Posts tagged study

My Favorite Three Bible Study methods

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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.

FAVORITE VERSE BIBLE STUDY METHOD:

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.

TRANSLATION COMPARISON BIBLE STUDY METHOD

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:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/167983176/Translation-Comparison-Method.

DAILY BREAD BIBLE STUDY METHOD

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 http://www.scribd.com/doc/16565590/The-Daily-Bread-Bible-Study-Method.

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 www.OliveTree.com here.

Bible Study Tips & Resources

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Bible StudyI first began teaching and preaching in my local church at age 14.  Before my first sermon, my Dad handed me my first Strong’s Concordance and a brand new Bible. Following his lead, I would read through a passage of Scripture and look up every word in the Strong’s Concordance that I didn’t understand or that caught my attention.

I soon learned that I needed a more formalized approach to my Bible study.  Here are some basic steps and tools that help me focus on Bible Study and get me back on track to studying God’s Word.

Prepare yourself through Prayer
“All our study is futile without the work of God overcoming our blindness and hardheartedness.” – John Piper, Martin Luther Lessons from His Life and Labor 

There is no substitute for prayer when reading and studying the Bible.  Prayer takes the attention off of what we can do and puts the attention instead on what God can do in and through us.  Bible study is a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1) in which we present our best to God.  We have to remember that this is not just a book we’re reading.  We need prepare our hearts and minds for Bible study.

Read the Scripture for yourself
Read and re-read the passage you’re studying.  Get familiar with the flow of the passage.  If there are terms that you don’t know, look them up in a simple dictionary.

Ask yourself these Questions

  1. Observe – What does the text say?
  2. Interpret – What does the text mean?
  3. Apply – How does it apply to me today?

Asking these questions will keep you focused on the study at hand.  These questions are also helpful when preparing, guiding, and leading discussions for small group and Sunday school Bible studies.

Read and Research

1. Cross References

After you’ve thoroughly read the scriptures for yourself, read all of the related verses for that text.  The Bible Study App has some great resources to help you find all of the cross references.  These are helpful because they will save you tons of time and effort just looking up the references.

Recommendations:

2. Bible Concordances
Concordances are great tools that give you a list of verses that contain that root word in the Bible.  However, be careful that you do not JUST use a concordance in your preparation.  Concordances are a great place to BEGIN, but are never the END of your Bible Study.

With that “don’t try this at home” disclaimer, I do suggest using a digital Bible with Strong’s numbers integrated into the text for your Bible study.

Recommendations:

3. Bible Dictionaries
Dictionaries give you more explanation and meaning for specific words.  They also help us to keep our Bible Study on track.

Recommendations:

4.Bible Study Notes
There are multiple Bibles that have study notes written by scholars and trusted authors that will assist you in better understanding the Bible.  I recommend choosing one that corresponds to your preferred translation (KJV, ESV, NIV, NLT, etc.)

5. Bible Commentaries
After you’ve studied the Bible for yourself, it is often helpful to read trusted Bible scholars to see how they explain the text you are reading.

Recommendations:

6. A Basic and Solid Library

To help you get started, Olive Tree has bundled collections of resources to help you dig deeper into God’s word.  These bundles give you the basic tools that you need like the study tools mentioned above. All of these wonderful resources are designed to be integrated into the Resource Guide within The Bible Study App for a seamless and easy-to-use Bible study experience.

Recommendations:

Bible Study Bundles are available in the following Bible translations: NIV, HCSB, NKJV, and NRSV

7. How to Study Resources
Lastly, here are some useful resources to further your Bible Study methods:

Using these simple methods and tools will deepen your Bible Study and further prepare you to present God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).

What are your favorite Bible Study resources?

Four Tips for using Commentaries in The Bible Study App

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After you’ve studied the Bible for yourself, it’s often helpful to read trusted Bible scholars to see how they explain the text you’re reading. Commentaries are a great way to do just that and The Bible Study App makes them even more powerful!

Here are a few quick tips on how to get the best experience with commentaries in The Bible Study App (screenshots are taken from an iPad 2).

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” in the split window.

(click on the images for a larger view)

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The Bible Study App 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, your commentaries sync 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.

Comparing Commentaries within the Resource Guide

Not only does the Resource Guide keep up with you in one commentary, it keeps track in ALL of your commentaries.  This makes comparing multiple commentaries easy.  In this example, I’ve got the Boice Expositional Commentary Series, Thru the Bible Commentary series, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, and the Zondervan Bible Commentary all showing “hits” from the Matthew 12:1-8 passage I’m studying.

