Right now you can find the Dietrich BonhoefferWorks, English Edition (DBWE, 16 volumes) for just $99.99 in Olive Tree Bible software. A few more Bonhoeffer items are also listed at their sale here.
Olive Tree’s iOS and desktop apps are free, so if you like Bonhoeffer and have the cash, this is probably the best price for his complete works in English that one will ever find. (It does not yet include the just-released-in-print Volume 17.)
Want to read the Old Testament in Greek on all your devices? This is the cheapest way I’ve seen to get started: until midnight PST tomorrow (1/6/15) night, you can get this Septuagint bundle for less than $50. It includes
The Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuagint text
Its critical apparatus
The Kraft-Wheeler-Taylor parsings of each word in the text
The LEH Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust, Eynikel, and Hauspie)
This is really an incredible deal, given that the Rahlfs-Hanhart text in print is about $50 (and doesn’t include running parsings). The LEH Lexicon in print runs anywhere from $40 to $80.
What can Olive Tree do, you ask? See my gathered posts here, including my recent review of a five-volume dictionary set that is still on sale.
The advantage to having the above combo in Olive Tree is that you can tap any word in the Rahlfs-Hanhart Greek text and get instant parsing information.
You can instantly access that word’s lexical entry in the LEH lexicon. I especially appreciate LEH’s inclusion of word frequency counts, according to sections of the LXX:
Using the split window setup, here’s what the Rahlfs text with apparatus looks like:
Though Rahlfs never intended his apparatus in this volume to be fully critical, it does help you at least compare LXX readings as found in Vaticanus (B), Alexandrinus (A), and Sinaiticus (S).
And because Olive Tree is fully cross-platform, you can sync any notes you take or highlights you make and they appear on any device on which you have Olive Tree.
Find the whole bundle here, on sale for just a little while longer.
An underrated but really good Bible dictionary is the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (NIDB). Published by Abingdon, the five-volume set is edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfeld and includes contributions of nearly 1,000 scholars.
There are more than 7,000 articles in NIDB. The contributing scholars are diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, and denominational background–a refreshing mix of voices. The dictionary balances reverence for the biblical text with rigorous scholarship–though the dictionary is rarely arcane.
The NIDB has been eminently useful to me in my weekly sermon preparation. Last fall, for example, when preaching through Genesis, I knew I’d have to make sense somehow of the “subdue” command that God gives the first humans regarding their relationship to the earth. The dictionary’s “Image of God” entry helpfully clarifies:
While the verb may involve coercive activities in interhuman relationships (see Num. 32:22, 29), no enemies are in view here–and this is the only context in which the verb applies to nonhuman creatures.
The same article puts nicely the implications of humanity’s creation in God’s image: the “image of God entails a democratization of human beings–all human hierarchies are set aside.”
This sort of blend between technical detail and pastoral application is present throughout the dictionary.
I’ve also found useful background for my Greek reading. This year, for example, I’m reading through the Psalms in Greek with a group of folks (see here). In the “Septuagint” entry in NIDB I find this:
The 4th-cent. CE “Codex Vaticanus” contains all of the books of the Hebrew Scripture or Protestant OT, and the following material that is today classified as deuterocanonical: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Ps 151, the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus or Ben Sirach, the additions to Esther (several of which were originally composed in a Semitic language; others of which are original Greek compositions), Judith, Tobit, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, and the additions to Daniel (Azariah and the Three Jews, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon).
The entry goes on to describe other Septuagint manuscripts, with hyperlinks in Olive Tree to related entries.
iOS Features in Olive Tree
Olive Tree is as cross-platform as a Bible study app gets: it runs on iOS (iPhone and iPad), Mac, Windows, and Android. The app itself is free, and you can get some good texts free, too, so you can preview the app before you buy any resources in it.
I’ve got the Olive Tree app on Mac, iPhone, and iPad Mini. It’s one of the best-executed iOS Bible study apps I’ve seen. It is visually appealing, highly customizable (especially with gestures and swipes), and easy to learn.
When reading the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (or anything else), here are a few features that have impressed me:
You can navigate with “flick scrolling” (how iBooks is set up) or “page scrolling” (like Kindle). This will make just about any user feel at home in the app. Flick scrolling (how you’d navigate a Web page) feels more natural to me, so I use that.
