened and select one your preferred Bible translations:

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By default, the split window is set to show the same passage that you have open in the main window so that you can compare translations, but if you disable window syncing, you can use the two screens as if they’re two separate Bibles. To do this, tap the [>>] icon at the top right of the split window, then tap Sync Settings and turn off Sync Windows:

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Now, you can open a passage that’s related to the one you’re currently reading. I’m in Jeremiah 31:31, reading about the New Covenant. Hebrews has a lot to say about this passage in chapters 8 and 10, so I’ll take my split window to Hebrews 8 by using the Go To button:

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Now I have both passages opened. I can read Scripture and God’s commentary on Scripture—more Scripture—right next to each other!

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Conclusion

I don’t consider my study of a passage complete until I’ve looked to see what God says about that passage elsewhere in His Word. These features make it a lot easier to do that. Another tool I often use is the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which is a collection of cross-references that’s a bit larger than what you’ll find in a Bible translation. It’s quite useful and we’ve even written a blog post about how to use it.

The steps I showed you here were for iPad, but these things can be done on all of our platforms. You can learn about how to use split window and lots of other features for all our supported platforms on our help website.

David is a front end web developer at Olive Tree. He also writes on his personal blog, And the Rest of It.

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What is the Resource Guide?

Posted by on 03/03/2015 in: , ,

What is the Resource Guide? As you read along in your Bible in the main window of The Bible Study App, the Resource Guide in the split window follows along, looking in your library for any Bible study information that is relevant to your reading. As you scroll or change scripture references the Resource Guide will stay in sync looking to all of your study resources making for a powerful and easy to use study tool.

Your Very Own Research Assistant Think of the Resource Guide as your own personal research assistant. If you were reading about Paul’s first missionary journey in Acts 13, your research assistant has a map of Paul’s journey, cross references to passages in Paul’s letters written to the churches he founded, charts that give an overview of Paul’s life, and all sorts of other resources. You didn’t have to do anything, in fact, you didn’t even have to ask. All of the work was already done by your personal research assistant, the Resource Guide.

Resource Guide 1

Completely Customizable The configuration of the Resource Guide is also customizable. To access the options for customizing the Resource Guide tap on the double arrow button (double gear for Android) in the upper right corner. You will then see the various options for customizing the different sections in the Resource Guide.

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Here’s a short video on the basics of the Resource Guide:

What types of resources work with the Resource Guide? The Resource Guide is ‘verse driven’ which means that the Bible passage that is open in the main window directs what references appear in the Resource Guide. Not every resource is verse driven but some examples of verse driven resources are:

  • Articles on people, places, and other topics
  • Study Bible notes
  • Commentaries
  • Outlines
  • Dictionaries
  • Introductions to books of the Bible
  • Cross references
  • Maps

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Look Inside: A Visual Guide to Bible Events

Posted by on 10/03/2014 in: , , ,

This week, Olive Tree has an awesome sale on A Visual Guide to Bible Events.  The book’s introduction states that its purpose is to be “a door through which to enter the world of the Bible and encounter the power and love of our Lord Jesus and the unity of Scripture.”

This resource does just that.  This book is not written in your typical research academic resource. Rather, it has a conversational tone to which any person can relate.  A Visual Guide to Bible Events is packed with over 500 photographs and maps brings a heightened awareness to the biblical text like no other.

For example, take the seven churches of Revelation.

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With the addition of the map, you can visualize how John’s letter carrier would have made a circular trip and how closely the seven churches were geographically.  You can also see the length of the Israelites’ detour around Edom in Numbers 20:14–21 and Deuteronomy 2:1–8.

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Looking through the beautiful full-color photographs gives a sense of being “in the action” and gives a sense of realism and depth like no written resource could.

Another example is a section of the Jerusalem wall during Nehemiah’s time.

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Or, seeing a scale model of the temple and envisioning what it would have been like to be with the early church in Solomon’s Colonnade.

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Perhaps even seeing a picture of an altar to an unknown God and how that would have affected the Apostle Paul.

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Bible history told and shown in this context is insightful for all those wanting to deepen their Bible knowledge.  The Bible Study App enhances this resource to strengthen your Bible study.  As you’re reading through A Visual Guide to Bible Events, tap or click on a scripture reference to instantly see the Bible text.  You can also use the split screen feature to view the articles and pictures while reading your Bible to augment your daily reading.

If you like the The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook you may also be interested in the Baker Illustrated Collection 6 Volume Set that includes the The Baker Illustrated Bible CommentaryThe Baker Illustrated Bible DictionaryThe Baker Illustrated Bible HandbookVisual Guide to Bible EventsThe Baker Illustrated Guide to Everyday Life in Bible Times, and Visual Guide to Gospel Events.

Check out this week’s sale on A Visual Guide to Bible Events and more full-color illustrated titles for The Bible Study App.

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Look Inside: Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

Posted by on 09/29/2014 in: , ,

This week we’re able to offer some outstanding illustrated commentaries that are an amazing resource for use within The Bible Study 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 Study App makes using Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary a seamless part of your study.

In the below screenshot (click to enlarge) 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 seven 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.

Go here to see the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary and more illustrated titles on sale this week!

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