Posts tagged resource guide

How to Use God’s Commentary on Scripture

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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:

crossreferences

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:

cainandabel

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:

resourceguide

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:

recentlyopened

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:

syncwindows

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:

goto

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

hebrews

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.

What is the Resource Guide?

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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.

Resource Guide2

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

Customize Your Resource Guide

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The Resource Guide is one of the top tools of the The Bible Study App. In the video below we show you how you can customize the layout of the different sections of the resource guide as well as what appears in those sections.

Browse titles Enhanced for the Resource Guide Here!

 

Look Inside: A Visual Guide to Bible Events

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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.

sevenchurchesmap

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.

wildernessmap

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.

nehemiahwall

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.

templemodel

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

unknowngod

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.

Look Inside: Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

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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.

commentary1

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

commentary2

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.

commentary3

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!

Enhanced Bible Dictionaries for Mobile Devices

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What is the Resource Guide?  The Resource Guide is your personal research assistant within The Bible Study App.  When we say a resource is “enhanced” for the Resource Guide, it means it’s more than just a flat ebook that you read once and put away.  An enhanced resource is a powerful feature in The Bible Study App that you can use to find what you’re looking for easily and quickly.  Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias are two of the products that Olive Tree enhances for the Resource Guide.

Here are four ways The Bible Study App enhances Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedias (screenshots are from an iPad 2 and a Nexus 7 – click on an image for a expanded view):

ONE:

Open your favorite Bible in the main window. (I’ve got the ESV open in this example.)  Tap the split window handle and drag it to a width or height you like.  As I scroll through the Bible text, the resource guide keeps up with me and searches through all the books in my library for content related to the Scripture passage in the main window.

If you scroll down the Resource Guide results, you will see the section headings “People,” “Places,” and “Topics.”

ios-split results splitwindow-topics

Tap or click on the person/place/topic you want to learn more about.  I chose “Altar” in this example.  The Bible Study App then brings you results from within the resources you have on your device.  I’m using the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible for our example.

ios-results android-altar results

You’ll see that the resource has the words “article to altar” underneath the book cover.  Tap/Click on the book cover and The Bible Study App will take you directly to the article within the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible.  After you’ve tapped on the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, you can scroll down and read the entire article without having to leave your Bible text.

ios altar image inline

When you encounter a map, chart, image or photo, you can tap to bring up a closer view.

android-altar android-altar large

If there are scripture references in the article, just tap the verse and it will appear in a pop-up window.

ios-pop-up android-pop-up

You can also tap the top right-hand corner of the pop-up window to bring up the option to open these hyperlinked references in the main window or the split window.

TWO:

You can also utilize the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible as a traditional encyclopedia in The Bible Study App.  Just Tap/Click the “Go-To” button and scroll through this awesome resource as you would a hard-copy encyclopedia.

ios-traditional  android-traditional

THREE:

The Bible Study App Search feature takes the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible to another level. Tap/Click the “Search” icon (magnifying glass icon) and type the word you’re looking for to find all the references of that word in the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible.

ios search android-search

FOUR:

Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.

ios-word popup androidlookup1

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.

ios-lookup androidlookup2

Go here see all Dictionaries & Encyclopedias available for the Bible Study App!

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