With hard copies, I would have to go and find this passage in each commentary and then compare.  With the Bible Study App, the Resource Guide keeps track of where I am.  All I have to do is tap the book cover and it lists out the relevant sections of the commentary for me.  I then tap the section that interests me and The Bible Study App takes me exactly to that place in the commentary.

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To see what each commentary says about the passage in my main window, I just tap the “back” button and The Bible Study App will take me back to the “hits” list.  I then follow the same process as I did before to read my secondary commentary resource.  This is especially helpful if I’m comparing more technical, research-driven commentaries versus more devotional/pastoral commentaries.

Comparing Commentaries in the Main and Split Windows

Another handy way to compare commentaries on a specific passage is to place one of my commentaries in the main window.  I then open the resource guide in the split window.  Since commentaries are based on the biblical text, the resource guide searches my library for relevant content.  This means that I can check other commentaries for comparison and see what other scholars have said about the passage I’m studying.

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Search

Putting your commentary in the main window will also allow you to search your commentaries for words or passages.  Take “Sabbath” as our example.  You can search the entire commentary series for where “Sabbath” is mentioned.  You can also limit your search to the Old Testament, New Testament, biblical genre, or a specific book.

When your search hits are displayed, you can tap on the result to go directly to that passage. You can also copy the text to add to an existing note or add a note right from the search results.

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As above, I can open the resource guide and see results from all my commentaries and other resources on my device.

Linked Reference Pop ups

One of my greatest frustrations in the hard copy world of biblical commentaries are the other biblical references within the commentary. For example, when I’m reading in Matthew about Jesus being Lord of the Sabbath, there are references to the Old Testament that I want to understand. 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 The Bible Study App, 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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As you can see, using commentaries within The Bible Study App gives you the best in scholarly work while saving you valuable study time and tremendous effort.

What’s in the Archaeological Study Bible?

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When I first heard about the Archaeological Study Bible, I wasn’t sure what to think.  My initial thought was how could there be an entire Bible devoted to archaeological study?  And honestly, how could a study Bible devoted to archaeological study not be a snoozer?  So, I got a copy of the Archaeological Study Bible and began looking through it.  Wow, was I impressed (and wrong)!

The Archaeological Study Bible is a great resource.  There are 520 articles covering five main categories: Archaeological Sites, Cultural and Historical Notes, Ancient Peoples and Lands, the Reliability of the Bible, and Ancient Texts and Artifacts.  The Bible Study App enriches the Archaeological Study Bible. As you read through your Bible, the split screen and resource guide keep you synced with your reading.

Here’s an example of an article on the Zealots and Essenes (screenshots from an iPad, click images to enlarge):

Also included are almost 500 full-color photographs throughout the text.  Here’s two examples:

Throughout the text there are detailed charts like this one:

At the end of the Archaeological Study Bible there are several maps that help you get an idea of the placement of biblical events:

The authors of the Archaeological Study Bible also included detailed book introductions for every book of the Bible. Other study tools include a glossary, extensive concordance and several indexes to help you find articles relevant to your study.

The Bible Study App enhances this resource when articles reference other articles within the Archaeological Study Bible.  By tapping or clicking on the hyperlink, you can go directly to the related article, view in the Split Window, or view it in a Popup screen.

As you can see, you can spend hours learning the historical background of the Bible and the settings in which biblical events took place.  The articles and pictures will give you insights into the Bible and make you feel like you could have been there.

You can get the Archaeological Study Bible for 50% off this week only. Click here for more!

Enhanced for the Resource Guide: Cross References & Quick References

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By using The Bible Study App’s cross references and quick reference titles enhanced for the resource guide, you’ll save tons of time and effort.  No longer will you have to leave your original text to search for a reference.  All your content will be at your fingertips!

Here’s how we’ve enhanced these resources (screenshots are from the Windows Desktop App):

Bring up your preferred Bible translation in the main window. (I have the New Living Translation open to Romans 12:1 in this example.)  Click the split window button at the top right of the screen.

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Click and hold to adjust the split window to your desired size.  Next, click “Tools & Notes” to see the drop-down menu and choose “resource guide.”  Please note that the split window opens to the last place that you had viewed, so if you were last in the library, the screen will default back to the library.

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The resource guide keeps up with me as I scroll through the Bible text and searches through the books in my library for content related to the Scripture passage in the main window.