Dictionary entries are easy to get to. You can simply tap on “Go To” and type in the entry you’re looking for. The auto-complete feature saves having to type very much on the iPhone’s small keyboard:
You can search the entire contents of NIDB by word. If I wanted to see not just the entry for “Septuagint,” but every time the NIDB mentions the Septuagint, I would simply type that word in to the search entry bar:
Then I can select a result and read the given entry.
The full-color photos are zoomable. The NIDB contains full-color photographs that help visualize various entries. You can select the photograph and pinch-zoom for more detail.
I’ve noted this before–there is a great deal of customizable “Gestures/Shortcuts” preferences in the “Advanced Settings” menu. Olive Tree is the most versatile Bible study app in this sense. For example:
Two-finger swipe left and right takes you through your history within the app. I can swipe between NIDB, and the last NIV Old Testament passage I was reading, and a commentary, and…. No need to go through menus.
Two-finger tap gets you from any screen to your library; right away you can get at your other resources.
Concluding Assessment and How to Buy
One of my favorite features of Olive Tree’s apps is that you can view two resources at once that aren’t tied together by Bible verse. It’s like having split windows on an iPad. So you can have the NIDB open in the top half of your screen, and a Bible text or other resource open in the bottom half–even to unrelated topics if you want.
The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible is about as good a Bible dictionary as you’ll find. If you can use it to complement the Anchor Bible Dictionary (also available in OT), you’d be very well set with Bible dictionaries.
Olive Tree has done a great job, especially with its iOS apps. As much as I loved my print copy of NIDB, I unloaded it not long ago since I can essentially carry it around with me now. And getting at its contents is even easier with the enhancements Olive Tree provides.
Thanks to Olive Tree for the NIDB for the purposes of this review, offered without any expectations as to the content of the review.You can find the product here, where it is currently on sale for $99.99.
Today (Wednesday), Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, English Edition (DBWE, 16 volumes) are $99 in Olive Tree Bible software. I have not seen DBWE in Olive Tree, but have reviewed the app here.
Their iOS and desktop apps are free, so if you like Bonhoeffer and have the cash, this is probably the best price for his complete works in English that one will ever find. (It does not include the just released Volume 17.)
For just a few more days, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (DBW) (16 volumes) are $100 in Olive Tree Bible software. I have not seen DBW in Olive Tree, but have reviewed the app here. Their iOS and desktop apps are free, so if you like Bonhoeffer and have the cash, this is probably the best price for his complete works in English that one will ever find.
(Except for checking the books out from your local theological library, which is even cheaper!)
UPDATE: It would appear this sale has ended, a couple days before the date Olive Tree had given me via FB. Despite the miscommunication, the folks at Olive Tree have let me know the set may go on sale again in the future. To your library!
Ask a group of pastors, seminarians, professors, or serious Bible readers, “What one commentary series on the Old Testament would you most recommend?” and you’re likely to hear: “NICOT.” Eerdmans’ New International Commentary on the OldTestament blends scholarship with application in a readable and engaging manner. Few, if any, commentary series are consistently this good throughout the series. And I don’t know of any other series that has such broad ecumenical appeal.
NICOT in Olive Tree has 23 volumes, spanning 26 biblical books. The bundle includes the 2010 volume on Hosea. The only volume currently in print that is not here is The Book of Judges, by Barry G. Webb (2012). (Judges is not available in any other Bible software at the moment.)
General editor Robert L. Hubbard Jr. writes of the series:
NICOT delicately balances “criticism” (i. e., the use of standard critical methodologies) with humble respect, admiration, and even affection for the biblical text. As an evangelical commentary, it pays particular attention to the textʼs literary features, theological themes, and implications for the life of faith today.
As I preached through Isaiah this past Advent, John N. Oswalt’s two volumes on that book were the first commentary I turned to after spending time with the biblical text. While it was always clear that Oswalt knew Isaiah and his milieu well, the author would find himself swept up at times in praise of the God Isaiah preached. On Isaiah 2:2, for instance, he writes:
What Isaiah was asserting was that one day it would become clear that the religion of Israel was the religion; that her God was the God. To say that his mountain would become the highest of all was a way of making that assertion in a figure which would be intelligible to people of that time.
