Posts tagged study

Four Tips for using Commentaries in The Bible Study App

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)


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.


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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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.


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.

Enhanced for the Resource Guide: Cross References & Quick References

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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…)

The Resource Guide

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 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

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 references 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

For more information about the Resource Guide or other App features check out our Help Center.



Look Inside: Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary

The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary offers easy access to articles on people, places, things, and events in Scripture. Here are two ways you can use this comprehensive resource in the Olive Tree Bible Study App.

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 “Samaria” 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 Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary within the Resource Guide.

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android-samaria       ipad-samaria        windows-samaria

You’ll notice that the resource has the words “Article to Samaria” underneath the book cover.  Tap/Click on the book cover and The Bible Study App will take you directly to the article within the Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

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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 Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary is a comprehensive resource with 5,000 articles by leading evangelical scholars.  There’s also 400 color illustrations, maps, and photos.  Here’s one example from the Samaria article we’ve been reading:

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android-samaria3pic       ipad-samaria-pic       windows-samariapic

The second way you can utilize the Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary 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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With our Search feature, The Bible Study App takes the Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary to another level. Tap/Click the “Search” icon and type the word you are looking for to find all of the references in the Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

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android-bibdtradtional-search      ipad-search        windows-search

As you can see, the Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary is a helpful resource for studying the Bible.

Click here to see all Bible dictionaries available for The Bible Study App.

The Bible Study App vs. E-reader

Did you know that the inspiration for the modern day E-reader was created over 60 years ago? Angela Ruiz Robles, a teacher in Spain, developed a device that proved to be very forward thinking and set the table for the E-readers of today. I wonder if she could ever have imagined how her concept would be influencing the way we read and learn in the 21st century? While E-readers have grown in popularity, the full potential of electronic books is just starting to be realized.

It’s that reality that drives our vision and belief that The Bible Study App by Olive Tree is the most powerful study app available and the best way to read, study, and grow in your understanding of God’s word. So what’s the difference between a regular E-reader and The Bible Study App? Here are the top 4:

1. The Resource Guide

While The Bible Study App is a great E-reader, it goes far beyond just that. The Bible Study App was designed with one purpose in mind; to help you study the Bible. The most obvious demonstration of this is found in The Resource Guide. While you’re reading the Bible, you can open the Resource Guide in the split window to see cross references, study Bible notes, maps, topics and more that are all related to your current reading. As you continue to read, the Resource Guide tracks with you and updates the material to match the Scripture you’re reading and provide a seamless Bible study experience

resource guide

2. Search

Do you ever find yourself asking things like, “Where is that verse about the mustard seed?” Instead of flipping through the Bible or searching through an index, you can simply tap on the search icon and type in “mustard seed” and find the verse you looking for. As an added bonus, you can view the verse in each of the gospel accounts and see other search results related to “mustard seed.”

Search in the Bible

3. Split Window

The split window has many great functions. While reading in the main window, in the split window you can open the Resource Guide, another translation, a study Bible, or even take notes as you read the text. While in church on Sunday you can have your main window open to the passage and take notes in the split window. No more balancing act with a Bible in one hand and a notepad in another, trying to keep everything in place while flipping back and forth. Now your Bible and notes are all easily managed in one hand and your entire study library is accessible where ever you are. You don’t even need an active internet connection!

Another powerful note function is the hyperlink feature. As you enter scripture references in your notes The Bible Study App will detect them and turn them into hyperlinks that will then pop up the text when you tap on them.


4. Reading Plans

The Bible Study App comes with a variety of pre-installed reading plans that range in style, topic, and duration. If you don’t see one that appeals don’t worry, there are even more that you can easily download and install for free. Click here to see how.

reading plans


With numerous study resources, tons of customization options, the ability to sync between different devices, and much more, we’re confident that you’ll find The Bible Study App to be an essential part of your study and spiritual growth. If you don’t have it yet then go get it here.

We’re passionate about what we do and want you to have the best tool available to help you grow in your understanding of God’s word.



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