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You’ll see that the resource guide has found related Bible content in the “Content” section. (click image for larger view)

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I can click the cross reference related to “a living” (Hebrews 10:20 in this case) and a pop-up window will appear.  This means that I don’t have to leave my place in Romans 12:1 to read the related verses.  I can also click the pop-out button to view the related content in a new window.

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If you scroll a little further down the split window, you’ll find the “Related Verses” section.  Since I have the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) downloaded to my PC, The Bible Study App has found related content in this resource. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is the best known and most widely used collection of 500,000 Scripture references and parallel passages.

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In our example, you’ll see that there are 49 related verses in the TSK from the Romans 12:1-17 passage we’re studying. By clicking on the TSK book cover, I can view each set of cross references that correspond to each individual verse from my passage in Romans.

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Like before, I can click the reference in the TSK and view it in a new window without leaving my original text.  This feature alone will save you hours.

Now, let’s turn our attention to quick references.  In the resource guide in the split window, scroll down to view “Places,” “Maps,” “Outlines,” and “Introductions.”  All quick reference content will be displayed in these sections.  In our example, after clicking “Rome” under “Places,” the resource guide shows me that I have two images available in my library.  I can click these images to see a larger view or even view them within the resource from which the content is found, the Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding the Bible.

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I can also see that there are Outlines and Introductions available in MacArthur’s Quick Reference Guide to the Bible and other resources that have related content.

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By clicking the book covers for these resources, I can see all of the results within that resource for the Bible passage.  In this example, I can see that there are three entries under introductions in MacArthur’s Quick Reference Guide to the Bible.  Click the article or reference and I can read the content in the resource.  Again, any Scripture verse becomes a hyperlink that I can view within the resource guide.

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This is how cross references and quick references are enhanced in The Bible Study App.  What are some ways that you’ve utilized this feature to deepen your Bible Study?

Using the NA28 Apparatus as a Part of Bible Study

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NA28inabiblestudy

By Olive Tree Staff: Matthew Jonas

I teach a weekly Bible study, and recently we were reading through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).  This has always been one of my favorite passages in the Scriptures and I was especially excited to get to the section on prayer and specifically to discuss the Lord’s Prayer.  I began by reading over the text of the passage itself.  I generally prepare my notes working from the Greek and Hebrew, but I then read from a number of different English translations in the study itself.  For this particular passage, I was reading from the ESV.  As soon as I had finished reading, someone pointed out that there was a line “missing” from the ESV at the end of the Lord’s Prayer.  She was using the NKJV, which adds the line “for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen” at the end of verse 13.  This question led to a discussion about why that line is in some translations but not others.

Since I started working for Olive Tree, I’ve transitioned to using almost entirely electronic texts of the Bible.  I had my notes and my Bibles there on my tablet, so I was able to quickly look up this addition in the NA28 critical apparatus.

The first thing that I noticed was a T-shaped symbol at the end of verse 13 in the main text.  If you consult section three in the introduction (“THE CRITICAL APPARATUS”), it is explained that this symbol means that one or more words is inserted by the manuscripts listed.  If you are unfamiliar with the apparatus, I would recommend that you simply memorize the list of symbols used.  I believe that there are only eight of them, and they indicate what is going on.  For example, a T-shaped symbol is used to indicate an addition, an O-shaped symbol is used to indicate an omission, an S-shaped symbol with a dot in it is used to indicate a transposition, and so on.  It should be kept in mind as well that “additions” and “omissions” are relative to the main text of the NA28.  An addition is material that the editors of the NA28 chose not to include in the main text, but that some manuscripts contain.  An omission is material that the editors of the NA28 included, but that some manuscripts do not contain.

Clicking on the symbol in the text will open a popup.  If you wish to open this in the split window, tap on the “tear out” icon in the top corner.  The first addition listed is simply the word αμην, which is found only in a few manuscripts.  As far as the abbreviations for manuscripts go, a Fraktur letter P followed by a superscript number is used to indicate papyri, uppercase Latin and Greek letters (and the Hebrew Alef) are used to indicate the different uncial manuscripts, and numbers are used for the miniscules.  There are also additional special abbreviations for medieval cursive manuscripts, lectionaries, the different versions (e.g. the Vulgate, the Peshitta, etc.), and citations in the Church Fathers.  These abbreviations are explained in the introduction, and more complete information about each of the manuscripts is given in Appendix I in the end matter.  The star next to 288 indicates an original reading that was subsequently corrected.   “Vg” stands for Vulgate and the abbreviation “cl” indicates that this reading is found specific in the Clementine Vulgate.  The take away here is that there is not much manuscript evidence for adding just the word αμην to the end verse 13. (more…)

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