On that passage’s promise of peace among nations, he concludes:
Until persons and nations have come to God to learn his ways and walk in them, peace is an illusion. This does not mean that the Church merely waits for the second coming to look for peace. But neither does it mean that the Church should promote peace talks before it seeks to bring the parties to a point where they will submit their needs to God.
Oswalt is representative of the authors in NICOT, in that he loves the text (and its grammar, history, and background) and loves the God who inspired it.
NICOT in Olive Tree has hyperlinks to biblical references and commentary footnotes, which you can easily and quickly view in the Bible Study (computer) app through the Quick Details corner (by hovering over the hyperlink), or as a pop-up window (which can then also pop out and keep your place in a separate window). It’s just as easy to tap a hyperlink in the mobile app.
There are two ways I’ve used NICOT so far.
1. I use NICOT as my starting point in the main window.
After some time in the biblical text, I have made my way through parts of NICOT by starting from the commentary. I can use hyperlinks to read the verses being commented on, as well as any other references. I can keep a Bible open in the split window and have it follow me along as I read through NICOT.
Using NICOT this way, there are quite a few ways to get around, both by looking up a verse in the commentary, and by navigating its Table of Contents. You only need to use one of these options at a time, but here they all are:
Note that from the Go To drop-down menu, I can keep following the sub-menus till I get to a specific place in the commentary (Introduction to Malachi in the instance above). One could also do this from the Go To item in the toolbar, which allows for both verse searching and Table of Contents navigation.
2. I use the Bible in the main window and NICOT as a supplement in the split window.
This has the advantage of letting me use NICOT as one among multiple resources in the Resource Guide, as shown (in part) here:
In both of the above setups you can take notes in NICOT, highlight, and bookmark your place. You can also do a search on a word or phrase in the commentary, with the results appearing almost instantaneously. One may wish, for example, to find all the times Oswalt refers to the “Suffering Servant” in Isaiah, which is an easy and fast search to run.
In reviewing Olive Tree I have found it to have the most versatile, smooth, and customizable Bible app I’ve seen on iOS. I write more about the Bible Study iOS app here. The fact that Olive Tree is cross-platform makes it appealing to many. Though the desktop app is well-designed, I would like to see a future update where you can create a saved workspace with multiple resources open in various tabs and windows. That, I think, would take the app to the next level.
But everything is here to help you work through NICOT in a way that you couldn’t in print. There are a couple of options (one free and one paid) for Hebrew Bibles, too, if you want to use NICOT in tandem with the original language. (NICOT uses transliterated Hebrew.)
NICOT volumes consistently top the charts of the Best Commentaries site. Preachers and professors, parishioners and pupils will all find much to mine here, as they seek to better understanding the Old Testament and to more faithfully love the God whose goodness its pages proclaim.
Thanks to Olive Tree for the New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT), given to me for this blog review, offered without any expectations as to the content of the review.You can find the product here. For a little while longer, it’s $349.99 for the series, which is 50% off its regular price.
Which Bible software program should I buy? As 2014 begins, my answer to that question is still by far the most-visited post at Words on the Word.
Olive Tree is another popular Bible software option, running on just about any platform and device, whether iOS, Mac, Windows, or Android. I began to review their Bible Study App (for Mac desktop/laptop) here, with the Greek NA28 New Testament in view. In this post I look more in-depth at the NA28 in Olive Tree, with screenshots from their iPad (mini) app.
Here are a few things I especially like about the app:
You can use “flick scrolling” (as in iBooks) or “page scrolling” (as in Kindle). This accommodates just about any user. I prefer the flick scrolling, so that the books move as a Webpage on my computer would move.
You can search any resource, and view both the results-in-context and individual hits together. As in this screenshot:
The app allows for you to view one or two resources at a time. This is the same as the iOS apps in Accordance and Logos. What I like about this app is that you can choose whether you want to sync the two windows or not. You can also choose which of the two windows “leads” the other, if you tie them together. Or you can set it up so that whichever one you move (top or bottom/left or right) causes the other to move:
There is a whole host of “Gestures/Shortcuts” preferences in the “Advanced Settings” menu. You can assign shortcuts to various gestures. I don’t know of any other iOS Bible app that is this versatile. My two favorites:
Two finger swipe left and right takes you through your viewing history, which makes navigation through various passages all the easier. This even works across modules, so that I can swipe between the NA28 and the iPad User Guide I might have just had open. No need to go through menus.
Two finger tap takes you from any screen right to your library so you can quickly get at your resources.
NA28 in Olive Tree
There are a few purchase options for the NA28 in Olive Tree. I’ll look here at the “NA28 with Critical Apparatus, Mounce Parsings, and Concise Dictionary,” which you can find here. At the time of this blog post, it’s on sale for 50% off, so $45 instead of $90. You won’t find it cheaper elsewhere, in any format. The text and apparatus are what you’d get if you bought a print version; the parsings give morphological information, and the dictionary gives lexical detail.
There are some distinct differences between the NA28 and the NA27. If you go about halfway down this post, you can see more detail (as well as click through to some good links) as to what the changes are.
Here I have the text and apparatus open, and have simply tapped once on a Greek word to bring up a pop-up window with a gloss and parsing:
Another possible arrangement would be to use one window for the Greek text, and a second window for an English translation. In that case, one can click on the sigla in the NA28 text for a pop-up with the apparatus. (And still get parsing popups from the surface text, when needed.) This is a good way to economize space:
I appreciate that just a short tap is all that’s required to bring up details about a word or information on a text-critical sign. I find the app overall to be quite intuitive and aesthetically pleasing. It’s fast on word searches, too.
One critique of the NA28 apparatus is that the text-critical sigla are not hyperlinked to their meanings. In the Accordance version of NA28, for example, when you hover/click/tap on sigla and abbreviations from the apparatus, you instantaneously see (in a popup window or instant details window) what they represent or stand for. In Olive Tree, there is a workaround (described here: bookmark the relevant section of the introduction for quick reference), but this is not an improvement on what one would have to do with a print text anyway. It’s not unmanageable, but also not what one might hope for in this medium. So one will need to regularly consult the NA28 introduction, which is included with the text.
Olive Tree has one of the more active and better Bible software blogs I’ve seen. I’ve learned a good deal from it. Check it out here, especially this post that shows how to use a dictionary in the iOS app.
Since Olive Tree is new to me, and since I already use other Bible softwares, I’m still trying to figure out how it will make its way into my overall workflow. But its smooth interface, speed, and snazzy iOS app will have me coming back for further exploration.
Thanks to Olive Tree for the NA28 with Critical Apparatus, Mounce Parsings, and Concise Dictionary for the purposes of this blog review, offered without any expectations as to the content of the review.You can find the product here.
A fourth popular Bible study software is by Olive Tree. Their “Bible Study App” works in the following platforms:
Mac on Lion
I’ve installed the app on a Mac and an iPad, and have received the NA28 Greek New Testament to review. In a short series of posts, I’ll report on the Bible Study App, and how it allows users to interact with the NA28 text and critical apparatus. Here I review the Mac version, using a MacBook laptop.
My opening screen, when I open the NA28 from my Library, looks like this (click to enlarge):
The interface of the left sidebar resembles that of the Mac Finder windows. In addition the sidebar affords immediate (in-app) access to the Olive Tree store. Once you click on “Book Store,” you see a screen that slightly resembles the iTunes store:
You can hide the sidebar and hide or customize the toolbar on top.
By clicking on the “Tools & Notes” icon on the top right (from the first screen shot above), I can open a second window (Olive Tree calls this “the split window”):
I have several options at the top of the split window: Resource Guide, Notes, etc.
With the NA28 open, I quickly found four ways to navigate to a given verse–each of the three shown below, as well as a right-click option to select a verse.
For the NA28 with apparatus, I open the text in the left window and the apparatus in the right. Clicking on a word or hovering over it will show its morphological information (i.e., parsing and gloss) either through a pop-up menu (when clicking) or through the “Quick Details” at bottom left in the shot below (when hovering):
Getting right to work within the program (with just the occasional reference to help files and a quick start guide) was easy enough. I didn’t find getting the two windows side-by-side to be as quickly intuitive as I would have liked, but I don’t know yet whether that’s a weakness in the program or just my newness to it. The interface is clean and visually appealing. I’ve already been impressed with all that’s available in the Olive Tree store.
More to come. In the meantime, Olive Tree has a blog post of their own on using the NA28 here.
Thanks to Olive Tree for the NA28 with Critical Apparatus, Mounce Parsings, and Concise Dictionary for the purposes of this blog review.You can find that product here.